Kremlin welcomes Biden call for dialogue, criticises sanctions

The Kremlin said Friday it was “good” that US President Joe Biden was seeking dialogue with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin but criticised the United States for a fresh bout of sanctions on Moscow. Biden’s offer earlier this week of a summit between the leaders amounted to a peace offering as tensions between Russia and […]

Top seer at India religious mega-festival dies from Covid-19

A Hindu seer has died from coronavirus and 80 other holy men have tested positive after attending a vast Indian religious festival where millions of pilgrims have been ignoring Covid-19 advice despite a national surge in infections. The announcement from authorities in Haridwar, Uttarakhand state, came as India recorded more than 217,000 fresh cases in […]

Myanmar's ousted MPs form new shadow government

A “parliament” working in hiding to oust Myanmar’s junta from power announced a new shadow government Friday, with deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi at its helm alongside ethnic minority politicians. The country has been in turmoil since the military detained Suu Kyi and seized power, triggering a massive uprising that the junta has sought […]

Indonesian hackers arrested over $60 million US Covid-19 scam

Two Indonesian hackers have been arrested over an international scam in which $60 million was stolen from a Covid-19 aid programme helping Americans left jobless by the pandemic, authorities said. Text messages were sent to 20 million Americans directing them to more than a dozen fake US government websites, police in the Southeast Asian nation […]

WHO 'very concerned' as virus numbers climb in PNG

The WHO expressed concern Friday over a “sharp increase” of Covid-19 cases in Papua New Guinea warning the outbreak was at a critical stage and could fuel a much larger epidemic. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom, speaking at a virtual press conference, said although the numbers were relatively small in PNG, the outbreak’s pace was concerning. […]

Jimmy Lai among five Hong Kong democracy activists jailed

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai was jailed for 14 months on Friday along with four other veteran democracy activists for their roles in protests that helped trigger a sweeping crackdown on dissent by China. Lai was given two jail terms for separate rallies in August 2019, at the peak of a democracy uprising that […]

Taiwan truck driver charged with negligent homicide over rail crash

Taiwan prosecutors on Friday charged a truck driver with negligent homicide over his role in the island’s worst rail disaster in decades that left 49 dead and more than 200 injured. The April 2 crash was caused by a railway maintenance truck that slid down an embankment moments before a packed train came down the […]

Vaccine giant tweets Biden to end US raw materials 'embargo'

The head of the world’s largest vaccine maker directly tweeted US President Joe Biden on Friday urging him to lift an export ban on raw materials desperately needed to make more coronavirus shots. The unusual step by Serum Institute (SII) chief Adar Poonawalla underlined the crisis in providing vaccines to developing nations, many of which […]

Fine tuning for Prince Philip's funeral

Final preparations were being made on Friday for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II’s husband Prince Philip, with the ceremony pared back due to coronavirus restrictions but still reflecting his long life of military and public service. Police patrolled the Long Walk outside the stately walls of Windsor Castle, where the funeral will be held […]