Sunday, June 13News That Matters

Foreign

Downtown Shooting in Austin, Texas Injures 14

Downtown Shooting in Austin, Texas Injures 14

Foreign
Gunfire erupted in a busy entertainment district in the Texas city of Austin early Saturday, injuring 14 people, according to authorities who were still searching for a suspect. Police said they responded to multiple shots fired just before 1:30 am in bustling downtown Austin, where a large crowd began to disperse. “Our officers responded very quickly,” Austin’s interim police chief Joseph Chacon told a news conference. “They were able to immediately begin life saving measures for many of these patients,” he added. Police said they had received a description of a suspect, a Black male, but that it was still unclear whether one or multiple suspects were involved. They added that the shooting appeared to be an isolated incident, although an investigation was ongoing. “...
Algeria Elects Parliament Amid ‘Repression’ Of Protest Movement

Algeria Elects Parliament Amid ‘Repression’ Of Protest Movement

Foreign
Algeria voted Saturday in a parliamentary election overshadowed by a crackdown on a long-running protest movement that has campaigned for a mass boycott. Pro-government parties have urged a big turnout for the “crucial vote” which they hope will restore stability after two years of turmoil since the forced resignation of veteran President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The protest movement, which had held weekly demonstrations for reform until they were effectively banned last month, has denounced the election as a “sham” that betrays the hopes of the hundreds of thousands of Algerians whose protests forced Bouteflika from power. Seven leading protest movement figures were arrested ahead of polling day while police deployed heavily in the capital Algiers to preempt any attempt to rall...
Saudi To Allow 60,000 Vaccinated Residents To Perform Hajj

Saudi To Allow 60,000 Vaccinated Residents To Perform Hajj

Foreign
Saudi Arabia announced Saturday it will allow 60,000 vaccinated residents of the kingdom to perform the annual hajj, state media reported. The hajj ministry said this year’s pilgrimage would be “open for nationals and residents of the kingdom, limited to 60,000 pilgrims”, according to the official Saudi Press Agency. The pilgrimage, scheduled to be held at the end of July, would be limited to those who have been vaccinated and are below 65 years of age with no chronic illnesses, it said. It will be the second year in a row that the kingdom hosts a downscaled hajj amid the coronavirus pandemic. The hajj — a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime — typically packs millions of pilgrims into congested religious sites and could be a major source ...
South Africa Agrees To Privatise Troubled South African Airways

South Africa Agrees To Privatise Troubled South African Airways

Foreign
South Africa’s government announced Friday it would sell a majority stake in cash-strapped flag carrier SAA to a consortium that includes the operator of a local budget airline, effectively privatising it. The airline, which is emerging from a rescue plan, will effectively be privatised as investors will hold a majority stake. “Having evaluated the current environment, government has agreed to the (strategic equity partner) owning of 51 percent of the shareholding and government 49 percent,” Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said in an online media conference. The consortium includes Harith General Partners, an investor in African infrastructure and airports, and airline management firm Global Airways, an aircraft leasing firm which recently launched local budget air...
French Army Kills Suspect Linked To Murder Of Two Journalists

French Army Kills Suspect Linked To Murder Of Two Journalists

Foreign
French soldiers have killed a Malian jihadist suspected of being responsible for the kidnapping and deaths of two French journalists in 2013, Defence Minister Florence Parly said Friday. Parly said French forces in the Sahel region had killed “four terrorists” in an operation in northern Mali on June 5, including Bayes Ag Bakabo, the prime suspect in the deaths of RFI radio reporters Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon. “His neutralisation means the end of a long wait,” Parly said, adding that Bakabo was in the village of Aguelhok and was preparing an attack against UN peacekeeping forces. Dupont and Verlon, both in their 50s and veteran journalists for RFI, were seized in the flashpoint northern Malian town of Kidal in November 2013 after interviewing a separatist Tuareg lead...
COVID-19: Pakistan Province To Block Mobile Phones Of Unvaccinated People

COVID-19: Pakistan Province To Block Mobile Phones Of Unvaccinated People

Foreign
A Pakistan province said Friday it will block the mobile phones of people refusing to get Covid-19 jabs, in the latest move to penalise the unvaccinated in a country where only a fraction of the population have been inoculated. It comes after Sindh province said civil servants who refuse to be vaccinated will not be paid from July. A third wave of infections has begun to stabilise in Pakistan after weeks of tough restrictions, and in Punjab — the country’s most populous province which includes the megacity of Lahore — demand for jabs has slowed. “At first this was only a proposal, but people have been very hesitant in getting vaccinated so the decision was made,” said Hammad Raza, spokesman for the Punjab Primary Health department. He said the state telecoms agency will de...
Over 30,000 Children Risk Death In Famine-Hit Tigray: UN

Over 30,000 Children Risk Death In Famine-Hit Tigray: UN

Foreign
Tens of thousands of malnourished children risk dying in hard-to-reach areas of Ethiopia’s conflict-wracked Tigray region, now hit by famine, the United Nations said Friday. “Without humanitarian access to scale up our response, an estimated 30,000-plus severely malnourished children in those highly inaccessible areas are at high risk of death,” UNICEF spokesman James Elder told reporters in Geneva. His comments came after the UN on Thursday said some 350,000 people in Tigray were facing famine, while two million more people were just a step away from those extreme conditions. “There is famine now in Tigray,” UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said, warning that “every expert you speak to will tell you this is going to get a lot worse”. Lowcock said fresh data showed the n...
G7 To Provide 1 Billion COVID-19 Vaccine Doses ‘To World’ By 2023

G7 To Provide 1 Billion COVID-19 Vaccine Doses ‘To World’ By 2023

Foreign
G7 leaders will agree to expand global Covid vaccine manufacturing to provide at least one billion doses to the world through sharing and financing schemes, Britain said Thursday. The UK, which is hosting the big powers’ gathering in southwest England, added it would donate at least 100 million surplus doses within the next year, including five million beginning in the coming weeks. The commitment follows growing calls for richer countries to step up their efforts to share Covid-19 shots with less developed nations, with charities warning the current situation is leading to “vaccine apartheid”. Britain, which has orders for more than 400 million doses, has faced criticism for failing to begin making donations to poorer countries. But on the eve of welcoming world leaders f...
ICRC Chief Urges EU To Respect Refugee Law

ICRC Chief Urges EU To Respect Refugee Law

Foreign
The EU needs to respect refugee law as it copes with migration flows, many of which are triggered by wars, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday. Peter Maurer underscored that point in an interview with AFP touching on many of the conflicts in which the Swiss-based ICRC is working. Generally the last decade has seen a multiplication of conflicts, where “each year we think we may have one less conflict — and then we add two more”, he said. “One of the consequences of violence in many places is migration, is displacement, is irregular displacements: When we look at the 25 largest operations of ICRC, they come from regions which at the end of the day are at the origin of more than 80 percent of irregular displacements in the world.” Speakin...
China Arrests 1,100 Over Cryptocurrency Money Laundering

China Arrests 1,100 Over Cryptocurrency Money Laundering

Foreign
China has arrested more than a thousand people for using the profits from crime to buy cryptocurrencies, security officials said, as part of a growing crackdown on the industry. The country’s bitcoin mines power nearly 80 percent of the global trade in cryptocurrencies, although trading in China is banned. Officials have started to turn a sharp eye towards cryptocurrency miners to prevent speculation and stamp out money laundering. Chinese police busted a network of 1,100 people involved in laundering money by buying cryptocurrencies, the ministry of public security said in a statement dated Wednesday. The launderers charged clients commission to convert illegal proceeds into virtual currencies via crypto exchanges, the ministry said, without outlining the amount of money ...