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US defence chief Austin sees no ‘imminent invasion’ of Taiwan by China

A Chinese military jet flies over Pingtan island, one of China's closest points to Taiwan, on Aug 6, 2022. PHOTO: AFP WASHINGTON - United States Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Sunday that he sees no imminent invasion of Taiwan by China, but said China was trying to establish a "new normal" with its military activities around the island. A visit to Taiwan early in August by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi enraged China, which subsequently launched military drills near the island. These drills have continued, although on a much reduced scale. "I don't see an imminent invasion," Mr Austin said in an interview broadcast on CNN. "What we do see is China moving to establish what we would call a new normal. Increased activity - we saw [...]

October 3rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia says nuclear submarine plan on track to be unveiled in early 2023

Defence Minister Richard Marles said Australia is seeking to "minimise and plug any capability gap". PHOTO: AFP CANBERRA - Australia is on track to make an announcement "in the first part of next year", on the path to acquiring nuclear-powered submarines under its project with the United States and Britain, said Defence Minister Richard Marles. "You don't build a nuclear-powered submarine quickly, and so the question of when we would be able to have the first submarine in the water is one that is very pertinent to us," Mr Marles said on Saturday at a joint news conference with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin after talks in Honolulu. Australia, Britain and the US announced a security agreement known as Aukus on Sept 15, 2021, pledging to cooperate more closely [...]

October 3rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

DepEd promotes scholarship opportunities for Filipino students, youth

(Photo from DepEd Philippines Facebook page) On its Facebook page, DepEd posted announcements for scholarships that Filipino learners can apply for such as the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program and the “Iskolar ni Juan.” DepEd said that the YES Program in the Philippines is now accepting applications for program cycle 2023-2024. The YES program is a “cultural exchange program” funded by the United States (US) Department of State through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. This, DepEd said, provides “scholarships for high school students to spend up to one academic year” in the US. Established in October 2002, YES Program recognizes the importance of youth exchange as a “key component” to building bridges between citizens of the US and countries around the world —- particularly those [...]

October 3rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PBBM reinforced talks, encouraged investments in 2nd trip to SG

MANILA – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. returned to Singapore over the weekend to reinforce talks during his recent state visit there and encouraged anew investments in the country, a Palace official said Monday. REAFFIRMING TIES. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (center) poses for a photo opportunity with Singaporean Foreign Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan (left) and Singaporean Manpower Minister Tan See Leng (2nd from left) on the sidelines of the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday (Oct. 2, 2022). Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said Marcos' second trip to the city-state was aimed at reinforcing talks and encouraging investments following his recent state visit in September. (Photo courtesy of Singaporean Manpower Minister Tan See Leng)     Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles, in her official Facebook page, shared a screenshot of [...]

October 3rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Online cryptocurrency exchange Binance registers in New Zealand

Binance's existing customers will now access its marketplace through the New Zealand platform, where they can trade cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens. File image Photo: 123RF   The world's largest online cryptocurrency exchange has launched a New Zealand version of its marketplace to help shape future industry regulation. Binance, which is ranked the largest exchange of its kind in the world, has registered as a financial services provider with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Local investors could already access Binance before it registered, and the decision meant the company would have to comply with local regulations. Binance NZ will join an external disputes resolution scheme, carry out customer due-diligence, adhere to local anti-money laundering rules and share customer information with the tax department. General manager Ben Rose told [...]

October 3rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ukraine war: NZ Government mulling imposing wider sanctions on Russia

While expulsion of Russian diplomats is "not off the table", Jacinda Ardern says it removes the chance for direct dialogue. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   The government is considering how to further tighten restrictions on exports and imports to Russia. The Russian ambassador will be called in again to hear New Zealand's opposition to the country's latest actions in Ukraine. On Friday Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the annexation of four regions of Ukraine, during a pomp-filled Kremlin ceremony, promising Moscow would triumph in its "special military operation" against Kyiv. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand does not recognise these illegal attempts to change Ukraine's borders, and the referenda in Russian-held Ukrainian territories were a sham. Ardern told Morning Report the government was primarily looking at further [...]

October 3rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PBBM, FFCCCII tackle economic recovery plans

BOOSTING THE ECONOMY. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (right) meets with members of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Friday (Sept. 30, 2022) to discuss ways to speed up the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic. During the meeting, the FFCCCII pitched to Marcos its ideas to realize the administration’s bid to revitalize and transform the economy. (Photo from PBBM’s official Facebook page) MANILA – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday discussed with a group of Filipino-Chinese business leaders the goals and initiatives to fast-track the recovery of the Philippine economy amid the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. In a Facebook post on Saturday, Marcos shared that he met with the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of [...]

October 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Dozens killed in stampede at Indonesia football match, police say

Police fire tear gas after fans invade pitch in East Java, triggering a stampede that killed more than 100 people. This picture taken on October 1, 2022 shows security personnel (lower) on the pitch at Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang, East Java [AFP]   Indonesian police say at least 129 people have been killed and dozens injured after a crowd stampede during a riot at a football match in the province of East Java. In a statement on Sunday, police said supporters of Arema FC stormed the pitch at a stadium in the eastern city of Malang after their team lost 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya on Saturday night. Police said they tried to persuade fans to return to the stands and fired tear gas to control “riots” after two officers [...]

October 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Russia’s consulate in New York vandalized in apparent protest

The Russian consulate in New York after it was vandalized with spray paint on 30 September.Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images The Russian consulate in New York has been vandalized with red spray paint, in an apparent protest against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.   Officers said they responded to an emergency call just after 1.30am on Friday reporting that paint had been sprayed across the facade of the consulate on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. A police spokesperson said the investigation is ongoing into the potential “bias incident” and no arrests have been made. Rosie Morse, a retiree who lives in the neighborhood near the consulate, said the spray paint “looks like artwork”. “But the meaning is to express our feeling about Putin, and I can’t say that I don’t agree,” [...]

October 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PDP Laban elects new officers

                         Photo from PDP Laban Facebook page PDP Laban elected new set of officers during their 40th Anniversary Celebration and National Assembly on Thursday (September 29,2022). Former President Rodrigo Duterte, the party’s chairman, administered the oath of office. The newly elected officers are: • Vice chairman: Alfonso Cusi • President: Palawan 2nd District Rep. Jose Alvarez • Executive Vice President: Sen. Robin Padilla • VP for NCR: Rep. Edwin Olivarez • VP for Luzon: Sen. Francis Tolentino • VP for Visayas: Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama • VP for Mindanao: Sen. Bato dela Rosa • Secretary General: Atty. Melvin Matibag • Treasurer: Deputy Speaker Rep. Dong Gonzales • Auditor: Bong Go •Membership Committee Chairperson – Astra Pimentel •Legal [...]

September 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US, Philippine defense chiefs discuss strengthening MDT commitments

Top defense officials of the Philippines and the United States on Friday (Manila time) discussed strengthening their commitments to the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the two countries. The discussion took place during a meeting between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III and Philippine Defense officer-in-charge Jose Faustino Jr. at the US Indo-Pacific Command in Honolulu, Hawaii. “We discussed several priority areas for the alliance including strengthening our MDT commitments and enhancing maritime cooperation, and building on our mutual defense posture, and improving interoperability and information sharing,” Austin said in a press conference. Under the MDT, the two countries agreed that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on either the Philippines or the US would be dangerous and that they would act to meet the common dangers in [...]

September 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Typhoon Karding farm damage to jack up rice, vegetable prices: Department of Agriculture

Karding has wiped out P2.02 billion worth of agricultural produce, with the rice sector accounting for nearly 82 per cent of the recorded damage. UNDER WATER Vast tracts of farms are submerged by flood in this photo taken during President Marcos’ aerial inspection of provinces ravaged by Supertyphoon “Karding.” —KJ ROSALES/PPA POOL   MANILA — Consumers should brace for an increase of as much as 20 percent in the retail prices of rice and vegetables after Super Typhoon “Karding” (international name: Noru) wreaked havoc on the country’s farm sector, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Thursday. Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said they were expecting a spike of 15 to 20 percent in prices of food items because the rice-producing region of Central Luzon suffered the brunt of [...]

September 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia ends Covid isolation rule as it moves beyond ’emergency phase’

GETTY IMAGES Australia had some of the world's longest and strictest lockdowns Australia has said it will end mandatory Covid isolation requirements from next month. Currently anyone who tests positive to the virus must isolate for five days, but that will end from 14 October. At times nicknamed "Fortress Australia", the country has had some of the strictest restrictions in the world since the pandemic began. Australia's chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, said the "emergency phase" of its response was probably over. But Prof Kelly said the decision "does not in any way suggest that the pandemic is finished". Mandatory isolation had been one of the few restrictions remaining. Australia continues to record about 5,500 virus cases each day, official figures show. It is one of the world's most [...]

September 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PLA praises joint military exercises in Russia

In this undated photo, Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, addresses a press conference. (PHOTO / MINISTRY OF NATIONAL DEFENCE, CHINA)   BEIJING – The People’s Liberation Army has “fully exercised its ability to carry out overseas military operations” through its participation in the Russian-organized Vostok-2022 (East-2022) military drills, a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Thursday. The PLA has “made full use of an unfamiliar complex environment” and meticulously organized fully functional forces, including command, combat and support, in accordance with various demands, said Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense. “The army has carefully organized cross-border delivery, combat planning and field operation support, comprehensively enhancing its ability to conduct military action overseas,” he added. The PLA has “made [...]

September 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Vladimir Putin recognises independence of two Ukraine regions

Policemen walk at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, Thursday on Sep 29, 2022. (Photo: AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)     MOSCOW— Russian President Vladimir Putin has recognised the independence of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, according to presidential decrees issued late Thursday (Sep 29), on the eve of Russia finalising their annexation. "I order the recognition of the state sovereignty and independence" of the regions of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, located in southern Ukraine, Putin said in the decrees, as Russia prepares to formalise the annexation of the two regions, along with Donetsk and Lugansk on Friday. Moscow has said it will annex four occupied regions of Ukraine at a grand ceremony in the Kremlin on Friday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the annexation of the areas would be formalised [...]

September 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US makes Pacific Islands pledge in bid to counter China

CHIP SOMODEVILLA It is the first time that Pacific leaders have been invited for an in-person summit The US has struck a partnership agreement with Pacific island nations amid concern in Washington over growing Chinese influence. It also announced $810m (£725m) in financial support and said it would recognise Niue and Cook Islands as sovereign states. Fourteen nations signed the deal including the Solomon Islands, after reports said its leader would not sign. The region has strategic importance as the gateway to Asia from the Pacific. Its location and its need for assistance, particularly to help it deal with the impact of climate change, has triggered a battle for influence - with China keen on playing a prominent role. In June Beijing proposed a sweeping trade and security deal [...]

September 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Kiwi dollar falling on ‘capital drain’ back to the US, says Adrian Orr

The New Zealand dollar has dropped to its lowest level compared to the US dollar since 2009. The New Zealand dollar was trading at just over 56 US cents and 87 Australian cents on Tuesday morning, having fallen in value by 19% against both currencies over the past year. Although there has been a gradual downward drift over the year, that accelerated during the past few days. Essentially this means importing from the US is now much more expensive than it was. Travelling overseas is also very pricey. But he appeared to indicate the risk of higher imported inflation would not throw New Zealand’s monetary policy off course, describing its own cycle of monetary policy tightening as “well advanced” and “very mature”. Speaking at an event hosted by the [...]

September 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China’s Communist Party has elected delegates for congress

China's President Xi Jinping gives a speech following a swearing-in ceremony to inaugurate the city's new leader and government in Hong Kong on July 1, 2022, on the 25th anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China. (AFP/Selim CHTAYTI )   China's Communist Party said Sunday that it had elected all the delegates attending a key political meeting starting October 16, where President Xi Jinping is expected to secure an unprecedented third term. The twice-in-a-decade conclave will also see a shuffle of personnel on the party's powerful decision-making body, the 25-member Politburo. "Each electoral unit across the country convened a party congress or party representative meeting and elected 2,296 delegates to the 20th Party Congress," state broadcaster CCTV said. The delegates must adhere to Xi's political ideology in addition [...]

September 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NASA spacecraft to hit asteroid in planetary defence test

In world’s first attempt to change the motion of an asteroid, scientists hope the method can prevent collisions with Earth. NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft will hit the asteroid Dimorphos about 11 million kilometres from Earth on Monday evening [Steve Gribben/Johns Hopkins APL/NASA via AP A NASA spacecraft is scheduled to slam into an asteroid, in an unprecedented test designed to prevent potentially devastating collisions with Earth. NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft will hit the asteroid Dimorphos about 11 million kilometres from Earth on Monday, attempting to slightly alter its trajectory in a test of the world’s first planetary defence system. “This is a challenging test, and this is why we’re taking these first steps now to develop this technology before we need it,” Nancy [...]

September 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Rise in PH working-age population boom

Workers are seen inside a construction site along Roxas and Macapagal Boulevards in Pasay City, on 4 June 2022. (PHOTO: MIKE ALQUINTO) THE Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) highlighted the important role of a robust working-age population in achieving socioeconomic development through a state of demographic dividend, with the 64 percent ratio of working-age Filipinos in 2020. The PopCom referenced the latest Philippine Statistics Authority's Labor Force Survey, which indicates a continued rise in the employment rate at 94.8 percent in July 2022, estimated at 47.39 million employed people, compared to the 41.67 million in the same period in 2021. During the seventh edition of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific-Committee on Social Development earlier this month, PopCom Officer in Charge Executive [...]

September 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Philippines’ number of new COVID-19 cases in a week up 22%

COVID-19 cases in the country have increased anew after a period of decline, with 17,891 infections recorded from September 19 to 25, 2022—22% higher than those logged the previous week. According to the DOH’s weekly case bulletin, the cases recorded in the past week climbed up from the 14,707 new infections logged the week prior, September 12 to 18. The daily case average for the recent week also increased to 2,556 from last week’s 2,101. OCTA Research said Monday that the new COVID-19 infections in the National Capital Region (NCR) recorded on Sunday surpassed the peak of new cases in August, as most indicators were seen increasing. A total of 242 additional verified COVID-19-related deaths were also belatedly reported in the past week. These deaths were reported from April [...]

September 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Putin grants Russian citizenship to US whistleblower Snowden

File photo. Edward Snowden in Moscow in 2015. Photo: AFP President Vladimir Putin granted Russian citizenship to former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, nine years after he exposed the scale of secret surveillance operations by the National Security Agency (NSA). Snowden, 39, fled the United States and was given asylum in Russia after leaking secret files in 2013 that revealed vast domestic and international surveillance operations carried out by the NSA, where he worked. US authorities have for years wanted him returned to the United States to face a criminal trial on espionage charges. There was no immediate reaction from Snowden, whose name appeared without Kremlin comment in a Putin decree conferring citizenship on a list of 72 foreign-born individuals. The news prompted some Russians to jokingly ask whether [...]

September 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Vietnam prepares for arrival of Super Typhoon Noru

Along with other central localities, Quảng Ngãi Province’s authorities are calling fishing vessels to return to shore as the super typhoon Noru is heading towards Việt Nam with expected landfall on Wednesday. Local border guards are helping fishermen secure their boats. Viet Nam News/Asia News Network HANOI — Vietnam’s northern and central provinces have been told to prepare for super typhoon Noru, which is heading in a northwest direction with wind speeds of up to 183km per hour. The typhoon is set to become the fourth to hit the country in 2022. The typhoon hit Luzon Island in the Philippines on Sunday, with wind speeds of 167-183km per hour, according to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting. By 10am on Monday, it will be about 740km off the Hoàng [...]

September 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

APPEC: Vitol expects Russian fuel to come to Asia and Mideast

FILE PHOTO: Vitol CEO Russell Hardy speaks during the 20th Asia Oil & Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia June 24, 2019. REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin   SINGAPORE— Russian fuel is expected to come to Asia and the Middle East, while fuels produced there are expected to flow to the West, Vitol's Chief Executive Officer Russell Hardy said on Monday. More than a million barrels per day of U.S. crude is expected to go to Europe to fill the gap in Russian supplies, he told a forum at the 38th Annual Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference (APPEC) 2022 conference, adding that Russian commodities would need to find a home in places outside the United Kingdom, United States and European Union. "It's going to go further and longer distances and find different [...]

September 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US, South Korea begin naval drills after North’s missile test

South Korea's hawkish President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office in May, has vowed to beef up joint military exercises with the United States (Photo: AFP/handout)   SEOUL— South Korea and the United States began their first combined naval exercise near the peninsula in five years on Monday (Sep 26), a day after Pyongyang conducted a ballistic missile launch. Washington is Seoul's key security ally and stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea to protect it from the nuclear-armed North. South Korea's hawkish President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office in May, has vowed to beef up joint military exercises with the United States, after years of failed diplomacy with North Korea under his predecessor. "This exercise was prepared to demonstrate the strong will of the South Korea-US alliance to respond [...]

September 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PBBM wants generators deployed; dams’ water release controlled

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. (Photo courtesy of PBBM's official Facebook page)   MANILA – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday directed the Department of Energy (DOE) to deploy more generators with fuel to areas in Nueva Ecija and Aurora that have limited power supply in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Karding.   In a situation briefing with top government officials at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) headquarters in Quezon City, DOE Secretary Raphael Lotilla bared that aside from Nueva Ecija and Aurora, other provinces facing power supply problems are Tarlac, Zambales, Pampanga, and Quezon. Lotilla said although main generation plants were spared from the typhoon, several areas remain partially affected by power supply issues. Marcos, for his part, acknowledged that it will take [...]

September 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Iran protests Western stance on mass protests over Mahsa Amini’s death

A pro-government rally in Tehran. Photo: AFP Iran summoned the British and Norwegian ambassadors over what it called interference and hostile media coverage of the nationwide unrest triggered by the death of a woman detained by morality police. Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian also criticised US support for "rioters" - the label Tehran has used for many who have joined the protests which have swept the country, prompting a security crackdown and curbs on internet and phones. Demonstrations which erupted more than a week ago at the funeral of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman named Mahsa Amini, who died in detention after being arrested by police enforcing the Islamic Republic's strict restrictions on women's dress, have turned into the biggest protests in years. Clashes continued between security forces and protesters in [...]

September 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH Govt to airlift food, generators to typhoon-hit areas

The government has mobilized to send food and generators to areas hammered by Super Typhoon Karding, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said on Monday. "Presently what we are organizing is the airlift for food materials, food packs, water into Polillo because they said it's really down. It was the first hit," the President said. Marcos, who attended a situation briefing at the Office of Civil Defense in Camp Aguinaldo, ordered the deployment of generators to the provinces of Aurora and Nueva Ecija. "Since we've already identified that the whole of Nueva Ecija and the whole of Aurora have no power, then we need to send them power," he said. After the briefing, the President conducted an aerial survey of areas hit by "Karding." The fly-by included Bulacan, Nueva Ecija [...]

September 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US warns of catastrophic consequences if Russia uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine

Ukrainian service members ride atop an armoured fighting vehicles, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on Sep 24, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Oleksandr Ratushniak)   KYIV— The United States warned on Sunday (Sep 25) of "catastrophic consequences" if Moscow were to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, after Russia's foreign minister said regions holding widely-criticised referendumswould get full protection if annexed by Moscow. Votes in four eastern Ukrainian regions, aimed at annexing territory Russia has taken by force, were staged for a third day on Sunday. The Russian parliament could move to formalise the annexation within days. By incorporating the areas of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia into Russia, Moscow could portray efforts to retake them as attacks on Russia itself, a warning to Kyiv and its Western allies. [...]

September 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

5 areas in PH under Signal 5 as Karding endangers the Polillo Islands

Five areas were placed under Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) No. 5 on Sunday afternoon as Super Typhoon Karding maintained its strength while endangering the Polillo Islands, PAGASA said in its 2 p.m. severe weather bulletin. The areas under Signal 5 were: Polillo Islands; the extreme northern portion of Quezon (the northern and central portions of General Nakar, the northeastern portion of Infanta); the extreme southern portion of Aurora (Dingalan); the eastern portion of Bulacan (Doña Remedios Trinidad, Norzagaray) and; the extreme southeastern portion of Nueva Ecija (the southeastern portion of General Tinio). These areas could experience very strong winds of more than 185 km/h in at least 12 hours. These winds were an extreme threat to life and property, PAGASA warned. Areas under TCWS No. 4, meanwhile, were: [...]

September 25th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Japan eyes hiking defense spending to ¥40 trillion over five years

Ground Self-Defense Force personnel take part in a joint exercise with U.S. Army soldiers at a maneuvering ground in Yamato, Kumamoto Prefecture, on Aug. 28. | KYODO Japan is considering sharply increasing its defense spending to more than ¥40 trillion ($279 billion) over the next five years, government officials have said. The amount compares with the ¥27.47 trillion in total specified as defense costs for five years through fiscal 2023 in the country’s Medium Term Defense Program, the officials said Saturday. The plan reflects Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s pledge to “fundamentally reinforce” the country’s defense capabilities in the face of China’s military expansion and North Korea’s rapid nuclear and missile development. Senior government officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the five-year plan presenting the total amount of [...]

September 25th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Tasmanian crews start hauling carcasses of stranded whales out to sea

About 200 pilot whales to be given at-sea burials in very deep water as no surviving animals remain on Ocean Beach The number of crews working on the rescue and removal of the stranded pilot whales will be scaled back over the next few days. Photograph: Glenn Nicholls/AFP/Getty Images Crews are expected to start hauling the carcasses of about 200 dead whales out to sea after a mass stranding on Tasmania’s west coast. The pod of about 230 pilot whales became stranded on Ocean Beach, west of Strahan, on Wednesday, with a smaller number stranded in nearby Macquarie Harbour. It was almost two years to the day and in the same location as Australia’s biggest ever whale stranding event, when 470 pilot whales were stranded and 380 died in [...]

September 25th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Switzerland to destroy 10 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 jab

Moderna announced that it has begun clinical trials of a booster dose of vaccine designed specifically to combat the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. (Photo: AFP/Frederic J Brown)   GENEVA: Switzerland will need to destroy 10.3 million doses of Moderna's vaccine against COVID-19, after they expired this week, the health ministry said on Saturday (Sep 24).   The ministry said it had no choice but to eliminate the jabs after the doses expired last Wednesday, according to Keystone-ATS. It told the news agency that 2.5 million of the doses were being stored at a Swiss army logistics base and 7.8 million were in an external storage depot in Belgium. The ministry confirmed an initial report on Swiss news site Beobachter, which estimated that the doses set for destruction were [...]

September 25th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Bongbong Marcos back in PH after successful US trip

Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. addresses the General assembly at the United Nations on September 20, 2022 in New York City. (Getty Images via AFP) NEW YORK CITY, United States — After a successful trip in the United States, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is back in the country. The aircraft carrying the President and the Philippine delegation arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 at 6:09 a.m. Marcos Jr. concluded his six-day working visit in New York on Friday, Sept. 23, calling his trip to the US “successful.” He said he was also “satisfied” and “happy” with the results of the trip. Marcos said he and the Philippine delegation achieved what it sought to do in the trip, which was to meet with several American [...]

September 25th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

CIA museum: Inside the world’s most top secret museum

Photo: AFP / Saul Loeb   It is the perhaps the most unusual - and exclusive - museum in the world, filled with artefacts that have shaped history but its doors are firmly shut to the public. It is the only place a visitor can see the gun found with Osama bin Laden when he was killed, next to Saddam Hussein's leather jacket. Welcome to the CIA's secret in-house museum. Located inside the US intelligence agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the collection has just been renovated to mark the agency's 75th anniversary. A small group of journalists, including the BBC, were given exclusive access, although with a security escort constantly at their side. Among the 600 artefacts on display are kind of cold war spy gadgets you might expect [...]

September 25th, 2022|Categories: Lifestyle & Entertainment, News|0 Comments

Focus on drug lords, not small fry – President Marcos

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (File photo from Malacañang) NEW YORK CITY — Changing the “focus” of the fight against illegal drugs, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he had told the Philippine National Police that he was “not interested” in small-time drug pushers and instructed officials to put more effort into going after big-time narcotics suppliers and distributors. Marcos said on Friday that he gave the order during a meeting with top PNP officials after he took office on June 30, succeeding Rodrigo Duterte, whose brutal war on drugs is under investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor. “It is certainly my view that enforcement, which has been the part of the drug war that has been most vigorously pursued by President [Rodrigo] Duterte, only gets you so far. [...]

September 25th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Bongbong Marcos, Japan PM Kishida reinforce PH – Japan ties in New York meeting

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (PH media delegation pool)    NEW YORK CITY — On the fourth day of his working visit here, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday (Thursday Manila time) met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for the first time on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to reinforce ties and strengthen cooperation, discussing how the two nations saw growth and deepened cooperation in addressing their security and defense priorities. In particular, Marcos and Kishida tackled maritime security, maritime domain awareness, maritime law enforcement capacities, and peace in Mindanao. “During their meeting, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to reinforce ties and [...]

September 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Biden, Philippines’ Marcos discuss tensions in South China Sea

Philippine Marines fold a Philippine national flag during a flag retreat at the BRP Sierra Madre, a marooned transport ship in the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, on Mar 29, 2014. (Photo: Reuters/Erik De Castro) NEW YORK—  US President Joe Biden and his Philippine counterpart, Ferdinand Marcos, underscored their support for freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea on Thursday (Sep 22), in response to China's efforts to exert its influence there. Biden and Marcos held their first face-to-face talks on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. Marcos, son of the late Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, took power in June. "The leaders discussed the situation in the South China Sea and underscored their support for [...]

September 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Expelling Russian ambassador ‘least meaningful’ diplomatic option – Ardern

Jacinda Ardern at the UN in New York on 20 September 2022. File photo. Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch   Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has downplayed the likelihood of the Russian ambassador being expelled. Russian President Vladimir Putin sparked fresh outrage this week, making more veiled threats of nuclear war, and sharing plans to hold referendums on whether occupied regions of Ukraine should become part of Russia. A decision on whether to expel Russian ambassador Georgy Zuev has been under active consideration by the government, with any such move likely to result in New Zealand ambassador Sarah Walsh getting the boot from Moscow. Speaking to media in New York, Ardern said sanctions against Russian oligarchs and support for the Ukrainian war efforts were more important. She said all options, [...]

September 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

EU boss says trade deal with NZ a ‘gold standard’ for future agreements

The EU's July trade deal with New Zealand is comprehensive and a wonderful agreement, Bernd Lange says. Photo: European Parliament   The chair of the European Parliament's International Trade committee is confident the process of ratifying the trade deal with New Zealand will be simple. New Zealand secured an historic free trade agreement with the European Union in July 2022, which would remove tariffs on 91 percent of NZ exports, once signed. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announce the agreement in Brussels. Photo: Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP   But some in New Zealand have warned ratification will not be easy and will require a significant amount of political lobbying. New Zealand's chief negotiator Vangelis Vitalis has pointed to groups in Europe, like [...]

September 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Sri Lanka: Inflation rate jumps to 70.2% in August

GETTY IMAGES Sri Lanka's annual inflation rate surged to more than 70% in August as it struggles with its worst economic crisis in over seven decades. Official data also showed food prices rose by 84.6% compared to a year ago. The South Asian nation of 22m people was plunged into financial and political chaos this year as it faced a shortage of foreign currencies. The country has been unable to afford key imports - including fuel, fertiliser and medicine. Last month, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said it expected inflation to ease, as the country's economy slowed, after peaking at about 70%. Official figures released last week showed that the economy had contracted by 8.4% in the three months to the end of August. Before the pandemic, Sri [...]

September 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Marcos tackles govt priorities with US-ASEAN biz leaders, ex-UK PM Blair

Metro Manila, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. tackled his administration’s priorities in separate meetings with business leaders and a former United Kingdom prime minister championing globalization during his working visit to the United States. In a Facebook post late Wednesday, Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) said Marcos attended a business dialogue with the US-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Business Council and the US Chamber of Commerce. “The President discusses the Philippines’ priorities as conveyed in his national statement during the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level General Debate, and the bilateral economic and investment agenda of the Philippine Government,” said RTVM in its post. On early Thursday, the chief executive confirmed in an Instagram post his meeting with ex-UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, [...]

September 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Strong quake rattles top of South and lower North Islands

More than 44,000 people registered with GeoNet as having felt the 5.8 quake in the 15 mins after it hit. (The darker marks show the location of people who reported stronger shaking). Photo: Supplied/ GeoNet A strong 5.8 earthquake has rattled the top of the South Island, and lower North Island tonight. GeoNet said the quake was centred about 30 km north-east of French Pass, at the north end of Tasman Bay It hit at 9.07pm, and was about 51km deep. In the 15 minutes following the earthquake more than 44,000 people registered on the GeoNet website that they had felt the shaking. The highest group of respondents in that time, 8145 people, said it felt like moderate shaking - which GeoNet described as an earthquake strong enough to [...]

September 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Three quarters of fish in southern NZ contain microplastics – study

Photo: AFP An University of Otago study has found three-quarters of wild fish in New Zealand are filled with tiny plastics. Packaging, clothes, and discarded fishing nets are some of the likely sources of record-high microplastics that fish have swallowed. Researcher Isabella Clere told Morning Report that for an isolated island nation with a small population - the numbers are horrifying. Ingesting microplastics was not only bad for the fish but also for the people who ate them, she said. "Nanoplastics and plastic chemicals may transfer from the gastro-intestinal tract and stomach into the muscle tissue which is what we're eating." Understanding how these microplastics get into the seas around New Zealand was complicated, she said. "New Zealand like many other small island countries has a very complex oceanographic [...]

September 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

‘Abolish the monarchy’ protests held on Australian day of mourning for Queen

Thousands have marched in protest at colonisation, including in Sydney. Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images Crowds have gathered across Australia for 'abolish the monarchy' protests on the country's national day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II. Many of the rallies were coordinated by Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, which said in a statement it stood "against racist colonial imperialism and its ongoing effects on us as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples". "While they mourn the Queen, we mourn everything her regime stole from us: our children, our land, our loved one's lives, our sacred sites, our histories," the organisation said. Organisers listed their demands as the return of land "to the rightful sovereign owners", an end to Indigenous deaths in custody, and truth, accountability and justice. An [...]

September 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Japan storm: Millions told to evacuate as Typhoon Nanmadol makes landfall

REUTERS One of the biggest typhoons ever to strike Japan has made landfall on the southern island of Kyushu. Typhoon Nanmadol has brought winds of at least 180 km/h (112mph) and some areas could see 500mm (20 inches) of rainfall over Sunday and Monday. At least four million people have been told to evacuate their homes. Extensive flooding and landslides are expected, while bullet train services, ferries, and hundreds of flights have been cancelled. The typhoon made landfall near the city of Kagoshima, on the southern tip of Kyushu, on Sunday morning. Kyushu is the southernmost of the four islands that make up the main body of Japan and has a population of more than 13 million people. Authorities had issued a "special alert" for the island, the first [...]

September 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Pakistan floods put pressure on faltering economy

GETTY IMAGES Many households in the affected areas rely on crops and livestock to make a living The calls are growing louder. Pakistan desperately needs help after its worst floods in years, and it needs it fast. "This climate calamity couldn't have come at a worse time, when Pakistan's economy was already struggling with a balance of payments crisis, rising debt, and soaring inflation," Maleeha Lodhi, former Pakistan ambassador to the UN and the UK, told the BBC. If the country doesn't get debt relief, she added, the economy risks "tanking". Catastrophic rain linked to climate change has submerged large parts of the country, killing nearly 1,500 people and affecting roughly 33 million people. Homes, roads, railways, crops, livestock and livelihoods have been washed away in the extreme weather [...]

September 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Biden again says US would defend Taiwan if China attacks

EPA/Taiwan carried out military exercises earlier this month US President Joe Biden has again said the US would defend Taiwan in the event of an attack by China. Asked in a CBS interview if US troops would defend the island, Mr Biden said: "Yes, if in fact, there was an unprecedented attack". The remarks prompted the White House to clarify that US policy had not changed. Washington has long maintained a stance of "strategic ambiguity" - it does not commit to defending Taiwan, but also does not rule out the option. Taiwan is a self-ruled island off the coast of eastern China that Beijing claims as part of its territory. Washington has always walked a diplomatic tightrope over the issue. On the one hand it adheres to the One [...]

September 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ to observe nationwide minute of silence for the Queen

Aotearoa will observe a national minute of silence in honour of Queen Elizabeth II at 2pm on Monday 26 September. The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown placed on top, is carried on a horse-drawn gun carriage of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery. (Source: Associated Press) Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today that the minute's silence will take place at the start of New Zealand's state memorial service. The memorial is being held on Monday 26 September, a one-off public holiday to mark the passing of the Queen. "The minute’s silence is a way for people, wherever they might be in New Zealand, to stand together to mark an extraordinary 70 years of service," Ardern said. "We know in [...]

September 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

‘You just get on with it’: Jacinda Ardern says Queen gave her ‘best advice’ on being a new mum and leader

New Zealand PM said she sought the Queen’s advice as one of the few women to have combined leadership with motherhood Queen Elizabeth II greets New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, in 2018. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Jacinda Ardern says the Queen gave her the best advice she got on combining the duties of leading a country and being a new mother: “Just get on with it.” New Zealand’s prime minister, who is in London to attend the Queen’s funeral, said her first meeting with Queen Elizabeth II was in 2018, when she had recently been elected prime minister and was pregnant with her daughter, Neve. Ardern is one of just a handful of world leaders who have been pregnant and had a child while holding office, and said she [...]

September 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Britain and the world prepare to say last farewell to Queen Elizabeth

Photo: AFP Britain, world leaders and royalty from across the globe will on Monday, UK time, bid a final farewell to Queen Elizabeth, the last towering figure of her era, at a state funeral of inimitable pageantry. At 6.30am (5.30pm NZ time), an official lying-in-state period ends after four days in which hundreds of thousands have queued to file past the casket of Britain's longest-reigning monarch at London's historic Westminster Hall. They, like many across the globe including US President Joe Biden, had wanted to pay tribute to the 96-year-old who had spent seven decades on the British throne. "You were fortunate to have had her for 70 years," Biden said. "We all were." Shortly before 11am (10pm NZ time), the oak coffin, covered in the Royal Standard flag [...]

September 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Marcos hopes to meet Biden in UNGA, woo investors in US

Metro Manila, Philippines — President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. hopes his trip to the United States will be a fruitful one as he plans to meet with world leaders and investors. Marcos addressed the Filipino community in New Jersey on Monday morning (Philippine time) hours after he landed in the United States, his third overseas trip since assuming office in June. He said he hopes to meet US President Joe Biden and other world leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) during his working visit. The chief executive added his team requested for a meeting with Biden during the event to ensure they can have a conversation on the side. Both presidents will be addressing the assembly on Sept. 20, the first day of the high-level United [...]

September 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ukraine counter-offensive won’t change Russia’s plans – Putin

GETTY IMAGES Ukraine's recent counter-offensive will not change Russia's plans, Vladimir Putin has said in his first public comments on the matter. In a remarkable feat, Ukrainian forces say they captured over 8,000 sq km (3,088 sq miles) in six days in the north-eastern Kharkiv region. But Mr Putin said he was not in a hurry, and the offensive in Ukraine's Donbas region remains on track. He also noted that Russia had so far not deployed its full forces. "Our offensive operation in the Donbas is not stopping. They're moving forward - not at a very fast pace - but they are gradually taking more and more territory," he said after a summit in Uzbekistan. The industrial Donbas region in east Ukraine is the focus of Russia's invasion, which [...]

September 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Japanese team wins Ig Nobel for study of fingers turning knobs

A Japanese team led by Gen Matsuzaki, professor of design at Chiba Institute of Technology, wins the engineering prize of the Ig Nobel Prize. (Mutsumi Mitobe)   As the leader of the Japanese team that won the engineering prize of this year's Ig Nobel Prize, Gen Matsuzaki hasn't quite come to grips with the honor, which is a parody of the Nobel prizes. Matsuzaki, a professor of design at Chiba Institute of Technology, won the prize for a study that sought to discover the most efficient way for people to use their fingers in turning a knob. The award was announced on Sept. 15. It marked the 16th consecutive year for a Japanese to win an Ig Nobel Prize. Matsuzaki said that his study was not intended to make people [...]

September 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Japan approves 14 venues for G7 ministerial meetings in 2023

TOKYO Japan on Friday approved the venues for the Group of Seven ministerial meetings next year. The G7 summit is scheduled to be held in Hiroshima, one of the two Japanese cities devastated by atomic bombs in the closing days of World War II. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida represents a constituency in the western Japan city. The following is a list of the 14 venues for the G7 ministerial meetings. Foreign -- Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture Finance -- Niigata, Niigata Prefecture Science, technology -- Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture Gender equality -- Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture Internal affairs, security -- Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture Digital technology -- Gunma Prefecture Trade -- Osaka Prefecture Education -- Toyama and Ishikawa prefectures Health -- Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture Labor, employment -- Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture Agriculture -- Miyazaki, Miyazaki [...]

September 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry ‘uninvited’ from VIP reception at Buckingham Palace

The Sussexes have been snubbed from a royal reception on the eve of the Queen’s funeral – the largest congregation of world leaders in modern history. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have reportedly been “uninvited” to a state reception hosted by the King Charles on Sunday. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are said to have received an invitation earlier this week for the grand event at Buckingham Palace. The gathering, which will see foreign VIPs meet on the eve of Her Majesty’s funeral, is set to be the largest of world leaders in modern history. But palace officials have reportedly insisted it is for working royals only, and aides insist Meghan, 41, and Harry, 37, are unlikely to attend, The Telegraph reports. Over 500 heads of state and [...]

September 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH envoy: Marcos to meet 6 world leaders, sit-down with Biden uncertain

Metro Manila, Philippines— President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is expected to meet at least six world leaders on the sidelines of his trip to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly next week, a Philippine diplomat bared Friday. "He probably has six to eight meetings with heads of state," Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel "Babe" Romualdez told CNN Philippines' The Source on Friday. Romualdez said Marcos is expected to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob during his trip set from Sept. 18 to 24. "I think the President of the EU (European Union) is also expected to have a bilateral meeting with President Marcos. I think there are two others awaiting confirmation," he said, adding there are [...]

September 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Pacific News in Brief for Saturday 17th September 2022

Nauruans to the polls next Saturday; Search in Tonga for missing fishermen called off; Air New Zealand rejects claim its ignoring Samoa; Samoa police reject sabotage claim; Australia steps in to save MSG Cup; Tonga names rugby league squad for World Cup Nauruans to the polls next Saturday In one week from today the people of Nauru go to the polls to elect 19 MPs across eight constituencies. 77 candidates are contesting the seats. 18 of those candidates are lining up in the largest constituency, Ubenide, which will elect four MPs. Meneng, in which the current President, Lionel Aingimea is one of the MPs, selects three members. The rest choose two MPs Photo: 123RF The least number of candidates is the six contesting the Boe and Anetan constituencies. Former [...]

September 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

King Charles III sends greetings to New Zealanders

King Charles III says he is looking forward to visiting New Zealand. Photo: AFP King Charles III has conveyed his deep affection and commitment to New Zealand in a conversation with the New Zealand Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro. The new monarch said he looked forward to coming to New Zealand on an official visit, although does not know when that would be. Dame Cindy Kiro spoke to the King via phone yesterday. The governor general and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern are in the UK for the Queen's funeral and the surrounding events, including a face meeting between the PM with King Charles on Sunday, and a meeting between Ardern and the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss. At a media briefing in London overnight Dame Cindy stressed that [...]

September 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand GDP up 1.7% as border reopening helps economy bounce back

GDP has risen 1.7% in the June quarter, with the reopening of the border a factor in the lift. The figures come against a backdrop of Covid disruption and the war in Ukraine. (Source: 1News) It comes after last quarter's fall of 0.2% and eases fears of a recession. The service industries, which make up about two thirds of the economy, were the main contributor to the increase, up 2.7%. "The reopening of borders, easing of both domestic and international travel restrictions, and fewer domestic restrictions under the Orange traffic light setting supported growth in industries that had been most affected by the Covid-19 response measures," national accounts – industry and production senior manager Ruvani Ratnayake said. "In the June 2022 quarter, households and international visitors spent more on [...]

September 15th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Typhoon Muifa lashes eastern China, forcing 1.6 million from their homes

Waves generated by Typhoon Muifa break along the coast in Lianyungang in China's eastern Jiangsu province on Sep 14, 2022. (Photo: AFP/STR)   SHANGHAI: High winds and heavy rain lashed China's densely populated east coast on Thursday (Sep 15), after Typhoon Muifa forced around 1.6 million people to leave their homes and grounded most flights at Shanghai's main airports. Muifa is the strongest tropical cyclone to hit Shanghai - home to more than 25 million people - since record-keeping began in 1949, state broadcaster CCTV said. However, there were no immediate reports of any deaths or casualties. Typoon Muifa was downgraded to a strong tropical storm by Chinese weather forecasters on Thursday, but it will bring heavy rains and flash flooding across several provinces as it moves north across [...]

September 15th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

End of COVID-19 pandemic is in sight, WHO director-general says, ‘so let’s seize this opportunity’

(CNN) — The world has never been in a better position to end the Covid-19 pandemic, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said in a news briefing in Geneva on Wednesday. “Last week, the number of weekly reported deaths from Covid-19 was the lowest since March 2020,” he said. “We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We’re not there yet, but the end is in sight. “A marathon runner does not stop when the finish line comes into view; she runs harder with all the energy she has left,” Tedros said. “So must we. We can see the finish line, we are in a winning position, but now is the worst time to stop running. Now is the time to run [...]

September 15th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia is funding just one-tenth of its fair share of global climate action, study finds

Former Kiribati president Anote Tong calls on Australia to take more urgent climate action alongside Palau’s Thomas Esang Jr and Senator David Pocock. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP Australia is being urged to increase its investment in climate action, with a new report estimating the country is funding just one-tenth of its fair share globally. The study being released by Oxfam and ActionAid Australia on Thursday calls on Australia to immediately increase its climate finance commitments to $3bn ahead of the UN climate meeting Cop27 to be held in Egypt in November. The conference is also expected to see growing calls, including from Pacific nations, for wealthy high-polluting countries such as Australia to financially support a dedicated loss and damage facility. At the Cop26 summit in Glasgow last year, a UN [...]

September 15th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Woman arrested in South Korea over alleged murder of two children found in suitcases in New Zealand

Police investigators work at a scene in New Zealand where two children’s bodies were discovered in suitcases in August. A woman has been arrested in South Korea over the alleged murders. Photograph: Dean Purcell/AP   A 42-year-old woman has been arrested in South Korea for the alleged murder of two children whose bodies were discovered in suitcases bought at an auction in New Zealand. South Korean authorities arrested the woman today on a Korean arrest warrant for two charges of murder. The remains of the two young children, who were aged about five and 10, were concealed in the suitcases for a number of years before an Auckland family unsuspectingly bought the luggage in a storage facility’s online auction. They transported their purchases home before making the discovery and [...]

September 15th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Rate of sea-level rise around New Zealand doubles in the past 60 years – Stats NZ

Lyttelton (pictured here is Lyttelton Harbour) recorded the highest long-term trend in relative sea-level rise. Photo: flickr/Bernard Spragg. NZ   The rate of sea-level rise around Aotearoa New Zealand has doubled in recent decades compared with the first half of last century, Stats NZ says. Stats New Zealand recently updated its coastal sea-level rise environmental indicator and found that relative annual sea levels had risen faster over the last 60 years at four coastal monitoring sites Stats NZ environmental and agricultural statistics senior manager Michele Lloyd said the rate had nearly doubled in the last 60 years. "Sea levels rose faster over the last 60 years, 1961 to 2020, compared with the previous 60 years, 1901 to 1960, at four main sites with records dating back to the 1890s [...]

September 15th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZX falls sharply as US inflation triggers market turbulence

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver The local sharemarket has taken its lead from Wall Street and opened sharply lower. The benchmark NZX-50 was down 164 points or about a 1.4 percent to 11,598 in early trading. All leading stocks have fallen with Air New Zealand, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Summerset, and Infratil down by more than 2 percent. US share markets fell as much as 5 percent after stronger-than-expected inflation numbers reinforced expectations of more aggressive Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. US core inflation rose at an annual rate of 6.3 percent dashing hopes that the easing seen the previous month would continue. "While the market was hoping to see a second consecutive month of fading inflationary pressure, what we got was signs that inflation was broadening, capturing more [...]

September 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Emotions run high in London as thousands queue to see Queen’s lying-in-state

Thousands of royal supporters lined the streets as Queen Elizabeth II's body was brought from Scotland to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday. Around Hyde Street Corner and Constitution Hill, some waited since midday for a last glimpse of Her Majesty and her family members. Sue Neenan was happy to sit through the rain and wait for the fleeting moment the Queen's hearse would drive past, when she expected she would cry. "I just had this undying urge to be here today," she said. Sue Neenan and Deborah James wait on the fence line at Constitution Hill for hours to get a glimpse of the Queen's hearse. Photo: RNZ / Nick Monro Similarly, Deborah James found it to be an emotional time - with emotions rising like a "crescendo". She chose [...]

September 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Well-wishers in London start two-day wait to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth

King Charles III at the vigil of his late mother, Queen Elizabeth, at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, on Sept 12, 2022. PHOTO: AFP LONDON - The first of the countless thousands expected to file past Queen Elizabeth II's coffin in London began queueing two days in advance on Monday, driven by the wish to pay their respects. One brought a newspaper showing pictures of herself meeting the late monarch, while another brought a pot of souvenir marmalade and a miniature cut-out image of the queen. "I told my daughters I'm definitely going to pay my respects in person. I'm glad to wait in the queue, however long," said Ms Vanessa Nanthakumaran, one of the first three people already waiting in the open air more than 48 hours in [...]

September 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH, Thailand seek to further strengthen defense ties

MANILA – The Philippines and Thailand are looking at the possibility of further boosting their defense relations. DND officer-in-charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. (right) and Thai Ambassador to Manila Tull Traisorat (left) (Photo courtesy of DND)   Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge Undersecretary Jose C. Faustino Jr. and Thai Ambassador to Manila Tull Traisorat made this remark during a Sept. 9 meeting at the DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. "The two officials discussed the status of bilateral defense relations, potential areas of cooperation, ways ahead for logistics and defense industry collaboration, and multilateral cooperation," DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement Monday night. Faustino also commended the robust defense relations between the Philippines and Thailand and for sustaining dialogue despite the ongoing pandemic. "He welcomed [...]

September 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

UN says 50 million people worldwide stuck in ‘modern slavery’

The pandemic, armed conflicts, and climate change have exacerbated conditions, trapping people in forced labour or marriage. The number of people trapped in forced labour or forced marriage has swelled to about 50 million on any given day, the International Labour Organization says [File: Seyllou/AFP] The number of people trapped in forced labour or forced marriage and other crises has swelled by a fifth in recent years to about 50 million on any given day, the United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Monday. The study by the UN agencies for labour and migration along with the Walk Free Foundation found that at the end of last year, more than half of those had been forced to work against their will and the rest forced into marriage, the [...]

September 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Remembering the Queen: New Zealanders react to bonus day off

A condolence book at the Christchurch City Council (Civic Building). Photo: RNZ / Niva Chittock   The news of a new one-off public holiday has gone down well, with some New Zealanders looking forward to a bonus day off. The government has announced a new, one-off public holiday on Monday 26 September, to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Christchurch local, Julian, thought a holiday in honour of the Queen was a great idea. "I really do, yeah. Absolutely. Hopefully I'll take the Friday as well and have a good break, do some remembering, yeah. It will be nice," he said. Sue just wanted the day off closer to the funeral. "We should recognise how long she's been on the throne, I thought it would be a sensible [...]

September 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PM Jacinda Ardern defends scrapping mask, vaccine mandates for now

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says modelling shows there may be an increase in Covid-19 cases before the end of the year. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is defending the move to scrap the Covid-19 traffic light system but says there will continue to be waves of cases. She told Morning Report case numbers were expected to rise, mask use could be brought back and isolation periods could change. "It very much depends on the unknown of what happens with waning immunity. Some modelling suggests we may see an increase in cases before the end of the year, but not to the scale we saw earlier this year, particularly for hospitalisations." While mask mandates on public transport had been scrapped overnight, Ardern said public health officials [...]

September 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Japan could lift cap on foreign tourists to lift economy

GETTY IMAGES/ Japan is considering scrapping cap on foreign visitors to boost weak yen Japanese officials may further relax border controls for foreign travellers as a way to boost its economy, local reports say. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara told local TV a weak yen was "most effective in attracting inbound tourism". The yen slid to its lowest point against the US dollar in 24 years last week, dropping as much as 1.7 percent. He said a cap on daily entries could be lifted in the "not so distant future". Japan has barred most foreign visitors for the last two years amid measures to slow the spread of Covid. Last year, overseas visitors were even banned from the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. However earlier this month the number [...]

September 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australian man killed by kangaroo he kept as pet, police say

GETTY IMAGES/ Kangaroo attacks are rare in Australia An Australian man has died after being attacked by a kangaroo he had been keeping as a pet, police say. A relative found the 77-year-old man with serious injuries on Monday at his home in Redmond, about 400km (250 miles) south of Perth. When paramedics arrived at the rural property, the kangaroo prevented them from treating the man. Police were forced to shoot the marsupial dead. The man died at the scene. A police spokesperson told media they believed the man had been attacked by the kangaroo - a wild animal - earlier in the day. Australia is home to about 50 million kangaroos but attacks are rare. This is the first fatal one reported in Australia since 1936.

September 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Queen Elizabeth II: Details revealed for Queen’s lying-in-state at Westminster

PA MEDIA Mourners wishing to pay their final respects to the Queen have been warned to expect long queues. Details have been revealed about how people can attend the lying-in-state, which will take place at the Palace of Westminster. Large crowds are expected and there are warnings those wanting to take apart in the historic occasion may have to wait for hours and even overnight. People are advised to bring food and drink as well as suitable clothing. The lying-in-state begins at 17:00BST on Wednesday and will last until 06:30 on Monday, 19 September - the day of the Queen's funeral. It will be open 24 hours a day between those times. The last member of the Royal Family to lie in state in the hall was the Queen [...]

September 12th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Chinese President Xi Jinping to leave China for first time since COVID-19 pandemic began to meet Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China Feb 4, 2022. (Photo: Sputnik/Aleksey Druzhinin/Kremlin)   BEIJING: Xi Jinping will leave China this week for the first time in more than two years for a trip to Central Asia where he will meet Vladimir Putin just a month before Xi is poised to cement his place as the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. The trip, his first abroad since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, shows just how confident Xi is about his grip on power in China and just how perilous the global situation has become: Russia's confrontation with the West over Ukraine, the crisis over Taiwan and a stuttering global economy. Xi is due on a state visit to [...]

September 12th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Greener homes could boost economy by $147bn by 2050 – report

Building greener houses will benefit people's health, their communities and slash climate pollution, the Green Building Council says. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson   New Zealand could receive a multi-billion dollar economic boost if new homes and buildings are built greener starting from 2025, a new report claims. The report, written by economic analysts Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL), found building new homes and large offices with significantly less carbon emissions, would add $147 billion to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050. The study was commissioned by the Green Building Council. Its chief executive Andrew Eagles said the GDP benefit would come from more economic activity due to building to a higher quality, and the additional jobs that would go into creating those homes and [...]

September 12th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Workers who aided fraud investigation gutted to be told to leave NZ

Ten construction workers who helped authorities with a fraud investigation have been asked to leave the country, despite most having full time work and seeking work visas. Photo: 123rf.com   A group of migrants who have been helping an investigation into immigration fraud may soon be forced to leave the country. The group were some of the 50 Chinese construction workers who claimed a New Zealand-based recruiter had misled them about their pay and working rights. Last year an arrest warrant was issued for Li Wenshan, also known as Peter Li, who fled New Zealand before charges were laid. Li still faced charges for immigration fraud. Meanwhile two other people associated with Li face a trial in December this year. Ten workers are expected to give evidence in court, [...]

September 12th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: 1149 new community cases, 225 hospitalisations and three in ICU

Yesterday, daily reported Covid-19 cases in the community dropped below 1000 for the first time since mid February. File image Photo: Unsplash / Annie Spratt   There are 1149 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today as the government prepares to announce whether restrictions will ease. Cabinet will reveal its decision at a conference this afternoon. In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 1480. Last Monday, it was 1778. Over the weekend, there were 2299 new community cases, 911 on Sunday and 1388 on Saturday. The ministry also said there were 225 Covid-19 cases in hospital today, including three in ICU. The 225 cases in hospital were in Northland (1), Waitematā (46), Counties Manukau (28), Auckland (36), [...]

September 12th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

32 dead in Vietnam karaoke bar fire

This picture taken and released on Sep 7, 2022 by the Vietnam News Agency shows the burnt-down exteriors of An Phu Karaoke bar in Binh Duong province, north of Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo: AFP/STR/Vietnam News Agency)   HANOI— The death toll from a fire that tore through a karaoke bar in southern Vietnam has risen to 32, state media said on Wednesday (Sep 7).   The blaze engulfed the second floor of the building on Tuesday night, trapping customers and staff as dense smoke filled the staircase and blocked the emergency exit, reports said. Many crowded onto a balcony to escape the flames, which grew quickly as they caught the wooden interior, while others were forced to jump from the building, state media added. Photos showed plumes of [...]

September 8th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New malaria vaccine is world-changing, say scientists

KATIE EWER   A malaria vaccine with "world-changing" potential has been developed by scientists at the University of Oxford. The team expect it to be rolled out next year after trials showed up to 80% protection against the deadly disease. Crucially, say the scientists, their vaccine is cheap and they already have a deal to manufacture more than 100 million doses a year. The charity Malaria No More said recent progress meant children dying from malaria could end "in our lifetimes". It has taken more than a century to develop effective vaccines as the malaria parasite, which is spread by mosquitoes, is spectacularly complex and elusive. It is a constantly moving target, shifting forms inside the body, which make it hard to immunise against. Last year, the World Health [...]

September 8th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China approves inhaled Covid vaccine

GETTY IMAGES China has become the first country to approve an inhaled Covid vaccine. Made by CanSino, it has similar ingredients to its injected vaccine, using a harmless adenovirus as a carrier for the genetic code that teaches the body how to fight Covid. Inhaled as a fine mist, Convidecia Air can provide good protection after just one breath, the company says. Other researchers, including teams in the UK and the US, have been investigating nasal spray vaccines. Scientists say these may give added immunity in the lining of the nose and upper airways, where Covid typically enters the body. The National Medical Products Administration of China granted CanSino approval for its inhaled vaccine to be used as a booster dose. It can top up protection in those who [...]

September 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Tropical cyclone likely to enter PAR Wednesday

MANILA – The tropical cyclone outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) is expected to enter either by Wednesday night or Thursday, the weather bureau said. The tropical depression, last spotted 1,530 km. east of extreme northern Luzon, is also forecast to reach the tropical storm category within 36 hours. Once it enters PAR, it will be given the local name, "Inday". A steady intensification is also possible as the tropical cyclone moves over the Philippine Sea, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. The tropical cyclone, PAGASA said, is unlikely to bring heavy rainfall and severe winds. However, it may cause moderate to rough seas over the seaboards of extreme northern Luzon during the weekend. Meanwhile, scattered rain showers and thunderstorms are forecast to prevail [...]

September 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Bongbong Marcos trip reaps $8.5-B investment, supply pledges

DAY ONE IN SINGAPORE | President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos meet with officials of Temasek Foundation in Singapore on Tuesday afternoon, shortly upon arrival in the city-state following a two-day visit in Indonesia. (Malacañang photo) JAKARTA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday concluded his inaugural state visit here, bringing with him $8.48 billion worth of investment pledges and coal and fertilizer supply commitments from Indonesian businessmen as well as an assurance of enhanced economic and security cooperation from Indonesian President Joko Widodo, particularly in improving the country’s agriculture sector. “I would describe the trip as more productive than we had expected,” a beaming Marcos told journalists who covered his three-day foreign travel. “So far, so good,” he added. “The things that we planned to [...]

September 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Travelling overseas? 7 destinations in Asia that have eased COVID-19 entry rules

(Clockwise from top left) Visitors at the Gyeongbok Palace, in Seoul, South Korea; Malaysia's landmark Petronas Twin Towers illuminated before their lights are turned off to mark the Earth Hour; people gather along the Marina Bay waterfront in Singapore and a woman makes a video call next to cherry blossoms in full bloom in Tokyo, Japan. (Photos: AP/Lee Jin-man, AFP/Mohd Rasfan, AFP/Roslan Rahman, AFP/Behrouz Mehri)   SINGAPORE—  Destinations around the world have been easing COVID-19 entry restrictions as the pandemic wanes, with Taiwan the latest to announce relaxed rules.   The Taiwan government said on Monday (Sep 5) that it will resume visa-free entry for some countries from Sep 12. As travel picks up, here's a look at the updated entry rules for some key Asian destinations. SOUTH KOREA [...]

September 7th, 2022|Categories: Lifestyle & Entertainment, News|0 Comments

Revealed: The highest paying jobs in New Zealand

Architects in the IT sector continued to be offered the most money. Photo credit: Getty Images   New Zealanders aiming to bag a salary in the mid to high six figures should consider a career in information technology (IT), data suggests. "The tech industry is really feeling the brunt of the talent shortage and salaries are skyrocketing as a result," Tolich added. Coming in second on the highest-paid job list was IT management, offering an average salary of $163,708. IT project management took third place, where roles had an average salary of $161,605. The fourth and fifth spots were also taken out by IT roles with business and systems analysts being average salaries of $152,930 while data warehousing roles were netting about $146,618. Matt Tolich. Photo credit: File   [...]

September 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19: 6 deaths reported, 1793 new cases

There are 1793 new Covid-19 community cases in New Zealand today, Deputy Director-General of Health Dr Andrew Old announced at a media conference. Covid-19 virus (file picture)   The numbers were reported over the last 24 hours. There are 260 people in hospital with the virus, 13 fewer than Tuesday. Five people with the virus are in intensive care, two more than Tuesday. Six more people with the virus have died. On Tuesday there were 2035 new Covid cases and 12 deaths reported in New Zealand.

September 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Gas prices likely to hit new highs as Russia shuts pipeline indefinitely

More UK manufacturers are cutting production or making job cuts as result of ‘out of control’ energy bills European leaders have accused Russia of weaponising energy supplies. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Analysts are expecting gas prices to surge to record highs this week after Russia shut down a key pipeline to Europe. At the same time, a growing number of UK manufacturers have said they are already cutting production or making job cuts as a direct result of “out of control” energy bills. Many commentators warned that European prices, which have risen by nearly 400% over the past year owing to lower gas flows from Russia, would go up further when markets open on Monday after Moscow scrapped a Saturday deadline for flows to resume through the Nord Stream 1 [...]

September 4th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Canada rocked by multiple deadly stabbings in Saskatchewan

RCMP SASKATCHEWAN The suspects have been identified as Damien Sanderson (left) and Myles Sanderson   At least 10 people have been killed and another 15 injured in a stabbing rampage in Canada's central Saskatchewan province, police say. The victims were found in 13 locations, including in James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon. Two suspects that police identified as Damien Sanderson, 31, and Myles Sanderson, 30, are on the run and considered armed and dangerous. Residents have been told to shelter in place under a dangerous person alert. "Do not leave a secure location. Use caution allowing others into your residence," Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Saskatchewan said, urging residents not to pick up hitchhikers. "The suspects may be in black Nissan Rogue [vehicle]," the police said, warning anyone who [...]

September 4th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Toast Electric, NZ’s first not-for-profit power company, to launch this month

Photo: Kelly Sikema / Unsplash Aotearoa's first not-for-profit power company will launch in the Wellington region this month, aiming to reduce energy hardship. Toast Electric will use profits from "regular" customers to subsidise the electricity bills of those who struggle to pay. It is run by Wellington sustainable living social enterprise, the Sustainability Trust, which has been operating a pilot with around 80 "friends and family" customers since May. Sustainability Trust fair energy manager Phil Squire said it was addressing a desperate need within the community. "Energy hardship is a real big issue of our times, with lower incomes and high cost of energy, and poor housing quality. "We at least think we've got a shot at making a difference." Initially, those in energy hardship will be referred to [...]

September 4th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to travel to New York for United Nations meeting

Jacinda Ardern has previously spoken at the United Nations. Photo: AFP   Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will travel to New York in a few weeks' time to represent New Zealand at the United Nations General Assembly. Ardern said it will be an important opportunity to set out New Zealand's continued commitment to the multilateral system and international rules-based order. "As the world continues to grapple with Covid-19, climate change, the Ukraine and geopolitical tensions, international cooperation is more important than ever," she said. Ardern addressed the general assembly virtually last year as well in person in 2019 and in 2018. While in New York, Ardern will also co-host the Christchurch Callto Action Leader's Summit with President of France Emmanuel Macron. "I look forward to meeting with heads of state [...]

September 4th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Scientists investigate rise in great white shark sightings at popular New Zealand holiday spot

Researchers and local iwi looking into whether increased reports of great whites around Bay of Plenty could be linked to warming oceans A great white shark in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty region. Scientists are investigating increased sightings of the predator in the area. Photograph: Phil Ross Great white shark sightings are increasing in one of New Zealand’s most popular coastal holiday spots, with a team of experts assembling to find out what is behind the rise. The population in the Bay of Plenty region, on the North Island’s east coast, booms over summer as holidaymakers flock to the area’s beautiful beaches. But visitors have become increasingly fearful over what appears to be more frequent visits from great white sharks during summer. The country’s most recent fatal great white [...]

September 3rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand’s shadow foreign affairs spokesperson faces criticism for response to UN report on Uyghurs

New Zealand’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Gerry Brownlee, has been criticised for his response to the UN’s report on Uyghur Muslims in China. Photograph: Getty Images New Zealand’s shadow foreign affairs spokesperson said a UN report on the human rights abuses of Uyghurs includes recognition that China is “dealing with a terrorist problem essentially”, in remarks criticised by China analysts. “It’s good that it acknowledges that there has been a terrorism problem in the particular part of China that the report is on,” Gerry Brownlee, a lawmaker for the centre-right National party, told Radio New Zealand (RNZ) on Thursday in an interview about the UN findings. In the damning report, the outgoing UN human rights commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, said China had committed “serious human rights violations” against Uyghur Muslims in [...]

September 3rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia lifts permanent immigration by 35,000 to 195,000

Australia has announced it will increase its permanent immigration intake by 35,000 to 195,000 as it grapples with skills and labor shortages Australia's Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil speaks at the Jobs and Skills Summit in Canberra, Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. O'Neil announced it will increase its permanent immigration intake by 35,000 to 195,000 in the current fiscal year as the nation grapples with skills and labor shortages. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP) The Associated Press     CANBERRA, Australia -- The Australian government announced on Friday it will increase its permanent immigration intake by 35,000 to 195,000 in the current fiscal year as the nation grapples with skills and labor shortages. Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil announced the increase for the year ending June 30, 2023, during a two-day [...]

September 3rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Economic cooperation focus of Marcos’ state visits to Indonesia, Singapore – DFA

Metro Manila, Philippines — The government is expected to sign a number of economic deals with Indonesia and Singapore during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s state visits in the coming days, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Friday. DFA Spokesperson and Ambassador Ma. Teresita Daza told reporters that strengthening economic cooperation is among the focus of Marcos' trips, and that the Department of Trade and Industry has prepared related agreements to be signed in both countries. "These will actually be tailored to the priority areas of this administration," she said in a media briefing. "So, these could include infrastructure, renewable energy, food and security, and fertilizer importation, among others." Besides Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo, members of Marcos' economic team are seen to join the Philippine delegation, Daza said. These [...]

September 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NASA aims to launch new Artemis Moon rocket on Saturday

NASA's next-generation Moon rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), with the Orion crew capsule perched on top [Joe Skipper/Reuters] NASA ground teams at a space centre in Florida have begun final preparations to launch the next-generation Moon rocket on its debut test flight, five days after technical problems foiled an initial try. The new Moon rocket is set to launch on Saturday, officials said, after fixing fuel leaks and working around a bad engine sensor. Tests showed technicians appeared to have fixed a leaky fuel line that contributed to NASA’s decision to halt Monday’s initial launch operation, Jeremy Parsons, a deputy programme manager at the Kennedy Space Center, told reporters on Friday. Two other key issues on the rocket itself – a faulty engine temperature sensor and some cracks [...]

September 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Singapore reports first Zika case since March 2020

The virus is primarily transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, similar to dengue. File photo of an Aedes mosquito. (Photo: iStock)   SINGAPORE— Singapore has reported its first Zika case since March 2020. The case was reported during the week of Aug 21 to Aug 27 this year, according to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) latest weekly infectious diseases bulletin. CNA has contacted the Health Ministry for more information. National Environment Agency (NEA) data showed that 666 dengue cases were also reported during the same week. Zika virus infection is primarily transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, similar to dengue. There were 194 active dengue clusters in Singapore as of Aug 29 this year. The NEA website also showed that 75 dengue clusters are currently identified as “red”, indicating that each [...]

September 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Inflation, Housing And A Tight Labour Market Set To Continue Putting The Screws On The New Zealand Economy

Inflation has likely peaked but it could be 2024 before it drops back below 3%. House prices expected to continue to fall through to mid-2023. The OCR is expected to increase to a peak of 4% by year-end before starting to fall in 2024. New Zealanders are set to face a tough year as the continued pressures of inflation, housing and a tight labour market combine, according to the latest ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast. Growth is set to be quite weak, with the economy potentially flirting with recession. Inflation hit a three-decade high in the middle of 2022. ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley says although the outlook is still uncertain, inflation should ease gradually over the next couple of years. “Inflation likely hit its peak midway through this year, [...]

September 1st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Aussie property prices see biggest drop in value in almost 40 years

Australian property values have suffered their biggest monthly drop in almost 40 years as the market's downturn accelerates. CoreLogic's national Home Value Index recorded a fourth straight month of decline in August, with the retreat in prices accelerating and covering more of Australia. The drop in August was 1.6 per cent, the biggest month-on-month decline since 1983. Property prices dropped 1.6 per cent in August, the biggest month-on-month decline since 1983. (Nine) Every capital city apart from Darwin is now in a housing downturn, and regional Australia isn't too dissimilar, with only South Australia recording an increase in regional housing values for the month. Sydney continued to the lead the downswing, with values falling -2.3 per cent in August. But Brisbane also saw an accelerated decline, with values falling [...]

September 1st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

EU foreign ministers agree to suspend visa travel deal with Russia

Move will curb number of Russian nationals entering the bloc but stops short of full tourist visa ban Russian tourists arriving by bus at the Nuijamaa border crossing in Finland. Photograph: Alessandro Rampazzo/AFP/Getty Images The EU has agreed to suspend a visa travel deal with Moscow to curb the number of Russian nationals entering the bloc for holidays and shopping, stopping short of a full tourist visa ban demanded by some central and eastern European countries. Meeting in Prague, the EU’s 27 foreign ministers promised to suspend the 2007 visa facilitation agreement with Russia that makes it relatively easy to obtain travel documents. The EU’s high representative for foreign policy, Josep Borrell, said there had been a “substantial increase of border crossings” from Russia into the EU since mid-July, [...]

August 31st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Taiwan fires live rounds at drones near outlying islands

GETTY IMAGES Kinmen is a group of islands just kilometres away from mainland China Taiwan has fired warning shots for the first time to drive back drones that flew over its outlying islands near China. Taiwan's defence ministry said the three drones were seen flying back towards the Chinese mainland. Taipei has in recent weeks complained of Chinese drones flying close to its islets near the Chinese mainland. Cross-strait tensions remain high after US politician Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan earlier this month. Taiwan has reported an increase in drone incursions after China launched huge military drills in a show of force after Mrs Pelosi's visit. President Tsai Ing-wen has labelled some of the drone missions - which have flown over military outposts -as a type of "grey zone" [...]

August 31st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

DFA: PH open to joint oil, gas exploration talks with China in WPS

  Metro Manila, Philippines— The Philippines is open to talking to China about holding oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). "We have already indicated to China our openness to have new talks on oil and gas exploration," Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said during the Commission on Appointments' foreign affairs committee hearing on Wednesday. Chinese minister Liu Jianchao earlier expressed hope that joint exploration talks would continue under the Marcos administration. Manalo vowed that the country will be firm in asserting its rights over the West Philippine Sea once the negotiations push through. "Our guiding position will be any agreement that we enter into with China, or any other country for that matter... we will not be agreeing to [...]

August 31st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Japan’s PM cuts ties to Unification church after Shinzo Abe death

The church had built close ties with Fumio Kishida’s ruling party and a host of conservative lawmakers   Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, apologised for causing the loss of public trust in politics.Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has announced that his ruling party will cut ties with the Unification church after a widening scandal caused by the assassination of the party’s former leader Shinzo Abe last month. Kishida also apologised for causing the loss of public trust in politics. Cozy ties between members of Kishida’s governing Liberal Democratic party, many of them belonging to Abe’s faction, and the South Korean-born church have surfaced since Abe was shot to death while giving a campaign speech in July. The suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, who was arrested at the [...]

August 31st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Overseas firms buy more sheep, beef farms for forestry conversion

NEW ZEALAND— The sale of four sheep and beef farms to overseas investors, who will turn about 7100 hectares into rotational forests, has been approved. Pine plantation on a hillside (file photo) Photo: RNZ / Kate Newton The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has issued its latest decisions made under the special forest test. Introduced in 2018, the test was designed to support the government's forestry priorities, including more tree planting. Farming groups have raised concerns too much productive farmland is being lost to trees. Furniture store IKEA's parent company Ingka Investments is continuing to buy land to plant trees with its latest purchase, the Huiarua and Matanui Stations in the Gisborne region with a combined area of just over 6000 hectares. Nearly 5000 hectares of the sheep and beef [...]

August 31st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealander in Ukraine certain slain soldier Dominic Abelen’s body in Russian hands

A former New Zealand soldier now fighting on Ukraine's front line is certain the body of New Zealand soldier Dominic Abelen is in Russian hands. The man, who RNZ has agreed not to name, was a close friend of Abelen, who was killed alongside American Joshua Jones in the east of the country. Dominic Abelen. Photo: Supplied / NZDF   The New Zealand government has not been able to say where the body is but the friend said it would be with Jones. The former soldier said he had seen evidence that Jones' body was with the Russian side. "They've put in the media, photos of Josh's passport, Josh's Ukrainian military ID, and pictures of Joshua's body as well. "We haven't received anything or seen anything like that with [...]

August 31st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Defence Minister warns ‘Ukraine is an active war zone’ as NZ troops head to UK

Defence Minister Peeni Henare warns 'Ukraine is an active war zone', as New Zealand troops head to the UK to help train soldiers. NZ Army personnel leaving for the UK this morning. Photo: RNZ/Nick Monro The main group of NZ Army personnel were leaving from the base this morning for the United Kingdom to train Ukrainian infantry recruits. The government announced this month New Zealand was sending another 120 Defence staff to the UK to help train Ukraine soldiersto defend against Russia after the completion of the previous 30-strong deployment. The deployment would last until 30 November, and was to enable two teams to train Ukrainian infantry with core skills for frontline combat including weapon handling, combat first aid, operational law and more. It would contribute to the UK's [...]

August 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US President Joe Biden plans to ask Congress to approve US$1.1 billion arms sale to Taiwan: Report

US President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media at the White House in Washington on Aug 26, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/Leah Millis)   WASHINGTON— The Joe Biden administration plans to ask the United States Congress to approve an estimated US$1.1 billion arms sale to Taiwan, including 60 anti-ship missiles and 100 air-to-air missiles, Politico reported on Monday (Aug 29), citing sources, amid heightened tensions with China. China carried out its largest war games around the democratically governed island after a visit this month by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Beijing has not ruled out using force to bring the island under its control. China on Monday dismissed complaints from Taiwan about repeated harassment by Chinese drones very close to Taiwanese-controlled islands as not anything "to make a fuss [...]

August 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Primary health care nurses rally for better pay

Nurses took to the streets across the country today over what they say is pay disparity between community nurses and their counterparts in hospitals. Their union says nurses who work in primary care, such as GP clinics and for Plunket, are being paid much less than Te Whatu Ora nurses. New Zealand Nurses Organisation president Anne Daniels said although primary health care nurses had the same qualifications as nurses who fell under the new Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand, they were paid less - sometimes up to 25 percent less. Daniels was at the rally in Wellington and said the union was fighting against injustice for primary care nurses who were underpaid and under valued. "They were the frontline during the Covid outbreaks, doing the vaccinations and the [...]

August 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Cost of living payment: National criticises government’s ‘loose and sloppy’ attitude to taxpayer money

The National Party is urging the government to apologise after the auditor-general's ruling on the distribution of payments to help low and middle income New Zealanders with the high cost of living. National Party finance spokesperson Nicola Willis says the government's cost of living payment roll-out demonstrates a 'culture of disregard for taxpayer money'. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver   Auditor-General John Ryan had been urged to investigate by National's deputy leader Nicola Willis. His investigation concluded that the payments made to ineligible people did not constitute unappropriated expenditure, but that the government should have taken greater care when distributing those payments. Some people living offshore received the first instalment, as did former migrants and - in some cases - people who had died. Willis, who is also National's [...]

August 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Major sea-level rise caused by melting of Greenland ice cap is ‘now inevitable’

Meltwater flows from the ice sheet into the Baffin Bay near Pituffik in northern Greenland.Photograph: Kerem Yücel/AFP/Getty Images   Major sea-level rise from the melting of the Greenland ice cap is now inevitable, scientists have found, even if the fossil fuel burning that is driving the climate crisis were to end overnight. The research shows the global heating to date will cause an absolute minimum sea-level rise of 27cm (10.6in) from Greenland alone as 110tn tonnes of ice melt. With continued carbon emissions, the melting of other ice caps and thermal expansion of the ocean, a multi-metre sea-level rise appears likely. Billions of people live in coastal regions, making flooding due to rising sea levels one of the greatest long-term impacts of the climate crisis. If Greenland’s record melt [...]

August 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China prosecutes 28 people over restaurant attack on group of women

A screengrab from video footage shows two women lying on the ground after being assaulted at a restaurant in Tangshan in June. Photograph: Reuters   Chinese prosecutors have launched criminal proceedings against 28 people suspected of assaulting a group of women in a viral incident that sparked outrage over gender-based violence in the country. Footage of a group of men assaulting four women at a barbecue restaurant in Tangshan, east of the capital, Beijing, was shared widely online, renewing debate about violence against women in China. The men carried out the assault after the women rejected their advances, the footage showed. Prosecutors in Hebei province said they would begin legal proceedings against the suspects – including seven directly involved in the assault – after they obtained “reliable and sufficient” [...]

August 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Gov’t agencies to enhance PH salt production

Metro Manila, Philippines— The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it will collaborate with other government agencies to strengthen the country’s salt industry. In a statement released on Sunday, the DA said it will work closely with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to improve local salt production in line with Republic Act 8172 or the Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide (ASIN). This comes as the sector “failed to adapt” to challenges resulting from climate change, food safety standards and quality requirements, tariff reduction, and mandatory iodization imposed by RA 8172, said the DA. “Under the ASIN law, the DENR, along with other appropriate government agencies shall identify areas that are suitable for use as salt farms with the purpose [...]

August 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Nurses plan to leave NZ over residency rules: ‘I can’t wait any more’

Frustrated New Zealand-trained migrant nurses are planning to leave the country because they cannot find an immediate path to residency, just as the government tries to entice foreigners to fill thousands of jobs in hospitals, aged care and clinics. Nurses were controversially excluded from the government's new straight-to-residence Green List and must instead work in the profession for two years first. Photo: 123rf   Recent graduates working in aged care in Tauranga say they are being forced to abandon their dream home because of an immigration policy that means they must wait another two years for residency. Sandeep Kaur has spent years separated from her two young sons in India while studying for a nursing degree in New Zealand. She said she was devastated the profession was excluded from [...]

August 29th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Corporal Dominic Abelen confirmed as New Zealander killed in Ukraine

The Defence Force has confirmed Corporal Dominic Abelen as the New Zealander killed in Ukraine. Corporal Dominic Abelen, who was killed in Ukraine while on unpaid leave from the New Zealand Defence Force. Photo: Supplied / NZDF   In a statement this afternoon, the Defence Force said the 30-year-old had served with the 2nd/1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment based in Burnham, but had been on a period of leave without pay and was not on active duty. His father also released a statement through the Defence Force, saying Corporal Abelen had always thought of others. "Dominic was in the NZ Army for 10 years but never got to fight for his country," he said. "He didn't tell us he was going to Ukraine until he was there. [...]

August 25th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Graeme Hart inducted into NZ Business Hall of Fame

New Zealand's richest man is encouraging the next generation of business leaders to take risks. Graeme Hart with his granddaughter Jemima Hawkesby, who introduced him as he was inducted into the NZ Business Hall of Fame . Photo: Supplied Graeme Hart has been reflecting on a series of his leaps of faith during his 50 year career, that now has him on the Forbes Billionaires 2022 list at spot 218. The 67-year-old investor holds a net worth of $9.7 billion. He is New Zealand's wealthiest person. He was inducted into the NZ Business Hall of Fame on Thursday 18 August 2022. "It's a real privilege to find yourself in a position after a career, you know, Greg Thomas, Ulu's, myself, Les Mills, where you are being recognised into the [...]

August 23rd, 2022|Categories: Lifestyle & Entertainment, News|0 Comments

Darya Dugina: Daughter of Putin ally killed in Moscow bomb – report

Alexander Dugin wants Mr Putin to intervene militarily in eastern Ukraine   The daughter of a close ally to Russia's President Vladimir Putin has reportedly been killed near Moscow. According to state media, Darya Dugina died after her car exploded in flames while she was driving home. It is thought that her father, the Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin who is known as "Putin's brain," may have been the intended target of the attack. Mr Dugin is a prominent ultra-nationalist ideologue who is believed to be close to the Russian president. According to Russian media outlet 112, the pair were due to travel back from an event on Saturday evening in the same car before Mr Dugin made the decision to travel separately from his daughter at the last minute. [...]

August 21st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand to fund $4.8m health partnership programme for Tonga

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced a new programme to bolster Tonga's health service. Health workers in Tonga promoting a Covid-19 vaccination drive in 2021. The New Zealand government is funding a new programme to bolster the Pacific nation's health service. Photo: Supplied/ Tongan Ministry of Health   The New Zealand government is funding a NZ$4.8 million dollar partnership programme over the next four years. Mahuta said under the partnership, Massey University would help Tonga plan for service needs, train staff, and allocate healthcare workers to where they were most-needed. She said New Zealand was proud to be a key partner in Tonga's health sector. It had provided vaccines, testing kits, testing facilities, genomic sequencing and technical support to the country as it tackled the Covid-19 pandemic and the [...]

August 21st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Thousands of extra workers to be allowed into New Zealand

The government will allow some sectors to pay skilled migrant workers less than the new median wage requirements in a bid to address workplace shortages across the country. Photo: RNZ/ Liu Chen  It is also doubling the Working Holiday Scheme cap for 2022/23 and extending holiday makers' visas. Announcing the changes today, Immigration Minister Michael Wood said they were aimed at providing immediate relief to those businesses hardest-hit by the global worker shortage. "We have listened to the concerns of these sectors, and worked with them to take practicable steps to unlock additional labour," he said. "We know these measures will help fill skills gaps, as businesses work towards more productive and resilient ways of operating." Businesses that were hiring skilled migrant workers in a number of key sectors [...]

August 21st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China to send troops to Russia for joint military exercises

Chinese forces will take part in the Vostok drills with Russia starting at the end of the month [Maxim Shemetov/Reuters] Chinese troops will travel to Russia to take part in joint military exercises that will start at the end of the month, Beijing’s defence ministry has said. Last month, Moscow announced plans to hold “Vostok” (East) military drills from August 30 to September 5, saying some foreign forces would also take part without naming them. Beijing and Moscow have close defence links and China has said it wants to push bilateral relations “to a higher level,” even as Moscow faces international sanctions and widespread condemnation over its February 24 invasion of Ukraine. “The aim is to deepen practical and friendly cooperation with the armies of participating countries, enhance the [...]

August 18th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Rogue Labour MP Gaurav Sharma claims he was suspended by ‘kangaroo court’

Suspended Labour MP Gaurav Sharma faces possible expulsion from the Labour Party for continuing to publicly attack the party leadership. Sharma, who has attacked Labour in the past week over claims of bullying, renewed his criticism of the party on Thursday, telling Newshub that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was engaged in a "cover up". The Hamilton West MP was suspended by Labour on Tuesday by the party’s MPs, who held a caucus meeting he did not attend. But Ardern later confirmed, as Sharma alleged, that MPs held an undisclosed meeting the night prior that he was not invited to. “It's a kangaroo court, it's a banana republic. The decision was already made the night before," Sharma told Newshub. The fresh criticisms of the party are the first public comments [...]

August 18th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China opposes US chip act, to take measures to safeguard rights

FILE PHOTO: Employees work at a production line manufacturing chips inside a factory of an electronics company in Chizhou, Anhui province, China March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer BEIJING— China opposes a new chips act passed by the United States and will take forceful measures to safeguard its legitimate rights when necessary, said China's commerce ministry on Thursday. Some provisions in the U.S. act restricted normal economic, trade and investment activities of relevant firms in China, Shu Jueting told a regular news conference.

August 18th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Bongbong Marcos meets Chinese envoy, eyes stronger PH-China ties Read more: https://globalnation.inquirer.net/206109/fwd-bongbong-marcos-meets-chinese-envoy-wants-stronger-ph-china-ties#ixzz7cIkojkAq Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. met with Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian | PHOTO: President Marcos’ official facebook page   MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. met with Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian on Thursday in a bid to strengthen ties between the Philippines and China. In an Instagram post Thursday, Marcos said Xilian paid a courtesy call on him on Wednesday, August 17. “We welcomed the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Huang Xilian, in a courtesy call yesterday,” Marcos said. “We are very grateful for the visit, and we look forward to further strengthening the relationship between China and the Philippines for the benefit of both our peoples,” he added.   The Palace has yet to release details about the meeting between Marcos and Huang. This was [...]

August 18th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Japan launches nationwide competition to boost alcohol consumption

Contest asks young adults for ideas to revitalise popularity of alcoholic drinks after big fall in tax revenues There was a 20% decline in beer consumption between 2019 and 2020, with sales volume down to less than 1.8bn litres. Photograph: Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/Rex/Shutterstock The Japanese government has launched a nationwide competition calling for ideas to encourage people to drink more alcohol after a change in attitudes among the young resulted in a slide in tax revenues. The Sake Viva! campaign, which is being run by the National Tax Agency (NTA), asks 20- to 39-year-olds to come up with proposals to help revitalise the popularity of alcoholic drinks, which have fallen out of favour because of lifestyle changes during the coronavirus pandemic and among young people. The competition, which runs [...]

August 18th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Human remains found in suitcases were two young children, New Zealand police say

Police believe the remains had been concealed at a storage facility for years before the suitcases were purchased by an Auckland family at an auction New Zealand police have opened a homicide investigation after the remains of two children were discovered in suitcases purchased at an Auckland auction. Photograph: Mark Baker/AP Human remains discovered in suitcases bought at a New Zealand auction belong to two young children and are thought to have been concealed for a number of years, police say. Police launched a homicide investigation on 12 August, after an Auckland family unsuspectingly bought the suitcases in an online auction at a storage facility. They transported their purchases home before making the discovery and contacting police. The family is not linked to the deaths, police said. In a [...]

August 18th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ethiopian Health Minister Urges Tedros and WHO to Investigate US Labs for Possible Virus Leaks

Ms. Lia Tadesse Gebremedhin, the Minister of Health of Ethiopia sent a letter early this month to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Secretary-General of the World Health Organization to help African countries to face the challenge of lacking resisting and predictable power and ability against the raging pandemic. In her letter, she also urges WHO to investigation on those biological laboratories that have been exposed to problems, including the bio-lab in Detrick, USA which many medias suspected its leaks of COVID-19 virus causing the pandemic worldwide. She said that African people have the right to know the truth, and expect WHO take actions immediately, and hope Mr Tedros pay more attention to the health issues in Africa. The letter says that the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war makes the world aware of the [...]

August 18th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Reserve Bank raises OCR to highest level in seven years

The Reserve Bank raised the official cash rate by 50 basis points to 3 percent, as expected, to its highest level in seven years. Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Adrian Orr Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas It said borrowing costs needed to rise to bring inflation, currently at a 32 year high of 7.3 percent, back under control. It signalled further rate rises were likely.

August 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Tourism New Zealand launches global campaign to attract ‘high-quality’ travellers

Tourism New Zealand is hoping to pique the interest of curious travellers in its first global campaign in two years. Milford Sound. Photo: 123RF 'If You Seek' teases audiences with snippets of destination and activities from well known locations like Hooker Valley near Aoraki Mt Cook and Hell's Gate in the North Island to those less recognisable. The campaign includes short films, content to educate travel sellers and a domestic marketing campaign. Tourism New Zealand chief executive René de Monchy said there was intense international competition to attract visitors. "Because of our size and location New Zealand will have to work hard to encourage visitation post-Covid with international visitor numbers taking years to build up and Kiwis now having the option of travelling overseas," de Monchy said. "The work [...]

August 17th, 2022|Categories: Lifestyle & Entertainment, News|0 Comments

UK to receive shipment of Australian gas next week

GETTY IMAGES The UK is expected to take delivery of a shipment of gas all the way from Australia next week, as the pressure on European energy supplies grows. The liquid natural gas (LNG) is due to arrive on 22 August, according to commodities analysts Kpler. Australia doesn't usually sell gas this far afield, but European countries have been seeking alternatives to Russian gas following the invasion of Ukraine. The UK stopped importing gas from Russia in April. While the UK bought only a small fraction of its gas from Russia before the conflict began, the country is connected to the European gas network. Continental Europe is much more reliant on Russian gas, and deliveries via the Nordstream pipeline have already been curtailed. Moscow has been accused of using [...]

August 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Biden signs health, tax and climate bill into law

REUTERS The sprawling economic package is a flagship part of President Joe Biden's agenda US President Joe Biden has signed a $700bn (£579bn) bill that aims to fight healthcare costs and climate change while raising taxes mainly on the rich. The act includes measures to make good on decades of congressional promises to curb the price of prescription drugs. The final version is more modest in scope than the $3.5tn package first envisaged by Democrats. A flagship of Mr Biden's agenda, the bill could provide a boost ahead of the mid-term elections. Voters casting their ballots in November will decide whether Mr Biden's Democrats retain control of Congress for two more years. The president hailed the bill as he signed it on Tuesday as the "final piece" of his [...]

August 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ukraine aiming to create chaos within Russian forces, Zelenskiy adviser says

Exclusive: Mykhailo Podolyak says Russian supply lines will be targeted and predicts similar attacks to last week’s explosion at Crimean airbase Adviser Mykhailo Podolyak in the sandbagged hallways of the presidential offices in Kyiv.Photograph: Christopher Cherry/The Guardian Ukraine is engaged in a counteroffensive aimed at creating “chaos within Russian forces” by striking at the invaders’ supply lines deep into occupied territories, according to a key adviser to the president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Mykhailo Podolyak told the Guardian there could be more attacks in the “next two or three months” similar to Tuesday’s mysterious strikes on a railway junction and an airbase in Crimea, as well as last week’s hit on Russian warplanes at the peninsula’s Saky aerodrome. Russia said a fire on Tuesday had set off explosions at a munitions [...]

August 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US, PH troops’ Balance Piston exercise starts in Palawan

MANILA – The Philippine Army’s Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) [SFR(A)] and the US Army Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC) on Monday formally started the month-long Balance Piston 22-3 exercise geared at enhancing interoperability between the two elite units in Palawan. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army)     "SFR(A) and SOCPAC teams will conduct bilateral training drills until September 16, 2022 at the Joint Maritime Law Enforcement Training Center in Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, and the Headquarters of the 18th Special Forces 'Riverine' Company in Punta Baja in Rizal town," PA spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad said in a statement Tuesday. The bilateral exercise will focus on long-range marksmanship, combat marksmanship, close-quarter combat, small unit tactics, unconventional warfare, maritime operations, and a full mission profile or culmination exercise. "We are certain [...]

August 16th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Aucklanders told to prepare for change as transport emissions plan revealed

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the newly released Transport Emissions Reduction Plan is "hugely ambitious" but it is achievable. On Monday afternoon, Auckland Council released its proposed Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway, which sets out what is required to achieve a 64 percent reduction of the city's transport emissions by 2030. If adopted, the document will be used to guide council planners during the development of future transport plans, helping to ensure they meet the objectives outlined in te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland's Climate Plan - which gained unanimous support from councillors and Independent Māori Statutory Board members in 2020. The plan released today lays out the road map to fewer gas guzzling cars including: Converting 30 percent of the city's vehicles to electric - especially commercial ones A ten-fold increase in [...]

August 16th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Inflation, labour shortages to delay recovery in business travel spending: Industry forecast

Business travelers enter the airport hotel at Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado, US, Nov 3, 2017. (File photo: Reuters/Rick Wilking)   A recovery in global business travel spending to pre-pandemic levels is likely to be delayed by 18 months to 2026 because of factors like persistent inflation, high energy prices, labour shortages and lockdowns in China, a new industry forecast shows. The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) said business travel spending rebounded by 5.5 per cent to US$697 billion in 2021 with North America leading the recovery, but remained well short of 2019 levels of US$1.4 trillion. The recovery outlook is more pessimistic than GBTA's last forecast issued a year ago, when it expected a full rebound to 2019 levels by 2024. Environmental sustainability considerations and the regional [...]

August 16th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

World Zelenskyy warns Zaporizhzhia ‘catastrophe’ would threaten whole of Europe

A general view of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, Aug 7, 2022. (File photo: Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)   KYIV: A "catastrophe" at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine would threaten the whole of Europe, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned on Monday (Aug 15). "Under the cover of the plant, the occupiers are shelling nearby cities and communities," Zelenskyy said in his evening address. "Any radiation incident at the Zaporizhzhia NPP can affect the countries of the European Union, Turkey, Georgia and countries from more distant regions. Everything depends solely on the direction and speed of the wind," he said. "If Russia's actions cause a catastrophe, the consequences may also hit those who remain silent so [...]

August 16th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Bongbong Marcos discusses sugar supply with food manufacturers

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. met with members of the Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers Inc. on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, to discuss their concerns about the sugary supply in the country. (Photo from Marcos’s Facebook account)   MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. met with members of the Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers Inc. in Malacañang on Monday to tackle concerns over the sugar supply in the country. “We want the smooth operations of businesses and maintain job security for our countrymen in the fast-moving consumer goods industry. That’s why we want to set a clear system in relation to increasing the supply of sugar,” Marcos said in Filipino in a Facebook post. On Sunday, Marcos said the Philippines might import sugar around October should the supply [...]

August 16th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Expert explains ‘atmospheric river’ set to soak parts of NZ

An 'atmospheric river' is set to bring heavy rain to parts of the country this week NIWA has warned. But what does that mean? Heavy rain file image. (Source: istock.com) Atmospheric rivers are a year-round occurrence in New Zealand - but NIWA say this one is unusual for the time of year, with one expert describing it as "pretty exceptional". "Atmospheric rivers are huge plumes of moisture that move from the tropics to the mid-latitudes," NIWA Meteorologist and Forecaster Tristan Meyers said. "New Zealand sees our peak atmospheric river activity during summer, and our lowest atmospheric river activity during winter. "When these atmospheric rivers encounter other weather features or New Zealand's mountainous terrain, the vast amount of water vapour within these atmospheric rivers can get 'squeezed' out, falling as [...]

August 16th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China continuing to import New Zealand meat – MPI

Australia and New Zealand say they are aware of Chinese media reports of a ban on meat imports from both countries by Beijing but say they have not received any official notice and shipments have been clearing as normal. New Zealand meat products are continuing to be cleared through the Chinese border, an MPI official says. Photo: 123RF   The Australian Financial Review newspaper said one Chinese media outlet had reported agricultural imports, particularly meat, from Australia and New Zealand may be suspended due to concerns about foot and mouth disease. "We are aware of rumours. The Australian Embassy in Beijing has been in contact with China Customs and no formal notification has been issued," a spokesperson at the Australian agricultural department said in an emailed statement. New Zealand [...]

August 16th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

American Muslims Urge Biden to Build More Mosques

According to the source of the nation-wide Muslim Organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) sent a letter on March 20 to the White House for attention of President Biden and Assistant State Secretary for Religious Affairs. The letter was sent by CAIR-Taxas for a petition to build more mosques in the US, for enhancing the social status of Muslim community in the country. Here is the letter: We are writing you to have your attention to our petition of building more mosques in the US, for enhancing the social status of Muslim in the country. And our petition is based on the deep concern and worry about the ever rising hostility and discrimination to the Muslims in the country, specifically since the ex-President fanned the flames of the [...]

August 16th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Scott Morrison defends secret ministry appointments as ‘right decision’ in unconventional times

Former prime minister says appointing himself to multiple portfolios was a necessary safeguard during the pandemic Former prime minister Scott Morrison has broken his silence to defend being secretly sworn in to several ministry roles. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP   Australia— Scott Morrison has defended his actions in secretly having himself sworn into multiple ministry roles while prime minister, saying they were “safeguards” and “the right decision” during the pandemic. It comes as official government documents reveal Morrison also took over parts of the social services portfolio in June 2021, with the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, hinting “there may well be more” ministries that the former Coalition leader secretly assumed responsibility for. Breaking his silence after days of media questioning, Morrison confirmed in a 2GB radio interview that he was [...]

August 16th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Jollibee’s Chickenjoy is ‘best fried chicken in America’ – global food website

Metro Manila, Philippines — The Chickenjoy of Filipino fast-food giant Jollibee has been hailed as the "best fried chicken in America" by a global food website under Vox Media. Food website Eater reported that Jollibee’s Chickenjoy bested 15 brands in four rounds of competition. Some of the brands Jollibee competed with were KFC, Popeyes, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, White Castle, Burger King, Church’s Chicken, Panda Express, Del Taco, Shake Shack, Wingstop, Chick-fil-A, and Fuku O.G. In the final round, Chickenjoy bested the BonChon Chicken. Eater’s special projects editor Lesley Suter explained why Chickenjoy has been hailed as the best fried chicken in the United States. "The subtly seasoned skin is as tectonically crunchy as advertised, if loosely attached in such a way as to be able to slide off an entire [...]

August 16th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Xi, Biden could meet in November in South-east Asia: Report

Chinese officials are reportedly making preparations for China's President Xi Jinping to visit South-east Asia in November and to meet US counterpart Joe Biden. PHOTO: REUTERS   BEIJING - Chinese and US officials have been discussing a possible face-to-face meeting between President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden, with a report suggesting that two regional summits in South-east Asia in November are potential venues for the talks. "I can confirm that the two leaders... discussed a possible face-to-face meeting during their recent call and agreed to have their teams follow up to sort out the specifics," said Mr Kurt Campbell, Mr Biden's top adviser for Indo-Pacific affairs. Mr Campbell, who was referring to the phone call between the presidents in late July, did not confirm reported details [...]

August 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

DPWH: Korea offers to fund new infrastructure projects in PH

Metro Manila, Philippines — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Saturday said the South Korean government has expressed interest in funding new infrastructure and development projects of the Marcos administration. "The Korea Eximbank (KEXIM) Manila Representative Office, implementing agency of the Korean government's Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) Official Development Assistance (ODA) program in the Philippines, is keen on leveling up funding support to infrastructure development priorities of the DPWH," the department said in a statement. "The Korean government intends to further increase the EDCF concessional loan assistance to the Philippines to fund development projects under the President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. administration," it added. The meeting between the two sides--held on Friday at the DPWH central office--was led by DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan and KEXIM-EDCF [...]

August 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Rain showers expected in many parts of PH due to ‘habagat’

MANILA – The southwest monsoon or “habagat” may still affect most parts of the country particularly western sections of southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said on Sunday. In its 4 a.m. bulletin, the weather bureau said Mimaropa and Bicol regions and the provinces of Quezon and Batangas in Luzon; Visayas; and Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions in Mindanao will have cloudy skies with scattered rain showers and thunderstorms. It warned residents of possible flash floods or landslides due to moderate to at times heavy rains. Metro Manila and the rest of the country will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms also due to southwest monsoon and localized thunderstorms. The entire archipelago will [...]

August 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

UK economy shrinks as outlook on recession darkens

GETTY IMAGES   The UK economy shrank between April and June as experts forecast a gloomy outlook with recession on the horizon. The economy contracted by 0.1% in the second quarter of the year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. This was partly due to Covid schemes like Test and Trace ending, retail sales falling and the Queen's Platinum Jubilee bank holiday in June, it said. The Bank of England has forecast the UK will fall into recession towards the end of the year as energy costs soar. Despite shrinking between April and June, the UK economy avoided recession because gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.8% in the first three months of this year. Up until now most economists - and the Bank of England - did [...]

August 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

What Ukraine wants from New Zealand

Ukraine's new ambassador to New Zealand wants our Government to supply both military and diplomatic firepower, amid the ongoing Russian invasion. Vasyl Myroshnychenko was sworn in earlier this week, and sat down for an interview on Q+A with Jack Tame. He is also the ambassador to Australia, and recently took PM Anthony Albanese on a tour of areas that have suffered massacres, perpetrated by Russian forces. Myroshnychenko said it would be an honour to bring PM Jacinda Ardern to Ukraine. “I think that would send a very strong message of solidarity and support,” he said. “New Zealand is our ally for sure in this war.” “That would be very important for Ukraine to get this support from New Zealand, given the reputation of New Zealand globally, and given the [...]

August 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Female protesters beaten by Taliban fighters during rare Kabul rally

Shots fired into air and rifle butts used to attack dozens of women protesting outside Afghan education ministry About 40 women gathered to demand the right to work study, and participate in politics.Photograph: Nava Jamshidi/Getty Images Taliban fighters beat female protesters and fired into the air on Saturday as they violently dispersed a rare rally in the Afghan capital, days before the first anniversary of the hardline Islamists’ return to power. Since seizing control on 15 August last year, the Taliban have rolled back the marginal gains made by women during two decades of US intervention in Afghanistan. About 40 women – chanting “bread, work and freedom” – marched in front of the education ministry building in Kabul, before the fighters dispersed them by firing their guns into the [...]

August 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: Lowest number of daily community cases since February

The number of new daily community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand has dropped below the 3000 mark for the first time since late February. Visualization Of The Covid-19 Virus (Corona) Photo: 123rf.com In today's statement, the Ministry of Health said there were 2618 community cases to report, the lowest number since 21 February, when the first Omicron surge began to hit. A Flourish data visualization While reported numbers do drop over the weekend, the seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 4302, down from 5441 this time last week. The Ministry also reported 11 new deaths of people with the coronavirus, as well as 557 people in hospital, including 15 in ICU. The 11 new deaths reported today include one person in their 50s, one in [...]

August 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

47 Filipinos picked for Japan teaching program

MANILA – Forty-seven Filipinos were selected to be part of the 2022 Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program, the Japanese Embassy in Manila said Tuesday. JAPAN-BOUND. The 2022 Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program participants with Ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa and Mme. Yuko Koshikawa during the send-off reception in Makati last month. The Japanese Embassy on Tuesday (Aug. 9, 2022) said 47 Filipinos were selected to be part of the JET program. (Photo courtesy of Japan Embassy in Manila) JET is a competitive program that allows foreigners, including Filipinos to live and teach in Japan. The Filipino participants this year, consisting of 46 assistant language teachers (ALTs) and one coordinator for international relations (CIR), are set to leave the Philippines on Aug. 14, 2022. ALTs will work in public or [...]

August 9th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Biden administration ends Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy

Homeland security says it ended policy requiring asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for hearings hours after judge lifted an order A US border patrol looks on at people wait to have their identities checked and taken to a processing center in Yuma, Arizona, in June. Photograph: Étienne Laurent/EPA The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that it has ended a Trump-era policy requiring asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for hearings in US immigration court, hours after a judge lifted an order, in effect since December, that the so-called Remain in Mexico rule be reinstated. The timing had been in doubt since the US supreme court ruled on 30 June that the Biden administration could end the policy. Homeland security officials had been largely silent, saying they had to wait [...]

August 9th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Auckland University researchers claim breakthrough in management of tinnitus

Auckland University researchers say they have had a breakthrough in the management of tinnitus that they hope will be rolled out worldwide. Tinnitus causes people to hear ringing or other noise when there is no external sound (file picture). Photo: 123RF   People with the common condition hear ringing or other noise when there is no outside sound. It can range from mild, to severe and disruptive. There was no cure but there were techniques to lessen the impact. University of Auckland audiology associate professor Grant Searchfield said its new method, using a combination of counselling and a phone game, worked for more people and in a much quicker timeframe than others. There were already phone apps but the difference in the study was that participants also had counselling, [...]

August 9th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US would have conversations with New Zealand if time comes for others to join AUKUS – top diplomat

A top United States diplomat says New Zealand could eventually become a member of the AUKUS defence alliance, talking up this country's strategic importance at end of a week-long tour around the Pacific. US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman says New Zealand is a critical partner in the blue Pacific Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday and described relations between the countries as "incredibly valuable". AUKUS was focused on nuclear powered submarines and was taking all of the energy of the three partners because of the size of the project, Sherman told Morning Report. "We've always said that going forward as we look at other emerging technologies and what that may mean for everyone's security [...]

August 9th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Former Prime Minister Sir John Key has denounced US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, saying it was reckless and risked provoking China. Sir John, who has enjoyed a close relationship with both China’s President Xi Jinping and former US President Barack Obama, told Q+A with Jack Tame Pelosi was “poking the bear” for personal ideological reasons. “Why is she doing that at the end of her political career? And the answer is because she wants to make a personal stand,” Sir John said, who noted that Pelosi has always been a hawk on China. “But at what cost, when that's already putting enormous tension and increased tension on the Taiwan Straits?” The White House sought to distance itself from Pelosi’s trip, pointing out the difference between the executive [...]

August 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Tokyo records 30,970 new cases, down 2,500 from a week ago

The annual Tsukiji Honganji Bon Dance Festival in Tokyo on Friday. | AFP-JIJI Tokyo confirmed 30,970 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, logging a decrease of 2,496 cases from a week before. The capital also reported 13 deaths linked to COVID-19, while the number of severely ill patients under its criteria fell by one from Friday to 37. The seven-day average of new cases rose 2.5% from a week earlier to 32,479.6. Elsewhere, Hiroshima Prefecture logged a record 4,456 new infections along with one death. Record figures were also reported in Kochi Prefecture, with 1,192 new infections, and Iwate with 1,132 new cases. Japan saw 233,767 new cases and 215 deaths on Friday amid a seventh wave of infections.

August 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

National lays out plan for those on welfare longer than a year

NEW ZEALAND— National has taken aim at those on welfare for longer than a year, in particular young people, saying it's unacceptable in a time of extreme labour shortages. Christopher Luxon speaking at the National Partyconference in Christchurch today. Photo: RNZ/ Jane Patterson Christopher Luxon has delivered his first speech as leader to an annual party conference, with a promise to help those who want to work into a job, but sanctions for those who don't. He made the distinction between those whose circumstances mean they're on a benefit but are willing and able to work, and those who are getting a "free pass" from the Labour government. "First, to young people trying to find a job: That is a hard place to be and, if there was a [...]

August 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Taiwan tension underscores importance of Philippine-US ties, says Marcos

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (R) meets with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr on Saturday at Malacanang Palace in Manila (Photo: POOL/AFP/Andrew Harnik)   MANILA— The volatile geopolitical situation and fallout from US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan underline the importance of the US-Philippine relationship, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said on Saturday (Aug 6). Marcos, meeting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the presidential palace in Manila, said his visit was timely, but he believed Pelosi's trip "did not raise the intensity" of a situation that was already volatile. Blinken is the highest-ranking US official to travel to the Philippines since the inauguration of Marcos, the son of the late strongman who Washington helped flee into exile in Hawaii after a 1986 "people power" [...]

August 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: 5296 cases in the community, 19 further deaths, 605 people in hospital

The Ministry of Health is reporting 5296 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today and a further 19 deaths with the virus. Photo: 123rf.com The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 5812, down sharply from 7618 this time last week. There are 605 people in hospital with the virus, down from 663 yesterday including 17 in ICU. The ministry said there is now a total of 1624 deaths confirmed as attributable to Covid-19. The 19 deaths of people with Covid-19 included two in their 60s, three in their 70s, nine in their 80s and five aged over 90. Eight were women and 11 were men. Four were from Auckland region, one was from Waikato, two were from Bay of Plenty, one was from Tairawhiti, two [...]

August 5th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Japan, US to cooperate on maintaining peace, stability in Taiwan Strait

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives at Yokota U.S. Air Force Base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan August 4, 2022. REUTERS/Issei Kato   TOKYO— Japan and the United States agreed on Friday (Aug 5) to work together on maintaining peace in the increasingly tense Taiwan Strait, amid unprecedented military drills by China including five missiles that landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone. US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in Japan on the last stage of an Asian trip that included a brief and unannounced stop in Taiwan, the self-ruled island Beijing considers its own, in the highest-level visit by a US official in 25 years. Her visit, during which she lauded Taiwan's democracy and pledged solidarity, infuriated China and touched off military exercises that [...]

August 5th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia-EU free trade agreement back on track with Albanese government, ambassador says

Australia’s climate policy, reset with France and tough stance on Ukraine invasion cited as reasons for ‘renewed sense of urgency’ Anthony Albanese with Emmanuel Macron in Paris. The reset of Australia’s relationship with France has played a role in restarting trade talks with the EU. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP   Australia’s climate change policy and tough stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are among the reasons a free trade agreement with Europe is now on track to be inked next year. The outgoing European Union ambassador, Dr Michael Pulch, said there was a “renewed sense of urgency” to the negotiations with Europe, Australia’s second largest trading partner. As well as climate change and Ukraine, the healed rift with France after the submarine contract was dumped and the need for more [...]

August 5th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

ICYMI: New Zealand Is Now Open to Philippine Passport Holders

PHOTO BY SHUTTERSTOCK Filipinos looking to explore overseas can add New Zealand to their options as the island nation reopened its doors to people from the Philippines. New Zealand's Ambassador to the Philippines Peter Kell said Wellington officially reopened to  Filipinos on August 1 and visa applications can start. For Filipinos planning to fly out, here are the New Zealand travel requirements you need: 1. Valid passport According to the New Zealand Embassy in Manila, Philippine passport validity should be: for at least three months beyond the date you intend to depart New Zealand, or for one month beyond the date you intend to depart New Zealand, if the issuing government has consular representation in New Zealand that can issue and renew travel documents (you should check with your issuing [...]

August 5th, 2022|Categories: Lifestyle & Entertainment, News|0 Comments

Flight delays due to fog at Auckland Airport for second day

Travellers hoping to fly in or out of Auckland Airport are in for a second day of disruption with fog again causing problems. Passengers at an airport. (Source: istock.com)   It doesn't appear to be as bad as Thursday but there is still a thick layer of fog around much of the city. At least five flights have been cancelled so far, with more delays expected. Passengers should check with their airline or on the airport's website for the latest information. On Thursday, 13 domestic-regional flights were cancelled and four were delayed due to the fog at Auckland Airport.

August 5th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US jobless claims climb again, near highest since November

The Labor Department said that initial claims for state unemployment increased by 6,000 to 260,000 in the week ending on July 30 – hovering near an eight-month high. While more Americans may be applying for unemployment insurance, there are still currently 10.7 million job openings, according to the Labor Department [File: Ty Wright/Bloomberg] The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment insurance rose slightly last week, suggesting some easing in a historically tight labour market. Initial claims for state unemployment increased by 6,000 to 260,000 in the week ended on July 30, Labor Department data showed on Thursday. The week ending on July 23 saw a rise in continuing requests for state benefits to 1.42 million, the highest number since early April. The claims data comes ahead of Friday’s [...]

August 5th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia to Review Its Military for the First Time in a Decade

Government says country’s strategic position changing fast Final report to be delivered by March 2023 at the latest Australia has announced its first review of the country’s military in a decade, warning that rising geopolitical tensions around the world were rapidly complicating its strategic outlook. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the review in Canberra on Wednesday, saying it will study how to best position the military “to meet the nation’s security challenges over the next decade and beyond.” He appointed former Defence Minister Stephen Smith and former Defence Force chief Angus Houston to lead the project. Since Australia last conducted a review of its armed forces in 2012, tensions with China have rapidly escalated, leading to military encounters between Australian and Chinese armed forces in the South China Sea [...]

August 3rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US-China tensions: Ardern urges ‘dialogue and diplomacy’

Stuck on a diplomatic tightrope between the US and China, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern isn't revealing her position on the US Speaker's trip to Taiwan. PM Jacinda Ardern's comment comes after the US House Speaker visited Taiwan. (Source: 1News) It comes after Nancy Pelosi touched down in Taiwan on Wednesday, becoming the highest-ranking American official in 25 years to visit the self-ruled island claimed by China. Beijing saw her visit as recognition of the island's sovereignty and announced it would conduct military manoeuvres in retaliation for her presence. Ardern said it wasn't her place to comment on Pelosi's choice. "None of these actions change the position we have," she said. All parties needed to engage in dialogue and diplomacy, Ardern added. "Dialogue and diplomacy are what we need in [...]

August 3rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Pelosi hails Taiwan’s free society as China holds military drills, vents anger

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi attends a meeting with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the presidential office in Taipei, Taiwan August 3, 2022. Taiwan Presidential Office/Handout via REUTERS TAIPEI— China furiously condemned the highest-level U.S. visit to Taiwan in 25 years as House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed the self-ruled island as "one of the freest societies in the world" in a speech to the parliament in Taipei on Wednesday. Beijing demonstrated its anger with Pelosi's presence on an island that it says is part of China with a burst of military activity in the surrounding waters, and by summoning the U.S. ambassador in Beijing, and announcing the suspension of several agricultural imports from Taiwan. Pelosi arrived in Taipei late on Tuesday on an unannounced but [...]

August 3rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand releases its first national plan to protect against climate-driven disasters

Climate minister says the aim is to equip people ‘so that when climate events occur their lives can continue’ New Zealand’s climate minister has released a national plan providing a roadmap to try to protect infrastructure, housing, cities and cultural treasures as the planet heats. Photograph: Jorge Fernández/LightRocket/Getty Images New Zealand has released its first national plan to prepare for the floods, fires and rising seas it expects to be unleashed by the climate crisis in the coming years. Climate minister James Shaw, releasing the plan on Wednesday, said that while New Zealand would do its best to start reducing emissions, it was also preparing for a likely scenario of enormous climate disruption, and said it was “crucial” the country was prepared. “We have already seen what can unfold. [...]

August 3rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

A Letter to the President for Enhancing the Social Status of Muslim

On March 20, 2022, in the name of CAIR-Taxas, USA, a branch of the nationwide Muslim Association, a letter was sent to the White House for attention of President Biden and Assistant State Secretary for Religious Affairs. What we Muslims are concerned about is to build more mosques in the US, for enhancing the social status of Muslim community in the country. Below is what the letter said: We are writing you to have your attention to our petition of building more mosques in the US, for enhancing the social status of Muslim in the country. And our petition is based on the deep concern and worry about the ever rising hostility and discrimination to the Muslims in the country, specifically since the ex-President fanned the flames of the [...]

August 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ayman al-Zawahiri: Al-Qaeda leader killed in US drone strike

AFP/ Zawahiri took over the leadership of al-Qaeda following the killing of Osama Bin Laden in May 2011 The US has killed the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a drone strike in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden has confirmed. He was killed in a counter-terrorism operation carried out by the CIA in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday. Mr Biden said Zawahiri had "carved a trail of murder and violence against American citizens". "Now justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more," he added. Officials said Zawahiri was on the balcony of a safe house when the drone fired two missiles at him. Other family members were present, but they were unharmed and only Zawahiri was killed, they added. Mr Biden said he had given the [...]

August 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH has no intention of rejoining ICC — Marcos

Metro Manila, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Monday the Philippines will not rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC). The decision came after Marcos met last week with the top lawyers and officials of his administration to discuss their strategy on the ICC’s investigation of the Philippines. Local investigations into former President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign are already ongoing, according to Marcos, as he questioned the need to resume the international court’s probe. “Ang sinasabi naman namin, may imbestigasyon naman dito. Patuloy naman and imbestigasyon bakit magkakaroon ng ganoon,” Marcos said during the PinasLakas booster event in Pasig City. [Translation: What we are saying is that there is an investigation here. The investigation is ongoing, why would there be such a thing] Marcos said he also instructed [...]

August 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: 7113 new community cases and 33 further deaths

The Ministry of Health is reporting 7113 new Covid-19 cases in the community today, as well as a further 33 deaths with the virus. File photo. Photo: 123rf.com On the deaths being reported today, four were from the Auckland region, two were from Waikato, two were from Bay of Plenty, one was from Lakes, five were from Hawke's Bay, one was from Taranaki, two were from MidCentral, two were from Nelson Marlborough, five were from Canterbury, three were from South Canterbury and six were from Southern. Two were in their 60s, five were in their 70s, 12 were in their 80s and 14 were aged over 90. Of these people, 15 were women and 18 were men. There were now a total of 1563 deaths confirmed as attributable to [...]

August 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PM Arden announces $15m to support Samoa with climate change priorities

New Zealand will provide $15m to support Samoa with its climate change priorities. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement on Tuesday morning, at a joint press conference with Samoan Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa. New Zealand will work with the Samoan government to determine where the climate funding will go: governance arrangements, and opportunities for future investments. "This funding will help build Samoa's resilience to the impacts of climate change and its transition to a low emissions economy," Ardern said. The government is also pledging $12m to rebuild Apia's Savalalo Market, a historic market which was destroyed by a fire in 2016. "The market was renowned as a hub for local crafts and food, run primarily by women small business owners. It is at the heart of Apia's [...]

August 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Third case of Monkeypox confirmed in New Zealand, person isolating

A third case of Monkeypox has been confirmed in New Zealand this afternoon. File image. Photo: NOBEASTSOFIERCE/SCIENCE PHOTO LI   The Ministry of Health said the infected person had recently arrived from overseas and was currently isolating in the South Island. There is no evidence of community transmission from this case. "A test has returned a positive result and ESR (Institute of Environmental Science and Research) is currently validating that result. This process is expected to be completed tomorrow afternoon." The ministry said to protect the privacy of the person and their contacts no further statements would be made at this stage. The Monkeypox outbreak has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is the highest alert that the WHO can issue. More [...]

August 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

South Korea develops nanotech tattoo as health monitoring device

Water sprays on arm are seen with an electronic tattoo (e-tattoo) for the wettability test at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon, South Korea, Jul 26, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/Minwoo Park)   DAEJEON— South Koreans may soon be able to carry a device inside their own bodies in the form of a bespoke tattoo that automatically alerts them to potential health problems, if a science team's project bears fruit. Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in the city of Daej aeonsouthwest of Seoul have developed an electronic tattoo ink made of liquid metal and carbon nanotubes that functions as a bioelectrode. Hooked up to an electrocardiogram (ECG) device or other biosensor, it can send a readout of a patient's heart [...]

August 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

People entering Malaysia no longer required to fill in traveller’s card from August

A view of the Causeway. (Photo: AFP)     KUALA LUMPUR— All travellers entering Malaysia from Monday (Aug 1) will no longer need to fill in the traveller's card in the MySejahtera mobile application. Announcing this on Saturday, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the move is aimed at simplifying entry procedures. The decision was made after considering Malaysia's current health system, which is at a good and controlled level, he added. The MySejahtera app was introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was designed to facilitate contact tracing efforts and also serves as a vaccine passport. Currently, travellers entering Malaysia need to download, activate and register the MySehjatera application on their mobile phones. They are required to complete the traveller's card before starting their journey, by declaring information such as their passport number, [...]

July 31st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

EU recognizes PH COVID-19 vax certificates

Metro Manila, Philippines—  Filipinos can now confirm their COVID-19 vaccination status when traveling to member states of the European Union (EU) through the country's 'VaxCertPH' after the EU welcomed the Philippines to its digital COVID certificate system. "The Philippines is now connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) system! This means that, as a result of the equivalence decision, the EU recognises the Philippines' COVID-19 vaccination certificates and, at the same time, the Philippines accept[s] to recognise EUDCC certificates according to its own legal order," the EU in the Philippines said in a statement. "Following discussions between the European Union and the Philippines, the European Commission adopted an Implementing Decision giving technical recognition to the Philippines' VaxCertPH as equivalent to the EUDCC," it added. This means those holding the [...]

July 31st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Blinken to meet with Bongbong Marcos during PH visit on August 6

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. (Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout via REUTERS) MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday said Secretary of State Antony Blinken of the United States (US) will visit the Philippines to meet with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as well as Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo on August 6. “They are expected to discuss bilateral efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Philippines alliance, including through increased cooperation on energy, trade, and investment, advancing shared democratic values, and pandemic recovery,” said DFA in an advisory. According to the US Department of State, Blinken’s visit to the Philippines is part of his 10-day trip to several countries from August 2 to 11. He will be arriving in Manila from Cambodia, which is his [...]

July 31st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Borders fully reopen tonight – allowing entry to New Zealand

New Zealand’s borders will fully reopen to visitors from non-visa waiver countries on Sunday night. Passenger plane (file picture). (Source: istock.com)   From one minute to midnight on July 31, people from around the world will once again be able to enter New Zealand, marking the government's final step in re-opening the country after more than two years of closed borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the country has been open to a large number of visa-waiver countries since April 2021, it remained closed for many. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash hopes that the full reopening of borders will give the tourism industry a boost with people from around the world making New Zealand their choice of destination when travelling. “This is great news to the tourism industry and [...]

July 31st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: 4238 new community cases, number of attributed deaths rises to 1502

The number of deaths in New Zealand confirmed as attributable to Covid-19 has risen above the 1500 mark, as 4238 new community cases are reported today. View of a Coronavirus Covid-19. Photo: 123rf.com In today's statement, the Ministry of Health said as at yesterday, there were 1502 deaths confirmed as attributable to the coronavirus, either as the underlying cause of death or as a contributing factor. It said the average increase in deaths each day attributable to Covid-19 over the past week is now 19. Another 23 deaths of people with Covid-19 were also reported today. They included one person in their 30s, one in their 40s, one in their 60s, two in their 70s, 10 in their 80s and eight aged over 90. Eleven were women and 12 [...]

July 31st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Russia bars entry to 32 New Zealanders in sanctions response

Russia's foreign ministry has slapped New Zealand journalists and officials with sanctions for supporting what it called the country's "Russophobic agenda." Russia's Kremlin, Moscow Photo: 123rf/ Cezary Wojtkowski The political move was announced Saturday. The list includes New Zealand's Military Secretary to the Minister of Defence Shane Arndell and the mayors of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, among other officials. Journalists named include Whena Owen, Matthew Hooton and James Hollings. The sanctions bar the targeted individuals from entering Russia indefinitely, the Russian ministry said. "Taking into account that Wellington does not intend to abandon its anti-Russian course and continues to produce new restrictions (against Moscow), work on updating the 'black list' will continue," the ministry added. In April, Russia announced an earlier blacklist of politicians from New Zealand, including Prime Minister Jacinda [...]

July 31st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH’s active Covid-19 cases now close to 30K

DOH COVID-19 TRACKER DATA/ JULY 28, 2022 The country’s number of active Covid-19 cases is now nearly 30,000 after more than 3,000 new cases were recorded on Thursday, July 28. Based on the Department of Health’s (DOH) Covid-19 tracker, another 3,858 new infections were logged, bringing the active cases nationwide to 29,897. Metro Manila remains to have the most number of new coronavirus cases in the recent two weeks with 13,135. It was followed by Calabarzon with 8,504; Central Luzon with 3,923; Western Visayas with 2,465; and Central Visayas with 1,526. Earlier, the DOH reported that Metro Manila is under the moderate risk classification for Covid-19. However, its healthcare utilization rate remains at low risk. The Philippines also is still under the low-risk case classification despite the continued increase [...]

July 29th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Xi Jinping tells Joe Biden not to ‘play with fire’ over Taiwan in two-hour call

US president reiterates opposition to undermining peace in Taiwan amid tension over potential Pelosi trip China described the exchange between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping as ‘candid’. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty The Chinese president has warned Joe Biden against “playing with fire” over Taiwan in a highly anticipated phone call that lasted more than two hours on Thursday, as tensions remain high over the House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s potential trip to the island next month. “Those who play with fire will be perished by it. It is hoped that the US will be clear-eyed about this,” Xi Jinping, according to a Chinese statement. He also urged the US to implement the three joint communiques that serve as the foundation for relations between the two countries “both in word and in [...]

July 29th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ economy ‘stretched, straining’ amid fears of recession in US

A recession in the United States wouldn't directly impact New Zealand but a flow on effect could be felt here through China, one economist says. Fears of a recession in the US have risen after its economy shrank from April to June for a second straight quarter. Its economy has contracted at a 0.9% annual pace. It follows a 1.6% annual drop January to March. In the wake of the news, ANZ chief economist Sharon Zollner told Breakfast the flow-on effect wouldn't directly impact New Zealand, but would be felt through the impact on China. She said the US economy isn't a huge export partner for New Zealand, but explained the country's most important customer is China and theirs is the US. This means New Zealand could essentially see [...]

July 29th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ skies ready for celestial show of up to ’20 meteors an hour’

Three meteor showers combining to provide a celestial firework display are expected throughout the night. File photo. Photo: 123rf Otago Museum director and astronomer Ian Griffin said tonight's show would be beautiful. "These showers have been observed by astronomers over the last decade or more in some cases. They regularly appear this time of year and this year it's almost perfect conditions because the moon is new today and that means the sky is really dark." He told Morning Report anyone with a spot well away from lights could enjoy the show. Any time of the night was good, he said, but "the meteors are going to be easier to see and brighter after midnight". "As long as the sky is clear and you got no clouds, you should [...]

July 29th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update : 41 further deaths, 7605 new cases reported

There have been 7605 new cases of Covid-19 in the community and a further 41 deaths with the virus, the Ministry of Health reports. Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Test. File photo. Photo: 123rf.com   The seven day rolling average of community cases is at 7618, down significantly from 8915 this time last week. In today's statement, the Ministry said there were 799 people in hospital with the virus, including 25 in ICU. It said there have now been 1479 deaths confirmed as attributable to Covid-19. The average increase in deaths each day attributable to the coronavirus over the past seven days is now 18. Of 41 people whose deaths were reported today, 14 were from Auckland region, three were from Waikato, two were from Bay of Plenty, three were from [...]

July 29th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Calls for stronger hate crime laws after Auckland dad viciously beaten in racially motivated attack

There are renewed calls for stronger hate crime laws after an Auckland man was viciously beaten in a racially motivated attack on the weekend. The man, who is of Chinese descent, was trying to do his grocery shopping at Pak'nSave Albany on Sunday morning when a man began to harass him. The father was visiting the store to do some back-to-school shopping when he noticed a man staring at him. As he walked past he thought he had bumped the man so turned to apologise, but the other man began verbally harassing him. The man's daughter, who wished to remain anonymous, told NZ Herald the man started swearing at her dad and telling him to "go back to where you're from". She said her dad was born in China [...]

July 25th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: 16 further deaths and 6910 new community cases

There have been another 16 deaths of people with Covid-19 in New Zealand, as well as a further 6910 new community cases. Photo: 123rf.com   In its daily update, the Ministry of Health also said the seven-day rolling average of community case numbers is 8498. There were 836 people in hospital with the virus, including 27 in intensive care or a HDU unit. That compares with 720 people, including 21 In ICU yesterday. On the deaths being reported today, one was from the Auckland region, one was from Waikato, two were from Lakes, one was from Tairawhiti, one was from Hawke's Bay, four were from Taranaki, one was from Whanganui, two were from Wellington region and three were from Southern. Six were in their 70s, five were in their [...]

July 25th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Bongbong Marcos’ first SONA: It’s all about economy

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., during the inauguration ceremony at the National Museum in Manila, Philippines, June 30, 2022. (File photo by ELOISA LOPEZ / Reuters)   MANILA, Philippines — It’s all about the economy and the “entire cycle” of challenges facing the Philippines. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will devote his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday to key issues he believes Filipinos care deeply about, especially the economic recovery program, the government’s pandemic response, the return of face-to-face schooling, and the food security crisis, according to Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez. “It’s all about our economy, the economic plans. With the face-to-face opening of this coming school year, it’s all about COVID response. And when we speak of COVID response, it’s not only about health. It [...]

July 25th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ukraine war: Russia denies causing global food crisis

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY/EPA Mr Lavrov spoke with the head of the Arab League   Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, on a diplomatic offensive in Egypt, has dismissed claims that Moscow caused the global food crisis. In a speech to Arab League ambassadors in Cairo, he said Western nations were distorting the truth about the impact of sanctions on global food security. He accused Western nations of trying to impose their dominance over others. Much of the Arab world and Africa is badly affected by grain shortages caused by Russia's war in Ukraine. A landmark deal signed on Friday to resume Ukraine's grain exports hangs in the balance after Russia attacked targets in the port of Odesa on Saturday. Mr Lavrov will go on to visit three African nations to [...]

July 25th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Social media companies promise to reduce harmful content in New Zealand

Meta, TikTok, Google, Amazon and Twitter sign ‘world first’ voluntary code, which critics say is a move designed to fend off regulation Facebook operator Meta, TikTok and Twitter have joined Amazon and Google signing a New Zealand code of practice for online safety. Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters Global social media companies including TikTok, Twitter and Meta have signed a “world first” code of conduct that commits them to reducing the spread of harmful content in New Zealand, but some user-advocacy groups fear the code lacks any real bite. Facebook and Instagram operator Meta, Google, TikTok, Amazon and Twitter have voluntarily signed the code of practice for online safety and harms, requiring them to reduce harmful content on their platforms, introduce a robust public complaints system and provide yearly reports on [...]

July 25th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Company to become first Australians to deploy technology to the moon

Advanced Navigation will become the first Australian company to deploy technology to the moon, in a new bid set to "take all the risk out" of future landings. Xavier Orr from Advanced Navigation said the company had miniaturised new technologies, which have the capacity to improve moon landing capabilities and better manage the risks involved. Advanced Navigation will become the first Australian company to deploy technology to to the moon, in a new bid set to "take all the risk out" of future landings. (Supplied) The technology uses low-powered laser sensors to determine objects relative to spacecraft—like the moon— and will be integrated in future rocket launches. "We're really fortunate to be the first Australian company landing on the moon," Orr said. "Typically in the movies when you you [...]

July 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealanders should be concerned about Monkeypox – epidemiologist

New Zealanders should be worried about the global spread of Monkeypox, an epidemiologist says. Photo: NOBEASTSOFIERCE/SCIENCE PHOTO LI The head of the World Health Organisation has declared the outbreak an international public health emergency. University of Canterbury epidemiologist Arindam Basu said cases could emerge after New Zealand's border reopens next month. "This is not just a disease of homosexuals or men having sex with men, it used to be, but it is not anymore. Children as young as 7 months are being infected, and women definitely, it's spreading." Genomic surveillance of Monkeypox is going to be more complex than Covid-19 because of the nature of the virus, he said. New Zealand has confirmed two cases.

July 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

3 killed, 2 wounded in Philippine university shooting

Police secure the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon city, Philippines after three people were killed in a shooting on Jul 24, 2022. (Photo: AP/Aaron Favila)   MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Three people died in a shooting at a university graduation ceremony in the Philippines' capital region on Sunday (Jul 24), including a former mayor from the volatile south of the country, the police said.   Local Quezon City police chief Remus Medina said the shooting appeared to have been a targeted assassination of the former mayor of the southern Lamitan city, Rose Furigay. The suspect, wounded in a shootout with a campus security officer and arrested after a car chase, is now in custody and being interrogated, Medina told reporters. "He looks like he was a determined assassin," Medina said, adding he [...]

July 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Monkeypox: WHO declares highest alert over outbreak

GETTY IMAGES The monkeypox outbreak has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization. The classification is the highest alert that the WHO can issue and follows a worldwide upsurge in cases. It came at the end of the second meeting of the WHO's emergency committee on the virus. More than 16,000 cases have now been reported from 75 countries, said WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. There had been five deaths so far as a result of the outbreak, he added. There are only two other such health emergencies at present - the coronavirus pandemic and the continuing effort to eradicate polio. Dr Tedros said the emergency committee had been unable to reach a consensus on whether the monkeypox outbreak should be classified as [...]

July 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PBBM vision: A digital Philippines

#PBBMSONA2022   MANILA, PH – The pandemic has highlighted the vital role of digital ecosystems in the efficient delivery of services as demand for connectivity rises. Many brick-and-mortar stores and offices that failed to adapt to the digital world struggled, or even shuttered during the pandemic, while those that turned online found themselves viable, and others, thrived. Under the leadership of Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John Uy, the DICT has promised to provide Filipinos with the digital tools to help the economy recover and make the Philippines “more competitive”. “We see that there are so many things that are in store for us in this current administration. Our digitalization efforts will be pushing through with more vitality, with more energy, and we have a president [...]

July 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Departing Bloomfield reveals biggest pandemic regret

New Zealand— Departing Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has revealed what he would have done differently in handling outbreaks of Covid-19. Dr Bloomfield told Q + A with Jack Tame that the communication and engagement with more vulnerable communities could have been improved, particularly those in South Auckland, where many outbreaks were centred. “Particularly our Māori, our Pacific, our disabled communities, to get them really involved and understand better what their needs were so that when we got those outbreaks, particularly in South Auckland, which is where they tended to focus, and when we started our vaccination campaign, we had a much better understanding of what their needs were and how to respond to those,” he said. Particularly in 2021, criticism was launched at the health ministry for [...]

July 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Saudi crown prince and Kazakhstan president hold talks, review bilateral ties

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with visiting Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at Al-Salam palace in Jeddah on Saturday. (SPA) JEDDAH— Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with visiting Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Jeddah on Saturday and the two leaders reviewed the bilateral relations between their countries, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The crown prince and Tokayev also discussed enhancing cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan in various fields, and discussed a number of issues of common interest. The Kazakh leader arrived in Jeddah early Saturday night, and was received at the King Abdulaziz International Airport by Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, Environment and Water Minister Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadhli, and a number of officials. An official reception ceremony was then held for Tokarev [...]

July 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australian activist detained in London over alleged bomb threat email sent to Chinese embassy

An Australian activist has been arrested and detained in London just 20 minutes into a protest outside the Chinese embassy after authorities alleged he had emailed a bomb threat. File photo: Drew Pavlou in 2020. Pavlou was detained in London after allegedly sending a bomb threat email to the Chinese embassy. Photo: AFP   Drew Pavlou, a 23-year-old Australian activist who has been critical of China's human rights record, held a small protest outside the embassy, displaying a number of flags. They included those of Tibet, Taiwan, and the Kökbayraq, a flag used to represent the Uyghur inhabitants of Xinjiang. He had intended to glue the flags to the gates outside of the embassy, a similar tactic that groups like Extinction Rebellion have adopted in recent years. Twenty minutes [...]

July 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: 5535 new community cases reported, 14 further deaths

There have been another 14 deaths of people with Covid-19 in New Zealand, as well as a further 5535 new community cases. Photo: 123rf.com   The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers has continued to fall at 8563, down from 8703 yesterday and 9847 this time last week. In today's statement, the Ministry of Health said there were 720 people in hospital, down from 759 yesterday, although the number of people in ICU increased by two to 21. The average age of people in hospital was 66. All of the 14 deaths reported today occurred in the past four days and all of them were aged over 80. Eleven were women and three were men. Three were from Auckland region, three were from Waikato, four were from Hawke's [...]

July 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH Govt commits to streghten justice system

Metro Manila, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of Justice are working on a program with the end goal of improving the country’s justice system and decongesting jail facilities. “When I was analyzing everything and I was discussing with my fellow lawyers the problem of our justice system, what became very apparent was that enforcement and persecution did not seem to work well together,” DOJ Sec. Jesus Crispin Remulla said in a joint briefing Thursday. He also noted that the country’s conviction rate is less than 25% for criminal cases filed in court, including plea bargaining, “which means we are not really getting a passing rate.” “This not a standard that we can live within the next few years. We have to change [...]

July 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19: 26 deaths reported, 8728 new cases

There are 8728 new Covid-19 community cases in New Zealand, the Ministry of Health has announced on Friday. Covid-19 vaccination centre in The Cloud, Auckland. (Source: 1News) The numbers were reported over the last 24 hours. There are 759 people in hospital with the virus, eight fewer than Thursday. Thirteen people are in an intensive care or high dependency unit, seven fewer than 24 hours ago. The average age of those in hospital with Covid-19 remains at 66. The seven-day rolling average of Covid hospitalisations is 764, up on 700 a week ago, but down slightly on 766 24 hours ago. Twenty-six more people with the virus have died. The deaths had occurred since April 26. On Thursday, 9953 community cases were announced.

July 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US reports first polio case in nearly a decade

The person who tested positive in New York state is no longer contagious, but investigators are checking if others were exposed. The last case of polio in the US was recorded in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [Sarah Poser, Meredith Boyter Newlove/CDC via AP Photo] The United States has reported its first case of polio in nearly a decade after health officials in the state of New York said a patient had tested positive for the disease. The state’s health department said on Thursday that the case was detected in a resident of Rockland County, about 48km (30 miles) north of Manhattan. Testing suggested the case of the highly contagious virus may have originated outside of the US, the department said in a statement. [...]

July 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as Sri Lankan president, eyes unity government

This handout photograph taken on Jul 21, 2022 and released by the Sri Lanka's Parliament shows Ranil Wickremesinghe (front right) swearing-in as Sri Lanka's president at the parliament in Colombo. (Photo: AFP/Sri Lanka's parliament)   COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's six-time prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in Thursday (Jul 21) as president of the crisis-hit nation, with plans to form a unity government to manage the turmoil. The 73-year-old veteran politician, who was overwhelmingly elected as head of state in a parliamentary vote Wednesday, took his oath of office with the country's police chief and top military brass standing behind him. Official sources said the new leader was expected to shortly form a Cabinet featuring several opposition lawmakers to steer the country out of its worst economic crisis since gaining independence [...]

July 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Eurozone raises interest rates for first time in 11 years

REUTERS/ECB president Christine Lagarde said a further rate rise was likely in September The European Central Bank (ECB) has raised interest rates for the first time in more than 11 years as it tries to control soaring eurozone inflation. The ECB increased its key interest rate by 0.5 percentage points to 0.0% and plans further hikes this year. The rate has been negative since 2014 in a bid to boost the region's economy after years of weak growth. But consumer prices rose at a record 8.6% in the 12 months to June as food, fuel and energy costs soared. That is well above the bank's 2% target. It comes after the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve also put up their rates to try and rein in [...]

July 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ukraine, Russia to sign elusive grain deal in Turkey

Farmer Sergiy Lioubarsky wonders how on earth he'll manage to harvest his crops. (Photo: AFP/Genya Savilov)   ANKARA: Ukraine and Russia were due on Friday (Jul 22) to sign an elusive deal designed to help relieve a global food crisis caused by blocked Black Sea grain exports. The first major agreement between the warring sides since Russia's February invasion of its neighbour comes with global food prices soaring and people in some of the world's poorest countries facing starvation. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was due to arrive in Turkey on Thursday for the signing ceremony at Istanbul's lavish Dolmabahce Palace on the Bosphorus Strait. "The grain export agreement, critically important for global food security, will be signed in Istanbul (Friday) under the auspices of President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan [...]

July 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US President Joe Biden tests positive for Covid-19, has mild symptoms

Joe Biden, the oldest person ever to serve as president of the United States, has tested positive for Covid-19, is experiencing mild symptoms and will continue working but in isolation, the White House said on Thursday. The White House said Biden had mild symptoms and was taking the antiviral treatment Paxlovid. Photo: AFP   Biden, 79, has a runny nose, fatigue and an occasional dry cough, symptoms which he began to experience late on Wednesday, White House physician Kevin O'Connor said in a note released on Thursday. Biden has begun taking the antiviral treatment Paxlovid, O'Connor said. "He is fully vaccinated and twice boosted and experiencing very mild symptoms," press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. The White House will provide a daily update on Biden's health, and [...]

July 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 cases at border skyrocket after pre-departure testing scrapped

Covid-19 border cases have increased nearly fivefold since the government scrapped pre-departure testing for international arrivals in June. Average daily border cases have increased from 65 to 307. Photo: RNZ / Finn Blackwell   The number of average daily border cases was 65 in the week before pre-departure testing was dumped; last week it increased to 307. University of Otago epidemiologist Michael Baker said it was a bad sign and meant new-variants of Covid-19 would enter the country quicker than ever before. "We've got less of a lag from when new variants emerge overseas and start to become dominant before they arrive in New Zealand," he said. "We are effectively seeding the country much more rapidly with new variants from overseas." International travellers need to complete rapid-antigen tests (RATs) [...]

July 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

248 rail passengers stranded by felled trees as wind lashes South Island

A TranzAlpine train with 248 passengers has been at a standstill for more than two hours, with felled trees reportedly blocking the South Island tracks. Photo: TranzAlpine / The Great Journeys of New Zealand One passenger on the route, which travels from Greymouth to Christchurch, told RNZ a tree had fallen between Springfield and Darfield stations. They said they'd been stranded for about two hours, when the train stopped at about 6.40pm, but people in his carriage were in good spirits. "The stationary train is being rocked by the wind," he said. The passenger said the train was originally due in Christchurch at 7pm. A KiwiRail spokesperson said crews were clearing the track and the train was expected to get back underway shortly after 9pm. Wild weather is lashing [...]

July 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

South Korea, Japan foreign ministers meet to tackle historical disputes

South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin and Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi bump elbows before their talks, in Tokyo, Japan July 18,2022 REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool   SEOUL— South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin began a meeting in Tokyo on Monday (Jul 18) with his Japanese counterpart, carrying a message of reconciliation in hopes that the neighbours can overcome historical disputes and repair strained ties. Ties have been fraught for years over the bitter legacy of Japan's occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945. Disputes concern issues from wartime forced labour to export controls, but both nations have expressed interest in improving relations. Park smiled as he bumped elbows at the meeting with Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on his first trip to the Japanese capital since South Korea's new President Yoon Suk-yeol [...]

July 18th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH logs over 14,000 COVID-19 cases from July 11 to 17

Metro Manila, Philippines — The Department of Health on Monday reported 14,640 new COVID-19 cases from July 11 to 17, a 44% increase from the previous week. In its latest bulletin, the DOH noted a daily average of 2,091 new infections during the period and the highest since Feb. 18. The department also verified one death that occurred in October 2021. No new deaths were recorded from July 4 to 17. Among the new infections, 35 are severe and critical cases, while 589 critical infections are currently admitted to hospitals. Latest DOH data also showed over 71.3 million Filipinos have so far completed their primary COVID-19 shots, which is 91.32% of the target population. Immunization among the elderly is at 77.81%, it added. More than 15 million individuals have [...]

July 18th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australian teenager Yusuf Zahab dies in Syrian prison

Yusuf Zahab, who was taken to Syria when he was 11, died in Kurdish-held prison months after pleading for help. Australian teenager Yusuf Zahab died from unknown causes in a northeast Syrian prison [Handout: Human Rights Watch] An Australian teenager has died in a severely overcrowded, makeshift prison run by a Kurdish-led armed group holding Syrian and foreign ISIL (ISIS) suspects, his family and a leading rights group said. Yusuf Zahab, who was born in southwest Sydney and brought to Syria by older family members when he was 11 years old, died from unknown causes after being “wrongfully detained” for years in al-Sina’a prison run by the United States-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which holds Syrian and foreign ISIL suspects and their family members in al-Hasakah city, Human Rights Watch [...]

July 18th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Cost of living soars: Inflation hits 7.3% – highest in 32 years

Inflation has hit a 32-year high on the back of higher housing, food and fuel costs. Stats NZ said consumer prices increased by 1.7 percent for the three months ended June, pushing the annual rate to 7.3 percent from 6.9 percent. Photo: 123RF Stats NZ said consumer prices increased by 1.7 percent for the three months ended June, pushing the annual rate to 7.3 percent from 6.9 percent. That was above expectations and the biggest annual rise since June 1990. The costs of building and running a house were the single biggest drivers for the quarterly and annual increases. "Supply-chain issues, labour costs, and higher demand have continued to push up the cost of building a new house," general manager Jason Attewell said. Food prices rose 1.3 percent in [...]

July 18th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

44% of Filipinos not satisfied with K-12 basic education program, survey says

File photo shows students attending a flag raising ceremony before singing the national anthem at a public school in Quezon City. (AFP)   MANILA, Philippines — Forty four percent of Filipinos are dissatisfied with the K to 12 (K-12) education system in the country, a Pulse Asia survey shared Monday showed. According to the survey conducted on June 24 to 27 and commissioned by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, 25 percent of the 1,200 respondents said they are “somewhat dissatisfied” with the current education system while 19 percent said they are “truly dissatisfied.” This means a total of 44 percent are considered to be “dissatisfied” with the K-12 program, the survey showed. The 44 percent dissatisfaction figure is 16 percentage points higher compared to the results of a survey done in [...]

July 18th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Renegotiate China loan deals – Marcos

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. Photos from the Office of the President PHILIPPINES— PRESIDENT Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is looking to renegotiate the country's loan agreements with China for the three big-ticket railway projects that were initiated by the Duterte administration, Malacañang said on Saturday. Marcos issued this directive to the Department of Transportation (DoTr) amid reports that the Chinese loan applications for the Bicol, Subic-Clark and Mindanao railway projects have been withdrawn. Citing a statement from the DoTr, Press Secretary Rose Beatrix "Trixie" Cruz-Angeles said that Marcos wants more investments in the rail transport sector and directed the department to go back to the negotiating table to secure these loan agreements. "The President was referring to the Subic-Clark Railway Project; the Philippine National Railways (PNR) South Long-Haul Project [...]

July 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Thousands evacuated as wildfires sweep across western Europe

Huge wildfires swept across western Europe on Saturday, destroying swathes of land and forcing thousands from their homes amid a record-breaking heatwave that shows no signs of easing. Firefighters were battling to bring blazes under control in parts of France, Spain and Portugal, with blistering summer temperatures that have allowed them to flourish expected to continue this week. In the region of Gironde in south-western France, more than 12,000 people were evacuated as strong winds frustrated efforts to contain a fire that raced across pine forests. That fire and another just south of Bordeaux have ravaged nearly 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of land, up from 7,300 on Friday. “We have a fire that will continue to spread as long as it is not stabilised,” said Vincent Ferrier, deputy prefect [...]

July 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH listed among 40 ‘most beautiful’ countries

MANILA – New York-based Condé Nast Traveler (CNT) has recognized the Philippines' charm once again, listing it as one of the 40 most beautiful countries in the world. The Philippines, joined by South Africa, Canada, Australia, Mexico, and the United States, was cited for the natural attractions the country has to offer. "There are more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines, and they easily number among the most beautiful in the world," CNT writer Caitlin Morton wrote in a June 2 article. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (Photo by Joyce Ann Rocamora) "The Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan encompasses mangrove forests, one of the world’s most impressive cave systems, and an underground river. The Chocolate Hills of Bohol Island consist of an estimated 1,776 grass-covered domes [...]

July 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: 22 more deaths reported, along with 6223 new community cases

Another 6223 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in New Zealand today, along with 22 further deaths. Photo: 123rf.com The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 9803, up from 9000 last week. In today's statement, the Ministry of Health said there were 733 people in hospital with the coronavirus, down from 761 yesterday, including 16 in ICU. The average age of the people in hospital is 64. It said all of the 22 deaths occurred in the past four days. They included two people aged in their 40s, as well as one in their 50s, one in their 60s, five in their 70s, eight in their 80s and five aged over 90. Ten were women and 12 were men. Two were from Waikato, one was from Lakes, [...]

July 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Chinese yuan resilient due to solid fundamentals, as major currencies plunge against US dollar

Strong fundamentals support investors' faith in China: economist Renminbi Photo: VCG As global major currencies, notably the euro, have weakened sharply against the US dollar amid worsening global financial turbulence, the Chinese yuan has remained remarkably stable and Chinese assets have become increasingly attractive to global investors, underscoring China's solid economic fundamentals, economists said on Thursday. The central parity rate of the Chinese yuan strengthened 17 basis points to 6.7265 against the US dollar on Thursday, with its fluctuation range further narrowing since mid-May, according to data from the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. The yuan's stabilizing trend comes as the US Dollar Index (DXY) keeps hitting nearly two-decade highs. As of press time on Thursday, the reading peaked at 109.29 in intraday trading, surging over 13 percent year-to-date. [...]

July 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Italian PM Mario Draghi offers resignation after coalition falls apart

SEAN GALLUP/POOL/EPA Mario Draghi was appointed last year by President Mattarella to lead Italy's post-Covid recovery     Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has tendered his resignation after populist coalition partner Five Star withdrew its support in a confidence vote. The former head of the European Central Bank has led a unity government since February 2021. In a statement, he said the pact of trust that had sustained the unity government had gone. However, the president refused to accept his resignation. President Sergio Mattarella appointed Mr Draghi to lead Italy's post-Covid pandemic recovery, and save the country from endemic instability. He has now called on Mr Draghi to address parliament to provide a clear picture of the political situation. The effect of President Mattarella's intervention is not entirely clear. [...]

July 15th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s president quits after fleeing protests in crisis-hit country

Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled country on Wednesday after protesters occupied presidential palace Protesters celebrate outside the prime minister’s office in Colombo after hearing President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had resigned. Photograph: Chamila Karunarathne/EPA Gotabaya Rajapaksa has resigned as president of Sri Lanka a day after fleeing weeks of mass protests over the country’s economic crisis. Rajapaksa’s office said his resignation letter had been received by the country’s parliamentary speaker, after it was flown from Singapore, to where the leader had fled via the Maldives. The speaker’s office said it would verify the authenticity of the letter, complete all legal processes and make an official announcement about Rajapaksa’s resignation on Friday. News of Rajapaksa’s resignation was greeted by cheers and the lighting of firecrackers in the streets of Colombo. “I can’t believe it, [...]

July 15th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Inflation set to reach highest level in 30 years

Hang on to your wallet, inflation is set to nudge through 7 percent to its highest level in more than 30 years. Photo: PHOTO NZ   Official numbers due on Monday are likely to show that rampant fuel prices, more expensive food, higher building and household costs, driving the consumer price index for the three months ended June up about 1.5 percent and the annual rate to at least 7.1 percent from the current 6.9 percent. "Price pressures are bubbling over in every corner of the economy, boosted by a cocktail of supply-side cost increases and strong consumer demand," Westpac senior economist Satish Ranchhod said. The breadth and strength of price rises has been unrelenting with global commodity prices driven by geopolitical developments, such as the Ukraine war. Food [...]

July 15th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

In China’s Wuhan, cholera-causing bacteria in turtles strikes nerve

A man wearing a facemask looks at a turtle for sale at a market in Wuhan on Jan 24, 2020. (File photo: AFP/Hector Retamal)   BEIJING—  Detection in the Chinese city of Wuhan of a bacteria that caused cholera in a student and was separately found in samples from softshell turtles at a food market has struck a sensitive nerve with ordinary Chinese people, with some relating it to COVID-19. The food market where samples from softshell turtles tested positive of the pathogen capable of causing cholera has been disinfected, local authorities said late on Thursday (Jul 14). While no human cholera case was found among people who came in contact with the softshell turtles, the specific store selling them was ordered to shut down for three days. Authorities [...]

July 15th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia PM faces pressure to reinstate Covid-19 quarantine pay amid fresh wave

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called a snap meeting of federal and state leaders next week as he faces pressure to reinstate compensation pay for casual workers forced to isolate due to Covid-19 amid a fresh wave of infections. Anthony Albanese says his new government has inherited a trillion dollars of debt from the previous administration. Photo: AFP   A renewed surge in cases fuelled by the BA.4/5 Omicron coronavirus variants has put Australia's health system on alert with the total number of people admitted to hospitals from Covid-19 not far away from record levels seen earlier this year. "I've said to the [state leaders] that we'll meet from time to time. And it's appropriate that we meet on Monday. We're not meeting today because I'm here," Albanese [...]

July 15th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: 10,470 new community cases, 16 more deaths

There have been 10,470 new cases of Covid-19 in the community and a further 16 deaths with the virus reported today, the Ministry of Health says. Photo: 123rf.com   In today's statement, the ministry reported there were 773 people in hospital with the virus, up from 765 yesterday, with 14 people in ICU. The seven-day rolling average of weekly hospitalisations has risen from 499 last week to 700 today. The average age of people in hospital with the coronavrius is 64. All of the 16 deaths reported today happened in the past 11 days. The total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 is now 1776. Today's deaths include one person in their 60s, one in their 70s, six in their 80s and eight aged over 90. Four were [...]

July 15th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Nearly 90 dead in Haiti gang violence as country slides into chaos

A recent spike in gang violence has left nearly 90 people dead and dozens injured, according to human rights advocates. (Photo: AFP/Richard Pierrin)   PORT-AU-PRINCE— A week of gang violence in Haiti's capital has left at least 89 people dead, a rights group said Wednesday (Jul 13), as soaring prices, fuel shortages and gang warfare accelerate a brutal downward spiral in the security situation in Port-au-Prince. The unrest erupted on Jul 7 between two rival factions in Cite Soleil, an impoverished and densely populated neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. As gunfire crackled in the slums for nearly a week, police, short-staffed and ill-equipped, did not intervene, while international humanitarian organisations struggled to deliver crucial food supplies and provide medical care to the victims. Thousands of families living in the slums that [...]

July 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand announces free masks, tests as health system struggles with COVID-19

People wear masks as they exercise during a lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Auckland, New Zealand on Aug 26, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Fiona Goodall) WELLINGTON— The New Zealand government on Thursday (Jul 14) announced free masks and rapid antigen tests as it tries to stem the spread of COVID-19 and relieve pressure on the country's health system which is dealing with an influx of coronavirus and influenza patients. There has been a significant jump in the number of new COVID-19 cases in New Zealand in the past couple of week and authorities are forecasting that this wave of Omicron might be worse than the first. The hospital system is already struggling with increases in wait times and surgeries having to be cancelled. "There's no question the combination [...]

July 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH rice imports seen topping 3M metric tons

The Philippines may purchase more rice from abroad over the next two years with the United States Department of Agriculture expecting the total import volume to breach the 3 million metric ton (MT) mark. In a report, the foreign agency said the country’s rice importation volume for 2022 and 2023 will reach 3.1 million MT from its previous projection of 3 million MT. It also said the country will receive “large monthly imports from Vietnam” this year and will see “continued strong demand for rice from Vietnam” in the next. The country’s rice imports as of July 7 touched 1.9 million MT, with Vietnam accounting for more than half or 1.5 million MT of the total volume, data from the Bureau of Plant Industry showed. The Philippines’ milled rice [...]

July 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Global recession risk rising as economic outlook ‘darkens significantly’, IMF says

Cost-of-living crisis ‘only getting worse’ says IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva, predicting a tough 2022, and ‘even tougher 2023’ International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva says war in Ukraine has exacerbated cost-of-living crisis and increased risk of global recession. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images The outlook for the global economy has “darkened significantly” in recent months, the head of the IMF has warned, and the world faces an increasing risk of recession in the next 12 months. The commodity price shock from the war in Ukraine had exacerbated the cost-of-living crisis for hundreds of millions of people, Kristalina Georgieva said on Wednesday, and it was “only getting worse”. Inflation was also higher than expected, she said in a blogpost that came on the same day as the latest figures showed [...]

July 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Christchurch councillors meet on stadium decision

Christchurch city councillors have met and voted to give the go-ahead to build the contentious $683m stadium. Melanie Coker, Sara Templeton and Celeste Donovan were the only councillors who voted against pressing ahead. Councillors faced three choices; build the covered stadium, hit the pause button and re-evaluate the project, or scrap it altogether. Watch the council meeting here: The project board had negotiated a fixed-price contract for the 30,000-seat multi-use arena, following a $150m budget blowout blamed on rising international construction costs. The $683.1m price tag was the the total amount to go ahead, incorporating factors such as contingency funds, as well as the building and construction costs, council's manager of citizens and community, Mary Richardson, said. The government has pledged $220 million to the multi-use arena but did [...]

July 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 Update: 11,382 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, 23 deaths reported

There are 11,382 new Covid-19 community cases in New Zealand, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has announced on Thursday. Covid-19 strains (file picture). (Source: istock.com)   The numbers were reported over the last 24 hours. Bloomfield also confirmed there are 765 people in hospital with the virus, 36 more than Wednesday. He also announced another 23 deaths of people with Covid-19. They had died over the past seven days. The latest deaths take the total number of publicly reported deaths of people with Covid-19 to 1760. The seven-day rolling average of cases is 9826, up from 8013 a week ago, and up on 9710 24 hours ago. For hospitalisations it is 673 and for Covid-19 deaths it is 20. Bloomfield made the announcement in a press conference alongside [...]

July 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Cost of living crisis widens Britain’s north-south divide by 30%

Inflation gap highlights need for Boris Johnson’s successor to stick to levelling up agenda – thinktank Differences in home insulation is a big factor intensifying Britain’s north-south divide.Photograph: Ashley Cooper/Getty Images Poor home insulation and greater car dependency means inflation is up to 30% higher in northern English cities than it is in London, according to a new report. The Centre for Cities thinktank said a study of cities in England and Wales showed the north-south cost of living divide was intensifying regional inequality. The report showed eight out of the 10 cities with the highest energy costs were in the the north, the Midlands and Wales, where workers faced being £340 a year worse off than their counterparts in the south. While the annual inflation rate for the [...]

July 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australian PM Albanese ‘very confident’ there will be no Chinese bases in Solomon Islands

Prime minister Anthony Albanese’s comments come after meeting with Solomons leader at Pacific Islands Forum and despite Pacific nation’s security pact with China   Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese says he had a ‘very constructive meeting’ with Solomon Islands PM Manasseh Sogavare on the sidelines of the Pacific Islands Forum. Photograph: Joe Armao/AFP/Getty Images The Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has said he is “very confident” there will not be Chinese bases in Solomon Islands, despite the two countries’ security pact. Albanese made the comments from Fiji, where he is attending the Pacific Islands Forum in a bid to reset relations with Pacific neighbours by outlining higher ambitions on climate change and asking for Australia to remain the region’s security partner of choice, not China. Solomon Islands’ security pact [...]

July 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 surge: ‘If everyone does their bit, we will get through winter’ – Bloomfield

Covid-19 Response Minster Dr Ayesha Verrall says there's no doubt this winter is one of the toughest seasons New Zealand's health sector has ever faced. Watch it here: Hospitalisations of people with Covid-19 and case numbers have been soaring, alongside seasonal illnesses and compounding stress on the health system. "Covid-19 cases have been steadily trending upwards with flu and other respiratory illnesses also placing significant pressure on the health system," Dr Verrall says. Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says the number of new weekly cases has increased week on week over the last month after previously declining since March, and the number of cases detected at the border has been steadily increasing too. "It's quite clear this has been driven by these new BA.4 and particularly BA.5 subvariants [...]

July 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US, Australia launch major Pacific counter-bid to China’s rising influence

Suva/Washington: The United States will launch its biggest Pacific push since World War II by returning the Peace Corps to the region, releasing a Pacific-wide strategy and spending $900 million on economic development. The announcement by US Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday is designed to head off Beijing’s increasingly assertive Pacific agenda, after the Chinese government signed a security deal with Solomon Islands in April and pushed for a regional economic bloc in May, splitting the Pacific Islands Forum as its leaders met for the first time in three years. US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks alongside President Joe Biden in March. CREDIT:AP   Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will fly into the divided leaders’ meeting in Suva on Wednesday as the forum reels from the withdrawal of Kiribati [...]

July 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 Update: 11,464 new community cases, 29 deaths

Another 29 people have died with Covid-19 and there are 11,464 new community cases in the country today, the Ministry of Health says. Photo: AFP / Science Photo Library   There are 729 people in hospital, including 18 in intensive care or a high dependency unit. In the last few days the number of people with Covid-19 needing hospital care has climbed sharply. The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 9710. "Today's reported deaths take the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 to 1737 and the seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 19," the ministry said. "Of the people whose deaths we are reporting today: Seven were from the Auckland region, one was from Waikato, two were from Bay of Plenty, one was [...]

July 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

‘Thank you for your work!’: Japan bows in sombre farewell to slain Shinzo Abe

The vehicle carrying the body of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe leaves Zojoji temple after his funeral in Tokyo on Jul 12, 2022. (Photo: AP/Hiro Komae)   TOKYO— With prayers, flowers and flags draped in black ribbons, Japan on Tuesday (Jul 12) said farewell to Shinzo Abe, a polarising figure who dominated politics as the country's longest-serving premier, before being gunned down at a campaign rally last week. Crowds packed pavements lined with a heavy police presence as the hearse carrying Abe, who died at age 67, departed from a central Tokyo temple on a procession through the city. With nearly a dozen helicopters circling overhead, people bowed deeply, their hands clasped in prayer, as the hearse passed in a procession carried live on broadcaster NHK. Others clapped, cheered [...]

July 12th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US warns it will defend ally if China breaks sea ruling

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called on China to comply with a 2016 arbitration ruling that invalidated its vast territorial claims in the South China Sea Protesters hold slogans to mark the 6th anniversary of the issuance of the 2016 decision by an arbitration tribunal set up under the U.N. Convention of the Law of the Sea after the Philippines complained against China's increasingly aggressive actions in the disputed sea during a rally outside the Chinese consulate in Makati, Philippines, Tuesday, July 12, 2022. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken renewed a call to China to comply with a 2016 arbitration ruling that invalidated Beijing's vast claims in the South China Sea and warned that Washington is obligated to defend treaty ally Philippines if its armed forces, [...]

July 12th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

One dead in west Auckland firearms incident

A woman has died, and police have arrested one person following a shooting in Henderson, west Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller   Police were notified of a firearm being discharged at a property in Newington Rd shortly before 9pm. "On arrival, a woman was located with critical injuries," a police spokesperson said. "Immediate first aid was provided however she sadly died at the scene." A police presence will continue in the area overnight. "While we are in the early stages of our enquiries we want to reassure the community we do not believe there to be an ongoing risk to the public."

July 12th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China sees ‘new golden era’ with PH under Bongbong Marcos

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (REUTERS)   MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. held wide-ranging talks on Wednesday with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, but there was no word from Malacañang on whether they discussed the simmering maritime dispute between their two countries in the South China Sea. Wang was the second highest Chinese official Marcos has met in less than a week since taking office. He earlier held a meeting with China’s Vice President Wang Qishan who was his guest at his inauguration on June 30, but officials still have not provided details about their discussions. On his Twitter account, the president said China’s top diplomat extended Chinese President Xi Jinping’s congratulations and support. “We also discussed agriculture, infrastructure, energy, and our commitment to maintaining the strong [...]

July 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Air Pollution: Deadliest NZ centre revealed in study

New statistics show Invercargill is the deadliest place in New Zealand when it comes to air pollution - more dangerous than larger cities. Invercargill (file photo). (Source: Google Maps   It shows air pollution kills about 3300 people each year - with vehicle emissions responsible for two-thirds of those, nearly 10 times the road death toll. Check out this map to see which areas have the highest air pollution. The study shows air pollution is sending more than 13,000 people to hospital each year - and costing the country more than $15 billion. Shock in Southland Invercargill topped the death-rate rankings for air pollution from vehicle exhaust and domestic fires and industry combined. It was followed by Christchurch city, then Waitaki, Timaru and Masterton districts. Invercargill's position shocked Environment [...]

July 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: 10,710 new community cases, 15 further deaths

There are 10,710 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today and 15 further deaths. Photo: 123RF In a statement, the Ministry of Health said there were 554 people in hospital, with 12 in intensive care or a high dependency unit. The seven-day rolling average of community cases is now 8013, compared with 6114 last Thursday. "Today's new cases of Covid-19 show the recent rise in case numbers remains steady. We are continuing to keep our response to the current community outbreak of Covid-19 under review and will adapt it as the outbreak and pandemic evolve, and as part of our resurgence planning," the ministry said. A Flourish data visualization Yesterday saw case numbers from a single day exceed 10,000 for the first time since 21 April. Experts have [...]

July 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson battles to stay in job after top ministers quit

A defiant British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is battling to remain in office, shrugging off calls for his resignation after two top ministers and a slew of junior officials said they could no longer serve under his scandal-tarred leadership. A delegation of Cabinet ministers planned to meet with him at his Downing Street office to press him to resign, Britain's Press Agency reported. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and longtime loyalist Brandon Lewis were among those expected to demand that he quit. Members of the opposition Labour Party showered Johnson with shouts of "Go! Go!'' during the weekly ritual of Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday as critics argued the leader's days were numbered following his poor handling of sexual misconduct allegations against a senior official. [...]

July 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Singapore confirms first local case of monkeypox infection

File photo of monkeypox vesicles on a hand. (Photo: iStock)   SINGAPORE— The Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed the first local case of monkeypox infection in Singapore. The patient is a 45-year-old male Malaysian national who resides in Singapore. MOH said the man tested positive for monkeypox on Wednesday (Jul 6). "He is currently warded at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) and his condition is stable," MOH said in a media statement on Wednesday. The man is not linked to the imported case announced by MOH on Jun 21, it added. The man first developed lower abdomen skin lesions on Jun 30 and subsequently experienced fatigue and swollen lymph nodes on Jul 2. He developed fever and a sore throat on Jul 4 and sought medical attention where initial [...]

July 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

50 Chinese students leave UK in three years after spy chiefs’ warning

MI5 chief says Chinese communist party targeting intellectual property across west MI5 director general Ken McCallum said the students left following a reform of the Academic Technology Approval Scheme. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Fifty Chinese students have left the UK in the past three years after Britain tightened its procedures to prevent the theft of sensitive academic research, the head of MI5 said in a speech about the espionage threat posed by Beijing. Ken McCallum, the director general of the spy agency, also said that MI5 had “more than doubled” its effort against Chinese activity over the same timeframe, as part of an unprecedented joint warning with his counterpart at the FBI. The British spy chief said the “most gamechanging challenge” MI5 faced came from an “increasingly authoritarian Chinese Communist [...]

July 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

UK trade envoy to NZ quits over Boris Johnson

Conservative MP David Mundell has quit as UK Trade Envoy to New Zealand after he said he was "disappointed" Prime Minister Boris Johnson had not already stood down. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and David Mundell during Ardern's recent trip to Europe. (Source: Supplied)   "I am very disappointed that the Prime Minister has not listened to the counsel of colleagues and stood down voluntarily in the interests of the country," the MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale said in a tweet. "Earlier this week I wrote to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee confirming I had no confidence in the Prime Minister and asking that a further vote of confidence be held. I hope this can now take place as a matter of urgency," Mundell said. "Clearly such views [...]

July 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Denmark: Gunman kills three, wounds several at Copenhagen mall

Police arrest a 22-year-old ‘ethnic Dane’ over the killing of three people in a gun attack in the Danish capital. People embrace outside Fields shopping centre, after Danish police said they received reports of a shooting at the site, in Copenhagen, Denmark [Reuters]   At least three people have been killed and several more have been wounded in a shooting at a shopping mall in the Danish capital, Copenhagen. Police Inspector Soren Thomassen told reporters that a 22-year-old Danish man was arrested over Sunday’s shooting and charged with manslaughter. He said there was no indication that anyone else was involved in the attack, and said that it was too early to speculate on a motive for the shooting. The attack rocked Denmark at the end of an otherwise joyful [...]

July 4th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Developers let Chinese farmers pay for homes with watermelons

Crates of watermelon are seen in this file photo. (Photo: iStock)   BEIJING— Struggling developers in China have started taking payment for homes in watermelons, peaches and other agricultural produce, state media reported Sunday (Jul 3), as they attempt to lure buyers deterred by a property market slump. China's housing market has been hit by a slowing economy and debt crisis precipitated by a government ban on builders taking deposits before construction begins on a project. One developer in the eastern city of Nanjing said it would accept truckloads of watermelons worth up to 100,000 yuan as downpayment from local farmers, state-run China News Weekly reported. In the nearby small town of Wuxi, another developer was taking peaches as payment, the magazine said. Homebuyers in Qi county, a major [...]

July 4th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

COVID-19 vaccination requirements to be scrapped for international arrivals into Australia

Unvaccinated foreign travellers currently need to seek an exemption to enter.(ABC News: Danielle Bonica)   Foreign travellers arriving in Australia will no longer need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 from Wednesday morning. Key points: Health Minister Mark Butler says the decision is being made on medical advice In May, just over 1,000 applications from unvaccinated travellers were received, with 158 approved Incoming arrivals will still need to comply with other restrictions, including wearing masks on flights It marks the end of significant COVID-based restrictions on travel into Australia, more than two years after the pandemic began. Currently, anyone arriving in Australia needs to declare their vaccination status before arriving. While Australian citizens can arrive unvaccinated, most foreign travellers need to seek an exemption on limited grounds. From 12:01am on Wednesday morning, those [...]

July 4th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australian PM visits sites of Russian atrocities in Ukraine

Anthony Albanese pledges more military aid on visit to Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin Australia’s prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has pledged more than A$100m in fresh military aid for Ukraine, after visiting the sites of some of the most infamous atrocities of Russia’s war during the final leg of a European tour. Albanese visited Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin, three towns in the Kyiv region that became synonymous with the brutality of Vladimir Putin’s invasion when evidence of mass killings and torture was uncovered after the withdrawal of Russian forces. The governor of the Kyiv region, Oleksii Kuleba, announced the visit on Facebook, saying Albanese had been shocked at what he saw, including bombed-out homes, traces of mines and a destroyed airport. Photos posted on Kuleba’s Facebook page showed Albanese and [...]

July 4th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Sara Duterte opens six OVP satellite offices

Metro Manila, Philippines — Vice President Sara Duterte on Saturday announced that six regional offices of the Office of the Vice President were opened to expand her reach nationwide. “Sa aking unang buong araw bilang bise presidente, nagbukas po tayo ng mga satellite office sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng bansa upang matulungan ang ating mga kababayan na magkaroon ng madali at agarang access sa mga serbisyong mula sa Office of the Vice President,” Duterte said in a Facebook post. [Translation: In my first whole day as vice president, we opened satellite offices in different parts of the country to provide the people easy and immediate access to the services of the Office of the Vice President.] The OVP satellite offices are in Dagupan in Ilocos Region, Cebu in Central [...]

July 4th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Clean car rebate: Dealers say some buyers hit with fee instead

Used car dealers say some customers expecting a clean car rebate are getting hit with a fee instead, because official data is changing even as the vehicle is being sold. A clogged Auckland motorway (file picture). (Source: istock.com)     The Clean Car Discount scheme is having to alter wrong or missing emissions or safety-rating data as it goes along. Christchurch car dealer Peter Cullen has a dozen virtually identical Mazdas Azelas on his lot at Value Cars Warehouse, which he had marked up as having rebates. But last week, when he went to print out a window sticker for the latest Azela, the official Rightcar site produced something else. "It's actually a fee now, it's changed midstream. "Then I've subsequently gone and checked all the previous models. We've [...]

July 4th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ-EU trade deal has painful compromises for Europe’s producers, farming group says

EU's main farming association Copa-Cogeca is unhappy about the free trade deal signed with New Zealand last week. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at EU headquarters in Brussels on 30 June 2022. Photo: AFP     The deal means New Zealand can send a further 38,000 tonnes of sheep meat, 10,000 tonnes of beef, 15,000 tonnes more of butter and extra 25,000 tonnes of cheese to the EU. In a statement, Copa-Cogeca said its dairy, sheep and beef sectors were the "sacrificed lambs" of the deal. The farmers' group said it recognised the high consumer protection standards in New Zealand, and the effort made by the European Commission to protect geographical indicators and EU production standards in the deal, but painful compromises [...]

July 4th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PM’s Australian trade mission to focus on business reconnection, climate change progress

Labour shortages, supply chain disruption and climate change are expected to be among the topics of discussion on the Prime Minister's Australian trade mission. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets with Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese. File photo. Photo: RNZ/Katie Scotcher   Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern starts a trade mission in Melbourne today before talks with her Australian counterpart. Ardern was in Sydney just a few weeks ago to meet the newly elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. She returns today for a series of trade, tourism and business events in Melbourne and Sydney. She will speak at the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum and deliver what's described as a 'major foreign policy speech' at the Lowy Institute, before meeting Albanese for their annual bilateral talks on Friday. Albanese has been in [...]

July 4th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Marcos vows stronger Air Force, cites disputes

MODERNIZATION ON THEIR MINDS In one of his first events as Commander in Chief, President Marcos on Friday speaks at the 75th founding anniversary program of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in Clark City, Pampanga, where he is also presented two documents—the PAF Flight Plan 2040 and the PAF Handbook—unveiled here with the Air Force chief, Lt. Gen. Connor Anthony Canlas. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ   CLARK FREEPORT, PH—On his first full day on the job, President Marcos on Friday promised a robust and capable Air Force to defend the country’s sovereignty, particularly in the West Philippine Sea. Speaking at the late afternoon rites to mark the 75th founding anniversary of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) inside the Haribon Hangar in this former US air base, Mr. Marcos said the ongoing [...]

July 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH manufacturing conditions improve for 5 straight months

MANILA – The performance of the domestic manufacturing sector has improved for five consecutive months in June this year, according to S&P Global Philippines Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).              (File photo)     Philippine manufacturing PMI in June recorded a score of 53.8 amid a solid rise in output due to strong demands. Indices above 50 reflect improvement in manufacturing conditions, while below the neutral mark mean deterioration of manufacturing activities. Although the production index was slightly lower in June compared to the score of 54.1 in May, S&P Global said manufacturing performance last month reflected solid growth of the sector as the country continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. “Domestic demand remained strong as the lifting of pandemic restrictions allowed customer [...]

July 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Armenia, Turkey agree to open borders for third-country nationals

The two countries have also agreed to begin direct cargo flights in both directions, despite their strained relations. Armenia and Turkey have agreed in normalisation talks to open their common border for third-country nationals [Murad Sezer/Reuters]   Armenia and Turkey have agreed in normalisation talks to open their common border for third-country nationals and to begin direct cargo flights, according to the Turkish foreign ministry and Interfax news agency citing the Armenian foreign ministry. Relations between the two countries have been strained for decades and the land border between the two neighbours has been closed since 1993, in the wake of clashes between Armenia and ethnically Turkic Azerbaijan. Envoys for Ankara and Yerevan “agreed to enable the crossing of the land border between Türkiye and Armenia by third country citizens [...]

July 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NSW residents prepare for flash flooding as rain event lashes coast

Most of the New South Wales coast will be battered by heavy rain over the coming week however Sydney is in the firing line today. More than a month's worth of rain is set to lash Sydney and the Illawarra today with multiple flood warnings in place across the city. Up to 150 millimetres of rain is predicted today. Residents have been warned to avoid unneccessary travel amid flash flooding concerns. (Louise Kennerley) The Bureau of Meteorology has warned this could cause flash flooding across Sydney and has warned motorists to avoid unnecessary travel. The timing could also not be worse for NSW residents as school holidays begin today and many families would be planning to head away. "A surface trough is expected to deepen offshore from the Sydney [...]

July 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

India bans 19 single-use plastic items to combat pollution

Ban includes plastic straws, disposable cutlery, earbuds, candy and ice cream packaging, and cigarette packets. An Indian worker sorts used plastic bottles before sending them to be recycled in Ahmadabad, India in 2018 [File: Ajit Solanki/AP]   India has imposed a ban on single-use plastics on items ranging from straws to cigarette packets to combat worsening pollution in the nation of nearly 1.4 billion people. The ban on single-use plastic items includes straws, cutlery, earbuds, packaging films, plastic sticks for balloons, candy and ice cream, and cigarette packets, among other products, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a statement on Friday. For the first stage, the government has identified 19 plastic items that it said are not very useful but have a high potential to become [...]

July 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Angry outpour at Roe v Wade Solidarity Protest in Wellington

Hundreds of pro-choice activists rallied in Wellington on Friday afternoon protesting the US Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade. “I think people have shown up for basic human rights,” said organiser Madeleine Petersen-Gould. Cries of “my body, my choice” could be from the crowd as the group marched towards the US embassy. It’s been a week since the controversial decision by the US Supreme Court, which overturns the federal law allowing blanket access to the medical procedure across the US. The right to abortion will now be decided at the state level, with some conservative states already enacting trigger laws that effectively deny access to millions. “I’ve got grey hair now! It’s taken a long time for women to have the right to make a choice about [...]

July 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ardern and Johnson agree to visa changes to benefit New Zealanders under 35

Young New Zealanders will be able to spend more time living and working in the United Kingdom under changes to a popular visa. Jacinda Ardern met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street overnight. Photo: RNZ / Katie Scotcher   Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met with her British counterpart Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street, overnight New Zealand time. During the meeting, they agreed to changes to the Youth Mobility Scheme, which currently allows people aged between 18 and 30 to live and work in the UK for up to two years. The two countries had agreed in October last year to improve the scheme. The changes will mean young New Zealanders will now be able to spend three years in the UK. The age limit [...]

July 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 update: 20 more deaths reported, 6460 new community cases in NZ

The seven-day rolling average of new case numbers continue to rise, with 6460 new community cases reported today, as well as 20 further deaths. Photo: 123rf.com   In today's statement, the Ministry of Health said the seven-day rolling average of new community cases was now 6825, sharply up from 4737 last Saturday. It said there were now 423 people in hospital with the coronavirus, up from 417 yesterday and from 316 this time last week, with seven people in intensive care. The average age of people in hospital with Covid-19 is 63. All but one of today's 20 new deaths occurred in the past three days. Five were in their 70s, six in their 80s and nine were aged over 90. Nine were women and 11 were men. Five [...]

July 2nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand to back Ukraine at International Court of Justice

New Zealand will present its legal view on Russia's invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations' international court, contesting the Kremlin's claim of genocide. Peace Palace on the Carnegieplein in The Hague is the seat of the UN International Court of Justice. Photo: Sandra Uittenbogaart / ANP MAG / ANP via AFP   It marks New Zealand's second legal intervention - where a country not party to a case presents its views - at the International Court of Justice, having previously backed Australia's case against Japanese whaling in 2012. In a statement, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta and Attorney-General David Parker said New Zealand would challenge Russia's "spurious attempt to justify its invasion under international law". Ukraine's case, filed in February, argues Russia falsely claimed genocide had occurred [...]

June 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Shortage of eggs confirmed in Australian supermarkets

A shortage of eggs on shelves has been confirmed, the latest in the deluge of supply issues in Australian supermarkets. A Woolworths spokesperson said the marketwide supply of locally produced eggs in some regions has been impacted by reduced production on a number of farms. "While we continue to deliver eggs to our stores regularly, customers may notice reduced availability at the moment and we thank them for their patience and understanding," the spokesperson said. There's an egg shortage in Australian supermarkets. (9News) "We're in close contact with our suppliers and are working to increase the availability of eggs in stores as soon as possible." While supply is constrained, eggs continue to be delivered regularly, the supermarket said. Woolworths notes fresh eggs at their supermarkets is 100 per cent [...]

June 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Leaders of US, South Korea and Japan agree closer cooperation over North Korea threat

US President Joe Biden waits for the start of a round table meeting at the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, on Jun 29, 2022. (Photo: Susan Walsh/Pool via REUTERS)   MADRID: The leaders of the United States, South Korea and Japan on Wednesday (Jun 29) expressed deep concern over North Korea's missile tests and said they would cooperate more closely to address the threat posed by Pyongyang. US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol met on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid and agreed that the progress of North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes posed serious threats to not only the Korean peninsula but also East Asia and the world. North Korea has this year been conducting missile tests [...]

June 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US to increase military forces across Europe, Joe Biden announces

President says ‘US and its allies are going to step up’ as he arrives for summit of Nato leaders in Madrid   Joe Biden at the Nato summit in Madrid. Photograph: Denis Doyle/Getty Images Joe Biden has announced that the US will increase its military forces across Europe with more land, sea and air deployments, as he gathered with Nato leaders for a two-day summit in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Arriving at the meeting in Madrid, the US president announced the stationing of a brigade of 3,000 combat troops in Romania, two squadrons of F-35 fighters in the UK and two navy destroyers in Spain. “The US and its allies are going to step up. We’re stepping up. We’re proving that Nato is more needed now than [...]

June 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

All roads lead to National Museum for BBM inauguration

(Photo courtesy of Bongbong Marcos official Facebook page)   Everything is set for the historic inauguration on Thursday (June 30) of incoming President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. at the National Museum in Manila. Franz Imperial, one of the preparations committee heads, said they are hoping that all the activities will go smoothly and according to plans. The events of the day will start with the traditional meeting of the outgoing president and his successor in Malacanang Palace before they proceed, in separate vehicles, to the inaugural venue. Before leaving the palace, outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte will be given departure honors. The inauguration ceremony will start with the singing of the Philippine National Anthem, followed by an Ecumenical/ Interfaith prayer. As previously reported, a military-civic parade will follow, which will [...]

June 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Woman who murdered 5-year-old boy jailed for at least 17 years

A woman responsible for murdering five-year-old Tauranga boy Malachi Subecz will spend at least 17 years behind bars. Malachi Subecz. (Source: NZ Police.)   Michaela Barriball, 27, was also charged with wilfully ill-treating a child and grievous bodily harm in the High Court at Rotorua. Malachi was found with injuries at a Te Puna property on November 1, 2021 and treated in Tauranga Hospital. He was subsequently airlifted to Starship hospital in Auckland, where he died on November 12. It subsequently emerged Malachi had been starved, beaten and burnt in the months before he died. Justice Paul Davison remarked that the offending "clearly sits at the highest end of any scale". "You held all the power, and you abused that power in the most callous and inhumane way imaginable." [...]

June 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Govt to provide masks for students, funding for ventilation

There are 50 child-sized masks available to every Year 4 to 7 student in the country from now until the end of the year, the Government has announced. Children in classroom - stock image. (Source: istock.com)   Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti said it was part of a range of strategies being put in place that could help schools reduce the risk of winter illnesses spreading. She said the Ministry of Education could supply 10 million special child-sized masks and planned to have them ready to send to schools and kura at the start of Term 3. That's in addition to adult-sized masks that were offered to all students from Year 8 and up, she said. "Around 20,000-30,000 masks are already being distributed to students and staff every week [...]

June 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19: NZ to stay in orange traffic light setting

New Zealand will stay at the orange traffic light setting. File photo. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   Covid-19 Respone Minister Ayesha Verrall said the country needed to remain at this setting as Covid-19 case numbers were starting to "creep up". "Moving back to Red is unnecessary at the moment. We can continue to manage the virus at Orange, but are putting in place a range of additional measures to help manage a recent rise in cases," Dr Verrall said. "Yesterday the seven-day rolling average of Covid-19 cases was 5808 and there were 395 people in hospital and 8 in ICU. For comparison when we moved out of red in April the rolling average of cases was nearly 10,000 a day and there were over 500 people in hospital [...]

June 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Nurses at Wellington Hospital ‘burnt out’ as patient numbers climb

A nurse at Wellington Hospital is revealing what life is like on the ward, amid pressure from the growing number of sick people needing treatment. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas Ruth, whose last name RNZ has agreed not to use, knows nurses who have already left this year - and she is thinking of joining them. This comes as the hospital defers most non-urgent care and planned surgeries and the DHB pays for GP appointments to divert people from its busy emergency department. Winter illness has meant an influx of patients, there has been an increase in people arriving at the ED and nurses are getting sick too. "We're working very long hours just to keep the place running. We're working over and above our normal FTE [fulltime equivalent] [...]

June 28th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Niue reopens its borders to New Zealand tourists

Niue is the latest Pacific Island to open to New Zealand tourists after more than two years of being shut due to the pandemic. The first flight departed at 9.10am this morning. Niue Tourism Destination manager Gaye Wood said, as far as the Niue operators go, it was a matter of them being excited, but also a little bit anxious because it was a big step for any destination to be opening up and Niue was no different than that She said a new commitment to a Multiple-Use Marine Park, known as Niue Nukutuluea, which larger than the landmass of New Zealand, is expected to be a real highlight for tourists. Passengers pose at the airport after Niue reopens its border. Photo: RNZ Pacific/Lydia Lewis   "The whales, the [...]

June 28th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Toxic gas leak at Jordan’s Aqaba port kills 11, injures hundreds

ALMAMLAKA TV Video broadcast by state-owned AlMamlaka TV showed the dock engulfed in a cloud of yellow gas   A leak of toxic chlorine gas at Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba has killed 11 people and injured more than 250 others, state media report. Authorities said a chemical storage container fell while being transported as a result of a crane malfunction. CCTV footage showed the container being hoisted into the air and then suddenly dropping on to a ship and exploding. A large cloud of bright yellow gas is seen spreading across the ground, sending people running for safety. State media said 199 of the injured were being treated at local hospitals for chemical exposure. Some were reportedly in a critical condition. Chlorine is a chemical used in [...]

June 28th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ardern touches down in Madrid ahead of NATO leaders’ summit

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has arrived in Spain's capital, Madrid, ahead of the NATO leaders' summit. Jacinda Ardern. (Source: 1News)   Later on Tuesday evening Ardern and Spain's president Pedro Sánchez will hold bilateral talks, a chance for her to thank him in person for his support for Covid-19 vaccines for New Zealand and also discuss how the two countries can strengthen their ties. Last September, the Government purchased around a quarter of million doses of the Pfizer vaccine from Spain. Then overnight Ardern will hold bilateral talks with French president Emmanuel Macron to discuss the latest on Russia's invasion of Ukraine following Macron's recent visit there. Trying to finalise a free trade agreement between New Zealand and the European Union and the Christchurch Call will also on the [...]

June 27th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Japanese told to turn off lights to save energy amid Tokyo heatwave

Extreme temperatures forecast for capital this week after premature end to rainy season Temperatures of 35C were forecast in Tokyo for Monday as the capital battles record June temperatures. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock Japan’s government has warned millions of people in the Tokyo region to save energy or face power cuts, as the capital battles record June temperatures after a premature end to the rainy season. Temperatures of 35C (95F) were forecast in the city throughout the day, with similarly extreme weather expected for the rest of the week, according to the Japanese meteorological agency. “We ask the public to reduce energy consumption during the early evening hours when the reserve ratio falls,” Yoshihiko Isozaki, the deputy chief cabinet secretary, told reporters. Isozaki advised households and businesses to turn off lights [...]

June 27th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PNP: All systems go for Bongbong Marcos inauguration

Metro Manila, Philippines — Authorities are ramping up security for the June 30 oath-taking of President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to be held at the National Museum grounds. Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source on Monday, PNP Director for Operations Major General Val de Leon said more than 6,000 of their personnel were initially set to be deployed, but they intend to increase the number on Thursday. "Initially, we have accounted 6,768 personnel but we intend to increase this based on information that we received," he said. "There is a civil disturbance management that will be positioned in areas where militant groups might want to stage a rally. We do not allow this especially if there are no opermits." The National Capital Region Police Office previously said over 15,000 personnel [...]

June 27th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Nato to put 300,000 troops on high alert in response to Russia threat

Alliance’s leader says this week’s summit will agree its most significant transformation in a generation   Jens Stoltenberg speaks during the press conference to preview the Nato summit in Madrid on Monday. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images Nato’s secretary general has said this week’s Madrid summit will agree the alliance’s most significant transformation for a generation, putting 300,000 troops at high readiness in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance’s forces in the Baltic states and five other frontline countries would be increased “up to brigade levels” – doubled or trebled to between 3,000 and 5,000 troops. That would amount to “the biggest overhaul of our collective defence and deterrence since the cold war,” Stoltenberg said before the meeting of the 30-country alliance, which runs [...]

June 27th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand behind world on gender pay gap reporting – survey

Gender pay gaps have flourished in a culture of continued secrecy around salaries, and a global survey shows more work is needed to shine a light on discrimination in the workplace. Photo: 123RF   The Equileap survey ranked New Zealand's best performing company, Xero, in 83rd place in the Asia Pacific region for gender equality. Australia, UK, France, Spain, Sweden and South Africa have all introduced compulsory reporting, but New Zealand has not. The report analysing gender pay gap reporting in these six countries was prepared for the United Nations by the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at Kings College London. The average gender pay gap in New Zealand is 9 percent, but the difference in pay for a Pasifika woman and a Pākehā man is 25 percent. Report [...]

June 27th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 update: 11 further deaths and 5549 new community cases

There are 11 further deaths and 5549 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today. Photo: Unsplash / Mufid Manjun In a statement, the Ministry of Health said 383 people are in hospital, including six in ICU. From tomorrow a second Covid-19 booster will be available, six months after the first one, to anyone aged over 50 and health, aged-care and disability-care workers over the age of 30. Covid-19 Response Minister Ayesha Verrall has said schools did not stand out in the data as showing high transmission of Covid-19. The government is unlikely to introduce stricter Covid-19 meaures, such as compulsory face masks in schools or a change in the Covid-19 setting.

June 27th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Thousands of protesters arrive as G7 convenes in Germany

The agenda of the summit in Munich includes Russia’s war on Ukraine, climate change, energy and a looming food security crisis. People prepare for arrivals of leaders at Franz-Josef-Strauss airport in Munich to attend the G7 summit [Michaela Rehle/Reuters] About 4,000 protesters gathered in Munich as the Group of Seven (G7) leading economic powers prepared to hold their annual gathering in Germany’s Bavarian Alps. Organisers said they hoped to mobilise up to 20,000 protesters in the Bavarian city and were disappointed by the initial low turnout at Munich’s Theresienwiese park, German news agency dpa reported. Uwe Hiksch, one of the protest organisers, said potential participants might consider it inappropriate to challenge the world’s wealthiest democracies during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “We have the impression that many people are unsettled [...]

June 27th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Duterte serenades supporters in #SalamatPRRD concert

MANILA – Outgoing President Rodrigo Roa Duterte did not pass up the chance to serenade his fans and supporters despite being invited as special guest at the “Salamat PRRD” thanksgiving concert at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Sunday night. FAVORITE SONG ‘IKAW’. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte serenades his fans and supporters with his favorite love song “Ikaw” with concert king Martin Nievera singing with him during the “Salamat PRRD” thanksgiving concern at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Sunday night (June 26, 2022). Duterte is set to end his six-year term on June 30. (Screengrab from RTVM)     Although international singer and Concert King Martin Nievera had already sung “Ikaw” earlier in the program, Duterte was requested to sing the love song himself with Nievera singing some [...]

June 27th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

G7 aims to raise US$600 billion to counter China’s Belt and Road

US President Joe Biden attends a working lunch with other G7 leaders to discuss shaping the global economy at the Yoga Pavilion, Schloss Elmau in Kuren, Germany, on Jun 26, 2022. (Photo: Kenny Holston/Pool via REUTERS)     SCHLOSS ELMAU, Germany:  Group of Seven leaders on Sunday (Jun 26) pledged to raise US$600 billion in private and public funds over five years to finance needed infrastructure in developing countries and counter China's older, multitrillion-dollar Belt and Road project. US President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders relaunched the newly renamed "Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment" at their annual gathering being held this year at Schloss Elmau in southern Germany. Biden said the United States would mobilise US$200 billion in grants, federal funds and private investment over five years [...]

June 27th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ardern declines invitation to meet Zelensky in Ukraine

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed to 1News she declined an invitation from Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky to visit his war-torn country. The PM told 1News she turned it down due to existing travel commitments. (Source: Breakfast) Ardern confirmed to 1News that like many world leaders, she received an invitation from Zelensky to visit Ukraine, but turned it down due to existing travel commitments. "Where Ukraine has expressed a need for support, New Zealand has been there," Ardern said. "That won’t change and nor would a visit on the ground change that. "I’m mindful though it’s a huge logistical and security operation to have any leader on the ground in Ukraine and while it’s in the middle of a war we will continue to send our support in a [...]

June 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Free flu vaccine: Around 800,000 more people eligible

In an effort to ease pressure on the health system the Government has widened the criteria for free flu vaccines – making them available for approximately an extra 800,000 people. File picture. (Source: istock.com)   Most of the newly eligible are children aged 3 to 12 after a high number of pre-schoolers were hospitalised with influenza. Tamariki under 9 years of age who have not previously received flu vaccine will need two doses given four weeks apart to gain full immunity for 2022. Also eligible are people with specific mental health conditions and or addiction issues. The widened access will start from 1 July. "There has been a sharp increase in the flu cases recorded this season with the impact on our communities, likened to that of Covid-19," Pharmac’s [...]

June 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Political donations, overseas voting rules to change before election – Minister

Political party donations and overseas voting rules will change ahead of next year's general election, Justice Minister Kiri Allan has announced. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   In a statement, Allan said an Electoral Amendment Bill would soon be introduced to tighten the rules for disclosure of political donations and loans, and temporarily widen access for overseas voters. The bill would require the identity of donors of more than $5000 to be made public - down from $15,000 - along with loans to candidates from unregistered lenders. Parties would also be required to make public their financial statements, the number and total value of non-anonymous donations below $1500, and the proportion of total donations that are non-monetary. Allan, who came to the role two weeks ago, said public and [...]

June 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Singapore begins importing renewable energy from Laos through Thailand and Malaysia

HDB flats in Singapore at night. (Photo: iStock/Taikrixel) SINGAPORE— Singapore started importing renewable energy from Laos through Thailand and Malaysia on Thursday (Jun 23), after an initial two-year power purchase agreement was signed between Keppel Electric and Laos' state-owned Electricite du Laos (EDL). The Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS-PIP) will import up to 100 megawatts (MW) of renewable hydropower using existing interconnections, marking the first multilateral cross-border electricity trade involving four ASEAN countries. This is equivalent to about 1.5 per cent of Singapore's peak electricity demand in 2020, enough to power about 144,000 four-room HDB flats for a year. This is also the first renewable energy import into Singapore, said Keppel Electric, EDL, the Laotian Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Energy Market Authority (EMA) in a joint news release. The project will benefit all [...]

June 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Locsin: Duterte has ordered to terminate PH-China joint oil and gas talks

Metro Manila, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the complete termination of the Philippines-China joint oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. revealed in his speech on Thursday. "The President had spoken. I carried out his instructions to the letter: oil and gas discussions are terminated completely. Nothing is pending; everything is over," Locsin said during the 124th anniversary of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Locsin added, "three years on and we had not achieved our objective of developing oil and gas resources so critical for the Philippines but not at the price of sovereignty; not even a particle of it." Despite being embroiled in an ongoing territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines and China signed a memorandum [...]

June 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

EU awards Ukraine and Moldova candidate status

COURTESY OF PROMOTE UKRAINE Ukrainians waited outside the EU summit building for the leaders to decide on their country's status Ukraine and Moldova have both been granted EU candidate status, President of the European Council Charles Michel has announced. "Today marks a crucial step on your path towards the EU," Mr Michel said, describing the European Council's decision as a "historic moment". Ukraine applied days after the Russian invasion in February, and the process moved at a record speed. Its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, hailed Thursday's decision. "It's a unique and historical moment in UA[Ukraine]-EU relations..." he tweeted. "Ukraine's future is within the EU." The mayor of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, former boxer Vitali Klitschko, paid an emotional tribute to his fellow citizens resisting the invasion. "We paid a very [...]

June 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Apple and Android phones hacked by Italian spyware, says Google

Report claims Milan-based RCS Lab developed tools to spy on private messages and contacts of targeted devices The report said that hacking tools were used to spy on both Apple and Android smartphones in Italy and Kazakhstan. Photograph: Alexander Spatari/Getty Images An Italian company’s hacking tools were used to spy on Apple and Android smartphones in Italy and Kazakhstan, Alphabet Inc’s Google said in a new report. Milan-based RCS Lab, whose website claims European law enforcement agencies as clients, developed tools to spy on private messages and contacts of the targeted devices, the report said. European and American regulators have been weighing potential new rules over the sale and import of spyware. “These vendors are enabling the proliferation of dangerous hacking tools and arming governments that would not be [...]

June 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Matariki 2022: Hautapu ceremony marks dawning of a new day

An ancient and sacred hautapu ceremony has marked the dawning of a new day for Aotearoa, beginning the country's inaugural Matariki public holiday - the first of its kind to be broadcast live. Steam rose up to honour the stars of Matariki, with incantations from tohunga (experts), haka, and karanga reverberating out across Wellington’s Te Papa Tongarewa to mark the occasion. The pre-dawn Whāngai i te Hautapu ceremony was led by tohunga and rangatira, Sir Pou Temara and ruānuku, a group who have trained for many years with him to lead such an event. It was part of a larger broadcast - Celebrate Matariki, Mānawatia a Matariki - simulcast on 1News, 1News online, TVNZ+ and the country’s other major broadcasters. Speaking after the hautapu ceremony, Sir Pou spoke of [...]

June 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Air NZ ramps up flights, staff as travel takes off again

As Air New Zealand ramps up, bringing on 40,000 extra seats from tomorrow and hundreds of workers, it is warning of ticket prices being affected by fuel costs. Photo: camfoto/123RF   Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran told Checkpoint that the price of fuel "has moved pretty quickly". "Over the last few months, we've seen effectively a doubling in price and I've referred to the fact that getting to Los Angeles, it used to cost us just over US$40,000 to fill up a Dreamliner and now it's about US$96,000, so that's seen the price of tickets on average increase around 20 plus percent." "The other thing that has a bearing on it is just how many seats we have on sectors. We've been building back as quickly as [...]

June 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Rugby league joins clampdown on transgender athletes in women’s sport

MELBOURNE/SYDNEY - Rugby league banned transgender players from women's international competition on Tuesday until further notice, following global swimming's decision to restrict trans athletes' participation at the elite level. The International Rugby League (IRL) said it needed to further consult and balance transgender participation against "perceived risk" to other players. "Until further research is completed to enable the IRL to implement a formal transgender inclusion policy, male-to-female (trans women) players are unable to play in sanctioned women's international rugby league matches," the IRL said in a statement. The ban, which comes after FINA voted on Sunday to restrict transgender athletes in elite women's swimming, was condemned by transgender advocates and sportspeople. "It's disappointing. We're human beings the same as everyone else," transgender woman Caroline Layt, who played elite women's rugby [...]

June 21st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Picton crash tragedy: Relative shocked at loss of loved ones

A relative of those who died in a horror crash south of Picton yesterday says she has lost nearly everyone in her family. The death of seven people on the road near Picton has shocked the nation and left a family devastated. Photo: Supplied / Trish Rawlings   The collision on State Highway One took the lives of seven peopleand has left the community reeling. Princess Clariman stayed in Auckland while her family travelled south to a funeral in Gore and was left devastated by the horror crash. Her parents, three of her brothers, an aunty, cousin and other family members - including a baby - were travelling in the van when it collided with a refrigerated goods truck, just south of Picton on Sunday morning. "It is a [...]

June 21st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Philippine Peso slips past ₱54 vs. dollar after over 3.5 years

Metro Manila, Philippines— The peso slipped to its weakest level in more than three-and-a-half years on Monday, closing above the ₱54-per-dollar level amid developments abroad as cited by economists. The local currency closed at P54.065 versus the greenback, further falling from ₱53.75 on Friday. This is its worst performance since Oct. 15, 2018, where the peso ended at ₱54.08 to the dollar. Regina Capital managing director Luis Limlingan said the peso’s depreciation could be linked to overseas factors “beyond our control” — particularly the tightening of the US Federal Reserve's interest rate. The Fed recently announced a rate hike of 75 basis points for the first time since 1994, as US authorities try to rein in commodity prices. “[T]he Fed signaled determination to further bring down US inflation back [...]

June 21st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Health system ‘under pressure’, not in crisis – Minister Andrew Little

The health minister is "dreaming" if he thinks the health system is not in crisis, his National Party counterpart Shane Reti says. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver   The minister, Andrew Little, says the government has done everything it can to support the health system, and rejects the accusation it failed to take earlier opportunities to bolster the nursing workforce. In Auckland, emergency departments are under massive strain, with Counties-Manukau DHB putting $350 per patient towards already stressed GPs to help ease pressure on Middlemore's Emergency Department (ED). Wellington and Hutt Valley DHBs have been forced to delay planned care for another four weeks, on top of a two-week deferment, because of unprecedented staff absences, high levels of vacancies, and high demand from winter illness. Canterbury has also been [...]

June 21st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Marcos to take charge of Dept. of Agriculture ‘for now’

Metro Manila, Philippines — President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he would be taking on the role for Agriculture chief "for now." Marcos made the announcement at a briefing on Monday, where incoming members of his economic team were also present. "As to agriculture, I think the problem is severe enough that I have decided to take on the portfolio of Secretary of Agriculture at least for now. At least until we can reorganize the Department of Agriculture in the way that we'll make it ready for the next years to come," said Marcos. He said taking on the role of DA chief would prove his administration was taking issues concerning the agricultural sector seriously, and also that it would help move things "quickly." "The events of the global economy are moving [...]

June 21st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Largest freshwater fish ever recorded caught in Cambodia

Giant stingray snagged by local fisher in Mekong River weighs nearly 300kg World's largest freshwater fish caught in Cambodia The world’s largest recorded freshwater fish, a giant stingray, has been caught in the Mekong River in Cambodia, according to scientists. The stingray, captured on 13 June, measured almost four metres from snout to tail and weighed just under 300kg, according to a statement on Monday by Wonders of the Mekong, a joint Cambodian-US research project. The previous record for a freshwater fish was a 293kg Mekong giant catfish discovered in Thailand in 2005, the group said. The stingray was snagged by a local fisher south of Stung Treng in north-east Cambodia. The fisher alerted a team of scientists from the Wonders of the Mekong project, which has publicised its [...]

June 21st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ukrainian missiles hit Black Sea gas platforms, say Russian officials

Reports of strikes come as Russian forces said to be gathering for final assault on Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk     The three offshore platforms, the Boyko towers, had previously been seized by Moscow from Ukraine back in 2014. Photograph: Vincent Mundy/Bloomberg/Getty Images Russian officials have said Ukraine launched missile strikes against three gas rigs in the Black Sea south of Odesa, in an apparent escalation of Kyiv’s attempts to weaken Russia’s maritime dominance. Seven people were missing and three injured after the strikes, according to the head of occupied Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, who said a “rescue operation with the participation of patrol ships and aviation” was under way. The three offshore platforms, the Boyko towers, had previously been seized by Moscow from Ukraine in 2014. Kyiv believes they are [...]

June 21st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: 5630 new community cases and 17 further deaths

Another 17 people have died with Covid-19 and there are 5630 new community cases, the Ministry of Health says. The Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Photo: 123RF In its latest update, the ministry said there were also 362 people in hospital with the virus, including four in intensive care or a high dependency unit. That compares with 391 hospitalisations and three people in ICU at the last update. Of the deaths being reported today, fourteen deaths were recorded in June, with one death recorded in April and two in March. The ministry said nine were from the Auckland region, one from Waikato, one from the Bay of Plenty, two from Taranaki, one from Hawke's Bay, one from MidCentral, one from Canterbury and one from Southern. One person was in [...]

June 21st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 update: 3235 new community cases, five further deaths in NZ

There have been 3235 new community cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand today, with a further five deaths of people with the coronavirus. Photo: AFP Today was the lowest number of new community cases since February, with fewer than 1000 cases reported in Auckland for the first time in months. A Flourish data visualization The seven-day rolling average of new community cases has dropped from 5919 last week to 4991 today. The Ministry of Health said this afternoon that the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has remained unchanged from 356 yesterday, with five people now in ICU. A Flourish data visualization The five new deaths reported today take the total number of people who have died with Covid-19 in New Zealand to 1406. Two people were [...]

June 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Fires burn through Shanghai chemical plant

Fires at a large chemical plant in the Chinese city of Shanghai have killed at least one person. They broke out around 04:00 on Saturday (20:00 GMT Friday) at one of the country's largest refining and petrochemical plants. Flames could be seen engulfing parts of the sprawling complex and spewing thick columns of black smoke into the sky. Shanghai is China's economic hub and only recently emerged from a strict pandemic lockdown lasting two months. The cause of the fires, which affected an ethylene glycol facility, is still unclear. Sinopec - the state-owned company that operates the plant in the suburb of Jinshan - said the driver of a transport vehicle had been killed and a company employee had been injured. Residents living up to 6km (four miles) away [...]

June 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Anthony Albanese sets out domestic agenda for first sitting of new parliament

Ambitious climate change targets, ten days domestic and family violence leave and the creation of Jobs and Skills Australia will be the Albanese government’s first three pieces of business when the new parliament sits in the last week of July. In an exclusive interview with The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age after a month in office, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also revealed Labor’s national employment summit will be held in late September or early October, the national cabinet will meet again and parliament will sit for four weeks in total before the October 25 budget. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has revealed his government’s priorities as parliament prepares to return.CREDIT:BIANCA DE MARCHI Albanese also confirmed the legislation to establish a federal integrity commission will be introduced after his government’s first [...]

June 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

£68m of cocaine delivered with bananas to two supermarkets in Czech Republic

Czech police searching more stores on same delivery route while contacting overseas counterparts about shipment from Central America The moulded cocaine cubes were found in banana boxes by supermarket employees.Photograph: Czech Police Employees at a supermarket in the Czech Republic found 840kg of cocaine worth 2bn Czech crowns (£68m) inside boxes of bananas that were delivered to the store. The delivery, which was sent to supermarkets in the towns of Jicin and Rychnov nad Kneznou in the northern region of the country, is believed to have been sent to the stores by mistake. The record amount of cocaine, which is estimated to be worth more in street value, arrived in moulded cocaine cubes on Friday. Speaking on a Czech public radio station, Jakub Frydrych, the head of the police [...]

June 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Biden says Americans are ‘really, really down’ in rare one-on-one interview

President makes remark in Associated Press interview as approval ratings dip below 40% in recent public opinion polls Joe Biden speaks with reporters before boarding Marine One in Washington DC on Friday.Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters Joe Biden has acknowledged in an interview that the American people are “really, really down” after a relentless two years of disease and division, rising cost of living, war in Europe and the devastating impact of the climate crisis. Speaking to the Associated Press in a rare one-on-one interview in the Oval Office on Thursday afternoon, the president touched on many topics from war to hair. “People are really, really down,” Biden told the Associated Press White House reporter Josh Boak, according to a transcript of the interview. “They’re really down.” The sit-down came at [...]

June 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Tauranga MP Sam Uffindell’s priorities tackling crime and gangs, easing cost of living

Tauranga's new MP says he wants the city to be the best place in which to work, play and raise a family. Sam Uffindell with his wife Julia after winning the Tauranga by-election. Photo: RNZ / Giles Dexter   Sam Uffindell stormed to a comfortable early lead in yesterday's by-election, and from there his win was never in doubt. Uffindell was the runaway winner, getting 10931 votes or 56 percent of the total votes cast - although just 40 percent of the registered voters in the electorate participated. Uffindell said he was spending the first day as Tauranga's new MP with his family, before flying to Wellington for his first week at Parliament. His priorities would be the city's infrastructure, and cracking down on gangs, he said. "I'm going [...]

June 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Seven killed in head-on crash south of Picton

Seven people, including a child, have died in a crash between a truck and a van on State Highway 1 south of Picton this morning, police have confirmed. The scene of the fatal crash near Mt Pleasant, south of Picton. Photo: Supplied / Trish Rawlings Police said the crash was at Mount Pleasant at about 7.30am this morning and was a head-on crash involving a van and a refrigerated goods truck. One person has critical injuries and one has serious injuries. They have been flown to Wellington Hospital. All of the seven who died and the two flown to Wellington were travelling in the van. The driver of the truck has minor injuries. Tasman District Commander Inspector Paul Borrell said a crash of this scale had a "huge impact" [...]

June 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China vows support for Russia, drawing US ire

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping arrive to pose for a photograph during their meeting in Beijing, on February 4, 2022. AFP   BEIJING—President Xi Jinping on Wednesday assured Vladimir Putin of China’s support on Russian “sovereignty and security” — leading Washington to warn Beijing it risked ending up “on the wrong side of history”. China has refused to condemn Moscow’s massive military assault on Ukraine and has been accused of providing diplomatic cover for Russia by blasting Western sanctions and arms sales to Kyiv. China is “willing to continue to offer mutual support (to Russia) on issues concerning core interests and major concerns such as sovereignty and security,” state broadcaster CCTV reported Xi as saying during a call with President Putin. It was the [...]

June 16th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australians urged to save electricity to ease power crunch

FILE PHOTO: Storm clouds can be seen behind chimneys at the Bayswater coal-powered thermal power station located near the central New South Wales town of Muswellbrook, Australia, March 14, 2017. Picture taken Mach 14, 2017. REUTERS/David Gray MELBOURNE—  Australia's energy minister on Thursday (Jun 16) urged households in Sydney to switch off lights in the evening to avert blackouts, as the country's power market remained suspended with more than a quarter of its coal-fired capacity knocked out. The country's energy market operator suspended the electricity spot market on Wednesday in an unprecedented move to secure power supplies, its latest drastic step to tackle an energy crisis that began in May. Efforts were focused on reviving output from coal-fired generators, Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen said on Thursday, [...]

June 16th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Federal Reserve announces biggest interest rate hike since 1994

Fed confirms 0.75 percentage-point increase as Americans across country hit hard by rising prices and shortages of key items The US Federal Reserve is trying to keep prices under control after inflation surged to 8.6%.Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images With soaring inflation and the shadow of recession hanging over the United States, the Federal Reserve announced a 0.75 percentage-point increase in interest rates on Wednesday – the largest hike since 1994. Until this week the Fed had been expected to announce a smaller increase. At a press conference, the Fed chair, Jerome Powell, said the central bank decided that a larger hike was needed after recent economic news, including last week’s announcement that inflation had risen to a 40-year high. He made clear that a similarly outsized rate rise should [...]

June 16th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Pacific a priority as Mahuta meets Oz foreign minister

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong said Australia has work to do "as a member of the Pacific family". Penny Wong and Nanaia Mahuta (Source: 1News)   Wong met with New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta in Wellington on Thursday, as the pair reiterated the closeness of the trans-Tasman relationship. It comes a week after their Prime Ministers met and Jacinda Ardern and Anthony Albanese promised to take the trans-Tasman relationship "to a new level". Wong promised Australia and New Zealand would work together in the space of issues in the Pacific. "I think Australia has more to do as a member of the Pacific family," Wong said. "We do have some ground to make up." She made mention of the importance of tackling climate change, and spoke [...]

June 16th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid 19: New Zealand Government confirms pre-departure tests will be scrapped

The government has confirmed pre-departure tests will be scrapped from 20 June. Covid-19 Response Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said the government had intended to remove the requirement by 31 July but as cases continued to decline despite an increase in travellers, there was evidence the measure could now be lifted. "Around 90 percent of international arrivals undertake their required testing once they are in the country, with only a 2-3 percent positivity rate. So we don't anticipate a significant increase in border cases once the requirement is lifted," she said. The availability and cost of getting a test had also increasingly become a barrier to people travelling to New Zealand, she said. Travellers would still be required to self-test on day 0/1 and again on day 5/6. Anyone who [...]

June 16th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ economy shrinks, GDP falls 0.2%

The economy unexpectedly contracted at the start of the year as consumers controlled their spending, exports dipped, and primary industries produced less. Gross domestic product (GDP) fell a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent in the March quarter. Photo: 123rf Gross domestic product (GDP) fell a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent in the three months ended March, well below expectations, and compared with a 3.0 percent rise in the previous quarter, StatsNZ data showed. Stats NZ senior manager Ruvani Ratnayake said "we saw lower output in the food, beverage, and tobacco manufacturing sub-industry; and the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry". Manufacturing industry output fell offsetting continued growth in the construction sector. Service industries, which make up about two thirds of the economy were flat with falls in retail, hospitality, transport and telecommunications, [...]

June 16th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australian and Chinese defence ministers hold landmark meeting, ending diplomatic freeze

Defence bosses from Australia and China have met for a one-on-one meeting for the first time in almost three years, ended a two-year diplomatic freeze between Canberra and Beijing. Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles said his meeting with Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe in Singapore was "important" but Australia would take its relationship with China "step by step". Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Richard Marles speaks during a press conference at the 19th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, Asia's annual defense and security forum, in Singapore. (AP) "China is our largest trading partner and we value a productive relationship, that's a point we've made for a long time," Marles said. "That said, we have a whole lot of national interests and [...]

June 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 update: 4413 new community cases, five further deaths

There are 4413 new Covid-19 cases in the community and five further deaths reported today. Photo: 123rf.com In a statement, the Ministry of Health said there were 352 people in hospital, with nine in ICU. Of the people who have died with Covid-19; two were from the Auckland region, one from Waikato, one from Bay of Plenty and one from Canterbury. One person was in their 60s, two were in their 70s, one was in their 80s and one was aged over 90, the ministry said. That brings the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 to 1325 and the seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 13. The new community cases being reported today were located in Northland (101), Auckland (1,312), Waikato (313), Bay of Plenty (158), [...]

June 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Wild weather: Winds reach 100km/hr in Auckland

Auckland's Harbour Bridge briefly fully closed three times today due to strong winds gusting over 100km/hr. Waka Kotahi says two lanes are now open in each direction but motorists are advised to expect delays. Auckland Harbour Bridge was closed briefly after winds of 100km/hr. Photo: Twitter / Waka Kotahi It closed around 11am for 10 minutes, then shortly after midday before reopening and then closed again. Speed restrictions were in place on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, and Waka Kotahi was advising drivers in high sided vehicles and motorcyclists to use the alternative SH16 and SH18. Two lanes in each direction were open and travellers. The temperature at Auckland Airport weather station dropped from 16C to 11C in the hour to 11.30am. MetService says the risk of lightening strikes will [...]

June 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ukraine fears western support will fade as media loses interest in the war

Costs and casualties are rising but Kyiv warns that the conflict with Russia is becoming normalised in people’s minds, at home and abroad   Civilians are evacuated from the city of Lysychansk in the eastern region of Donbas. Photograph: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images Ukraine’s war with Russia is heading towards its fifth month amid increasing local concern that dwindling media attention could lead to a gradual loss of western support just as Moscow is making slow but steady gains on the frontline. The anxiety reflects a growing normalisation of the conflict in which large parts of the country feel distant from the war in eastern Donbas – as it becomes clear that casualties are mounting and economic costs soaring. “It’s a very real threat, that people get tired psychologically,” said [...]

June 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Winter weather: Thunderstorms, strong wind and downpours ahead

Stormy weather is continuing in much of the country with strong winds and heavy rain, while snow has closed roads in the south. In the Kāpiti Coast town of Waikanae, hit by two tornadoes last night, The fence on Paul Knighton's property on the corner of Queens Road and Barrett Drive was destroyed, and this morning his father-in-law was chainsawing trees to try clear the path. Large swells were bringing waves and coastal debris up onto the road in the Porirua suburb of Plimmerton on Monday morning. Philippa Sargent was out trying to clear a flooded drain with a shovel near her waterfront home. She said it was the worst in the time she had been been living there, with stones being thrown up over the boat ramp as [...]

June 12th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to announce ‘minor’ Cabinet reshuffle

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will unveil her promised Cabinet reshuffle this afternoon following a Labour caucus meeting to sign off on the changes. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver MPs from around the country dialed into the conference call from 8am. Labour requires a vote be held for new members to join the Executive. A spokesperson for the prime minister confirmed Ardern would announce some "minor" changes to the Cabinet line-up at 3pm. Ardern had earlier signalled she would refresh the team around the mid-year mark, which is not unusual for a government mid-term. It is widely expected that Police Minister Poto Williams will be stripped of that portfolio. Williams was appointed to the position after the 2020 election and has come under under increasing pressure in recent months amid [...]

June 12th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Volcano ash blankets Philippine towns after second eruption this week

Workers sweep an ash-covered highway in Juban after the eruption of Bulusan volcano in the Philippines (Photo: AFP/Sharbyn SAYAT)   JUBAN: A volcano in the Philippines spewed a huge column of ash into the sky on Sunday (Jun 12), blanketing a region still recovering from last week's eruption. The blast from Bulusan volcano lasted 18 minutes, the Philippine seismological agency said, impairing road visibility and forcing airlines to cancel flights. On Jun 5, Mount Bulusan sent a grey plume shooting up at least one kilometre and covered 10 villages with ash. Residents of Juban town in Sorsogon province, still reeling from last week's eruption, were woken up Sunday by the volcano's thundering. "I thought it was just raining, but when I looked outside there was ash everywhere," resident Antonio Habitan told [...]

June 12th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Duterte wants to visit West Philippine Sea as civilian

MANILA – Outgoing President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Sunday said he wants to someday join the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on its visit to the West Philippine Sea (WPS) as a civilian despite knowing that it would be a “gamble.” President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (Screengrab from RTVM/PCOO)     He made this remark in a speech during the commissioning of Barko ng Pangulo ng Pilipinas (BRP) Melchora Aquino -- the Multi-Role Response Vessel (MRRV) 9702 of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) -- at Pier 15, South Harbor in Manila. “Someday I could maybe ride with the Coast Guard to see. Maski na civilian na ako, sana bigyan ninyo akong kaunting ano lang (Even if I am already a civilian, I hope you give me a little…) that you can [...]

June 12th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Samoan PM arrives in NZ for bilateral meeting with Ardern

Samoan Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa has arrived in New Zealand for her first official bilateral overseas visit since taking office, with China and regional security high on the agenda. Sworn in amid a constitutional crisis, the island nation's first female prime minister made headlines around the world last year when she was locked out of parliament, with the former government refusing to relinquish power. "Everything was resting on the judiciary. Thank God they held," she told 1News. After a year in the role, Mata’afa is now looking to cement the country's ties with New Zealand. It comes off the back of a visit to Fiji, where she helped to stitch together a deal stopping small island nations from walking away from the Pacific Islands Forum at a time [...]

June 12th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China warns Taiwan independence would trigger war

REUTERS The US criticises China for increased military activity in the area China has warned the US that any attempt to make Taiwan independent from China will trigger military action by Beijing's forces. Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe met his US counterpart Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of an Asian security summit in Singapore. Splitting Taiwan from China would leave the Chinese military with no choice but to "fight at any cost", Mr Wei said. Mr Austin later called Chinese military activity "provocative, destabilising". He said there were record numbers of Chinese aircraft flying near the island on a near-daily basis, which "undermine peace and stability in the region". China views self-ruled Taiwan as an integral part of China's territory, a stance that prompted Mr Wei to condemn US [...]

June 12th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Chinese police arrest nine after women attacked at restaurant

Footage shows man striking woman and dragging her outside after she pushes him away Footage of the incident was widely circulated online. Photograph: @badiucao/Twitter Nine men have been arrested over a vicious attack on a group of women at a restaurant in northern China, in a case that prompted outrage over predatory sexual behaviour and violence against women. CCTV footage of the incident widely circulated online shows a man placing his hand on a woman’s back as she shares a meal with two companions at a barbecue restaurant in the city of Tangshan in Hebei province in the early hours of Friday. After the woman pushes him away, the man strikes her before others drag her outside and deal a barrage of blows as she lies on the ground. [...]

June 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Poll shows National’s Sam Uffindell ahead in Tauranga by-election

National's Tauranga candidate Sam Uffindell is ahead of Labour's Jan Tinetti in the lead up to the electorate's by-election, the latest Q+A Kantar Public Poll shows. National Party 's Tauranga candidate Sam Uffindell. (Source: Supplied) Eligible Tauranga voters were asked which candidate, if any, they will vote for as their local MP in the by-election, which is to be held on June 18. Q+A with Jack Tame revealed that of those polled, 45% backed National's new candidate Sam Uffindell, 35% said they would vote for Labour MP Jan Tinetti, while 7% were behind ACT's Cameron Luxton. NZ Outdoors & Freedom Party candidate Sue Grey had 3%, as did New Nation Party candidate Andrew Hollis. Thirteen per cent did not know who they would vote for next week, 4% refused [...]

June 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Dozens of ‘501s’ overturn deportations from Australia to New Zealand

A woman who would be prevented from visiting her daughter's grave if she was deported to New Zealand is one of dozens of "501s" managing to overturn being kicked out of Australia.   Photo: 123RF Figures provided to Open Justice show 38 New Zealanders ordered to leave Australia convinced a tribunal to let them stay in the year to June 2021. Since then, a further 23 have been successful in stopping their deportations under Section 501 of the Australian Migration Act, which can be triggered when a person is sent to jail for 12 months or longer. Deportees under that provision of the Act have taken to calling themselves "501s". On Friday Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met with Australia's new leader Anthony Albanese to push for changes to the [...]

June 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US approves US$120 million sale to maintain Taiwanese warships

A Taiwanese Navy warship arrives at the Corinto port, Nicaragua Apr 9,2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas) TAIPEI— The United States has approved a possible US$120 million sale of parts to help Taiwan maintain its warships, which the island's defence ministry said would help ensure combat readiness in the face of China's "frequent activities" near the island. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said it had delivered the required certification notifying Congress following State Department approval for the sale, which was requested by Taiwan's de facto embassy in Washington. It said the sale covered unclassified spare and repair parts for ships and ship systems, logistical technical assistance, and US government and contractor representative technical and logistical support. "The proposed sale will contribute to the sustainment of the recipient's surface vessel fleet, enhancing its [...]

June 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Jacinda Ardern talks China, 501s on Australian breakfast TV

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has done the rounds on Australian breakfast TV shows, answering questions over 501 deportations, China, and the cost of living. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appears on Australia's The Today Show. Photo: Fair use / screenshot / The Today Show Appearing on Channel 9's The Today Show, Ardern said China needed to deal with the Pacific as a region on big issues like security, highlighting New Zealand's closeness to its island neighbours. She described New Zealand's Pacific relationships as more familial than bilateral. "We are a Pacific nation. Our connections into the Pacific, they run deep - they're family. You know, we have large Pacific communities in New Zealand, Pacific members of Parliament, Pacific Ministers. So the relationship for us is not a bilateral relationship, it's [...]

June 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH to pursue ‘critical engagement’ with China

Philippines (UP) political science professor Clarita Carlos. File Photo THE administration of President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos will pursue a "critical engagement" with China despite the dispute over the West Philippine Sea (WPS), incoming National Security Adviser (NSA) Clarita Carlos said on Thursday. Carlos, a former University of the Philippines professor, said she discussed the Philippines' relationship with China during a lengthy meeting with Marcos on Wednesday prior to her appointment. "You mentioned the magic word 'critical,' yan ang isa sa mga napag-usapan namin ni President Marcos (It's one of the topics that we discussed with President Marcos)," she said. China has been claiming the WPS as part of its territory, refusing to recognize an arbitral court ruling in 2016 that the Philippines has jurisdiction over it. The critical engagement [...]

June 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Bongbong Marcos ‘welcome to visit United States’ – top official

Metro Manila, Philippines— President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. can invoke his immunity as head of state when visiting the United States, according to a high-ranking US official. US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told reporters in a media briefing on Thursday that Marcos can perform his official duties in Washington without fear of facing legal consequences. “The fact is when you’re the head of state you have immunity in all circumstances,” Sherman said. Sherman did not elaborate on the legal process and up to what extent Marcos can avail of his immunity. Before winning the May 9 polls, Marcos faced the risk of being required to appear in court due to his non-compliance to a class suit ruling against his family. Non-appearance in court could lead to detention [...]

June 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Pan-coronavirus vaccine could be on market in a year’s time – vaccinologist

The first pan-coronavirus vaccine could be on the market in a year's time, says a New Zealand vaccinologist says. A pan-coranavirus vaccine is now being developed by the US military. Photo: AFP Vaccine researchers are increasingly interested in the pursuit of a universal coronavrious vaccine that is resistant to all variants. University of Auckland vaccinologist Helen Petousis-Harris said a such a vaccine was close, with the US defence industry behind the most advanced trial being undertaken. "I guess the most advanced pan-coronavirus vaccine is now in human trials and it looks very promising. It worked every well in our non-human primate friends and it's been in development for quite some years," she told Morning Report. Existing vaccines have found it hard to stop symptoms or transmission, but work well [...]

June 9th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

UK Ministry of Defence acquires government’s first quantum computer

GETTY IMAGES The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has acquired the government's first quantum computer. Quantum computers can make very complex calculations extremely quickly and their creators say they can solve the problems regular computers cannot. The MoD will work with British company Orca Computing to explore applications for quantum technology in defence. Stephen Till, of the MoD's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), called it a "milestone moment". The computers found in most of our homes and workplaces process data in bits, which have a binary value of either zero or one. Quantum computers instead use a two-state unit for data processing called a qubit. This can represent digits like one or zero simultaneously through a quantum mechanical process called superposition, letting quantum computers bridge binary digits and cope [...]

June 9th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Climate change: New Zealand’s plan to tax cow and sheep burps

GETTY IMAGES   New Zealand has unveiled a plan to tax sheep and cattle burps in a bid to tackle one of the country's biggest sources of greenhouse gases. It would make it the first nation to charge farmers for the methane emissions from the animals they keep. New Zealand is home to just over five million people, along with around 10 million cattle and 26 million sheep. Almost half the country's total greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, mainly methane. However, agricultural emissions have previously not been included in New Zealand's emissions trading scheme, which has been criticised by those calling for the government to do more to stop global warming. "There is no question that we need to cut the amount of methane we are putting into [...]

June 9th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Britons sentenced to death after ‘show trial’ in Russian-occupied Ukraine

Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were captured while fighting in Ukrainian army   From left: Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner and Saaudun Brahim in court this week. Photograph: Telegram Two British men and a Moroccan national captured while fighting in the Ukrainian army in Mariupol have been sentenced to death by pro-Russia officials after a days-long process described as a “disgusting Soviet-era show trial”. A court in Russian-controlled east Ukraine convicted 28-year-old Aiden Aslin, from Newark, 48-year-old Shaun Pinner, from Watford, and Saaudun Brahim on charges of “terrorism”. Observers said the process was intended to imitate the war crimes trials of Russian soldiers taking place in Kyiv. Both Britons have said they were serving in the Ukrainian marines, making them active-duty soldiers who should be protected by the Geneva conventions [...]

June 9th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Christopher Luxon urges Poto Williams to be removed as Police Minister

National Party leader Christopher Luxon is calling for Police Minister Poto Williams to be removed from the role, saying she's "not equipped". Christopher Luxon. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver Luxon has been adamant stronger anti-gang laws are needed to combat the recent rise in tensions, and touted Australian-style laws including allowing police to search for guns with a warrant. He told Morning Report that Williams should be removed from the position, adding "she could add value to other portfolios, but she's clearly out of her depth, things aren't getting better". A rivalry between the Tribesmen and Killer Beez gangs has spurred an increase in shootings, up to eight in a single night in Auckland. Luxon said New Zealanders were feeling unsafe. "It's another night, another shooting. There's been 23 [...]

June 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Aussie home prices suffer biggest slowdown in 30 years

After near-record rises during the pandemic, home prices in Australian capital cities are now slowing at their most rapid pace since 1989, according to new data. The slowdown over the last six months is worse than the stagnation and turbulence which hit the housing market in 2004 and the Global Financial Crisis in 2008. Just-released PropTrack analysis found the annual rate of home price growth in capital cities had dropped from 24 per cent, in January, to 14 per cent. The RBA surprised many economists by raising the cash rate by half a percentage point, the biggest hike in more than 20 years, with warnings of more to come. (SMH / Sam Mooy) However, despite cooling in the market, prices are still up 35 per cent since the start [...]

June 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Cambodia, China deny naval base reports as Australia voices concern

Cambodia's Ream naval base has been a running sore spot in US-Cambodian relations for years. (Photo: AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy) PHNOM PENH— Cambodia and Beijing on Tuesday (Jun 7) denied a report that they are building a secret naval facility for the Chinese fleet, as Australia's new prime minister voiced concern and called for transparency. The Washington Post, citing unnamed Western officials, said a new facility at Cambodia's Ream base - strategically located on the Gulf of Thailand - was being built for the "exclusive" use of the Chinese navy. The base has been a running sore spot in US-Cambodian relations for years, with Washington long suspecting it is being converted for use by China as it seeks to buttress its international influence with a network of military outposts. Cambodia's Deputy Prime [...]

June 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Health System Act passes third reading in Parliament

Legislation to create a new public health system has passed its third reading in parliament, and the bill is now just one step from becoming law. The bill will become law after receiving the royal assent from the governor-general - a ceremonial step. (Source: rnz.co.nz)   Labour's Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill sets out the Government's vision for a health system restructure that is just weeks away from coming into force. It was first introduced in October last year and received more than 4500 submissions. The legislation was the biggest building block in the government's health reforms. Now it has passed three readings in parliament the bill would become law after receiving the royal assent from the governor-general - a ceremonial step. Minister of Health Andrew Little said it [...]

June 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Man shot dead by police in Newlands had knife to woman’s throat

A man with gang links had a knife to a woman's throat when he was shot dead by police in Wellington, the region's police commander says. Police at scene of Newlands incident. (Source: 1News) The event unfolded on Tuesday afternoon in Newlands after officers were called to a "family harm incident". The man was shot after he threatened officers and attempted to barricade himself inside a Kingsbridge Place house with a woman. Acting Wellington District Commander Inspector Tracey Thompson said on Wednesday officers had been "confronted" by a man threatening the woman and a young child. Although the young child was able to leave the house, "voice appeals" to the man were not successful. Man shot dead by police in Wellington had gang links, police say Acting Wellington District [...]

June 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Global dairy prices rise for first time in three months

Global dairy prices have risen for the first time in three months. The average price at the fortnightly sale rose 1.5 percent. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King The average price at the fortnightly sale rose 1.5 percent to $US4656 a tonne, after falling 2.9 percent in the previous auction. The price of wholemilk powder, which strongly influences the payouts for local farmers, was fractionally lower to $US4,158 a tonne. "It would seem that dairy commodity prices have bounced, and the market is ready to push higher again," NZX dairy analyst Stu Davison said. The increase was the first since the start of March and lifted the global dairy price index off its low point for the year. The volumes sold were down by nearly 12 percent, which Davison said [...]

June 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Food shortages are next global health crisis -expert

French President Emmanuel Macron, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO), and Agnes Buzyn, French Minister for Solidarity and Health, and Peter Alexander Sands, British banker, and the executive director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, pose after a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, January 11, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Pool LONDON- Growing food shortages may represent the same health threat to the world as the COVID-19 pandemic, a leading global health figure has warned. Rising food and energy prices, in part sparked by the war in Ukraine, could kill millions both directly and indirectly, Peter Sands, the executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday. "Food shortages work in two [...]

June 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Duterte trusts next admin will ‘do its very best’ to fight drugs

MANILA, PHILIPPINES  – President Rodrigo R. Duterte believes the administration of his successor, President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will “do its very best” in continuing the fight against illegal drugs.            (File photo)     “Well, I trust that the next administration will also do its very best to confront itong drug[s],” he said in a prerecorded Talk to the People. Although he admitted that he is “scared” that the drug industry would proliferate when his term ends, he expressed confidence that the police and military would “maintain the momentum” in the anti-narcotics campaign. “I place my full trust and confidence on the two institutions that we have na iyon lang ang ating panglaban (that fight for us): it's the police and the military. These [...]

June 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Philippines’ North Star deferring up to $85 million IPO – sources

MANILA—  Philippines' North Star Meat Merchants Inc is deferring its up to 4.5 billion pesos ($85 million) initial public offering because of increased market volatility, two sources with knowledge of the decision said on Tuesday. North Star, among the largest meat retailers and suppliers in the Southeast Asian nation, was supposed to offer its shares on June 13 to 17, followed by its listing on June 24.

June 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Hawke’s Bay Hospital grapples with changing seismic risks

New earthquake modelling will raise the hazard levels in some places, including large parts of Hawke's Bay, where the hospital is already grappling with shifting seismic goalposts. Hawke's Bay Hospital. Photo: Sandy Millar / Hawke's Bay Hospital The biggest revision of the National Seismic Hazard Model in 20 years will draw on extensive research into the Hikurangi subduction zone - what GNS Science calls "the Sleeping Giant". This will begin to impact the Building Code from the end of next year. Georgia McCombe knows what is at stake - her job at Hawke's Bay Regional Council's East Coast Lab is to alert locals to the zone's risks. "It's our largest source of seismic hazard and recent research also tells us that there is about a one-in-four chance of a [...]

June 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Gaps in learning, behavioural issues worsening as students struggle in pandemic – teachers

Principals and teachers warn they are seeing worse behaviour and achievement after two-and-a-half-years of pandemic disruption. File photo. Photo: 123RF   They told RNZ many young people were doing well, but some had gaps in their learning and had missed basic routines and socialisation that helped them get along with one another and with their teachers. They said the situation was worst in Auckland, where schools had lost more time to lockdowns than schools in other parts of the country. An Auckland teacher told RNZ he was seeing more aggression and worse achievement among teenagers. "Three years of Covid have taken a huge toll on student skills, knowledge and cognitive functioning. Many struggle to concentrate when they are here, and the gaps in their learning are significant. Student behaviour [...]

June 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ardern denies NZ is asleep at wheel as China pushes into Pacific

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has denied New Zealand is asleep at the wheel as China continues its push into the Pacific. New Zealand has been a significant presence in the region for years and will continue to be one, the prime minister told Breakfast on Tuesday morning. Ardern said Australia, New Zealand and Japan had the biggest aid and development spend in the Pacific. "In fact, for this term, we've increased our spend in the Pacific by 45% and that's because of the climate need in the region," she said. "If you ask the Pacific, which we do often, what is your number one priority, they'll say it's climate change. So we're there on our terms, working alongside them and the nature of our relationship really matters because we [...]

June 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China warns Australia risks ‘serious consequences’ after jet interception

A J-16 fighter jet performing in the sky in this photo taken on Oct 17, 2019. (File photo: AFP/STR) BEIJING— Beijing on Monday (Jun 6) warned Australia to "act prudently" or face "serious consequences" after Canberra accused a Chinese fighter jet of dangerously intercepting one of its spy planes over the South China Sea. Australia has argued it is not unusual for it to undertake surveillance flights in the South China Sea - a region Beijing insists comes under its domain despite a 2016 Hague ruling that dismissed its claims. China's stance has heightened tensions with the United States and its allies, which insist on freedom of navigation in the area. Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles said on Sunday that a Chinese J-16 fighter intercepted a P-8 surveillance aircraft [...]

June 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PM Jacinda Ardern says work underway to address nursing shortage, union remains unconvinced

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the government is working to reduce the global nursing shortage's impact on the healthcare system. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. File photo Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver Nearly one-in-three nursing students are dropping out before qualifying, due to financial pressure, family responsibilities and other factors made worse by Covid-19. At the same time, health boards and rest homes are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to attract nurses from overseas to fill an estimated 4000 vacancies. But there are forces working the other way. The New South Wales government has unveiled a $4.5 billion package to recruit more than 10,000 staff - with New Zealanders sure to be in its sights. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Morning Report the government was aware of the [...]

June 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Buy-now-pay-later users struggle as economy tightens

The rising cost of living is hitting Kiwis trying to pay off debt, with those in buy-now-pay-later payments schemes struggling. Companies like Afterpay, Laybuy, Humm and Zipp have all risen in popularity in recent years. The buy now, pay later (BNPL) providers offer short-term, interest-free loans which people can use to buy anything from groceries to clothes to electronics. While borrowers do not pay interest if things go to plan, late fees are added when payments are missed. And Keith McLaughlin, Managing Director of Centrix, says the number of those getting pinged is on the rise. “As the economy is tightening and they're being squeezed, that the arrears are starting to increase, not so much mortgage, that's reasonably under control but more with the unsecured lending.” While the amount [...]

June 1st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Johnny Depp wins defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard

A Virginia jury has ruled that actor Amber Heard defamed her ex-husband Johnny Depp in an article in which she said she was a victim of abuse. Members of Johnny Depp's legal team hug after the jury said that they believe Amber defamed her ex-husband Johnny Depp. Photo:   The jury has awarded Depp US$10 million in compensatory damages and $5m in punitive damages. The jury found that Heard's statements about her marriage were "false" and she acted with "actual malice". The decision was read in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia. Depp, the 58-year-old Pirates of the Caribbean star, sued Heard for US$50 million and argued that she defamed him when she called herself "a public figure representing domestic abuse" in a newspaper opinion piece. Heard, 36, countersued [...]

June 1st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 update: 18 more deaths, 8436 more community cases in NZ

There have been 18 more deaths of people with Covid-19 and 8436 new cases identified in the community, the Ministry of Health has reported. Photo: 123rf.com There are 389 hospitalisations reported today, with nine in ICU. Of whose who died three were from Northland, two were from the Auckland region, one was from Waikato, one was from Taranaki, two were from Midcentral, two from Nelson Marlborough, three from Canterbury, two from West Coast and two from the Southern region. One person was in their 50s, two were in their 60s, one was in their 70s, eight were in their 80s and six were over 90. Ten were male and eight were female. Yesterday there were five more deaths reported of people with the virus, and 5836 new community cases. [...]

May 31st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Biden will not supply Ukraine with long-range rockets that can hit Russia

Moscow has threatened retaliation if missiles are used against its territory but US plans to ship shorter range systems US Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launches a rocket into the air during a live fire training exercise. Photograph: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images Joe Biden has said the US will not supply Ukraine with rockets that can reach into Russia, in an attempt to ease tensions with Moscow over the potential deployment of long-range missiles with a range of about 185 miles. The White House has been weighing up pleas from Ukraine – which is losing ground in the battle for Donbas – for multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) to offset Moscow’s increasingly effective use of long-range artillery, amid Russian warnings that doing so would cross a red line. “We are not [...]

May 31st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

EU clinches compromise deal on banning Russian oil

PHOTONEWS VIA GETTY IMAGES Ursula von der Leyen had said expectations were low European Union leaders have agreed a compromise plan to block more than two-thirds of Russian oil imports after Hungary opposed a total ban. European Council chief Charles Michel said the deal cut off "a huge source of financing" for the Russian war machine. He added that it put "maximum pressure on Russia to end the war". The ban is part of a sixth package of sanctions approved at a summit in Brussels, which all 27 member states had to agree on. Mr Michel said the EU had also agreed hard-hitting measures targeting Russia's largest bank and three state-owned broadcasters. EU members spent hours struggling to resolve their differences over the ban on Russian oil imports, with [...]

May 31st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Jacinda Ardern prepares to meet US President amid logistical challenges

The Prime Minister is preparing to meet the American President Joe Biden at the White House in less than 24 hours, but don't expect any flashy announcements. Jacinda Ardern has talked to the US President Joe Biden several times, but this will be the first time they have met face to face. Photo: Nicholas Kamm, Dave Lintott / AFP   John Key was the last PM to stop by seven years ago. Jacinda Ardern says this visit is all about cementing the relationship with the United States, she describes as "incredibly strong". She and President Biden have talked "several times" over the phone or via Zoom, but "there's nothing quite like meeting face to face", she told reporters in Washington DC. Ukraine and trade, namely the US proposed Indo-Pacific [...]

May 30th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Trump: US should fund safe schools before Ukraine

Former President Donald Trump has called on US lawmakers to prioritise funding for school security over sending military aid to Ukraine. Speaking at a pro-gun conference, Mr Trump questioned how the US "has $40 billion to send to Ukraine" but cannot ensure security in schools. The meeting of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the largest US gun group, is taking place in Houston. The intervention comes days after 21 people died in a Texas school shooting. "Before we nation-build the rest of the world, we should be building safe schools for our own children in our own nation," Mr Trump said in Friday's speech, drawing loud applause. Earlier this month, the US Congress overwhelmingly voted to send nearly $40bn (£31bn) in military aid to Ukraine. In total, US lawmakers [...]

May 28th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Recession fears? Some businesses in Singapore bracing for troubled times ahead

Office workers walking along Raffles Place MRT Station. (File photo: Calvin Oh)   SINGAPORE— Just as things are picking up for some businesses after the toll of a prolonged pandemic, the much-dreaded R-word has re-emerged. “I’d say that most of the world has adapted to living with COVID-19, so our orders have actually been increasing during this period,” said Ms Joyce Seow, group executive director of contract manufacturing firm Watson EP Industries. “But now, we are talking about recession again.” Warnings about another global recession have been sounded – from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at his annual May Day Rally speech to political and business leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos. For Ms Seow, the topic came up at a recent meeting with the company’s bankers, [...]

May 28th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China signs deal with Samoa; Fiji leader meets with Australian minister

China's foreign minister signed a deal with Samoa on Saturday to strengthen diplomatic relations, while Australia's new leader said he had a "comprehensive plan" for the Pacific, as Beijing and Canberra continued rival campaigns to woo the region. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) talks to Samoa Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa during an agreements signing ceremony between the two countries in Apia. Photo: VAITOGI ASUISUI MATAFEO   China is building on a security pact it recently signed with Solomon Islands, which has alarmed the United States and its allies such as Australia as they fear a stepped-up military presence by Beijing. Australia's new centre-left government has made the Pacific Islands an early diplomatic priority. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, sworn in on Monday, said on Saturday his Labor government's [...]

May 28th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand, California announce climate change partnership

New Zealand and California have signed a pledge agreeing to help fight climate change. California Gov. Gavin Newsom and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pose with agreements they signed at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. (Source: Associated Press)   The countries will share ideas and best practices, including how to put millions more electric vehicles on the road. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, spoke about the agreement at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. The agreement doesn't commit either government to specific policies but outlines broad areas for cooperation. "We have a natural connection and I'm so pleased we've put pen to paper today to confirm that and continue our cooperation on one of the great challenges from our generation," Ardern said. Cars, trucks [...]

May 28th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Tiwai Point: Toxic waste clean-up cost doubles to $687m

Tiwai Point aluminium smelter has doubled its clean-up costs to almost $700m, and documents show one reason is that getting rid of the most toxic of its waste is far from plain sailing. File photo: Tiwai Point aluminium smelter Photo: Otago Daily Times / Stephen Jaquiery   They show the company last year was pleading it was "desperate" to get exporting under way of the nastiest of its waste, spent cell lining or SCL, which is laced with toxic fluoride and cyanide. It had a lack of storage space and asked repeatedly for the Environmental Protection Authority to move faster on helping it get a permit to ship the SCL offshore. A small mountain of the waste - under a cover - remains beside the beach by Foveaux Strait, [...]

May 28th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ukraine invasion: NZ Defence Force to teach Ukrainian troops how to use dial sights we don’t need anymore

Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers will be taught how to direct fire on enemies using 40 of New Zealand's dial sights that we don't need anymore. It comes as Russian forces attempt to close off the last escape routes for parts of eastern Ukraine - trapping civilians and soldiers. With a twist of the dial and the calculations just right, gunners from the 16th Field Regiment are ready to take aim. But instead of them taking the shot, they'll teach Ukrainians how to use our dial sights. "I know we've announced 230 [troops] but we're still waiting for those confirmed numbers out of Ukraine to make sure we train the numbers they need," says commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Dean Gerling. Targets can't be seen through the sight, but instead help [...]

May 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Firearms debate weighs on Jacinda Ardern’s Capitol meetings

The Texas shooting and gun control debates have largely overshadowed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's visits to Senators at the United States Capitol. Prime MInister Jacinda Ardern with Democrat senate majority leader Chuck Schumer and other senators on Wednesday afternoon (US time). Photo: AFP   Fresh from appearing on The Late Show and musing on New Zealand's own ongoing gun control efforts the night before, Ardern spent much of the second full day of her US trade in Washington DC meeting with Senators and members of Congress. The morning kicked off a series of face-to-face meetings with six politicians, and in the afternoon a bipartisan senate leadership meeting with another eight. While they may otherwise have been largely focused on geo-politics and trade, much of the attention was on the [...]

May 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Aussie power bills to soar from July 1 as regulator lifts prices

Aussie households are set to be hit by a surge in the cost of their power bills from July after the nation's energy regulator raised benchmark prices for retailers. The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) today said it was raising default market offer (DMO) price caps, which is essentially the maximum retailers can charge households and businesses on default offers. As a result, default offers will increase by more than $220 per year in New South Wales, more than $160 in Queensland and more than $120 in South Australia. Aussie power bills are set to rise by as much as $200 when the DMO takes effect on July 1. (AAP) The AER said the rise in the DMO was necessary given that wholesale costs for retailers have risen substantially as [...]

May 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand ‘ready to respond’ to Pacific’s security needs as China seeks deal in region

Prime minister says ‘the Pacific is our home’ as Beijing plans a regional security pact with almost a dozen island nations New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern says she believes the Pacific could meet its security needs internally, implying it should do so without Chinese intervention from China. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand is “ready to respond” to security needs in the Pacific, after it emerged China is planning a Pacific-wide security deal with almost a dozen island nations. The prime minister, who is touring the US, said she believed the Pacific could meet its security needs internally, implying it should do so without intervention from China or elsewhere. “On anything related to security arrangements, we are very strongly of the view that we have [...]

May 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

7591 new Covid cases on Thursday, 16 deaths reported

There are 7591 new Covid-19 cases in the community, the Ministry of Health announced on Thursday. Rapid antigen test. (Source: istock.com)   The numbers were reported over the past 24 hours. Sixteen more deaths of people with Covid-19 have been reported, bringing New Zealand’s total number of Covid-related deaths to 1102. The seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is now at 12. The ministry says seven of the reported deaths were from the Auckland region, three from both Canterbury and the Wellington region, and one each of Lakes, Bay of Plenty, and the Southern region. "Out of respect, we will be making no further comment on these deaths," it said. Two people were in their 60s, two were in their 70s, eight were in their 80s, and four were [...]

May 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

‘Huge day’ as Australia flights return to Queenstown

Queenstown is ready to roll out the welcome mat after 330 days without a scheduled international flight. Queenstown Bay, Lake Whakatipu, with NZL14 in the background (Source: istock.com)     Monday afternoon's Qantas flight from Sydney marks the return of direct trans-Tasman travel to the resort town. It is a big morale boost for businesses before skiers start hitting the slopes next month. When Glen Sowry took on the top job at Queenstown Airport last year, the country was still in lockdown. "Walking around the terminal was like something out of a western with tumbleweed blowing down the street. No passengers, no planes, so it was all a little surreal. "But it's steadily built back from there." The return of Australians would be a massive shot in the arm [...]

May 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PM’s US trip: Trade and Ukraine war on the agenda if Biden meeting goes ahead – Jacinda Ardern

The prime minister says there is goodwill on both sides to make a White House visit happen while she's in the United States. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern leaves on a trade mission to the States tonight, but a meeting with President Joe Biden is yet to be confirmed. Ardern is back at the Beehive after a week at home with Covid-19. She told Morning Report a visit to the White House hasn't been confirmed because complex protocols around Covid clearance need to be met. "I think it's fair to say I'm probably the only leader that I know of who has probably gone into the States with a Covid infection in such close proximity so it just means there's just a few extra [...]

May 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Busy day for Bongbong as 4 envoys slated to make joint courtesy call

PHILIPPINES— It will be a busy Monday for presumptive president Bongbong Marcos as he is expected to receive four diplomats from four important trade partner-nations of the Philippines in a joint courtesy call. Presumptive president Bongbong Marcos (Facebook) The courtesy call, to be held at the BBM headquarters in Mandaluyong city from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. will carried out by the following: Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko, South Korean Ambassador Kim Inchul, Indian Ambassador Shambhu Kumaran, and United States (US) Chargé d’Affaires Heather Variava. A media advisory sent by the Marcos camp to reporters on Sunday night bared that the courtesy call to the incoming president would be “closed door”, meaning there will no media practitioners allowed inside. However, the reporters were promised to have access for interviews from [...]

May 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Inflation will become ‘very serious problem’ for the world if measures are not taken: PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks during an interview in Washington on May 13, 2022. (Photo: Ministry of Communications and Information) SINGAPORE—  Inflation will become a very serious problem for the world if measures are not taken to address it, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an interview with Nikkei Asia on Friday (May 20). Highlighting the challenges of tackling inflation, Mr Lee said: “The difficulty is that now that inflation is quite high, you need quite drastic measures in order to bring it back down and prevent inflationary expectations from taking root. “It is very difficult to do that and have a soft landing. There is a considerable risk of doing what you need to do but as a result provoking a recession.” He added: “It has [...]

May 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China makes 10 billion yuan available to subsidise grain growers

FILE PHOTO: A farmer plants seeds in a corn field at a farm in Gaocheng, Hebei province, China, September 30, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo BEIJING— China's central government has made available 10 billion yuan (US$1.49 billion) for "one-off" subsidies to support individuals and companies involved in grain cultivation and production, according to a statement published on Sunday (May 22) by the country's Ministry of Finance. The subsidies aim to support grain growers during the summer and autumn harvest and sowing period, to alleviate any impact of rising costs and to "further mobilise farmers' enthusiasm" for cultivating grain, the statement said. The announcement comes at a time when China's farmers are grappling with high fertiliser prices, which have soared globally since last year. The upcoming wheat harvest in China will [...]

May 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Falun Gong protester who used fake visa granted refugee status

New Zealand has halted the deportation of a Falun Gong follower who entered on fake papers, granting her refugee status on the grounds she could face serious harm if returned to China. The Chinese woman and her "husband" landed at Auckland International Airport in November 2019 , clearing customs with visas applied for using false marriage and work papers. She had never met the man who posed as her husband until the travel agent brought them together at the airport, according to the summary of facts in the recently released tribunal decision dated 30 March 2022. She never saw him again after that. The single, divorced mother in her early 40s had paid an agent some RMB 70,000 (about NZ $14,000) to get her New Zealand visa, money borrowed [...]

May 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia election: Anthony Albanese leads Labor to Australian election victory

GETTY IMAGES From social housing, to the country's highest office: Anthony Albanese has claimed election victory Anthony Albanese is set to become Australia's next prime minister after leading the Labor Party to its first election victory in almost a decade. One of the country's longest-serving politicians, he promised voters "safe change" as he worked to kick out the conservative Liberal-National coalition which has been in power since 2013. Where ousted Prime Minister Scott Morrison is a self-described "bulldozer", Mr Albanese vows to be a "builder". After the pandemic, which saw Australian states cut off from each other and cities splintered by strict lockdowns, fostering unity is a top priority for the new leader. "I want to bring Australians together. I want to seek our common purpose and promote unity [...]

May 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia’s incoming prime minister Anthony Albanese delivers victory speech

Australia's Labor leader Anthony Albanese will be sworn in tomorrow as the new prime minister after incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison conceded defeat after yesterday's election. Anthony Albanese (centre), accompanied by his partner Jodie Haydon and son Nathan Albanese, at a reception in Sydney after winning the general election. Photo: AFP / Wendell Teodoro   The Labor Party is set to end almost a decade of conservative rule as the government was swept away in the election by a wave of support for candidates who campaigned for more action on climate change and may hold the balance of power. Partial results showed that while Labor had made small gains, Prime Minister Scott Morrison's Liberal-National coalition had been punished by voters in Western Australia and affluent urban seats in particular. [...]

May 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 update: Ten more deaths, 4990 new community cases in NZ today

The number of new community cases has dropped below the 5000 mark today, but the seven-day rolling average is still up on last week. Photo: 123rf.com In today's statement, the Ministry of Health said while there were 4990 new community cases today, the seven day rolling average has risen from 7608 a week ago to 7863 today. There were also 10 new deaths reported, including two people in their 70s, six in their 80s and two aged over 90. Nine were men and one was a woman. Ttwo were from the Auckland region; two from Waikato; one from Lakes; one from MidCentral; three from Canterbury; and one from Southern. There are 379 people in hospital with the coronavirus, down from 400 yesterday, with nine in ICU. There were 6635 [...]

May 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Special Ukraine visa: Jump in the number of people seeking refuge in NZ

More than 150 Ukrainians have now arrived in New Zealand on a special visa aimed at supporting international humanitarian efforts. Ukraine refugees arriving in Krakow, Poland on March 6, 2022 Photo: AFP Immigration New Zealand numbers show so far 666 visas have been approved and 157 visa holders have arrived in New Zealand under the 2022 Special Ukraine Visa Category. These figures were a jump from those provided a month prior which showed approval for 463 visas and 92 Ukrainians touching down in New Zealand. No applications had been declined. In March, Immigration Minister Faafoi called this the largest special visa category ever established by New Zealand. The visa however has been criticised for its tight criteria. Only family members of Ukrainians who are already living in New Zealand [...]

May 22nd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 update: Five more deaths, 9091 new community cases reported in NZ

There are 9091 new community cases of Covid-19 and five further deaths being reported today. Photo: 123RF In a statement, the Ministry of Health said 411 people with the virus were in hospital, with 12 in ICU. A Flourish data visualization Of the deaths being reported today, one was in their 70s and four were in their 80s. One was from the Wellington region; one from Bay of Plenty and three from Southern. The number of people with Covid-19 who have died in New Zealand is now 1022. Today's new community cases were reported in Northland (260), Auckland (3,233), Waikato (696), Bay of Plenty (291), Lakes (175), Hawke's Bay (303), MidCentral (281), Whanganui (124), Taranaki (265), Tairāwhiti (82), Wairarapa (83), Capital and Coast (595), Hutt Valley (250), Nelson Marlborough [...]

May 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Budget 2022 at a glance: What you need to know

There's a lot of spending flying around in Budget 2022 - here are the main expenses in an easy-to-read list. Finance Minister Grant Robertson Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver Cost of living: $1b package $814m for a $350 per person cost-of-living payment for individuals earning under $70k, equating to $27 a week per person over three months from 1 August for about 2.1m people, Funding to continue half-price public transport fares for further two months, plus ongoing concession for Community Services cardholders, $235m to continue fuel excise and road user charge reductions for a further two months $73m for 26,500 more insulation and heating retrofits for low-income homeowners Urgent supermarket legislation to ban covenants over land as a barrier to supermarkets accessing new sites and restricting competition Child support [...]

May 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Budget 2022: Pressure on Roberston amid skyrocketing prices and spending commitments

Power Play - It's time for the Budget - one of the hardest Finance Minister Grant Robertson has had to put together. Finance Minister Grant Robertson with the Wellbeing Budget 2022 Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver   Sandwiched between the expectations of New Zealanders looking on with disbelief at skyrocketing prices and Labour's big spending policy commitments, his challenge is to balance those short term pressures against longer term investment. The grinding effect of the pandemic is taking its toll on the New Zealand economy, hitting households and businesses hard. Workforce availability, shutdowns in China and Russia's invasion of Ukraine are causing even more chaos. While unemployment is at record lows, that makes skills shortages more severe and any upward pressure on wage rates is quickly swallowed up by [...]

May 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PM Jacinda Ardern on Covid-19 recovery: ‘I’ve lost all my taste’

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has shared the traditional pre-Budget breakfast with the Finance Minister - though socially distanced - and revealed she had lost her sense of taste. Jacinda Ardern has shared the traditional pre-Budget breakfast with the Finance Minister via Instagram. Photo: Screenshot / Instagram   Each year on Budget morning the prime minister gifts Grant Robertson a tie and the pair have a cheese roll breakfast before the day kicks off. This time it was via Instagram as Ardern continues in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 on Saturday "I wasn't going to let Covid get in the way of this tradition," she said on Instagram. Cheese rolls had been delivered to her house, but Ardern said she had forgotten they were in the oven and they [...]

May 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Human rights and dollar costs: Immigration reviews health rules

Health requirements for new residents are under the microscope as Immigration New Zealand examines how much certain conditions cost to treat, and as the government is asked to repeal laws which bar human rights complaints related to immigration.   Photo: 123RF More than 1500 people have had their temporary or permanent visa refused in the last five years because they were likely to impose significant costs or demands on health services. Aisling Smyth is from Northern Ireland and works as an accounts administration manager in Queenstown. "I've got mild relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis and I've had it for about nine years now," she said. "But otherwise, fit and healthy and it's well-managed. It doesn't define me really but when it came to setting down roots and keeping ties here in [...]

May 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US midterm elections 2022 Republican ‘big lie’ supporters triumph in sign of Trump’s enduring power

Hard-right candidates who challenged 2020 result win string of primary victories on a good night too for progressive Democrats Doug Mastriano, who won the primary contest for governor in Pennsylvania. Mastriano was a key figure in the efforts to overturn the election in his state. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP Republican candidates who questioned, denied and challenged the results of the 2020 presidential election won a string of consequential primaries in Pennsylvania and North Carolina this week, a testament to the enduring power of Donald Trump’s voter fraud myth, which continues to animate the hard-right movement he started. In a campaign season dominated by angst over the economy and frustration with leadership in Washington, several hard-right candidates successfully channeled conservative grassroots momentum, and are now in striking distance of positions that [...]

May 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Jacinda Ardern says Covid’s taken her sense of taste

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Covid-19 has taken her sense of taste. Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson on an Instagram live (Source: Supplied) Speaking with Grant Robertson on an Instagram live ahead of Thursday afternoon's Budget, the pair discussed their respective efforts at making cheese rolls, a tradition between the pair. While Roberton's looked exceptional, Ardern admitted a meeting had got in the way of a proper effort and hers looked a "bit beige". "They will taste just as good," she said. "But you know what, I'm not going to know, because I've lost all my taste." "I hope that comes back for you soon," Robertson quipped. The PM's been isolating since her partner Clarke Gayford and then herself and daughter Neve caught the virus. She won't be at [...]

May 19th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PSC: PH on track to meet goal of at least finishing 3rd in Vietnam SEA Games

Metro Manila, Philippines– Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner Ramon Fernandez expressed optimism that Filipino athletes will meet their goal of at least finishing in third spot in the overall medal tally of the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam. “We are halfway through the Games, and we are in the top three of the medal standings. We are well within our target of finishing at least third overall. We just have to maintain our performance until the end,” Fernandez, Team Philippines chef de mission to the games, said on Tuesday. After four days of competition, Team Philippines collected 30 gold, 34 silver, and 44 bronze medals for a total of 108 medals. The country is currently in third place in the overall medal tally, six gold medals behind second [...]

May 18th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Pollution behind 1 in 6 global deaths in 2019: Study

Burning oil, gas and coal for energy is responsible for the lion's share of CO2 pollution. (Photo: AFP/Ina Fassbender) PARIS— Pollution caused about 9 million people to die prematurely in 2019, according to a new global report published on Wednesday (May 18), with experts raising alarm over increasing deaths from breathing outside air and the "horrifying" toll of lead poisoning. Human-created waste in the air, water and soil rarely kills people immediately, but causes instead heart disease, cancer, respiratory problems, diarrhoea and other serious illnesses. The Lancet Commission on pollution and health said the impact from pollution on global health remains "much greater than that of war, terrorism, malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, drugs and alcohol". Pollution is an "existential threat to human health and planetary health, and jeopardises the sustainability [...]

May 18th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Pandemic delays held up 150,000 court appearances

Lockdowns and other Covid-19 restrictions have caused almost 150,000 court appearances to be delayed during the pandemic, often forcing victims to put their lives on hold while they await justice. A Wellington court room. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski Court officials now face a daunting task to clear the backlog, and said they have adapted to allow more hearings to go ahead as the pandemic grinds on. That's little comfort to Auckland woman Rosie Veldkamp. The man who raped her was supposed to be sentenced in September last year. It was rescheduled to October, November, January and March before finally happening in April, after delays mostly caused by Covid-19. "It was super hard," Veldkamp said of the delays, each one falling after she'd told herself her court ordeal was [...]

May 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Russia expels two Finnish embassy staff

A photo of a woman walking past the embassy of Finland in Moscow. Russia on March 29, 2018. (Photo: AFP/Vasily Maximov)   MOSCOW— Moscow said on Tuesday (May 17) that two employees of Finland's embassy in Russia will have to leave the country in response to a similar move by Helsinki. The foreign ministry said in a statement that it summoned Finland's ambassador to Moscow and expressed its "strong protest" against the expulsion of two Russian diplomats from neighbouring Finland in April. It also accused Finland of taking a "confrontational course" towards Russia, supplying weapons to Ukraine and "covering up the crimes of Ukrainian nationalists" against civilians. "The Russian side made a decision on the unacceptability of the further stay in the Russian Federation of two staff members of Finland's [...]

May 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Indonesia lifts COVID-19 test requirement for vaccinated inbound travellers

Passengers queue as they arrive at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, Indonesia on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. Indonesia plans to lift the COVID-19 testing requirement for travellers arriving from overseas. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati) JAKARTA—  Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced on Tuesday (May 17) that the country will no longer require vaccinated travellers from overseas to present a negative COVID-19 test upon entering the country. “Domestic and international travellers who are fully vaccinated no longer need to take PCR (polymerase chain reaction) or antigen swab tests,” he announced on the presidential palace’s YouTube channel. Indonesia lifted the test requirement for fully vaccinated domestic travellers in March but currently still requires those arriving from overseas to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test. Speaking at a separate press conference, spokesman for Indonesia's [...]

May 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Taxpayer money to help corporates cut emissions ‘doesn’t feel right’ – National

Multi-nationals such as Heineken could get a taxpayer handout to help them reduce their emissions, National leader Christopher Luxon says. Christopher Luxon speaking to media at Parliament. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver Support for the "squeezed middle" is what the National Party wants to see in this week's Budget. The National Party has said it will support the first three emission budgets, which set caps for New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions for the next 15 years. But it wants to see some urgent assistance for middle New Zealand too. An early example of this has been its opposition to what it describes as the "corporate welfare" involved in using tax dollars to subsidise businesses as they cut carbon. The government is spending $650 million over four years, as part [...]

May 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

9843 new Covid cases on Tuesday, 8 deaths reported

There are 9843 new Covid-19 cases in the community, the Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday. A man receiving a Covid-19 test. (Source: istock.com)   The numbers were reported over the past 24 hours. There have been 8 more deaths of people with Covid-19, bringing New Zealand’s Covid death toll to 986. Of the 8 deaths, one person was in their 60s, four people were in their 70s, and three were aged over 90. Four were women and four were men. Nationwide, there are 421 people in hospital with Covid-19 and, of those, 10 people are in ICU or in a high dependency unit. That’s 6 more people in hospital with the virus than on Monday, when 415 hospitalisations were reported. Tuesday's positive cases, detected through rapid antigen tests [...]

May 17th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

IMF lifts weighting of dollar, Chinese yuan in SDR basket

FILE PHOTO: Chinese Yuan and U.S. dollar banknotes are seen in this illustration taken February 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo BEIJING— The International Monetary Fund said on Saturday it has increased the weighting of the dollar and Chinese yuan in its review of the currencies that make up the valuation of its Special Drawing Rights (SDR), an international reserve asset. The review is the first since the yuan, also known as the renminbi, joined the basket of currencies in 2016 in what was a milestone in Beijing's efforts to internationalise its currency. The IMF raised the U.S. currency's weighting to 43.38 per cent from 41.73 per cent and the yuan to 12.28 per cent from 10.92 per cent. The euro's weighting declined to 29.31 per cent from 30.93 per [...]

May 15th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 update: 15 more deaths, 5745 new community cases reported in NZ

Fifteen more deaths of people with Covid-19 have been reported today, with another 5745 new community cases also recorded. Photo: FRANK HOERMANN / SVEN SIMON The seven day rolling average of new cases is 7608 today, up from 7510 last Sunday. The Ministry of Health said there were 384 people with Covid-19 in hospital, down from 398 yesterday, with eight in ICU. Two of the 15 people whose deaths were reported today were in their 50s, one in their 70s, nine in their 80s and three were aged over 90. Seven were women and eight were men. Three people were from the Auckland region; two were from Waikato, one was from Taranaki, two were from the Wellington region, four were from Canterbury and three from Southern. The number of [...]

May 15th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

G7 to continue economic pressure on Russia, tackle ‘wheat war’

The Group of Seven foreign ministers vowed on Saturday to reinforce Russia's economic and political isolation, continue supplying weapons to Ukraine and tackle what Germany's foreign minister described as a "wheat war" being waged by Moscow.   Russian soldiers guard the Azovstal plant in Mariupol in Ukraine. Photo: AFP   After meeting in the Baltic Sea resort of Weissenhaus, senior diplomats from Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United States and the European Union also pledged to continue their military and defence assistance for "as long as necessary". They would also tackle what they called Russian misinformation aimed at blaming the West for food supply issues around the world due to economic sanctions on Moscow and urged China not to assist Moscow or justify Russia's war, according to [...]

May 15th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Harris tells ASEAN leaders US committed ‘for generations’

US Vice President Kamala Harris (center) welcomes Southeast Asian leaders to a lunch at the State Department (Photo: AFP/OLIVIER DOULIERY) WASHINGTON— Vice President Kamala Harris said Friday (May 13) that the United States was committed to Southeast Asia for the long haul as the region's leaders held a first summit in Washington. "Our administration recognises the vital strategic importance of your region, a role that will only grow with time," Harris told leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations over a working lunch at the State Department. "As an Indo-Pacific nation, the United States will be present and continue to be engaged in Southeast Asia for generations to come," she said. President Joe Biden will address the leaders later Friday after inviting them Thursday night to the White [...]

May 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia Elections: How is the Australian government elected?

The Australian Parliament is made up of two houses - the House of Representatives and the Senate. In order to win government in its own right, a party needs to hold the majority of seats in the House of Reps, which is the lower house. There are 151 elected members, one representing each of Australia's electorates. So the magic number is 76. You need to get to the magical number of 76 in the House of Representatives to get across the finishing line. (Nine/Tara Blancato) The Australian Federal Election process A federal election is held about every three years. This year, the federal election will take place on May 21. It's compulsory for Australians aged 18 and over to vote and you need to be enrolled to do so. [...]

May 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China responds to claim they sent a spy ship to Australia

A Chinese Foreign Ministry has responded to the Australian defence minister's claim a Chinese surveillance ship has been travelling along the Western Australia coast on an intelligence-gathering mission, saying Beijing "always abides by international law". Photo: 123RF Australian Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said the ship had been tracked along the coastline for the past week and was sighted on Friday morning heading north, about 250 nautical miles from Broome in Western Australia. Asked about the ship, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said he had no information about the specific situation, but "China always abides by international law and international practice". "The relevant Australian politician should see the relevant situation objectively and calmly, and not make sensational remarks," Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing. Dutton had said [...]

May 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tests positive for Covid-19

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed that she has tested positive for Covid-19. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver Her daughter Neve tested positive on Wednesday, she added in the post. Her partner Clarke Gayford tested positive on Sunday. "Despite best efforts, unfortunately I've joined the rest of my family and tested positive for Covid-19," Ardern wrote on social media. Ardern has been symptomatic since Friday night, according to a statement, and has "moderate" symptoms. She returned a weak positive Friday night and a clear positive this morning on a RAT test. Ardern will be required to isolate until the morning of Saturday 21 May. Ardern, who has been isolating since Gayford tested positive, will now have to miss the Budget announcement on Thursday and the release of the government's [...]

May 14th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Biden, Xi congratulate Marcos, hopeful for stronger ties

Metro Manila, Philippines— The leaders of two powerhouse nations have recognized the electoral victory of the Philippines’ presidential race apparent winner Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. ahead of official proclamation. United States President Joe Biden personally called Marcos on Thursday to congratulate him on his election, the White House said. Biden is also anticipating improved ties and cooperation on different issues, including human rights, it added. "President Biden underscored that he looks forward to working with the President-elect to continue strengthening the U.S.-Philippine Alliance, while expanding bilateral cooperation on a wide range of issues, including the fight against COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, promoting broad-based economic growth, and respect for human rights," the White House statement read. Marcos, for his part, invited Biden to his inauguration. “I have also invited [...]

May 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Updated vaccine pass to be rolled out – Hipkins

An optional updated vaccine pass will include booster information, and will be available to people who have had Covid-19 in the past three months. Photo: 2021 Getty Images Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced the move this morning, saying the updated passes would be available to download in under two weeks' time - from 24 May. People who had reported a positive rapid antigen test in the past three months would also be able to request a pass from 31 May. Hipkins said while the passes were no longer legal requirements for access, some businesses could choose to continue using it as a condition of entry, and encouraged people to get their up-to-date passes as a record of their vaccination status. "We've learnt over the last couple of years [...]

May 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: 29 deaths, 7441 new cases in New Zealand

There have been 7441 new community cases of Covid-19 and another 29 further deaths reported today, including five people aged under 40. Photo: AFP   There are 398 people in hospital, with six in ICU. The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers is 7548, almost unchanged from last Friday's 7555. The 29 deaths of people with Covid-19 reported today include 14 people who have died in the past two days, with the rest dying between 24 March and 7 May. Two people were in their 20s, three in their thirties, three in their fifties, four in their sixties, six in their seventies, three in their eighties and eight over the age of 90. Fourteen were women and 15 were men. Six were from Auckland; one from Waikato, one [...]

May 13th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Major reforms to NZ immigration settings announced

The Government has announced major reforms to New Zealand immigration settings to "increase the available pool of labour, while also speeding up our tourism recovery", Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Wednesday. A work visa application form - stock image. (Source: istock.com) She says a streamlined Accredited Employer Work Visa system will be running from July 4, so employers will not need to provide as much information, with changes to speed up the process. On top of those changes, a medium wage threshold will be brought in for most Accredited Employer Work Visas and for Foreign Fishing Crew Visas at $27.76. There will be exemptions for sectors including tourism and hospitality, with a threshold of $25 per hour until April next year. Construction and infrastructure; meat processing; seafood; and [...]

May 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China’s zero-Covid policy is not sustainable, WHO director general says

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus calls for shift in approach as scores of Chinese cities remain in strictly enforced lockdown A medical worker collects a Covid swab sample from a Beijing resident on Tuesday. Photograph: VCG/Getty Images The head of the World Health Organization has voiced concerns over China’s effort to eliminate the Covid virus, in a rare rebuke to Xi Jinping’s pledge to achieve “dynamic zero-Covid”. The WHO’s director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told a media briefing on Tuesday that his organisation does not think China’s Covid policy is “sustainable considering the behaviour of the virus”. “We have discussed about this issue with Chinese experts and we indicated that the approach will not be sustainable … I think a shift would be very important,” he said. Mike Ryan, [...]

May 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand border reopening fully from end of July

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed the border will fully reopen from the end of July, including for cruise ships and international students. Jacinda Ardern Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver It comes with a range of other immigration announcements, including sector-specific agreements to support a shift away from low-skilled migrant labour, and a new 'Green list' of 85 hard-to-fill high-skill roles that provides a priority pathway to residency. Visas for some 20,000 migrants already in the country are also being extended, and there will be new restrictions on students being able to work. Ardern, who is isolating with her partner at home, has announced the move virtually at a Business NZ lunch in Auckland this afternoon, with Minister of Immigration Kris Faafoi and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins at [...]

May 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Luxon on National-ACT alliance, budget, abortion

National Party leader Christopher Luxon won't be drawn on how he might work with the ACT party and its leader David Seymour if his party wins next year's election. National leader Christopher Luxon, left, and ACT leader David Seymour. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone Luxon confirmed yesterday his deputy, Nicola Willis, will be finance minister if his party wins the election, and ruled out Seymour taking the role. But Seymour said yesterday that was a premature move. "It's a promise that he can't actually keep because he doesn't even know what the election results are," he said. Speaking to Morning Report, Luxon said it was "very premature" to talk about partnership arrangements, and he would not play the "rule in, rule out game" regarding Seymour as finance minister. "All [...]

May 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s PM resigns after weeks of protests over economic crisis

Police are imposing nationwide curfew following violence at protest site in Colombo Demonstrators and government supporters clash outside in Colombo on Monday. Photograph: Ishara S Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has resigned after months of protests over the country’s deepening economic crisis, as once-peaceful protests turned violent and at least five people were killed in clashes. Turmoil began to engulf the country on Monday following violence at a major protest site in Colombo, where pro-government supporters attacked demonstrators and police responded with teargas and water cannon. Anti-government protestors, who had been largely peaceful, began retaliating across the country. Houses and vehicles of several pro-Rajapaksa politicians and the residence of Mahinda Rajapaksa were set on fire. A nationwide curfew was imposed but five were killed and almost [...]

May 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Philippine Elections: Marcos Jr., Sara Duterte lead partial, unofficial count in Eleksyon 2022

Former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte are leading the presidential and vice presidential race, according to the partial and unofficial count of votes from 95.17% of the nationwide election returns as shown in the Comelec Transparency Server. As of 6:02 a.m., Marcos had 30,303,899 votes. The other presidential candidates and the number of their votes are as follows: Vice President Leni Robredo 14,431,591 Senator Manny Pacquiao 3,463,654 Manila Mayor Isko Moreno 1,843,726 Senator Panfilo Lacson 865,831 Faisal Mangondato 233,161 Ernesto Abella 109,136 Leody De Guzman 89,355 Norberto Gonzales 85,782 Jose Montemayor 58,065 Duterte had 30,629,541 votes. The other vice presidential candidates and the number of their votes are as follows: Senator Francis Pangilinan 8,993,072 Senator Vicente Sotto III 8,027,121 Dr. Willie Ong 1,807,130 Buhay party-list [...]

May 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Consumer NZ launches petition to combat high grocery prices

Action against high prices at the checkout is being taken by Consumer NZ. The organisation launched a petition last night with a plan to deliver it to David Clark, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. The petition will call on the minister to go beyond the Commerce Commission's recommendations in it's report on the grocery sector in order to bring about stronger competition. According to the Commerce Commission report the two big supermarket operators, Foodstuffs and Woolworths, are making over $1 million of excess profit every single day. Both operators refute this point, saying their profits are not excessive and point out that the report also said profit margins were in line with other global retailers. They say the largest component of shelf prices go to suppliers, and that [...]

May 9th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PM Jacinda Ardern returns negative Covid-19 test result

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has returned a negative rapid antigen Covid-19 test result. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pictured last month (file photo). Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   Ardern is isolating in Wellington this week after partner Clarke Gayford tested positive at the weekend. Yesterday Ardern told RNZ the family was doing fine. "We're having the same experience that many New Zealanders have had over the course of the past three months ... so juggling a few things, but doing just fine," she said. "He's okay, he's definitely crook, but he's doing okay. So far I'm fine, so we'll see how we go - as long as we stagger it so we can keep parenting we should be okay." A rapid antigen test returned a negative result this morning. [...]

May 9th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: 12 deaths, 6745 new community cases, 339 people in hospital

There have been 12 further deaths and another 6745 new community cases of Covid-19 reported today. Photo: 123rf.com The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers is 7512 today, up from 7415 last week. In today's statement, the Ministry of Health said there were 339 people with Covid-19 in hospital, down from 363 yesterday, with 15 people in intensive care. There has now been a total of 857 deaths of people with Covid-19 in New Zealand. The 12 reported today include three people were from Auckland; two from Waikato; one from MidCentral; two from the Greater Wellington region; three from Canterbury and one from Southern. One person was in their 40s; one in their 60s; two in their 70s; four in their 80s and four were aged over 90. [...]

May 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 led to 15 million deaths globally, not the 5m reported – World Health Organisation

Almost three times as many people have died as a result of Covid-19 as official data shows, according to a new World Health Organisation (WHO) report, the most comprehensive look at the true global toll of the pandemic so far. The Indian government said in a statement that WHO had released the report "without adequately addressing India's concerns" over what it called "questionable" methods. Photo: AFP   There were 14.9 million excess deaths associated with Covid-19 by the end of 2021, the UN body said on Thursday. The official count of deaths directly attributable to Covid-19 and reported to WHO in that period, from January 2020 to the end of December 2021, is slightly more than 5.4m. The WHO's excess mortality figures reflect people who died of Covid-19 as [...]

May 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US spies reportedly helped Ukraine sink Russia’s flagship

New reports suggest the US helped Ukraine take down the largest Russian warship to sink in combat since World War Two. US spies helped sink Russia’s flagship by revealing the ship’s radar was down as Ukraine distracted the sailors with a drone, it is reported. Moskva – the largest Russian warship to sink in combat since World War Two – plunged to the bottom of the Black Sea on April 14 after being hit by two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles, The Sun reports. The Russian ministry of defence said explosions ripped through the ammunition stores on April 13 triggering a major blaze before it sunk the next day. Moskva had played a deadly role in the war by bombarding towns and cities in Ukraine from positions at sea. Russia’s [...]

May 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Eighteen dead after huge blast rocks Havana hotel

At least 18 people have died and more than 60 have been hospitalised after a massive explosion rocked one of Cuba's most exclusive five-star hotels. A rescuer walks past some of the wreckage caused after the explosion at the Saratoga Hotel in Havana. Photo: AFP   The blast at the Saratoga Hotel in Old Havana on Friday appears to have been caused by a gas leak, according to local officials. The historic five-storey building was set for a post-pandemic reopening in four days. It now lies in ruins, with much of its outer wall torn off. Search and rescue operations are currently underway to locate people trapped under the debris. The Cuban presidency said the dead included a pregnant woman and a child. The injured are being treated at [...]

May 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19: ‘We could continue to see 10-15 deaths per day for months’ – Baker

Covid-19 hospitalisations have fallen for two consecutive days and the average number of new cases has been relatively stable for two weeks, but epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker says infection rates around the country will continue to go up and down. Photo: 123RF Professor Baker told RNZ it was unlikely there will ever be a stable rate with a virus of this kind. "Almost one in a thousand people getting this infection are dying from it. So that is obviously going to be really tough. If we level out at maybe 15,000, and that's not counting all of them, then we will continue to see 10-15 deaths per day for months," he said. It all comes down to the different factors driving transmission. Baker expects numbers to continue to creep [...]

May 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Sri Lanka president declares state of emergency amid unrest

A demonstrator helps another as police use tear gas and water cannon to disperse students demanding the resignation of Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the country's crippling economic crisis, near parliament in Colombo on May 6, 2022 (Photo: AFP/ISHARA S. KODIKARA) COLOMBO—  Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday (May 6) declared a state of emergency for the second time in five weeks, giving security forces sweeping powers as a nationwide strike demanding his resignationbrought the country to standstill. A spokesman for the president said he invoked the tough laws to "ensure public order" after shops closed and public transport was halted Friday by unions blaming him for the unprecedented economic crisis, which has ignited weeks of unrest. Earlier Friday, police used tear gas and water cannon to [...]

May 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Facebook accused of deliberately disrupting Australia emergency services

GETTY IMAGES/ Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg reportedly called the result "the best possible outcome in Australia"   Facebook deliberately used an over-zealous blocking system that took down the pages of Australian emergency services last year as a negotiating tactic, whistleblowers claim. The social network moved to block all news outlets in Australia over a row about paying news providers. But fire services and state health services were also blocked, during fire season and Australia's vaccine rollout. Facebook says blocking other pages had been an honest mistake. Former employees, backed by the Whistleblower Aid charity, say the company intentionally "over-blocked" Australian pages at a critical time to gain leverage over the Australian government. "It was clear this was not us complying with the law, but a hit on civic institutions and [...]

May 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China builds permanent COVID-19 testing stations for life after lockdown

People line up to get tested at a mobile nucleic acid testing site, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing, China May 6, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SHANGHAI— China is setting up thousands of permanent PCR testing stations, with 9,000 already completed in Shanghai alone, as authorities seek to "normalise" tough pandemic controls even after the current round of lockdowns end. At present, nearly 25 million residents in the eastern financial hub of Shanghai remain under some form of lockdown as the city battles China's biggest-ever coronavirus outbreak. But in a bid to head off future flare-ups, municipal authorities have been setting up a system that will make regular COVID-19 testing a permanent feature of everyday life, with other cities taking similar steps. Of Shanghai's 9,000 testing sites, [...]

May 7th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

#TheFilipinoVotes: Dos and don’ts on Election Day amid COVID-19 pandemic

Metro Manila, Philippines— Around 65.8 million voters, including 6.9 million newly registered ones, are expected to cast their ballots this May 9. CNN Philippines lists what the voting public should keep in mind on Election Day. General reminders Polling precincts will open at 6 a.m. and will accommodate voters until 7 p.m. Should there still be voters in line by 7 p.m., they will all be accommodated as long as their distance from the precinct is within 30 meters. The Commission on Elections says bringing a valid ID is not required but still encouraged, especially to address any possible issues concerning your identity or appearance in the Election Day Computerized Voters’ List (EDCVL). After signing the EDCVL, the voter will receive their ballot which they must inspect for any [...]

May 6th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand foreign minister blames ‘relationship failure’ for China-Solomons security deal

Nanaia Mahuta confirms ‘unwelcome and unnecessary’ deal came as a surprise to New Zealand and Australia, saying the Solomons must provide transparency New Zealand foreign affairs minister Nanaia Mahuta has said shock at the China-Solomons security deal shows Australia and New Zealand have suffered a relationship failure with leadership in Honiara. Photograph: Reuters The shock over China’s security deal with Solomon Islands is evidence of “a relationship failure” , New Zealand’s foreign affairs minister has said, confirming that the pact took New Zealand, Australia and other Pacific nations completely by surprise. The deal marks Beijing’s first known bilateral security agreement in the Pacific. The text of the final deal is secret, but a draft leaked on social media in March granted Chinese military and police significant access to the [...]

May 5th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Warmer winter set to follow wider NZ region’s third-hottest summer

Climate scientist's expanded record reveals how unusually warm NZ's summer was. Unusually balmy sea conditions predicted to delay our winter by a month follow one of the wider New Zealand region's warmest seasons on record, a climate scientist says. Niwa is forecasting another winter of unusually warmer temperatures – they're predicted to be above-average in the north and either near or above average in most of the south – as a lingering La Niña climate system continues to influence our weather. As well, coastal waters were running abnormally hot – sea temperatures ranged as high as 2.7C above average over April – which in turn were driving up the mercury on land. "Relatively speaking, we're surrounded by this boiling pot of water – so it's pretty tough to cool [...]

May 5th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Sweden says it received US security assurances if it hands in NATO application

Swedish and NATO flags are seen printed on paper this illustration taken on Apr 13, 2022. (Photo :REUTERS/Dado Ruvic) STOCKHOLM— Sweden has received assurances from the United States that it would receive support during the period a potential application to join NATO is processed by the 30 nations in the alliance, Foreign Minister Ann Linde said in Washington on Wednesday (May 4). Sweden and neighbour Finland stayed out of NATO during the Cold War, but Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its invasion of Ukraine have led the countries to rethink their security policies, with NATO membership looking increasingly likely. Both countries are concerned they would be vulnerable during an application process, which could take up to a year to be approved by all NATO's members. "Naturally, I'm [...]

May 5th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Biden to talk with G7 leaders this week about further sanctions on Russia

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on economic growth, jobs, and deficit reduction in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, on May 4, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein) WASHINGTON— US President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he would speak with other leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies this week about potential additional sanctions against Russia over its continuing and intensifying war in Ukraine. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the United States was in constant discussions with its partners about further sanctions and could take "additional actions" to pressure Moscow. At a Wall Street Journal conference, Yellen would not preview any specific actions under consideration, but stressed that further measures were likely "if Russia continues this war against Ukraine". Biden told reporters, "We're always open to [...]

May 5th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US makes biggest interest rate rise in 22 years

The US central bank has announced its biggest interest rate increase in more than two decades as it toughens its fight against fast rising prices. The US Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington. Photo: AFP The Federal Reserve said it was raising its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point, following a smaller increase in March. With US inflation at a four-decade high, further hikes are expected. The push marks the latest effort to contain spiking costs being felt by households around the world. India's central bank on Wednesday announced a surprise increase to its benchmark rate, while Australia's central bank recently enacted its first interest rate hike in more than a decade. In the UK, Bank of England was also widely expected to raise rates on Thursday, which [...]

May 5th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Eurozone growth slips as Russia-Ukraine war pushes up energy costs

France’s economy stalls and Italy’s shrinks but Germany rebounds from contraction   France’s economy unexpectedly ground to a halt in the first three months of 2022. Photograph: Mohammed Badra/EPA Warning lights are flashing in the eurozone economy, with first-quarter growth in France stalling and shrinking in Italy, as Russia’s war in Ukrainedrives up energy costs across the continent. Figures from Eurostat, the EU’s statistics body, showed growth in GDP across the single currency area slipped to 0.2% in the first three months of 2022, down from 0.3% in the final quarter of 2021, when Omicron weighed on activity. City economists had forecast a growth rate of 0.3% for the 19 euro area countries, highlighting the economic risks from the war in Ukraine amid soaring wholesale oil and gas prices [...]

April 29th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 update: 9047 new community cases and a further 13 deaths reported in NZ

Thirteen more people have died with Covid-19 and there have been 9047 new community cases reported, the Ministry of Health says. Photo: AFP Today's seven-day rolling average of case numbers is 7705, down from 7935 last week. There are 484 people in hospital with the virus - with 15 in ICU. The 13 deaths reported today included people who had died over the previous nine days, apart from two deaths on 4 April. The Ministry of Health said 723 people with Covid-19 had now died in New Zealand. Two of today's deaths were from the Auckland region, three from Bay of Plenty, two from Waikato, one from Taranaki, one from MidCentral, one from Hawke's Bay, and three from Canterbury. Two were in their 50s, two in their 60s, one [...]

April 28th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Government announces $1.4b funding to boost Auckland housing growth

The government has revealed plans to spend $1.4 billion into infrastructure in a bid to boost housing stock across five Auckland suburbs. Mt Roskill MP Michael Wood, Auckland mayor Phil Goff and Housing Minister Megan Woods at the announcement of $1.4b in funding to boost Auckland housing. Photo: RNZ / Katie Todd The funding, which comes from the government's $3.8b Housing Acceleration Fund, will focus on infrastructure upgrades including sewage and stormwater systems, roading and flood protection measures to unlock more housing. Minister for Housing Dr Megan Woods said the funding would focus on 400 urban renewal projects in Mt Roskill, Māngere, Tāmaki, Oranga and Northcote. She said the work would allow for the replacement of old Kāinga Ora homes, 2000 additional ones, as well as 10,000 new affordable [...]

April 28th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

White supremacism biggest source of illegal content – DIA report

White identity-motivated extremism continues to be the leading driver of online content investigated and shut down by Internal Affairs (DIA). Internal Affairs Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson   DIA today released its first annual report into online violent extremism content, covering 2021. The report is in part a result of the Christchurch Call - efforts by governments to eliminate such content online led by New Zealand and France after the 15 March attacks on Christchurch mosques in 2019 - and aims to produce a yearly snapshot of the volume of content investigated and removed. It shows white identity-motivated extremist ideology accounts for the largest portion of investigated content by far. Nearly three years after the mosque terror attack, the massacre livestream continued to be shared and promoted, particularly by [...]

April 28th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

No more COVID-19 tests for fully vaccinated travellers entering Malaysia, masks optional outdoors from May 1

Malaysia Airlines aircraft are seen at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia on Apr 1, 2022. (Photo: AP/Vincent Thian) KUALA LUMPUR— Malaysia announced that it will broadly lift COVID-19 restrictions beginning May 1, including the removal of a mask mandate while outdoors as well as dropping the need for fully vaccinated travellers to be tested for the coronavirus. Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that wearing of masks is still required indoors, including in shopping malls and on public transportation. “The wearing of masks outdoors is optional, but is still encouraged,” he said during a press conference on Wednesday (Apr 27). The minister said that people are also encouraged to wear masks outdoors in crowded places such as at Ramadan bazaars, stadiums and night markets. Mr Khairy also announced [...]

April 28th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Inflation shock, rate rise risk jolt Australia PM’s election campaign

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media at Melbourne Commonwealth Parliament Office, in Melbourne, Australia February 11, 2022. Darrian Traynor/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo SYDNEY— Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday (Apr 28) blamed the war in Ukraine and COVID-19 related supply chain disruptions for a record rise in living costs which could jeopardise his chances of winning a national election to be held within weeks. Australian consumer prices surged at the fastest annual pace in two decades last quarter, data out on Wednesday showed, as petrol, home-building and food costs rose, fueling speculation interest rates could rise from record lows as soon as next week. "We are still feeling the effects of the rather extraordinary economic times that we are living in," Morrison said [...]

April 28th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Kiwis paying more for rent as inflation rise bites

Kiwis are paying more for rent overall, despite a drop in demand, according to Trade Me’s March rental price index. File image. (Source: istock.com)   The amount of rent tenants are paying has risen by roughly 7% in the past year to the end of March, and now sits at around $575 a week. Trade Me says the jump is in line with record-high inflation and will be hard for renters. “It’s not an easy time to be a renter as Kiwis are having to fork out significantly more for everyday items across the board, including housing costs,” says Trade Me property sales director, Gavin Lloyd. Not all parts of New Zealand have seen the same rate of rent rise in the past year. The largest growth in median [...]

April 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

2 electric ferries coming to Auckland by 2024

In two years' time, Aucklanders could be making their way across the harbour in one of two electric ferries, the Government announced on Tuesday. An artist’s impression of an electric ferry being developed by EV Maritime. (Source: EV Maritime) Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said the ferries promised quieter, greener and cleaner trips across the city's major inner and mid-harbour services. The carbon fibre ferries, developed by Auckland-based company EV Maritime, could reach a top speed similar to that of modern diesel ferries at 25 knots. It has a range of 40 kilometres and can carry 200 people each. "Today’s ferries contribute about 20% of Auckland’s public transport emissions," Woods said. "These electric ferries promise to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with each electric ferry displacing approximately 1000 [...]

April 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Philippine Elections: Comelec said NZ ballot ‘deliberately edited’

(FILE PHOTO) Metro Manila, Philippines — The Commission on Elections said a photo of a ballot in New Zealand received by a voter was tampered to make it appear as though Vice President Leni Robredo's name was not included in the list of candidates running for president. "The Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) confirms that the photo showing an official ballot received by an overseas voter in New Zealand has been deliberately edited to make it appear that VP Robredo's name is missing from the list of presidential candiates," Comelec said in a statemnent Monday, The photo of the alleged ballot made it to social media over the weekend, and Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said it was likely "fake news." In Monday's statement, Comelec said the OFOV was working with [...]

April 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Twitter board agrees to $44b takeover by Elon Musk

The board of Twitter has agreed to a US$44 billion takeover offer from billionaire Elon Musk. Musk has suggested a series of changes to Twitter from relaxing its content restrictions to eradicating fake accounts. Photo: AFP   Musk, who made the shock bid less than two weeks ago, has claimed he is the right person to "unlock" the social media firm's "extraordinary potential". He also called for a series of changes from relaxing its content restrictions to eradicating fake accounts. The firm initially rebuffed Musk's bid, but it will now ask shareholders to vote to approve the deal. Musk is the world's richest man, according to Forbes magazine, with an estimated net worth of US$273.6b mostly due to his shareholding in electric vehicle maker Tesla which he runs. He [...]

April 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: 6380 community cases, 508 hospitalisations, four more deaths

Four more people have died with Covid-19 and there are 6380 new community cases in the country today, the Ministry of Health says. Photo: 123rf.com Meanwhile, there are 508 people in hospital and 16 of those are in ICU. The average age of those hospitalised is 61. In a statement, the ministry said "Today we are sadly reporting the deaths of four people with Covid-19. The deaths being reported today include people who have died over the previous two days. "These deaths take the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 to 687 and the seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 12. Of the people whose deaths we are reporting today, two people were from Taranaki and two were from Canterbury. Two were in their 70s and [...]

April 26th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Philippine Elections: Comelec sets protocols for repair, replacement of defective VCMs, SD cards

Metro Manila, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has established technical hubs for replacing Secure Digital (SD) cards and vote counting machines (VCMs) that could encounter problems come May 9. In a resolution promulgated Apr. 20 but only released Friday, Comelec said there will be 82 hubs for the replacement of defective SD cards and eight sites for VCMs nationwide. Each technical hub will be directly supervised and controlled by the concerned regional election director, provincial election supervisor, or election officer depending on where it's situated. The designated poll official must keep an inventory of and safekeep defective cards, while the concerned Comelec field officer must account for the tally of defective machines. Personnel in charge of replacing SD cards with issues will solely come from the Department [...]

April 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

5662 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, 9 deaths

There are 5662 new Covid-19 community cases in New Zealand on Sunday, the Ministry of Health reports. A person getting tested for Covid-19. (Source: istock.com)   Nine deaths of people with the virus were also announced, with the deaths stretching back over the past nine days. The deaths take the total number of publicly-reported deaths of people with Covid-19 to 674. The seven-day rolling average of these deaths is 13 - a drop of one from last Sunday's figure. Of the nine people, five people were over 90 years old. There was one each in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. "Delays to reporting can be associated with people dying with Covid-19, rather than from Covid-19, and Covid being discovered only after they have died," the ministry said. Across [...]

April 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

An exclusive look at NZ’s largest dam to be built in decades

The Waimea Dam at the top of the south is the largest public dam to be built in New Zealand in more than 20 years. While it's due to start filling with water later this year, it's behind schedule and way over budget.   The dam is due to be filled with water later this year, but it's behind schedule and over budget. (Source: Q and A) 1News took a tour of the dam that hopes to eventually provide water security for the Tasman region for the next 100 years. It's about 75% complete with the large 50-metre high concrete face mostly in place. Over the next few months, the spillway and parapet will be the focus. Waimea Water is responsible for the project. CEO Mike Scott says it's [...]

April 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Afghanistan: Taliban orders TikTok, PUBG ban for ‘misleading’ youths

GETTY IMAGES TikTok has been popular with young Afghan men who enjoy filming and sharing short video clips   The Taliban has ordered a ban on video-sharing app TikTok and online multi-player game PUBG, insisting they were leading Afghan youths "astray". The militant group said it would also ban TV channels from airing what it deemed as "immoral material". It comes after recent bans on music, movies and television soap operas. The Taliban promised a softer approach to government when it took power last year, but has increasingly curtailed freedoms especially for women. The group was known for their severe version of Islamist rule that characterised their first stint in government between 1996 and 2001. Taliban spokesman Inamullah Samangani said that the latest ban was necessary to "prevent the [...]

April 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Tourist boat missing off Japanese coast

EPA/ The Kazu 1 sightseeing vessel has capacity for 65 people (undated file image) A tourist boat is missing off the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, the country's coast guard says. Authorities lost contact with the vessel, which had 26 people on board, after it sent a distress signal saying it was taking on water at 13:15 local time (04:15 GMT) on Saturday. Four people have since been found and have been taken for medical attention. The boat, Kazu 1, is believed to have been on a three-hour sightseeing voyage around the Shiretoko Peninsula. The area is a designated UNESCO world heritage site, and boat trips are popular with tourists hoping to spot whales and sea lions as well as brown bears on the rocky beaches. The coast guard says [...]

April 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Macron or Le Pen: France faces stark choice for president

The French vote today in an election that will decide whether pro-European Union centrist president Emmanuel Macron keeps his job or is unseated by far-right eurosceptic Marine Le Pen in what would amount to a political earthquake. A pedestrian walks past campaign poster of French President Emmanuel Macron and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen of the far-right Rassemblement National party. Photo: AFP Opinion polls in recent days gave Macron a solid and slightly growing lead as analysts said Le Pen - despite her efforts to soften her image and tone down some of her National Rally party's policies - remained unpalatable for many. But a surprise Le Pen victory cannot entirely be ruled out, given the high numbers of voters who were undecided or not sure if they would [...]

April 24th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Philippine Elections: Sofitel threatens to stop use of debate venue over Comelec sponsor’s ₱14M debt

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 21) — The last stretch of the debates organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) may face cancellation if the poll body's sponsor Impact Hub Manila fails to settle its unpaid dues to Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila worth ₱14 million. The debates are set for April 23 and 24. A demand letter dated April 20, which was made available to the media on Thursday, stated that Philippine Plaza Holdings Inc. (PPHI) - the owner of the hotel - has yet to receive complete payment as a venue partner for the Pilipinas Debate 2022. Impact Hub Manila, the group behind Vote Pilipinas, is Comelec's partner and sponsor for the debates. Under the deal between the two parties, Impact Hub Manila committed to pay PPHI a total [...]

April 21st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Computer Recycling unveils new machine to deal with NZ’s huge e-waste problem

A new state-of-the-art machine that sorts and shreds electronic waste has officially started operation in Auckland. The BLUBOX machine is aiming to catapult New Zealand from one of the worst electronic waste offenders to one of the best. The recycling machine is one of eight in the world and was switched on for the first time at Computer Recycling in Penrose on Thursday afternoon. The technology shreds and sorts e-waste in an enclosed negative pressure system, recovering up to 90 percent of components. E-waste items considered hard to recycle include mobile phones, light bulbs, flat screen TVs and more. Environment Minister David Parker was present at the launch of the new machine, which was supported by a $1.5 million grant from the Waste Minimisation Fund. Parker said the technology [...]

April 21st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand and Japan prime ministers meet, agree to boost security ties

New Zealand is beefing up its security ties with Japan in the face of "unprecedented challenges" through a plan to share more classified information on international issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had their first ever meeting in Tokyo last night. Photo: Supplied by official photographer   Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sat down with her Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida late on Thursday in Tokyo, in their first conversation since Kishida's election last year. The two leaders agreed to have their officials drum up a deal which would see more "seamless" sharing of classified material. The type of information which would be exchanged is unclear, but a spokesperson for the prime minister said it would not be intelligence. Speaking at the conclusion of the meeting, [...]

April 21st, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

One in five older children in Philippines suffer online sexual abuse, study says

Research into 12- to 17-year-olds adds to concerns that Covid has left them more vulnerable in their country If the findings are scaled to the population, it could mean 2 million children were subjected to online sexual abuse in one year. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA One in five children aged between 12 and 17 were subjected to grave instances of online sexual abuse while using the internet in the Philippines in 2020, research suggests. The study adds to concerns that the pandemic has heightened the vulnerability of children in the country, which was already considered a global centre of such abuse. Researchers who surveyed 950 children found a fifth of those who used the internet had experienced online sexual abuse over the past year, such as being blackmailed or coerced [...]

April 21st, 2022|Categories: News|