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UK rejects EU’s Northern Ireland moves, saying Brexit deal must be renegotiated

Downing Street says Brussels overtures are insufficient and ‘comprehensive’ solutions needed Negotiator David Frost looking on as Boris Johnson signed the UK-EU trade deal in December 2020. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images Boris Johnson has rejected Brussels’ latest attempt to iron out problems with the post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland, insisting that the withdrawal agreement signed last year must be renegotiated. A series of proposals published by the European Commission on Monday with the aim of easing implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol were said to be insufficient for the scale of the problems. A UK government spokesperson said the two sides instead needed “comprehensive and durable solutions”. David Frost, the minister responsible for Brexit issues, has said that without a major change to the legal text of the protocol, [...]

July 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Haitian presidential security chief arrested over Moise assassination

The casket of slain Haitian president Jovenel Moise at his funeral on Jul 23, 2021. (File photo: AFP/Valerie Baeriswyl) PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: Haitian police said on Monday (Jul 26) that they had arrested the head of Jovenel Moise's security as part of the ongoing investigation into the president's Jul 7 assassination. Security chief Jean Laguel Civil is suspected of involvement in the plot to that saw Moise killed at his home in the middle of the night by armed commandos who bypassed the president's guards without firing a shot. Civil had already been placed in solitary confinement at a prison in Delmas, near Port-au-Prince. "I can confirm that Jean Laguel Civil was arrested Monday by police as part of the investigation into the assassination of president Jovenel Moise," police spokeswoman Marie Michelle Verrier [...]

July 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Suhayra Aden repatriation: National MP Gerry Brownlee suggests following Australian laws on revoking citizenship

National Party MP Gerry Brownlee. Photo / Mark Mitchell   National Party's Foreign Affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee's comments about whether New Zealand should follow Australia's law on revoking citizenships - in light of a terror suspect's repatriation - is stirring up debate. New Zealand-born Suhayra Aden, 26, and her two children were detained by Turkey after trying to illegally cross the Syrian border earlier this year. Her citizenship for Australia - where she had mostly lived prior to leaving for Syria - was revoked by the Government without New Zealand's consultation. Yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed New Zealand and Turkish authorities had struck a deal for the 26-year-old and her children to be repatriated. While National Party deputy leader Shane Reti told RNZ that the Government's repatriation decision [...]

July 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

U.S. will not lift travel restrictions, citing Delta variant, White House says

WASHINGTON- The United States will not lift any existing travel restrictions"at this point" due to concerns over the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant and the rising number of U.S. coronavirus cases, the White House confirmed on Monday. The decision, which was first reported by Reuters, comes after a senior level White House meeting late on Friday. It means that the long-running travel restrictions that have barred much of the world's population from the United States since 2020 will not be lifted in the short term. "Given where we are today ... with the Delta variant, we will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday, citing the spread of the Delta variant in the United States and abroad. "Driven by the Delta variant, [...]

July 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Woman critically injured after being struck by logging truck in Waipukurau, road closed

A woman is in a critical condition after being hit by a logging truck in Waipukurau on Tuesday morning. Photo / Rachel Wise A pedestrian is critically injured after being struck by a logging truck on the main road through Waipukurau on Tuesday morning. Emergency services were alerted to the crash near the intersection of Herbert St and Pōrangahau Rd in central Waipukurau about 11.20am. A woman with critical injuries is being transported to hospital by rescue helicopter, a police spokesperson confirmed. The road has been closed between Russell St and Northumberland St. Motorists are asked to avoid the area and follow directions by emergency services on-site for an alternate route. The New Zealand Transport Agency advised on its website at 11.50am that the road is likely to remain [...]

July 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

US combat forces to leave Iraq by end of year

IMAGE COPYRIGHTANADOLU AGENCY image captionIraq's prime minister says there is no need for any foreign combat forces on Iraqi soil   President Joe Biden has said US combat forces will leave Iraq by the end of this year, though troops will continue to train and advise the Iraqi military. The announcement came after Mr Biden held talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi at the White House. There are currently 2,500 US troops in Iraq helping local forces counter what remains of the Islamic State group. Numbers of US troops are likely to stay the same but the move is being seen as an attempt to help the Iraqi PM. The US presence in Iraq has become a major issue since top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and the leader [...]

July 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: full medal table

Find out who’s topping the leaderboard at the Olympic Games, and drill down to discover which events each country won medals for About the medal table As is traditional, the table prioritises the number of gold medals won. On this basis in 2016, the United States led the field with 46 golds, with Great Britain second on 27 and China third with 26. If countries have the same number of gold medals, the order is then dictated by which has the most silvers, and finally bronze if the numbers are still identical. The US won 121 medals overall in Rio, while China had more medals overall than Britain, 70 to 67. UK Sport has said it hopes Team GB will win “between 45 and 70” medals in Tokyo. Japan, [...]

July 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Nine takeaways from Duterte’s last SONA

From going over his accomplishments to joking about his own mortality, President Duterte’s candidness took over his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday. Here are nine takeaways from the President’s speech. 1. Dreams and achievements President Duterte looked at what his administration has achieved in his speech. He went over his dreams and vision of a better life for all Filipinos, the reforms and radical changes that needed to be made, and how he tangled with men of wealth and influence. He stressed the importance of good governance, his push for free education and universal healthcare, giving adequate food and housing, and campaigning for environmental preservation and respect for culture. The President also went over a passionate subject– peace and security. He recalled increasing the salary [...]

July 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz wins first ever Olympic gold for Philippines

Philippines’ Hidilyn Diaz competes in the women’s 55kg weightlifting competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo International Forum in Tokyo on July 26, 2021. (AFP) Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz made true to her promise to end the gold medal drought for the Philippines as she ruled the 55-kilogram category in women’s weightlifting in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the Tokyo International Forum Monday, July 26. Five years after settling with the silver medal in the Rio Olympics, Diaz successfully lifted 127kgs — an Olympic record –– on her third and last attempt at clean and jerk which gave her a total of 224kgs. The 30-year-old Diaz had her best lift of 97kgs in snatch. Her total of 224kgs also set an Olympic mark. China’s Liao Qiuyun, [...]

July 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Duterte’s final Sona: A ‘legacy of change’

PREVIEW OF MONDAY’S PROTESTS Artists from Ugatlahi Artists Collective put the finishing touches on the 2D artwork depicting President Duterte as a gecko over his declaration to run for vice president in 2022 and stay in power. —RICHARD A. REYES   MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo  Duterte is expected to talk about his “legacy of change” and enumerate his administration’s achievements when he delivers today his sixth and last State of the Nation Address (Sona) before the joint session of Congress. The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) has been busy the past weeks conducting a series of pre-Sona forums, featuring members of various Cabinet clusters, under the theme “Pamana ng Pagbabago” (Legacy of Change). It has also been churning out on social media statistics on what it termed were [...]

July 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Hayden Wilde wins bronze in men’s triathlon at Tokyo Olympics

Hayden Wilde has won New Zealand's first medal at the Tokyo Olympics, taking bronze in the men's triathlon in Odaiba Bay. Photo: Photosport   Wilde was 37th after the opening swim leg but made up ground on the bike and started the final run leg in the top ten. He quickly moved into the top three and that's where he would remain for the rest of the race, running his way to bronze and Aotearoa's first medal of Tokyo 2020. Fellow New Zealander Tayler Reid was also in the top ten at the start of the run and eventually finished 18th. Wilde's bronze is New Zealand's first Olympic triathlon medal since Bevan Docherty won bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games. Hamish Carter won gold with Docherty silver at the [...]

July 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand-shaped front brings heavy rain, wild winds, and flood risk

BRADEN FASTIER/STUFF A pedestrian navigates their way to work in central Nelson during rain on Monday, with more expected through the day.   Many areas are being battered by heavy rain and wild winds as a New Zealand-shaped front rolls west across the country. Severe weather warnings were in force for Northland, Auckland, the Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Nelson, and Westland on Monday morning, with heavy rain expected. People in Auckland and Fiordland were warned to brace for strong winds, and there were also a number of less severe weather watches in force across the country. HOSSEIN SOLTANLOO/UNSPLASH Auckland had 40 millimetres of rain on Monday morning (file photo).     MetService meteorologist Dan Corrigan said all the morning’s warnings and watches related to an active weather front coming [...]

July 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Putin says Russian navy can carry out ‘unpreventable strike’ if needed

Sailors line up on a deck of the nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine K-549 Knyaz Vladimir before the Navy Day parade in Saint Petersburg, Russia July 25, 2021. Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via REUTERS MOSCOW: The Russian navy can detect any enemy and launch an "unpreventable strike" if needed, President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday (Jul 25), weeks after a UK warship angered Moscow by passing the Crimea peninsula. "We are capable of detecting any underwater, above-water, airborne enemy and, if required, carry out an unpreventable strike against it," Putin said, speaking at a navy day parade in St Petersburg. Putin's words follow an incident in the Black Sea in June when Russia said it had fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of a British warship to chase it [...]

July 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Dietary supplements causing severe liver injuries in Australians, with some requiring transplants, study shows

Researchers say cases linked to products claiming to promote muscle growth or weight loss are rising and more rigorous oversight is needed Some experts warn the actual rate of harm of supplement-induced liver injuries in Australia is likely much higher as the study only examined severe cases admitted to hospital. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo The number of patients being admitted to hospital with severe liver injuries caused by herbal and dietary supplements claiming to promote muscle growth or weight loss is increasing, with some people harmed so severely they required a liver transplant. A study led by Dr Emily Nash from the Royal Prince Alfred hospital examined hospital records of 184 adults admitted to the AW Morrow Gastroenterology and Liver Centre with drug-induced liver injury between 2009 and 2020. [...]

July 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Emmanuel Macron ‘pushes for Israeli inquiry’ into NSO spyware concerns

French president reportedly spoke to Naftali Bennett to ensure ‘proper investigation’ after Pegasus project NSO has said Macron was not a ‘target’ of any of its customers, meaning the company denies he was selected for surveillance using Pegasus. Composite: Guardian Design/Romain Gaillard/Sipa/Rex/Shutterstock Emmanuel Macron has reportedly spoken to the Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennett, to ensure that the Israeli government is “properly investigating” allegations that the French president could have been targeted with Israeli-made spyware by Morocco’s security services. In a phone call, Macron expressed concern that his phone and those of most of his cabinet could have been infected with Pegasus, hacking software developed by the Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group, which enables operators of the tool to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate [...]

July 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand’s wait for an Olympic swimming medal continues

New Zealand swimmer Lewis Clareburt has faded to finish seventh in the men's 400m individual medley final on day two of the Tokyo Olympics. Lewis Clareburt after the 400m IM final in Tokyo. Photo: John Cowpland/Photosport Ltd 2021   After a slow butterfly leg, Clareburt took the lead on the backstroke and was second behind American Chase Kalisz at the end of the breaststroke. Kalisz, the Rio silver medallist, held on to win gold, while the chasing pack swamped the Wellingtonian on the second lap of the freestyle. Another American Jay Litherland, who is a New Zealand passport holder, claimed silver ahead of Australian Brendon Smith. Clareburt finished eight tenths of a second off the podium in 4 minutes 11.11 seconds, more than one and a half seconds slower [...]

July 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Air New Zealand ‘willing and able’ to increase flights from Australia

The clock is ticking and New Zealanders have until 11.59pm on 30 July to get on a quarantine-free flight back home from Australia. However, travellers from New South Wales must go through managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ). Air New Zealand aircraft. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon   The trans-Tasman travel bubble is paused for at least eight weeks as the Delta variant continues to spread. Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran told Morning Reportthe airline would do everything to help New Zealanders wanting to return this week from Australia. "Trust us," he said. "We have seen plenty of people reach out over the weekend. We've got about 7500 people booked to return to New Zealand through to midnight this Friday." The prime minister this morning said it was [...]

July 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Britain faces ‘decades of financial risk’ as £370bn pandemic bill mounts

MPs call for immediate inquiry into Covid response to learn the lessons of what went wrong Nurses on the ICU at Milton Keynes hospital. Some 32 billion items of PPE were ordered by the Department of Health as of May 2021. But of these only 11 billion have so far been distributed. Photograph: David Levene/the Guardian   Taxpayers will be left facing “significant financial risk for decades to come” because of the levels of emergency government spending on the pandemic, totalling more than £370bn, a powerful committee of MPs says today. In two separate reports, the all-party public accounts committee (PAC) paints a daunting picture of the lasting financial strain caused by the first 16 months of combating Covid-19, and says the government must not wait until after the [...]

July 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Tokyo Olympics, July 25: Kiwi swimmer Clareburt falls short in bid for medal – Live

1:42pm - Heartbreak for the Wellingtonian, who finishes with a time of 4:11.22s - two seconds slower than his qualifying time from Saturday night, whihc would have had him in line for silver. American Chase Kalisz claims gold with a time of 4:09.42. Silver goes to the US' Jay Litherland (4:10.28) and bronze to Aussie's Brandon Smith (4:10.38) 1:38pm - No medal for the Kiwi! It's all over. Just unable to accelerate through the final freestyle leg and he falls to seventh. 1:37pm - Still in second in the freestyle, about to turn again. 1:36pm - Clareburt turns into second as the American streaks ahead in the breaststroke. 1:35pm - Clareburt pacing himself, moves into first place as the breatstroke begins. 1:34pm - Into backstroke, Clareburt surges into second. [...]

July 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Philippines floods: thousands flee Manila after days of torrential rain

One person has died as officials struggle to provide adequate Covid-safe emergency shelter for nearly 15,000 residents People wade through the flood water brought by heavy monsoon rains in Rizal province east of the Philippine capital, Manila. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock Thousands of residents have fled flooded communities and swollen rivers in the Philippine capital, Manila, and outlying provinces after days of torrential monsoon rains that left at least one villager dead. Officials say they are struggling to open more emergency shelters in order to allow social distancing among the displaced residents and prevent evacuation camps from turning into epicentres of Covid-19 infections. In the hard-hit city of Marikina in the capital region, nearly 15,000 residents were evacuated to safety overnight as waters rose alarmingly in a major river. “This situation [...]

July 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 update: Two new cases in MIQ, none in the community

Testing shows two new cases have been detected in MIQ, and none in the community, officials say. Photo: 123rf   In a statement from the Ministry of Health, it said there were also two new historical cases aboard the Playa Zahara ship. The new new imported cases came from the United States and the United Kingdom. It said the number of active cases in New Zealand is 58 and the total number of confirmed cases is 2506. "One previously reported positive case has now been reviewed and classified as 'not a case' and a second previously reported positive case is now reclassified as under investigation. Both cases have been removed from our total tally of cases." Yesterday three new positive cases of Covid-19 were announced in managed isolation facilities. [...]

July 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Delta variant changed approach to trans-Tasman bubble: Robertson

The Government won't be reopening the trans-Tasman bubble until it is "comfortable" community transmission in Australia is contained, the Deputy Prime Minister says. Grant Robertson speaks with Q+A about the eight-week suspension of the trans-Tasman bubble. Source: 1 NEWS The bubble was suspended on Friday night for at least eight weeks as New South Wales and other parts of Australia grapple with the Delta variant. Grant Robertson told Q+A the Government's "precautionary approach" to the bubble had changed from a state by state basis to one that was Australia wide due to Delta's higher transmissability. "The reality, particularly on the mainland of Australia, is that unfortunately those are big borders, it’s very hard, and because it’s so transmissible, we’ve seen with Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, even Western Australia and [...]

July 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Lucky Auckland player wins $17 million Lotto Powerball

One lucky player from Auckland is many millions richer after winning Saturday's massive Lotto draw. Source: 1 NEWS The player took home $17 million from Powerball First Division and $166,667 from Lotto First Division. The winning ticket was sold at West City Lotto in Auckland. The player is the 13th Powerball winner this year. Five other Lotto players from around the country each won $166,667 with Lotto First Division in the live Lotto draw. Meanwhile, Strike Four has rolled over and will be $800,000 on Wednesday night.

July 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Five largest burning wildfires in the USA and what we know about them

As wildfire seasons in many areas throughout the nation start earlier and last longer, 2021 is on track to be another devastating year for fires. As of Saturday, there are a total of 88 large wildfires burning in the U.S., and they have already destroyed 1,456,925 acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. With help from unprecedented heat waves and drought, new fires are rapidly igniting, sometimes quicker than they can be contained. The fires, which have predominantly affected the western region of the country, have created nationwide air pollution and resulted in thousands of evacuations. "We're seeing an environmental change where we are more susceptible to these wildfires," said Josh Dozor, general manager of medical and security assistance at International SOS. "It's growing in severity." Using data [...]

July 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New limits on sea-run salmon for Canterbury anglers announced

Canterbury anglers will only be able to catch two sea-run salmon a season from October instead of two a day. File photo of wild salmon. Photo: 123RF   Fish and Game has introduced the new season bag limit in a bid to recover salmon stocks. Council chair Ray Grubb said the wild sea-run salmon fishery has been in decline for over 20 years. "Over the last 10 years, the number of salmon running to spawn has decreased dramatically. We need to take urgent action to aim for recovery of the fish stocks, as salmon are really, really important for a whole bunch of our anglers and the deterioration is not one way anyone's comfortable with." Fish and Game had to seek regulatory change from the government to put in [...]

July 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Bali running out of oxygen as Indonesia ponders COVID-19 curbs

A medical worker pulls an oxygen cylinder to be delivered to the emergency ward at a government-run hospital amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, July 23, 2021, in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Nyoman Hendra Wibowo/ via REUTERS   JAKARTA: The Indonesian island of Bali is running out of oxygen for its COVID-19 patients as infections surge, the chief of its health agency said, as Southeast Asia's biggest country struggles with the region's worst COVID-19 epidemic. Bali, famous for its tourist beaches and temples, along with the main island of Java and 15 other regions are under tight coronavirus restrictions, due to expire on Sunday (Jul 25). The government is debating whether to extend them or not. Police officers walk as they guard [...]

July 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

From US$84,000 to US$100: Malaysia a step closer to eliminating hepatitis C with new, affordable drug

World Hepatitis Day is observed on Jul 28 every year and this year’s theme is “Hepatitis Can’t Wait”. Hepatitis C elimination in Malaysia may be possible after it made diagnosis and treatment more affordable and accessible. A general skyline view of Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur on Oct 25, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan) KUALA LUMPUR: When Nurul Huda Abd Halim discovered in 2015 that she had hepatitis C virus shortly after donating blood, she was worried about getting another cancer. The 26-year-old kitchen helper in Kuala Lumpur had recovered from lymphoma then. She was well aware that hepatitis C virus, which is transmitted through blood, could cause liver cirrhosis, scarring and cancer if untreated. A silent killer, it could take 20 to 30 years before symptoms appear. The first highly [...]

July 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Olympics ceremony: Naomi Osaka lights flame as Tokyo’s ‘games of hope’ open

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has lit the Olympic cauldron to mark the formal start of Tokyo 2020, in an opening ceremony shorn of glitz and overshadowed by a pandemic but celebrated as a moment of global hope. Fireworks during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the National Stadium. Photo: AFP     Organisers also paid tribute to medical workers as athletes from across the world paraded into an almost empty stadium, their smiles hidden behind masks for the first time. Normally a star-studded display teeming with celebrities, the ceremony was low-key, with fewer than 1000 people in attendance, strict social distancing rules and signs calling on spectators to "be quiet around the venue". "With the world in a tough situation because of the coronavirus [...]

July 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH reaches nearly 500K daily jabs; 5.5M Pinoys fully vaccinated

MANILA – The Philippines achieved another milestone in its national vaccination program on July 22 with the administration of 472,356 coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines nationwide, the highest the country has registered so far. With this development, 5,560,029 Filipinos have been fully vaccinated while 10,866,238 doses have been given as the first dose.                      (PNA photo by Joey Razon)     “We are now past the crawl and walk stages, as we gradually run towards our goal of inoculating half a million Filipinos per day this quarter. This is a preview of better things to come in the remaining six months of 2021,” National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr. said [...]

July 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid: England facing weeks of ‘pingdemic’ disruption to services and food supply

No 10 scrambles to extend self-isolation exemption scheme for critical workers as companies and councils warn of chaos   Empty supermarket shelves are seen on 23 July in London. Luke Pollard, shadow environment secretary, said food supply security is fundamental and empty shelves ‘show the system is failing’. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images England is facing weeks of disruption to bin collection, transport and food supply due to staff self-isolating, companies and councils have warned, amid concerns the 16 August date to lift quarantine for the double-vaccinated could be delayed. No 10 was on Friday scrambling to set up a system to let more key workers take daily tests rather than isolate for 10-days, over fears that large parts of the economy could grind to a halt over the so-called [...]

July 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Philippines becomes first country to give green light to grow enriched ‘golden rice’

It is hoped that the genetically engineered rice, which aims to tackle vitamin A deficiency, could help fight malnutrition globally Golden rice breeder Mallikarjuna Swamy examines golden rice at the IRRI transgenic screenhouse in Los Banos, Laguna province, south of Manila CREDIT: IRRI/AFP Nutrient-enriched “golden rice”, a major innovation in fighting malnutrition, could be on Filipino tables within just 18 months after the government became the first in the world to approve the crop. The Philippines has given the green light for farmers to plant the rice, a genetically engineered grain containing higher levels of beta-carotene which the body converts into vitamin A. It is hoped that the crop will have a big impact in tackling vitamin A deficiencies among the country’s poorest families. Around one in five children [...]

July 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

China retaliates with sanctions on former US commerce secretary, others

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross speaks during the third annual US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue at the State Department in Washington, US, Sep 14, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Erin Scott) BEIJING: China said on Friday (Jul 23) that it has imposed counter-sanctions on US individuals including former US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross in response to recent US sanctions on Chinese officials in Hong Kong. The sanctions are the first imposed by China under its new anti-foreign sanction law, passed in June, and come days before US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is due to visit China amid deeply strained ties. China also imposed unspecified "reciprocal counter-sanctions" on current and former representatives of a range of organisations, including the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Other institutions named included the National Democratic [...]

July 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia’s most populous state declares ‘national emergency’ over Covid outbreak

New South Wales announces 136 new local Delta cases with Sydney under the strictest lockdown measures it has experienced Police officers patrol at the Sydney Opera House amid Covid lockdown. Photograph: James D Morgan/Getty Images Australia’s most populous state has declared a “national emergency” as it struggles to contain a record-breaking surge of the Delta variant of Covid-19 amid a lockdown affecting half the country. The state of New South Wales announced 136 new locally-acquired cases of Covid-19 on Friday, with continued community transmission among essential workers, including in supermarkets and pharmacies. More than a year after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, NSW has broken records for daily case numbers on consecutive days, and the city of Sydney is under the strictest lockdown measures it has ever experienced. [...]

July 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid 19 coronavirus: Transtasman travel bubble closed for eight weeks – Kiwis told ‘come home now’

The Government has shut the transtasman travel bubble for at least the next eight weeks. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acknowledged the 'devastating' impact the Australian Covid outbreak was having on people's lives. She willed the country a speedy recovery, but warned the movement of people could complicate the recovery, she said. Ardern she would not risk the hard work put in by the team of 5 million by keeping the bubble open when the risk was high from the Delta variant. The Delta variant had materially changes the risk profile for the transtasman bubble, she said. In the view of our health officials there is greater risk now than when they opened the travel bubble with Australia. Advice for Kiwis currently in Australia can be found at the bottom [...]

July 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Climate change and recent flooding: What you need to know

The wild weather in the Buller and Marlborough regions last weekend resulted in the third major flooding event in New Zealand this year. Questions are being asked about "one-in-100-year" events that seem to be happening more and more often. But climate scientists have been warning about how climate change will influence severe weather for a long time. Perhaps it's the frequency of severe flooding this winter, coupled with the warmest June on record for New Zealand and the timing of deadly floods in Europe and rampaging fires in the US, Canadaand Russia, that's really hitting it home for people at the moment. So how is climate change involved, how are "one-in-100-year" events classified, and what does it all mean? RNZ is here to clear it all up. Photo: RNZ [...]

July 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Tropical Cyclone ‘Fabian’ Tracker

(PAGASA)   5 a.m., July 24 Typhoon “Fabian” left the Philippine area of responsibility around 11 p.m., Friday, July 23. As of 4 a.m., the center of the eye of typhoon Fabian was estimated at 640 kilometers north-northeast of Itbayat, Batanes 11 p.m., July 23 Typhoon Fabian slightly weakened as it is about to leave the country’s area of responsibility. PAGASA estimated the center of the eye of typhoon Fabian at 560 kilometers northeast of Itbayat, Batanes around 10 p.m. and will likely leave the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) in the next three to six hours. Fabian is currently packing maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 170 kph while moving north-northwest at 10 kph. 5 p.m., July [...]

July 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Magnitude 6.6 quake hits Batangas, felt in Metro Manila, nearby provinces

MANILA, Philippines — A magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck Batangas on Saturday morning, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said. Phivolcs said it traced the epicenter of the earthquake 16 kilometers southwest of Calatagan, Batangas. It had a depth of 116 kilometers. The earthquake, recorded at 4:49 a.m., was of tectonic origin, according to Phivolcs. Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum Jr. added that due to the earthquake’s depth, there is no threat of a tsunami or tidal wave. Some parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces like Laguna, Bulacan and Rizal also experienced tremors. Subsequently, another earthquake hit the same area of Batangas at 4:57 a.m., and its magnitude was recorded at 5.1 with a depth of 107 kilometers. Phivolcs added that while no damage is expected, there may [...]

July 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Phivolcs lowers Taal Volcano’s status to alert level 2

MANILA – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Friday night announced the lowering of Taal Volcano's alert level status from level 3 (magmatic unrest) to level 2 (decreased unrest).             (PNA file photo)     "Following the phreatomagmatic eruption of the main crater on July 1, and 19 weak phreatomagmatic bursts caused by the interaction of magma and water until July 9, there has been a cessation of eruptive activity at Taal Volcano," it said in an advisory. Volcanic unrest has since been characterized by renewed seismic activity, generally declining volcanic gas emission, very slight ground deformation, and positive microgravity anomalies. Since July 1, Phivolcs has recorded 1,195 volcanic earthquakes caused by the movement or eruption of magma from the volcano. Their [...]

July 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Olympics: Comfortable start for NZ rowers in Tokyo

The New Zealand rowing squad has enjoyed a successful opening day at the Tokyo Olympics with all bar one directly qualifying for the quarter or semi-finals. Emma Twigg and Jordan Parry both comfortably advanced to the quarterfinals of their respective single sculls events with Twigg winning her heat and Parry finishing second in his. Parry gained selection ahead of two time Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale. Twigg told Sky Sport she was pleased to simply be back racing after a year and a half away. "It's been a long time coming and it was certainly a bit off a lung buster... certainly a few nerves as the Olympics is a special event but I guess it's a good thing that we experience nerves because you know it means something," she [...]

July 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Germany floods: 155 still missing as hopes of further rescues fade

President of federal disaster relief organisation says she does not expect to find any more survivors Residents clear debris after heavy rains caused flooding along the river Erft in the village of Bad Muenstereifel.Photograph: Sascha Steinbach/EPA At least 155 people remain missing a week after record rainfall caused devastating floods in western Germany, as the president of the country’s disaster relief organisation said she “did not expect” rescuers to find any more survivors. “We are currently still searching for missed ones as we are clearing debris or pumping out cellars,” said Sabine Lackner of the federal agency for technical relief, a volunteering organisation belonging to the German ministry of the interior. “But sadly at this stage it is very likely that victims can only be recovered and not rescued,” [...]

July 22nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

‘I might not make it’: passengers tell of horror as Chinese subway floods

Footage shows water filling carriages in Zhengzhou metro system, trapping people inside Photos taken by Weibo user merakiZz- show a deluged subway car in Zhengzhou, Henan province. Composite: AFP via Getty Images As flood water swirled around their chests, passengers on the Zhengzhou metro carriage clung to the handrails and struggled to breathe in the diminishing space between them and the roof. Some felt faint, and one woman was heard calling family members to give them banking and other information in the apparent fear she might not see them again. Across Chinese digital and social media, horrifying stories have spread of people trapped in floods caused by what authorities said was a once-in-a-millennium rain event that hit the province of Henan, prompting the highest level of weather warning. At [...]

July 22nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Food recall: Salads, sandwiches, wraps sold across New Zealand may have listeria

Salads, sandwiches and wraps sold at supermarkets and petrol stations throughout New Zealand are being recalled due to the possible presence of listeria bacteria. The Ministry of Primary Industries alerted Kiwis on Wednesday morning that LSG Sky Chefs New Zealand is recalling specific batches of products due to the risk of listeria. No reports of illness have been received by New Zealand Food Safety. They include some of its Naturezone brands, Wild Bean Café brands, its Starbucks peri peri chicken pide, sweet chilli chicken sandwich, and chicken schnitzel sandwich. The specific brands and products affected can be found here. The use by dates of affected products include July 19, 21, 22 and 23. New Zealand Food Safety national manager food compliance services, Melinda Sando, says customers should check the [...]

July 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

182 new local COVID-19 cases in Singapore; Haig Road and Chong Pang markets closed after 35 infections detected

SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 182 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections as of noon on Tuesday (Jul 20), with 142 cases linked to the Jurong Fishery Port cluster. This makes it the largest active cluster in Singapore, with 321 cases in all, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in its nightly update. Fourteen more infections have been traced to the KTV cluster, taking the total number of cases in the cluster to 207. Among the new cases announced on Tuesday, 156 are linked to previous infections, with 81 already placed on quarantine and 75 detected through surveillance testing. The remaining 26 infections are not linked to previous cases, said MOH. Two of the new cases are seniors above 70 years old who were not vaccinated and are at risk of serious illness, the ministry added. (Image: Ministry [...]

July 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Former Trump adviser Tom Barrack charged with acting as agent of UAE

He's accused of using his influence with Trump to aid the United Arab Emirates. Tom Barrack, a longtime friend of Donald Trump's who chaired the committee that raised more than $100 million for his inauguration, has been charged with acting as an agent of a foreign government and obstruction of justice. Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said Tuesday that in 2016, Barrack illegally sought to use his influence with the new president on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. In May 2016, according to the indictment, Barrack "took steps to establish himself as the key communications channel for the United Arab Emirates" to the Trump campaign and, that same month, gave a co-defendant a draft copy of an energy speech then-candidate Trump was preparing to deliver. The co-defendant then sent [...]

July 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

At least 40 million Americans are experiencing poor air quality. Hazy skies across US attributed to wildfires in West Many Americans are experiencing poor air quality Tuesday as the smoke from over 80 wildfires travels across the country. Spencer Platt/Getty Images Much of the United States is under an ominous, hazy sky on Tuesday as smoke spreads from the massive wildfires in the West. At least 40 million Americans are experiencing poor air quality. The hazy skies have even reached New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images The Statue of Liberty sits behind a cloud of haze on July 20, 2021 in New York City. These New York City photos show the difference between Tuesday and a typical sunny day. Sam Wnek/ABC View of New York City (top) on July 20, [...]

July 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

2022 polls seen to boost economic recovery

MANILA, PH — An economist is projecting the economy to return to pre-pandemic growth levels by 2022 due partly to the impact of the May 2022 national polls. In a report Tuesday, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort said inflation and interest rates are also expected to be back to pre-pandemic levels next year.                                                         RCBC chief economist Michael Ricafort (File photo) “Economic recovery could accelerate shortly before or during the 2022 election year (as early as the latter part of 2021 or about a year from now),” he said. Last year, growth, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), [...]

July 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

National Party calls for return of Armed Response Teams

The National Party says the police commissioner was "wrong" to put a stop to the Armed Response Teams (ARTs). National Party leader Judith Collins. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   Violent criminal behaviour directed at police is ramping up like never before, according to Police Commissioner Andrew Coster. Last week, two separate shootings - one in Hamilton and one in Auckland - within the space of 24 hours, has shone a spotlight on the threat being posed to officers. The Police Association is demanding improvements to make frontline police officers feel safer. National is calling for ARTs to be reinstated to tackle the rise in gun violence. National Party leader Judith Collins told Morning Report there needed to be people who were full time and specifically trained to deal [...]

July 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZX stabilises as global shares slide amid recovery fears

The local sharemarket has escaped the latest round of global market volatility unscathed. Investors buying selected leading stocks helped the NZX recover after a dip earlier in the day. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King The benchmark top-50 index closed flat after initially falling more than 100 points, just under 1 percent, to a three-week low. But the New Zealand market recovered halfway through the day as investors bought selected leading stocks. Meanwhile, stock markets in other parts of the world dropped on fears that increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases would hamper economic recovery. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index was down by around 1 percent in Tuesday's trade to hit its lowest level in six months. In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled by more than 2 [...]

July 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

COVID-19: New Zealand records six border cases, no new community infections

New Zealand has reported six new border cases of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health said. There are no cases in the community. The Ministry of Health said of the six border infections, three are previously reported cases aboard the Mattina container ship in Bluff. Marshall Island-flagged vessel the Mattina came into port on Sunday night and all 21 crew members were tested on Monday morning. The ship remains in quarantine and all crew remain on board. "As we reported earlier today, nine of the 21 crew members aboard the Marshall Islands-flagged container ship have returned positive results," the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon. "Eight of the nine confirmed cases are symptomatic. They are well enough to remain on board. "Officials will be closely monitoring the health [...]

July 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

NSO clients spying disclosures prompt political rows across world

  Concerns that phone-hacking software may have been used to spy on political opponents spark fury   The Congress Leader, Rahul Gandhi, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and former president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto. Composite: Guardian/Pacific Press/REX/Shutterstock/Reuters/Alamy/EPA Revelations about the use of spying tools sold to governments by NSO Group sparked furious political rows across the world on Monday after evidence emerged to suggest the surveillance firm’s clients may have sought to target their political opponents. Amid growing concern over the apparent abuse of NSO’s powerful phone-hacking spyware, Pegasus, Amazon confirmed it already had cut some of its ties to the Israeli surveillance company. The stock price of Apple dipped amid worries about the privacy and security of its handsets. NSO claims [...]

July 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Possibly explosive material found at Founders Heritage Park in Nelson

The public is being asked to avoid the Founders Heritage Park in Nelson after explosive material was found. Photo / NZH   The public is being asked to avoid the Founders Heritage Park in Nelson as items in the facility are checked for an explosive material. A police spokesperson said the NZ Defence Force's Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit is carrying out an assessment of the material on Atawhai Drive. **** A post on the Nelson City Council facebook page said the items are being checked for picric acid. "Picric acid was widely used in early forms of medicine and medical supplies, including on gauze pads and as an antiseptic. It is a volatile substance sensitive to heat, friction and shock, and has been used as a military explosive. [...]

July 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Indonesia reports record coronavirus deaths ahead of Hari Raya Haji

A total of 1,338 Covid-19 patients died in the past 24 hours, bringing total deaths to 74,920 since the pandemic began. PHOTO: AFP JAKARTA - Indonesia reported record-high coronavirus deaths on Monday (July 19) as the world's fourth most populous country decides whether to extend an ongoing partial lockdown due to end on Tuesday (July 20). A total of 1,338 Covid-19 patients died in the past 24 hours, bringing total deaths to 74,920 since the pandemic began. New infections totalled 34,257 on Monday, the lowest in the past two weeks. The number of tests on Monday was 160,000, lower than the more than 200,000 daily average. The country has a total of 2.91 million cases. The record daily death toll comes as the country - which has the world's [...]

July 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

US Defense Secretary to visit Vietnam, Philippines

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. (File photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool) WASHINGTON : US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will visit Vietnam and the Philippines later this month, the Pentagon said on Monday (Jul 19). "Secretary Austin's visit will demonstrate the importance the Biden-Harris Administration places on Southeast Asia and on ASEAN as an essential part of the Indo-Pacific's architecture," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.  

July 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

How will England’s domestic Covid vaccine passports work?

To enter nightclubs and some other venues, proof of two coronavirus jabs will be compulsory for most The queue for Egg nightclub in London as rules in England were initially unlocked at midnight on 19 July.Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA What changes have ministers announced? The main one is the full introduction of what might be called domestic vaccine passports: from the end of September, people in England will have to prove they have had both Covid doses to enter nightclubs, as well as for what are described as “other venues where large crowds gather”. How is this different to what is in place now? It is a change of policy on two fronts. Firstly, under the fourth and supposedly final stage of unlocking, which began on Monday, all businesses were [...]

July 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Pause on quarantine-free travel from Victoria to New Zealand extended

The pause on quarantine-free travel from Victoria to New Zealand has been extended as "precautionary but necessary" measure. File image. Photo: 123rf.com   In a statement, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said officials met today and decided a better understanding of the developing situation in Victoria was needed. Today, the state extended its lockdown as it recorded 13 new community cases of Covid-19. New South Wales recorded 98 new cases today and the state premier said a hard lockdown was the only way to "crush" the outbreak. The pause on quarantine-free travel from Victoria and New South Wales would be reviewed again on Wednesday 21 July, the MOH said. "Victoria remains in lockdown and, with a growing number of people considered linked to the outbreak, Australian health authorities advise [...]

July 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ in ‘position of vulnerability’ over China hacking accusations

New Zealand has put itself in a vulnerable position by joining other Western allies and Japan in accusing China of state-sponsored cyber attacks, an intelligence analyst says. The Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) has been accused of wider espionage activity and a broader pattern of "reckless" behaviour. Photo: 123rf New Zealand has joined the US, UK, the EU, Britain, Australia, Japan and Canada in publicly calling out Beijing for hacking. In statements overnight they have accused China of the major cyber attack on Microsoft Exchange servers earlier this year, affecting at least 30,000 organisations globally. Western security services believe it signalled a shift from a targeted espionage campaign to a smash-and-grab raid, leading to concerns Chinese cyber-behaviour is escalating. The Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) has also [...]

July 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Duterte: We may need to restore stricter restrictions due to Delta variant

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said that the Philippines may have to  reimpose stricter restrictions after the Department of Health confirmed the incidence of local cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19. In his weekly Talk to the People, Duterte issued this warning as the country reported 35 Delta variant cases, of which, 11 are local cases. "The reported local cases in the country is a call for serious alarm and concern," Duterte said in his weekly briefing with Cabinet secretaries. "We may need to reimpose stricter  restrictions to avoid mass gatherings and avoid super spreader event," he added. Duterte said some Asian countries such as Indonesia were already under stricter restrictions due to the Delta variant. "I urge the DILG... to impose existing restrictions with greater urgency," [...]

July 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Two athletes in Olympic Village test positive for covid, the first instances of athlete infections in Village

Athletes from Kazakhstan arrive at Narita International Airport on July 17 for the Tokyo Olympics. (Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images) TOKYO — Two athletes residing in the Olympic Village tested positive for covid, officials said Sunday, the first instances of athlete infections inside the Village, underscoring growing fears about the spread of the virus during the Games that are set to begin in five days. That means three people have now tested positive inside the Village, an area of Tokyo where Games personnel reside, dine and get tested and is closed off to the public. On Saturday, officials confirmed the first positive case inside the Village of an individual who was not an athlete. All three people came from the same country and are participating in the same sport, and have [...]

July 18th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Government reveals Tourism Infrastructure Fund decisions

More than $18 million has been earmarked to boost tourism infrastructure, with extra attention for the hardest-hit South Island regions. Photo: Dom Thomas Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has announced details of the 57 projects to receive support from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund. Those hardest hit from the loss of international visitors would receive more than half the funding, he said. The areas include Fiordland, South Westland, Queenstown Lakes, Mackenzie District and Kaikōura. "The five South Island areas were heavily reliant on international tourism. Domestic tourism is experiencing a boom as Kiwi travellers embrace the call to 'do something new' but these South Island regions are still doing it tough, he said. "Government funding for these projects will provide much-needed local employment while borders are tightly controlled to keep us [...]

July 18th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Government announces financial aid for flood-hit Coasters, Marlborough

The government has pledged $300,000 to help the sodden Buller district, as 1000 people in Westport are unable to return home. Kris Faafoi and Damien O'Connor have flown over the flood-hit region on the West Coast today. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   A further $100,000 will be provided to the Marlborough District, which has also been hit hard by flooding. Alongside that, the event has been classified a medium-scale adverse event, unlocking another $200,000 for flood-affected farmers and growers across the West Coast and Marlborough regions. Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi said the money will be provided through mayoral relief funds. "While it is too early to know the full cost of the damage, we expect it to be significant and this contribution will help communities [...]

July 18th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

PDP-Laban ousts Pacquiao as president, installs Cusi

  Philippines - Ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on Saturday ousted Senator Manny Pacquiao as party president and installed Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi as his replacement. "I will live by the oath I took," said Cusi, after he was sworn in by President Rodrigo Duterte, who is party chairman. Cusi's assumption came shortly after Pacquiao's post was declared vacant. Pacquiao, who is in the United States to prepare for his title boxing fight against Errol Spence, was expelled from his post in the party just seven months after he took oath as PDP-Laban president. In a statement, Pacquiao slammed the assembly: "Kung sa tingin nila Cusi at iba pa na mas importante ang politika sa ngayon, bahala na sila. Sa huli, isa lang naman ang tanong na [...]

July 18th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Washington Nationals game halted after shooting outside park, fans told to leave

Four people were injured in the shooting outside Nationals Park. The Washington Nationals game was called to an abrupt halt on Saturday night after a shooting outside the stadium. The team confirmed there was a shooting outside the Third Base Gate at Nationals Park. After initially telling fans to stay in their seats due to an "incident" outside, they were then told to exit the stadium through the Centerfield or Right Field gates. The game was in the bottom of the sixth inning when fans heard loud pops outside the park. The game was halted as fans were seen heading for the concourse and some even exited the stands onto the field and into the dugouts. The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department said two people were shot outside the park [...]

July 18th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Wild weather: What you need to know

Parts of the West Coast and top of the South Island have been cut off due to flooding, while states of emergency have been declared in Marlborough and Buller. Photo: SUPPLIED/ Marlborough District Council     Hundreds of people in Marlborough and Buller were evacuated today, joining hundreds who were evacuated on Friday night and must spend another night away from their homes. Picton is now cut off from the rest of the South Island, the latest town to be cut off as flooding and high river levels leaves roads impassable. The Transport Agency says Westport, Tākaka, Collingwood, Murchison, Springs Junction and Nelson are also isolated due to the current weather conditions. Here is a summary of what is happening in each area. Four areas of Marlborough evacuated Marlborough [...]

July 18th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

UK ‘very interested’ in hosting US Space Force radar station

RAF chief says system to track objects up to 22,000 miles from Earth is ‘incredibly important’ RAF Fylingdales can only detect objects up to 12,000 miles away while the Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability would look much further into space. Photograph: John Giles/PA   An American space force plan to develop a global monitoring system to track objects up to 22,000 miles from Earth could establish radar stations in the US, UK and Australia. The head of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Wigston, is in the US for talks over the plans, and said on Saturday the British were “very interested” in the project and hosting one of the American radar stations. China is challenging US military and technological dominance in a number of theatres, including in [...]

July 18th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

President Biden says Facebook, other social media ‘killing people’ when it comes to COVID-19 misinformation

His comments come one day after the surgeon general issued a new advisory. One day after the surgeon general warned Americans about what he called the "urgent threat of health misinformation," President Joe Biden didn't mince words when asked for his message to platforms like Facebook about COVID-19 misinformation. "They're killing people," he said. As the president was leaving the White House for Camp David on Friday afternoon, he was asked, specifically, "On COVID misinformation, what's your message to platforms like Facebook?" Biden answered, "They're killing people. I mean, it really -- look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they're killing people." Jonathan Ernst/Reuters President Joe Biden talks to the media as he departs for a weekend visit to Camp David from the White House [...]

July 18th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

10 new cases of Covid-19 in MIQ, ship Playa Zahara in quarantine berth

There have been 10 new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation and quarantine over the past two days and none in the community, the Ministry of Health has announced. Photo: 123rf.com   The figure includes three of the four Viking Bay mariners who remain aboard the ship quarantined at Queens Wharf in Wellington. Welfare and health checks were being carried out daily, and plans were in place should any of them become unwell, the Ministry said in a statement this afternoon. Two further cases were reported deemed historical and not considered infectious. A further case from India reported on Friday as historical had now been reclassified as under investigation and had been removed from New Zealand's tally. Fourteen previously reported case had now recovered, it said. The number of [...]

July 18th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Kremlin papers appear to show Putin’s plot to put Trump in White House

Exclusive: Documents suggest Russia launched secret multi-agency effort to interfere in US democracy Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. The documents appear to confirm the Kremlin possesses compromising material on Trump. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP   Vladimir Putin personally authorised a secret spy agency operation to support a “mentally unstable” Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election during a closed session of Russia’s national security council, according to what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents. The key meeting took place on 22 January 2016, the papers suggest, with the Russian president, his spy chiefs and senior ministers all present. They agreed a Trump White House would help secure Moscow’s strategic objectives, among them “social turmoil” in the US and a weakening of the American president’s negotiating position. Russia’s three [...]

July 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Wild weather: Rare ‘red warning’ issued for parts of South Island

A rare 'red warning' has been issued for parts of the South Island, where strong winds and rain are starting to hit. MetService has issued a 'red warning' for heavy rain from Fox Glacier north to Buller. Photo: MetService   MetService issued the warning, just the third issued since 2019, and said the heavy rainfall could bring significant flooding and the risk of slips from central Westland to Buller. "A red warning is in force for significant heavy rain from central Westland to Buller. Flooding is likely, as are slips and disruption to transport. Some communities could become isolated, and livestock should be moved to high ground," it said. It also said up to 400mm of rain in the ranges, and 200mm on the coast, is expected to fall [...]

July 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Three more Thai islands open to vaccinated travellers despite surge in COVID-19 cases

Thailand is expanding its vaccinated tourist scheme to Samui, Tao and Phangan islands. (Photo: AFP/Romeo Gacad)    BANGKOK: Three more Thai islands opened to vaccinated foreign tourists on Thursday (Jul 15) despite a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases propelled by the Delta variant. The islands - Samui, Tao and Phangan - welcomed visitors as part of the kingdom's push to revive its battered tourism industry. Thailand launched its "sandbox" scheme on Jul 1, allowing vaccinated travellers to visit Phuket Island. Tourists do not have to quarantine in a hotel but cannot leave Phuket for two weeks. Under Thursday's expansion, tourists must stay at an approved hotel on Samui for a week and can leave their accommodation on day four. Advertisement They will have to produce a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed [...]

July 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

20,000 Afghan interpreters asking for US asylum

Former Afghan interpreters, who worked with US troops in Afghanistan, demonstrate in front of the US embassy in Kabul in June 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS   WASHINGTON (AFP) - About 20,000 Afghans who worked as interpreters for the United States during its war in Afghanistan and now fear retribution from Taleban insurgents have applied for evacuation, the White House said on Thursday (July 15). "There are approximately 20,000 Afghans who have applied," Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. Psaki said those are all former translators for the military or other entities, whom the Taleban have targeted. However, the United States will also consider applications by the families of the interpreters, she said, without specifying how many family members would be allowed. According to some estimates, the number of people eligible to [...]

July 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Asia’s Air Travel May Take Three Years to Recover From Pandemic

Asian air travel may take another three years to recover fully from the devastation wrought by the pandemic, lagging behind rebounds in other regions and offering a stern headwind for refiners making jet fuel. It’ll take until 2024 for international air travel across the region to reach pre-virus levels, a year after global traffic hits that milestone, according to the International Air Transport Association. Similarly, consultancy Energy Aspects says jet fuel consumption will reach pre-pandemic volumes only in 2023-2024. The drawn-out timelines highlight the difficulties facing Asia and the likely consequences for jet fuel, a traditionally prized part of the oil-products market. Low rates of vaccination in many countries, the challenge posed by the fast-spreading delta variant, and persistent lockdowns have all set back the recovery even as the [...]

July 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

China to launch national carbon trading market ‘very soon’

China's emissions trading scheme is seen as a key tool to help it reduce its carbon footprint and meet its emission targets.PHOTO: REUTERS BEIJING - China’s long-awaited national carbon trading market, set to be the world’s largest, will be launched very soon and include more than 2,000 power companies in its initial stage, the country’s environment ministry said on Wednesday (July 14). Together, these firms account for about four billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually, said vice-minister of ecology and environment Zhao Yingmin. The world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, China accounts for 27 per cent of the world’s emissions. In 2019, China’s greenhouse gas emissions amounted to some 14.09 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent, according to figures from the Rhodium Group. Mr Zhao, who was speaking at [...]

July 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid 19 coronavirus: More mariners infected and five new cases in MIQ

There are five new cases of Covid-19 in recent returnees in MIQ and 21 cases detected at the border. The Ministry of Health earlier today confirmed that a shipping vessel now headed for a port in Christchurch has been struck by Covid; with 16 out of 18 crew members infected. Members of the crew were tested for the virus at Port Taranaki on Tuesday, after several people on board reported flu-like illnesses, the ministry said. The vessel, named the Playa Zahara, is now on its way to Lyttelton Port. Authorities say they are working on arrangements for those on board once they arrive sometime tomorrow. "This includes whether they quarantine aboard the ship or are transferred to a quarantine facility on shore," a statement said this morning. Authorities in [...]

July 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Three Waters reforms: Government spends $2.5bn to keep councils on even ground

The government plans to splash $2.5 billion on ensuring the Three Waters reform programme leaves no council worse off. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Nanaia Mahuta Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas   Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the funding along with a joint statement with Local Government New Zealand at the organisation's conference in Blenheim this afternoon. Opposition leader Judith Collins says the funding amounts to a bribe, and while National is in support of funding it would tie the funding for councils to housing provision. The government's proposed reforms would see management for the country's 67 councils' storm, drinking and waste water - the "three waters" - moved into the hands of four regional entities which would begin operations from 1 July [...]

July 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Malaysia Cabinet pledges ‘full support’ for PM Muhyiddin following UMNO withdrawal

  FILE PHOTO: Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin speaks during opening remarks for virtual APEC Economic Leaders Meeting 2020, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia November 20, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng   KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Cabinet ministers have declared "full support" for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, a week after the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) urged him to step down. In a statement issued by Cabinet members on Wednesday (Jul 14), the ministers said that they have unanimously decided to continue throwing their support behind Mr Muhyiddin. "Cabinet members, in the Cabinet meeting on Jul 12, 2021, have unanimously decided to continue giving full support to the leadership of Muhyiddin Yassin as Malaysia's prime minister," the statement read. They added that each government decision was collectively made by the Cabinet, after taking the [...]

July 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ex-senator among three new suspects after murder of Haiti president

Police seeking a fired government official, a former opposition senator and a convicted cocaine smuggler Haitian police standing guard in Port-au-Prince on Monday as protests were planned after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Photograph: Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters   Authorities in Haiti say they are seeking a former senator, a fired government official and a convicted cocaine smuggler as suspects in the investigation into the killing of President Jovenel Moïse. A sprawling investigation has so far taken in a quixotic galaxy of alleged actors, including Colombian guns for hire, a US-based Haitian pastor and a Florida-based security firm. Amid a continuing power struggle and renewed claims that some of those arrested may have been tricked into their involvement, the exact circumstances of Moïse’s killing last week remain murky. The latest [...]

July 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Wellington IRD staff sent home after earthquake assessment

Hundreds of Inland Revenue staff have been sent home after it was found their central Wellington office tower may not be safe in an earthquake. The Asteron building. Photo: RNZ / Emile Donovan When looking to renew the lease at The Asteron building on Featherston Street, the IRD received a poorer seismic assessment than previously issued. Up to 1000 staff will work from home until the building can be strengthened. Inland Revenue said no decision had been made on whether it will now renew the lease. The 17-storey block is Wellington's largest office building.

July 14th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

India states considering two-child policy and incentives for sterilisation

Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Gujarat have announced draft legislation which would see anyone with more than two children denied benefits and in some cases jobs Several of India’s most populous states are considering bringing in a two-child policy and incentivising sterilisation. Photograph: Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images   Several Indian states are considering implementing a controversial two-child policy and incentivising sterilisation as a means of population control. The state of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state with a population larger than Brazil, has announced draft legislation which would see anyone with more than two children denied state benefits, subsidies and government jobs. After a family has two children, there will also be incentives if one of the parents undergoes voluntary sterilisation. The bill was put forward by the Uttar Pradesh state [...]

July 14th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

End to Covid rules for England ‘leaves 3.8m vulnerable people feeling abandoned’

Charities warn that shift on 19 July to personal choice on virus precautions is instilling fear in many most at risk The government is advising clinically extremely vulnerable people to ‘continue to take extra precautions to protect themselves’. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty   Cancer patients, disabled people and other clinically extremely vulnerable groups say they will feel unsafe stepping the house after hearing that mask and social distancing requirements are to be abandoned, charities have warned. Campaigners estimate that 3.8 million people have been left feeling abandoned by the government’s shift towards promoting “personal responsibility” as the sole means of navigating the surging Covid-19 infection rates in England. It means many people wary of coming into close contact with others who are infected will have to resort to self-imposed shielding. [...]

July 14th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Public at risk, confine infected mariners to MIQ rooms – Des Gorman

The best way to mitigate risk posed by 15 Covid-19 infected crew members at a MIQ facility is to lock them in their rooms with no breaks, a professor of medicine says. Grand Mercure Hotel usually allocates one floor for Covid-19-infected people, but has opened up a second level. Photo: RNZ / Denise Garland   University of Auckland's Des Gorman told Morning Report the Wellington public had been exposed to undue risk because the system designed to keep the virus out the country had not be executed. Viking Bay fishing vessel crew members were transferred from the ship berthed in Wellington to the Grand Mercure Hotel in the capital yesterday. One of the infected crew was confirmed as having the virulent Delta variant. The hotel usually keeps one floor [...]

July 14th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid 19 coronavirus: NSW bracing for four-week lockdown extension as Sydney Delta outbreak grows

The foundations have been laid for Sydney's lockdown extension to be announced today. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian hinted the shutdown would be extended after locally transmitted cases of Covid-19 ran rampant. Since Sunday, community transmission has spread across the city - with 77, 112 and 89 cases daily. Two people have died since Friday after contracting the virus. The strongest indication the lockdown would remain past July 16 was the announcement of a huge support scheme for businesses affected in the city last night, which economists say is based on the assumption the lockdown will last another four weeks. This would see it lifting mid-August, rather than this coming Friday. The state posted 89 new infections yesterday and a second death – with at least 21 of those cases [...]

July 14th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

US sees biggest annual inflation jump since 2008

As widespread COVID-19 vaccinations allowed the world's largest economy to relax pandemic restrictions, Americans have resumed spending and traveling but have faced rising prices for used cars, gasoline, hotels and airline fares.     WASHINGTON - The United States saw its biggest surge in inflation in more than a decade last month, according to government data released Tuesday, hitting consumers and challenging the White House and Federal Reserve narrative that the price spike will fade in the coming months. As widespread COVID-19 vaccinations allowed the world's largest economy to relax pandemic restrictions, Americans have resumed spending and traveling but have faced rising prices for used cars, gasoline, hotels and airline fares. That trend could undermine already-tentative support for President Joe Biden's economic plan, including his massive jobs and infrastructure [...]

July 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Pulse Asia: Sara leads presidential bets, Duterte leads VP polls for Eleksyon 2022

Philippines- Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and President Rodrigo Duterte dominated the latest polls for possible presidential and vice presidential candidates for Eleksyon 2022, according to a Pulse Asia survey released Tuesday. According to the pollster, the presidential daughter is the most preferred candidate for the presidency, with 28% if the May 2022 presidential elections occurred during the survey period from June 7 to June 16. She was followed by Manila Mayor Francisco Isko Moreno with 14%, former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. with 13%, and Senator Grace Poe with 10%. Senator Manny Pacquiao got 8% while Vice-President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo received 6%, and Senator Panfilo Lacson had 4%. The younger Duterte has consistently led presidential preference surveys over the past year, but has expressed hesitation about running. [...]

July 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

US weighs digital trade deal to counter China in Asia

The deal would show the Biden administration is interested in pursuing new trade opportunities.PHOTO: AFP   WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - White House officials are discussing proposals for a digital trade agreement covering Indo-Pacific economies as the administration seeks ways to check China's influence in the region, according to people familiar with the plans. Details of the potential agreement are still being drafted, but the pact could potentially include countries such as Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is not public. The deal could set out standards for the digital economy, including rules on the use of data, trade facilitation and electronic customs arrangements, according to another person. It also would show the [...]

July 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

In symbolic end to war, US general departs Afghanistan

US General Austin Miller, (L) shakes hand with Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, at a ceremony in Kabul, as Miller relinquishes command during the final phase of America?s withdrawal from the war in Afghanistan Jul 12, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Phil Stewart)     KABUL: The US general leading the war in Afghanistan, Austin Miller, relinquished command on Monday (Jul 12) at a ceremony in Kabul, in what was a symbolic end to America's longest conflict even as Taliban insurgents gain momentum across the country. Miller, America's last four-star commander to serve on the ground in Afghanistan, stepped down ahead of a formal end to the US military mission there on Aug 31, a date set by President Joe Biden as he looks to extricate the country from the two-decade-old war. Addressing a small gathering [...]

July 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Veggie prices soar in June, marking highest rise in four years

The latest Statistics New Zealand Food Price Index shows veggie prices have shot up 15 percent. Photo credit: Getty Images.   In what is a timely reminder to shop for in-season produce, last month saw the highest rise for vegetable prices in four years. The Statistics New Zealand food price index, which measures changes in food prices, shows veggie prices, including tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, capsicum and broccoli, shot up 15 percent in June compared to May (8.5 percent with seasonal adjustments). Overall food prices rose 1.4 percent over the June month - up 2.8 percent on the same time last year. Statistics New Zealand consumer prices manager Matthew Sansfield said heading through winter, due to the change of season, it's typical to see prices for many veggies rise. "However, [...]

July 13th, 2021|Categories: News|Comments Off on Veggie prices soar in June, marking highest rise in four years

NZ Government launched cryptocurrency inquiry to understand benefits and risks

The inquiry will "further our understanding of this increasingly important topic" Photo credit: Getty Images   An inquiry into the nature, impact and risk of cryptocurrencies has been announced by Parliament's Finance and Expenditure Committee. It will look into the nature and benefits of cryptocurrencies as well as the risks to both users and Aotearoa as a whole. "This inquiry will give us a good opportunity to further our understanding of this increasingly important topic," Dr Duncan Webb, chairperson of the committee said. The terms of reference will examine how cryptocurrencies are created and traded - including the environmental impact of crypto coin mining. Mining is a way people acquire cryptocurrency without buying it. Miners receive the currency as a reward for using computer processing power to solve complex [...]

July 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Cuba protests: Arrests after thousands rally against government

Dozens of people have been arrested in Cuba after thousands joined the biggest protests for decades against the island's Communist government, media and opposition sources say. Cubans have been angered by the collapse of the economy, food and medicine shortages, price hikes and the government's handling of Covid-19. The protests are significant as critics face harsh punishment for dissent. The island's president called for his supporters to "fight" the protesters. One of those at Sunday's protests, named only as Alejandro, told BBC Mundo: "There is no food, no medicine, there is no freedom. They do not let us live." Protesters shouted "freedom" and "down with the dictatorship" in demonstrations across Cuba, including the capital Havana. "We are not afraid. We want change, we do not want any more dictatorship," [...]

July 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19: 13 more positive cases on quarantined fishing vessel Viking Bay

Another 13 crew from the quarantined fishing vessel Viking Bay have tested positive to Covid-19, the Ministry of Health says. The Viking Bay sailed into Wellington on Monday. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   Two crew had previously been reported as confirmed with the virus. All 15 mariners have been transferred to an a quarantine facility onshore in Wellington. Five remained on board to maintain the safety of the vessel and have returned negative test results so far. The ministry said they would be tested again in coming days. Of the crew who had now returned a positive result, 12 were regarded as being in the early stages of their infection. One returned a result indicating either a very early infection or a historical infection. The initial two mariners [...]

July 12th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Fatal shooting of Matthew Hunt: Man pleads guilty to murder of police constable

A man has pleaded guilty to the murder of Auckland police constable Matthew Hunt in June last year, during a routine traffic stop in Massey. Eli Epiha on trial at the Auckland High Court. Photo: RNZ / Nick Monro   Meanwhile, a second officer who was shot in the leg and seriously injured can today be named as David Goldfinch. RNZ can reveal 25-year-old Eli Epiha pleaded guilty to Hunt's murder and dangerous driving last Wednesday. A court order meant the plea could not be reported until now. Epiha denies the attempted murder of Goldfinch and he is on a trial before a jury of seven men and five women in the High Court in Auckland. Justice Venning told the jury that they must not assume because he was [...]

July 12th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Climate crisis ‘may put 8bn at risk of malaria and dengue’

Reducing global heating could save millions of people from mosquito-borne diseases, study finds A mosquito infected with bacteria to prevent it spreading dengue, Zika and chikungunya. If emissions keep rising at the current rate, the dengue transmission season could be four months longer in 50 years. Photograph: Apu Gomes/AFP/Getty Images Global development is supported by   More than 8 billion people could be at risk of malaria and dengue fever by 2080 if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise unabated, a new study says. Malaria and dengue fever will spread to reach billions of people, according to new projections. Researchers predict that up to 4.7 billion more people could be threatened by the world’s two most prominent mosquito-borne diseases, compared with 1970-99 figures. The figures are based on projections [...]

July 11th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Virus variants threaten global recovery, G20 warns

FILE PHOTO: Participants attend the G20 high-level tax symposium during the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors' meeting in Venice, Italy, July 9, 2021. G20 Italy/Handout via REUTERS VENICE, Italy (Reuters) - An upsurge in new coronavirus variants and poor access to vaccines in developing countries threaten the global economic recovery, finance ministers of the world's 20 largest economies warned on Saturday. The G20 gathering in the Italian city of Venice was the ministers' first face-to-face meeting since the start of the pandemic. Decisions include the endorsement of new rules aimed at stopping multinationals shifting profits to low-tax havens. That paves the way for G20 leaders to finalise a new global minimum corporate tax rate of 15% at a Rome summit in October, a move that could recoup [...]

July 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

France pushes for 25% target for taxing multinationals’ super-profits

Office buildings are seen at the financial and business district of La Defense, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Paris, France, November 9, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier VENICE (Reuters) - Countries should be able to tax a quarter of big multinationals' profits no matter where they are earned, France proposed on Saturday at a G20 finance ministers meeting focused on overhauling the rules for cross-border corporate taxation. Key details remain to be hammered out after G20 finance chiefs formally endorsed the outline of plans that would make new rules for where multinationals get taxed and set a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15%. The emergence of digital commerce has made it possible for big tech firms to book profits in low-tax countries regardless where they money [...]

July 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Judith Collins launches National campaign demanding Government policy debate, He Puapua first target

National leader Judith Collins wants a debate on Government policy. Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell   National wants the Government to spend more time discussing its policies with the electorate, and leader Judith Collins has launched a campaign today urging Kiwis to "demand the debate" on new policies. In the campaign, National will pick Labour ideas it feels haven't been properly discussed with voters at the election, and urge voters to demand a debate on them. "The Labour Government continues to make policy announcements that were never campaigned on and will have a significant impact on New Zealanders," Collins said today, as she unveiled the first in a series of billboards for the campaign. "From the car tax, cancelling promised infrastructure projects, the $785 million Auckland cycle bridge, rushed [...]

July 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

COVID-19: Another ship off coast of New Zealand carrying crew with ‘flu-like symptoms’ – Ministry of Health

Photo credit: Getty Images Two days after a pair of mariners tested positive for COVID-19, a second ship wants to come back to shore in New Zealand having reported crew suffering from "flu-like symptoms", the Ministry of Health has revealed. The fishing vessel, foreign-owned but operating from New Zealand, has requested to dock here. However the ministry says it is not currently in New Zealand's territorial waters and presents no immediate risk. The ship will undergo the usual pratique declarations and the situation will be assessed by the local public health unit. "This situation will be updated by Customs as more information comes to hand," a press release reads. It comes after the ministry announced on Tuesday that two mariners on a ship off the coast of Taranaki had tested [...]

July 8th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New World takes the lead on phasing out single use plastic produce bags

A trial being run by New World this month is helping Foodstuffs supermarkets take a step towards achieving their sustainability goal of using only reusable, recyclable or compostable material in their retail and private label packaging by 2025. And while getting rid of single-use plastic packaging might seem like a no-brainer, Debra Goulding, Foodstuffs New Zealand's  sustainable packaging programme manager, says it's actually far more complicated than people think. "None of the packaging is there for the sake of it being there, it all has a very specific purpose," she says. Retail packaging includes things like plastic produce bags, sheets of paper around food items bought from the bakery section, and the tray and plastic covering on meat sold at the deli.     Such packaging has a number [...]

July 8th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand passport pandemic proof in Henley power rankings

The New Zealand Passport has held its value as an 'investment' nationality during the pandemic. Photo / Getty Images   Japan has retained its position as the world's most powerful passport amid continued disruption to international travel. Granting visa free access to 193 countries the Japanese travel document has held on the top ranking position, head of Singapore (192) and South Korea (191). However, these familiar top travel document hides the overall weakening of previously high-value documents amid ongoing pandemic travel restrictions. In spite of the current state of emergency ahead of the delayed 2020 Olympics, Japan has retained the top spot. However, when Covid travel restrictions are taken into account the Japanese passport's impressive 193 visa waiver countries drop to just 75. An effective power equivalent to the [...]

July 8th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Weather: Colder temperatures forecast, particularly for South Island

Frosty temperatures are forecast for parts of the country over the next few days as a polar blast closes in. The chilly conditions come after sub-zero conditions have already been felt in some places early this week. WeatherWatch said the cold change this week is gradually turning more polar and while some areas are yet to feel the cold, it may not peak for others for a few more days. "The slow-moving cold change is coming in waves with more surges of polar air coming in over the next 36 hours, before easing this weekend," a spokesman said. The conditions are, however, due to affect some regions further north and to the east. "Despite this cold change, there are lulls where it warms up a little more by a [...]

July 8th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

US official warns China against ‘catastrophic’ move on Taiwan

Kurt Campbell says Beijing assessing world’s response to Hong Kong crackdown to understand potential reaction on Taiwan Kurt Campbell said the US had tried to send a ‘clear message of deterrence across the Taiwan Strait’. Photograph: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images A senior US official has warned China not to seek emboldenment from its Hong Kong crackdown to move against Taiwan, as Japan’s deputy leader said it would defend Taiwan against an attack. Kurt Campbell, coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs on the US national security council, told a forum on Tuesday the US had tried to send a “clear message of deterrence across the Taiwan Strait” and any attempt by China to move on Taiwan would be “catastrophic”. The ruling Chinese Communist party considers Taiwan to be a province of China despite [...]

July 8th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Clinical trials under way to create vaccine for RSV

An infectious disease specialist is hopeful about progress to create a vaccine for RSV. RSV is a respiratory virus which can make it difficult for babies to breathe and feed. Photo: 123RF   A surge in cases of the dangerous and potentially fatal respiratory virus is affecting babies across the country. Starship in Auckland is postponing surgeries to make room for children needing treatment. Paediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Tony Walls from the University of Otago is involved in international clinical trials for two new vaccines to help combat the virus. He told Morning Report no other RSV vaccines have made it to big trials before. He said one of the vaccines would be given to pregnant women, in the same way that whooping cough vaccine is given to pregnant [...]

July 7th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Live updates, July 7: 500,000 NZers fully vaccinated, ‘roll-out ramping up’

3.30pm: Seymour unhappy with lack of Janssen roll-out plan Act’s David Seymour is questioning the lack of a vaccine roll-out plan for the Janssen jab. The one-dose shot has just been given provisional approval from Medsafe, but Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins said it won’t be formally approved by cabinet until next month. Speaking in parliament, PM Jacinda Ardern said she did not yet know when the roll-out of the Janssen vaccine would begin. But David Seymour thought the government should have been more prepared. “In the world we live in, the prime minister and her government make it up as they go, have no forward planning or sequencing, and still vacillate for weeks if not months waiting for the vaccine to arrive in New Zealand, then working out how [...]

July 7th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Israel sees drop in Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine protection against infections, still strong in severe illness

A medical worker prepares to administer a vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as Israel continues its national vaccination drive, during a third national COVID lockdown, in Ashdod, Israel, on Jan 4, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)   JERUSALEM: Israel reported on Monday (Jul 5) a decrease in the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in preventing infections and symptomatic illness but said it remained highly effective in preventing serious illness. The decline coincided with the spread of the Delta variant and the end of social distancing restrictions in Israel. Vaccine effectiveness in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease fell to 64 per cent since Jun 6, the Health Ministry said. At the same time the vaccine was 93 per cent effective in preventing hospitalisations and serious illness from the coronavirus. The ministry in its statement [...]

July 6th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

England to end COVID-19 lockdown: No face masks, no distancing, no WFH order

  People, some wearing protective face masks, walk along a platform at Oxford Circus underground station, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in London, Britain, July 4, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls   LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out plans on Monday (Jul 5) for the final step in easing England's COVID-19 lockdown, including the removal of laws governing social distancing and face coverings, and an end to official advice to work from home. Johnson said he expected the lifting of restrictions to go ahead on Jul 19. He said a final decision would be announced on Jul 12. Some elements, including education and travel policy, will be announced later this week. Here's the plan: FACE MASKS  Regulations mandating face masks will be lifted. The government will continue to recommend certain [...]

July 6th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

4 additional bodies found after remaining building demolished in Surfside, Florida

Searches will continue 24 hours a day until everyone is pulled out. Search and rescue teams have recovered four additional bodies in the pile of rubble from a collapsed building in Surfside, Florida, following the demolition of the remaining building, according to officials. First responders were able to search in areas previously inaccessible due to the instability of the portion of Champlain Towers South that still stood following the partial collapse on June 24, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters at a press conference Monday morning. Three bodies were recovered in the morning and an additional body was found in the afternoon, according to officials. The death toll now stands at 28, with 117 still unaccounted for, Levine Cava said. The newly accessible areas were likely where [...]

July 6th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Germany relaxes restrictions for travelers from UK and other countries

FILE PHOTO: Passengers walk through a terminal at Frankfurt Airport, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Frankfurt, Germany, April 1, 2021. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski   BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s public health institute said on Monday the United Kingdom, India, Portugal and Russia were no longer “areas of variant concern”, reducing travel restrictions for people arriving from those countries. All four countries had been downgraded to “high incidence areas”, the Robert Koch Institute said, meaning their citizens can now travel to Germany and quarantine on arrival for 10 days. The quarantine period can be shortened to five days if they test negative for COVID-19. “If you have spent time in a high incidence area prior to entry, the relevant test may not be conducted earlier than five [...]

July 6th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH’s COVID-19 vaccination drive: At least 11.7 million doses administered so far

FILE PHOTO: The word “COVID-19” is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this illustration taken November 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration   MANILA, Philippines — More than 11.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered nationwide as of July 4, according to the Department of Health (DOH). The health agency’s data released Monday indicated that at least 8.8 million individuals have received their first doses of the coronavirus shot while over 2.8 million have been fully vaccinated. The total doses administered in the 18th week of the national vaccination drive reached a “record high” of 1,778,989 doses, the DOH said. The country started vaccinating against the new coronavirus in the first week of March. In the last seven days, the country has administered an average of 254,141 [...]

July 5th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19: Government looking at longer-term MIQ facilities

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says the government is looking into longer-term options for managed isolation and quarantine. Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo: Dom Thomas   Hipkins told Morning Report the government was considering options of buying or leasing some of the existing facilities used for MIQ, or setting up new ones. "We've been looking at a range of options and it may be that we look to continue with some of our facilities in the longer term, whether that's buying them, whether it's leasing them, whether it's doing something different," he said. "We may look at standing up some different looking facilities. Again, those are longer-term options, bearing in mind that to build a facility takes quite some time, but I think we are likely to need this [...]

July 5th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid 19 coronavirus: Seven Covid cases in MIQ today as travel bubble re-opens with some Australian states

There are seven new Covid cases in managed isolation facilities to report today. The new cases include travellers from Cambodia, Bahrain and India. The total number of actives cases in this country is now 39, the Ministry of Health said in today's update. Meanwhile officials still can't seem to get one contact of the Covid-infected Australian tourist who visited Wellington to have a coronavirus swab. "Of those 2,726 total contacts, 2670 or 98% of people have returned an initial negative result, an increase of 21 negative test results since yesterday," the ministry said. "Thirty-three people have been granted a clinical exemption and 22 require no further action." The remaining person is being actively followed up by contact tracing teams, officials said today. Today's case numbers come as Australians from [...]

July 5th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Operation Trojan Shield: Well-known Kiwi entertainer charged with $6m money laundering conspiracy

New Zealand police promised more arrests following the global crackdown on organised crime, and last week two men in Rotorua were charged with allegedly working with key crime figures living overseas. Jared Savage reports. A well-known New Zealand entertainer has been charged with conspiracy to money launder $6 million for an alleged organised crime group, following the so-called "sting of the century". Millions of private conversations thought to be impossible for law enforcement to intercept were, in fact, being shared on the Anom encrypted platform created by the FBI and the Australian Federal Police in a sting called Operation Trojan Shield. This unprecedented treasure trove of intelligence was shared with a dozen countries, including New Zealand, and dovetailed with an ongoing investigation into large-scale drug smuggling allegedly linked to [...]

July 5th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Saudi Arabia pushes back on UAE opposition to OPEC+ deal

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud speaks via video link during a virtual emergency meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC countries, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia April 9, 2020.Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS DUBAI, July 4 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's energy minister pushed back on Sunday against opposition by fellow Gulf producer the United Arab Emirates to a proposed OPEC+ deal and called for "compromise and rationality" to secure agreement when the group reconvenes on Monday. It was a rare public spat between allies whose national interests have increasingly diverged, spilling over into OPEC+ policy setting at a time consumers want more crude to aid a global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. OPEC+, which groups the Organization of the [...]

July 5th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

UK’s Johnson to set out plan for final lockdown easing on Monday

People wear protective masks as they walk through the city centre, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manchester, Britain, June 21, 2021. REUTERS/Phil Noble LONDON, July 4 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out plans for the final step of easing lockdown in England on Monday, including guidance on social distancing, face coverings and working from home, the government said. The remaining legal restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are due to be lifted on July 19, with the decision whether to go ahead scheduled for July 12. Data suggests that cases will continue to rise as restrictions are eased, but the link to hospitalisations and deaths has been weakened by the vaccination programme, the government said. People will learn to live [...]

July 5th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Hundreds of Afghan security forces flee as districts fall to Taliban

Militants’ advance continues as Britain nears end of its two-decade deployment to country Afghan soldiers on a road at the frontline of fighting with the Taliban near the city of Badakhshan in northern Afghanistan on Sunday. Photograph: Nazim Qasmy/AP   The Taliban’s rapid advance through northern Afghanistan continued on Sunday with more than a dozen districts falling to the militants, as Britain entered the final days of its two-decade deployment to Afghanistan. More than 300 members of the Afghan security forces fled across the border into Tajikistan to escape the militants, and Badakhshan and Takhar provinces are now largely under Taliban control, beyond the respective regional capitals. There have been no public announcements about when the last British troops will fly out. Senior sources had recently said the US [...]

July 5th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Death toll climbs to 47 in Philippine military plane crash, 49 others injured

The remains of a Philippine military C-130 plane that crashed in Patikul town, Jolo province, southern Philippines on Jul 4, 2021. (Photo: AFP/ Joint Task Force-Sulu) MANILA: All 96 passengers of the Philippine Air Force plane that crashed on Sunday (Jul 4) have all been accounted for, military chief Cirilito Sobejana said on Monday. The death toll from the crash was 47, while 49 military personnel were injured, Sobejana told Reuters in a phone message. The Department of National Defence said on Sunday three civilians on the ground were also killed, and four civilians were injured. Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he had ordered an investigation of the incident, which would begin after rescue and recovery operations had been completed.   Army personnel work at the site after a Philippines [...]

July 5th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Chinese astronauts complete first space walk outside new Tiangong space station

The mission, which came days after Beijing celebrated the 100th anniversary of its ruling Communist Party, was televised by state broadcaster CGTN. Astronauts Nie Haisheng (R), Liu Boming (C) and Tang Hongbo before shortly before they set off on their mission to the Tiangong space station.GREG BAKER / AFP - Getty Images HONG KONG — Two astronauts completed the first spacewalk outside China’s new orbital station on Sunday to set up cameras and other equipment using a robotic arm, state media reported. As Earth rolled past below them, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo climbed out of the airlock of the Tianhe or “Heavenly Harmony” module of the Tiangong space station and spent 7 hours performing their tasks, the Chinese space agency said. The third crew member, Commander Nie Haisheng, [...]

July 5th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Taal Volcano sulfur emission highest on Sunday: Phivolcs

MANILA, PH – Taal Volcano recorded “anomalously high” volcanic SO2 (sulfur oxide) gas emission on Sunday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said in its 4:15 p.m. bulletin. The levels of volcanic SO2 gas emission were recorded at an average of 22,628 tonnes per day, the highest ever recorded in Taal. HELP. Relief operations are initiated by Tanauan City’s Social Welfare and Development Office for residents of Sitio Mahabang-Buhangin on Saturday (July 3, 2021). A medical team also gives free consultations to those experiencing respiratory ailments due to the effects of volcanic smog. (Photo courtesy of OCD Facebook) Since midnight, there have been a total of 26 strong and very shallow low-frequency volcanic earthquakes associated with magmatic degassing recorded beneath the eastern sector of the volcano island. [...]

July 4th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

At least 45 people die in military plane crash in Philippines

At least 50 injured people pulled from burning wreckage of C-130 Hercules after it crashed when it missed runway At least 45 people were killed and more than 50 injured when a Philippine military aircraft carrying troops crashed and burst into flames after missing the runway in the south of the country, officials said. Three of those who died were on the ground. Ninety-six people, most of them recent army graduates, were onboard the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft when the accident happened as it tried to land on Jolo island in Sulu province at about midday on Sunday. Some jumped from the fuselage as it crashed. Photos taken by the local media outlet Pondohan TV and posted on Facebook showed the wrecked body of the plane engulfed in flames. [...]

July 4th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand may be caught up in massive global hack – tech expert

The latest global ransomware attack may have affected IT for 11 schools in New Zealand. Photo: 123RF   The attack came to light early yesterday, hitting a Miami-based IT company, Kaseya, and infiltrating companies using that firm's software. The Ministry of Edcuation said it is working with the schools to provide support and will continue to identify if other schools have been impacted. The ministry's deputy secretary business enablement and support, Zoe Griffiths, said any school that believes they may have Kaseya VSA software installed should first contact their IT provider. They should also undertake the recommended steps in an advisory on the CERT NZ website. Earlier today, IT security expert Daniel Ayers said New Zealand organisations may have been caught up in the ransomware attack. Ayers said this [...]

July 4th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Rare New Zealand black-fronted tern seen in Australia for first time

A rare, endangered New Zealand bird has been seen in Australia for the first time. Black-fronted tern on the Ashley Rakahuri River Photo: Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group Birdwatchers are still marvelling at the unexpected sighting of a black-fronted tern, which was seen in late June in Newcastle, in the New South Wales Hunter region. The NSW Woodland Bird Program manager at Birdlife Australia, Mick Roderick, said it was an incredible discovery because the tern was endemic to New Zealand. "It's a mind-blowing sighting that we're still trying to make sense of," he said. "I've also been in touch with New Zealand researchers, and they're all very excited about it too. "This is a bird nobody expected to see in Australia. It's a New Zealand breeding endemic. It has taken [...]

July 4th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Government launches inquiry into migrant labour in seafood sector

A ministerial inquiry will look into the seafood sector's reliance on migrant workers and how to attract more New Zealanders into the jobs. Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker. Photo: RNZ/ Dom Thomas Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker said Covid-19 border restrictions had highlighted the sector's vulnerability due to its reliance on migrant labour. That had sped up industry and government efforts to increase New Zealanders' participation in the sector. It is estimated the peak number of migrant workers in the sector in the year ending March 2019 was about 1850 (20 percent) although there are likely to be fewer now. "Some businesses in the sector have reduced their reliance on migrant workers since border restrictions were imposed, but some deep sea vessels in particular are still 100 [...]

July 2nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Zespri growers vote down plan to fight illegal China kiwifruit

Zespri kiwifruit growers have voted down a plan to tackle illegal SunGold plantings in China. Zespri licenses the right to plant its popular SunGold kiwifruit. Photo: Creative Commons   The kiwifruit giant owns the rights to the gold fruit and there are 8,000 hectares planted in New Zealand which generate billions of dollars in exports earnings. This year growers paid a median price of $550,000 [https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/country/443545/zespri-profit-soars-to-290m-despite-incredibly-difficult-conditions for the licence to plant one hectare of G3 - SunGold - vines. But Zespri estimates there are over 5500 hectares of unauthorised plantings of the fruit in China. In a bid to limit the unauthorised plantings, last year Zespri started considering running trials with the Chinese growers, seeing it as a win-win situation. Growers were recently asked to vote on the proposal [...]

July 2nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Global tax reform: 130 countries commit to minimum corporate rate

Landmark moment for world economy with OECD plan that also covers prevention of profit-shifting The OECD’s secretary general, Mathias Cormann, with the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken (right), at the organisation’s headquarters in Paris. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images   Efforts to force multinational companies to pay a fairer share of tax have taken a decisive step forward after 130 countries and jurisdictions agreed to plans for a global minimum corporate tax rate. In a landmark moment for the world economy, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued a statement committing each of the countries to a two-pillar plan to radically reshape the global tax system. Building on an agreement between the G7 in London last month, the latest breakthrough brings together all of the nations in the [...]

July 2nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Afghan civilians take up arms against Taliban as foreign troops depart

Citizens react to spiralling violence with militants seizing at least 50 of county’s nearly 400 districts since May Haji Ghoulam Farouq Siawshani (centre with grey waistcoat and silver turban ), former oil trader turned militia commander, with his men. Photograph: Akhtar Mohammed Makoii   Haji Ghoulam Farouq Siawshani watched the Taliban rampage across northern Afghanistan this month, weighing up the threat from militants on his doorstep. Then, 10 days ago, the former oil trader turned militia commander issued a call to arms. “Where the Taliban go, they bring destruction, and they are one kilometre away from my village,” he told the Guardian. “We decided to respond.” He now leads a few dozen men he armed with ageing Kalashnikovs, in Gozara district, just south of the ancient trade and cultural [...]

July 2nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Annastacia Palaszczuk extends Queensland Covid-19 lockdown for Brisbane and Moreton Bay

Annastacia Palaszczuk has extended the three-day snap lockdown past 6pm tonight for parts of the state, in a blow to Queenslanders. Annastacia Palaszczuk has extended the three-day snap lockdown past 6pm tonight for parts of the state, in a blow to Queenslanders. “The Brisbane City Council and Moreton Bay local government areas, the lockdown will continue for 24 hours,” the Premier said. The stay-at-home orders will end tonight for Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, Logan, Redlands, Gold Coast, Scenic Rim, Lockyer Valley, Somerset, Townsville and Palm Island. “There will be restrictions that continue to apply – those restrictions will be in place for the next two weeks,” she said. “That means everyone will have to carry a mask on them and wear that mask whenever they’re outside of their home, [...]

July 2nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Major legal challenge against Climate Commission

High-powered lawyers are challenging the Climate Change Commission's ambition in the High Court, Marc Daalder reports A coalition of more than 300 lawyers has filed suit against the Climate Change Commission and Climate Minister James Shaw in the High Court. They allege the commission's recommended emissions budgets and advice on strengthening New Zealand's Paris Agreement target are not consistent with the international climate pact, the Zero Carbon Act or limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels. "The Climate Change Commission’s advice looks ambitious on a first glance. However, when you dig into the detail, it fails to adequately address the scale and urgency of the task and is inconsistent with the legislation and international agreements it is meant to address," Jenny Cooper QC, the president of Lawyers for Climate Action [...]

July 1st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

ANZ changes apartment lending rules in bid to help first homebuyers

More Kiwis may soon get a shot at tackling the property ladder, as ANZ makes changes to its lending rules for apartments. Auckland City apartments Source: istock.com The country’s biggest bank is reducing the apartment size at which its customers are required to have a higher deposit. ANZ’s New Zealand Managing Director Ben Kelleher said the change comes as the bank looks to do its bit to help the inflated housing market, where many first home buyers struggle to make their way in. “Apartments are often a more affordable entry point into the housing market. In addition, as cities intensify, apartments are becoming more common and popular choices for home buyers.” Now, customers will only need a 20 per cent deposit for freehold, standard apartments that are considered 38 [...]

July 1st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

WATCH: Taal Volcano erupts, evacuation recommended

THE Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology on Thursday raised Alert Level 3 over Taal volcano after its main crater spewed a "short-lived dark phreato-magmatic plume one kilometer-high with no accompanying volcanic earthquake". "This means that there is magmatic intrusion at the main crater that may further drive succeeding eruptions," Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum told The Manila Times. Phivolcs recommended the evacuation of those living near Taal Volcano Island (TVI) and in the high-risk villages of Agoncillo and Laurel, Batangas due to possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami. “The public is reminded that the entire volcano island is a Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ), and entry into the island, as well as high-risk villages of Agoncillo and Laurel is prohibited," the Phivolcs chief said. Solidum said communities [...]

July 1st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Canada weather: Dozens dead as heatwave shatters records

Dozens of people have died in Canada amid an unprecedented heatwave that has smashed temperature records. Police in the Vancouver area have responded to more than 130 sudden deaths since Friday. Most were elderly or had underlying health conditions, with heat often a contributing factor. Canada broke its temperature record for a third straight day on Tuesday - 49.6C (121.3F) in Lytton, British Columbia. The US north-west has also seen record highs - and a number of fatalities. Experts say climate change is expected to increase the frequency of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves. However, linking any single event to global warming is complicated. US President Joe Biden said the heatwave was tied to climate change in a speech on Tuesday as he pitched a plan to update [...]

July 1st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Winter outlook: More mild months to follow NZ’s likely hottest June

Rachel Ashton plays with her pug Frankie on the summit of Auckland's Mt Roskill as the sun sets on a crisp winter evening last Wednesday. June could set a new temperature record. Photo / Jason Oxenham   What's expected to go down as New Zealand's warmest June on record will be followed by more unseasonably mild weather over the next three months, Niwa's just-issued outlookpredicts. But, unlike last month's generally tidy conditions, it's likely to come with more week-to-week swings. The agency predicted that, overall, temperatures were "very unlikely" to be colder than average between now and the end of September, although occasional cold snaps and frosts could still happen. Above average temperatures were most likely for the east and west of the South Island, with about equal chances [...]

July 1st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Bodies of two children, ages 4 and 10, found in rubble of collapsed building; death toll rises to 18: What we know

SURFSIDE, Fla. –  The bodies of two children were found in the rubble of the collapsed condo building outside Miami on Wednesday, raising the death toll in the disaster to 18. The children were 4 and 10 years old, said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who provided the update at an afternoon news conference. The number of missing people is now 145. "Any loss of life, especially given the nature of this unexpected, unprecedented event, is a tragedy,'' Levine Cava said. "But the loss of our children is too great to bear." Earlier in the day, Levine Cava has said four additional victims had been identified, at the time bringing the total to 16. Search officials vowed to press on with the rescue effort around the clock despite the possibility [...]

July 1st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

China celebrates Communist Party’s 100th anniversary

IMAGE COPYRIGHTGETTY IMAGES image captionChina has seen a ramped-up propaganda drive in recent weeks   China is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of its ruling Communist Party, in the culmination of a huge propaganda drive. Officials have not disclosed a programme but President Xi Jinping is expected to give a speech on Thursday. The country has seen several large-scale events and a media blitz in recent weeks promoting a party-approved version of China's history. Hong Kong is also marking its handover anniversary on the same date. How has China prepared for this anniversary? The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which was founded in 1921, came to power 72 years ago after a long civil war. In that time the country has undergone massive changes - but some of [...]

June 30th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid tourism freeze could cost global economy $4tn by year end

Turkey, Ecuador and South Africa will be among hardest hit as pandemic-related losses reach $2.4tn, says UN report Antalya, Turkey. Turkey’s economy will contract by 7.8% in the best-case scenario and 9.1% in the worst case, according to the report. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty     The cost to the global economy of the tourism freeze caused by Covid-19 could reach $4tn (£2.9tn) by the end of this year, a UN body has said, with the varying pace of vaccine rollouts expected to cost developing nations and tourist centres particularly dear. Nations including Turkey and Ecuador will be among the hardest hit by the severe disruption to international tourism, with holiday favourites such as Spain, Greece and Portugal also badly affected. Pandemic-related losses have reached up to $2.4tn this year, [...]

June 30th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Surfside building collapse latest: Death toll increases to 12

President Joe Biden will travel to Surfside, Florida, on Thursday. Families cling to hope as rescue workers race against time after building collapse Workers have moved more than 3 million pounds of concrete in their six-day search for survivors in Surfside, Florida. At least a dozen people are dead and 149 others remain unaccounted for after a 12-story residential building partially collapsed in South Florida's Miami-Dade County last week, officials said. A massive search and rescue operation entered its sixth day on Tuesday, as crews continued to carefully comb through the pancaked pile of debris in hopes of finding survivors. The partial collapse occurred at around 1:15 a.m. local time last Thursday at the Champlain Towers South condominium in the small, beachside town of Surfside, about 6 miles north [...]

June 30th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Chinese embassy dismisses claims spies infiltrating NZ universities

The Chinese embassy has hit back at claims spies are infiltrating universities in New Zealand, calling the accusations groundless and "pure hearsay". The Chinese embassy says reports of Chinese intelligence gathering in New Zealand universities is "pure hearsay". Photo: 123RF     Three university lecturers in Chinese politics and history have spoken out about their classes being observed and sometimes photographed by unenrolled individuals. The academics - featured in the new podcast series Red Line - suspect the information is being fed back to the Chinese Communist Party. In a statement to RNZ, the Chinese embassy in New Zealand dismissed the suggestions. "The so-called Chinese 'intelligence gathering' in NZ universities is pure hearsay," the statement said. "We hope the relevant side could view this from an objective and rational [...]

June 29th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Water reforms: New entities proposed to take responsibility of infrastructure

Further details have been released of the biggest shake-up of water and sewage infrastructure seen in generations. Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   They outlined four publicly owned entities covering Auckland, Northland, central North Island including Taranaki, east coast North Island, including the top of the South Island, and a fourth covering the remainder of the South Island. The four entities would be run by boards appointed with input from councils and with expertise in water infrastructure. Photo: Supplied / Department of Internal Affair   They would also include Māori representation. In a statement, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta said without the reforms, councils would struggle to pay for an estimated $120 billion to $185bn worth of infrastructure needed over the next three decades. [...]

June 29th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

7 Things To Know About Māori Culture In New Zealand

“Kia ora!” Maori culture in New Zealand is a key part of Kiwi life, running deep in daily life here – from the cuisine, language, and locals’ attitudes, to what children learn at school and how the country is governed. Whether you live here or are just visiting, it’s important to understand the culture and customs here. Sure, you’re probably already familiar with the famous Haka ceremonial dance (you can thank the All Blacks rugby team for that!), but there’s so much more to Māori. Here are some interesting things to know to get you started… 1. Māori Are The Indigenous People of New Zealand Aotearoa Te Reo (the Māori language) is an official language of the country, along with English and New Zealand Sign Language. In 2013, one [...]

June 29th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

US strikes hit Iran-backed militia facilities in Iraq and Syria

The US military has carried out air strikes in Iraq and Syria, targeting operational and weapons storage facilities of Iran-backed militia. Photograph: US Air Force/AFP/Getty Images   The US has carried out airstrikes against Iran-backed militia in Iraq and Syria, in response to drone attacks against US personnel and facilities in Iraq. The strikes on Sunday targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, the Pentagon said. The Pentagon press secretary, John Kirby, described the airstrikes as “defensive”, saying they were launched in response to an “ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting US interests in Iraq”. “The United States took necessary, appropriate and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation – but also to send a clear [...]

June 28th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Government to consider mandatory masks, QR code scanning – PM Jacinda Ardern

The government plans to consider advice on mandatory mask wearing at alert level two and higher, and mandatory QR code scanning in high-risk areas. Speaking at a post-Cabinet media briefing this afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Cabinet had commissioned advice on making QR code scanning mandatory at some high-risk locations, and would look to consider that advice next week. Locations considered high-risk could include include bars and restaurants and other places where people were at an increased risk, she said. The government would also consider mandating face mask use in regions that were at alert level 2 and higher as well as some high-risk places, she said. Mask wearing is already mandatory on public transport. "The rise of the Delta variant and the risk is poses to the [...]

June 28th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

U.K. health minister resigns after breaking Covid rules by kissing aide

Matt Hancock resigned Saturday, a day after he apologized for breaching social distancing rules with the aide. Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock giving the latest Covid-19 update in the House of Commons in London on Feb. 9, 2021.Jessica Taylor / AFP - Getty Images file LONDON — Britain's health minister Matt Hancock quit on Saturday after he was caught breaking Covid-19 rules by kissing and embracing an aide in his office, enraging colleagues and the public who have been living under lockdown. Hancock, 42, wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign after The Sun newspaper published photos on Friday of the married minister embracing senior aide Gina Coladangelo, who he had appointed to a taxpayer-funded role to scrutinize the performance of his department. The tabloid said the closed [...]

June 28th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Classified Ministry of Defence documents found at bus stop

IMAGE COPYRIGHTPA MEDIA   Classified Ministry of Defence documents containing details about HMS Defender and the British military have been found at a bus stop in Kent. One set of documents discusses the likely Russian reaction to the ship's passage through Ukrainian waters off the Crimea coast on Wednesday. Another details plans for a possible UK military presence in Afghanistan after the US-led Nato operation there ends. The government said an investigation had been launched. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it is investigating "an incident in which sensitive defence papers were recovered by a member of the public". The MoD employee concerned reported the loss at the time, it said. The documents, almost 50 pages in all, were found in a soggy heap behind a bus stop in [...]

June 28th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Global report: rise in Delta variant cases forces tougher restrictions

Moscow reports highest death toll of any Russian city, while Delta variant forces tighter restrictions in the Asia-Pacific region A book fair at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, this month. From 28 June new restrictions will apply in Moscow.Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images   Moscow has recorded the highest Covid-19 daily death toll of any Russian city so far, as the highly contagious Delta variant forced tougher restrictions on countries across the Asia-Pacific region and fuelled mounting concern over holiday travel in Europe. Vaccinations have brought infection numbers down in many wealthy countries, and curbs on daily life continue to ease in much of the EU and US, but experts warn the fast-spreading strain means the pandemic – while slowing globally – is far from over. The World Health Organization [...]

June 28th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Fil-Am among dozens missing in Miami condo collapse

MIAMI: A Filipino-American who loved to play the piano and her Chilean husband lived on the 10th floor of the building. One flight down were Cuban immigrant grandparents who had dreamed of retiring at the beach. And just a week ago, a young Paraguayan arrived to work as a nanny. The Champlain Towers South condominium was a true reflection of Miami's international mix - South American immigrants, Orthodox Jews, foreign retirees. The 12-story building's stunning collapse on Thursday quickly became a symbol of international tragedy, as families around the world hoped for news of loved ones in a terrified state of limbo. A Chilean man, Claudio Bonnefoy, and his Filipino-American wife, Maria Obias Bonnefoy, lived on the 10th floor of the building. The husband, 85, a lawyer, is the [...]

June 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 scare in capital: Partner’s diagnosis confirms need to see more test results – modeller

Confirmation that a Sydney man's partner is positive for the Delta variant means test results from locations the couple visited in Wellington towards the end of their stay are critical, a Covid-19 modeller says. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   The Sydney man was confirmed as infectious while he visited the city the weekend before last, prompting the government to announce that it was extending alert level 2 in the capital until 11.59pm on Tuesday.             Covid-19 modeller Professor Michael Plank. Photo: Supplied.     Covid-19 modeller Professor Michael Plank from the University of Canterbury said testing for the virus in Wellington remains a top priority. But fewer than 700 people got tested in the region on Saturday, about the same time as when their [...]

June 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Chinese Communist Party spies in NZ universities, lecturers suspect

Chinese Communist Party spies are infiltrating New Zealand universities, three lecturers in Chinese politics and history suspect. Photo: RNZ/Vinay Ranchhod   Auckland University lecturer Dr Stephen Noakes said people who were not enrolled in his course had attended his lectures and appeared to be gathering intelligence. Two other academics reported similar experiences in Wellington and Christchurch. Their stories feature in the new podcast series Red Line, made by RNZ and Bird of Paradise Productions, released today. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is known for wanting tight control over what is said about China and its history both inside and outside of China. Noakes said on one occasion someone took pictures in his lecture theatre. "There was someone I did not recognise in the room and that person was pointing [...]

June 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Taiwan reports first domestic case of Delta COVID-19 variant

People wearing protective face masks shop at a market in Taipei, Taiwan on Jun 8, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Ann Wang)   TAIPEI: Taiwan reported its first domestically transmitted case of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus on Saturday (Jun 26), tightening controls in a southern part of the island where the cases have occurred. Taiwan is battling a cluster of domestic infections, almost all of them due to the previously globally dominant Alpha variant, though numbers are steadying and the outbreak has been comparatively small. Six people in Pingtung county had been confirmed to have the Delta variant, including two who returned this month from Peru, where they are suspected of bringing the infection from, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung. One of them has been classified as a domestic infection, [...]

June 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid: NSW sees 30 new Covid cases as Sydney locks down

IMAGE COPYRIGHTEPA   The Australian state of New South Wales has reported 30 new Covid cases on the second day of Greater Sydney's two-week lockdown. An expanded lockdown now covers 5m people in Greater Sydney, as well as the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong. Cases of the highly infectious Delta variant now stand at 110. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Sunday that she expected that figure to rise. "Given how contagious this strain of the virus is, we do anticipate that in the next few days, case numbers are likely to increase even beyond what we have seen today because we are seeing that people in isolation, unfortunately, would have already transmitted to all their house contacts," she said. Stay-at-home orders will remain in place until 9 [...]

June 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Miami building collapse: 159 missing, officials say

The number of people listed as missing after the collapse of a 12-storey building in the US city of Miami has risen to 159, officials say. Four people are known to have died. The mayor of Miami-Dade says they "still have hope" of finding survivors. Search teams working around the clock have reported hearing people banging beneath the debris. What caused the 40-year-old building to collapse early on Thursday morning remains unclear. At least 102 people have now been accounted for, but it is uncertain how many were in the building when it came down. Dozens of people have been evacuated from what is left of the structure. President Joe Biden has approved an emergency declaration for Florida, meaning the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) will help state agencies [...]

June 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Taguig to open 24-hour vaccination hub for A4 individuals

Philippines- The Taguig City government is set to launch a 24-hour mega vaccination site that will cater exclusively to government and economic frontliners in the A4 category. In a statement, the city government said the vaccination site will be located at the High Street Vaccination Hub in Barangay Fort Bonifacio. The vaccination hub will be open until 12 a.m. this week until the city reaches its goal of opening it up 24/7. The vaccination site is part of the effort to extend vaccination hours to accommodate those who cannot get vaccinated due to the nature of their work, the city government explained. "Vaccination should be fast, safe and accessible. Those three things are important to us when we strategize our rollout plan. I encourage all our citizens to sign [...]

June 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

‘I’m trying to save American democracy’: Donald Trump returns to rally stage in Ohio

Former President Donald Trump returned to campaign mode with a vengeance Saturday night, vowing at a rally in Ohio that Republicans would take back Congress, bemoaning his loss in last November’s election and retaliating against a GOP congressman who voted to impeach him. Calling the event “the very first rally of the 2022 election,” Trump predicted next year's elections would result in "giant Republican majorities" in both chambers of Congress. “We’re going to take back the House, and we're going to take back the Senate,” he promised the crowd at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington, about a half-hour southwest of Cleveland. “We have no choice,” he added. The event marked Trump's return to the kind of mass rallies that fueled his White House campaigns. Since he left office in January, Trump’s [...]

June 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19: Five Australian flights potentially exposed to virus as flight attendant tests positive

Passengers and crew members from five Virgin Australia flights are being contacted after a flight attendant tested positive to Covid-19. Virgin confirmed that the cabin worker returned a positive reading after undertaking a rapid test result on Saturday night. In a statement, the airline said the affected crew member is a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case from a known cluster in Sydney. Virgin said it was contacting all staff who were deemed close contacts. All would be asked to get tested and isolate. New South Wales Health on Saturday night (local time) issued a public health alert for the flights, saying all NSW passengers were being considered close contacts and must call its Covid-19 line, get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result. ALBERT [...]

June 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand’s largest grid-connected solar power plant up and running

New Zealand's largest grid-connected solar power plant is up and running at Kapuni in South Taranaki. The Kapuni Solar Power Plant can produce enough electricity for more than 520 homes. Photo: Supplied / Sunergise   The 2.1 megawatt Kapuni Solar Power Plant features 5800 ground-mounted photovoltaic panels and can generate enough electricity to power more than 520 homes. The Todd Corporation has developed the project under the Sunergise brand. Sunergise general manager Paul Makumbe said the plant represents Sunergise's first step into ground-mounted solar in New Zealand. "The energy landscape in New Zealand is changing, with a focus on reducing carbon emissions and solar plants like Kapuni will help by producing clean, renewable energy," Makumbe said. Sunergise provides rooftop solar to commercial customers in New Zealand. A related company, [...]

June 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Your weather: Antarctic blast on its way to New Zealand

In this graphic windchill below zero is shown in blue. Image / WeatherWatch   An Antarctic blast is about to hit the country, temperatures will noticeably drop tonight and some parts of the South Island will soon experience windchill around freezing. A cold front begins to sweep northwards tomorrow allowing air, which originates from the Antarctic Ice Shelf, to affect weather across the country, according to MetService.   WeatherWatch predicts the coldest air will arrive on Monday evening when temperatures will plunge overnight across the South Island and some of the North Island. The cold air will travel further north on Tuesday overnight. According to WeatherWatch, coastal parts of Southland and Otago will experience windchill hovering around freezing on Monday afternoon, with -5C possible in the more exposed coastal [...]

June 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Restrictions on visa processing outside New Zealand

Temporary visa applications from outside New Zealand or a quarantine-free travel zone are currently suspended, unless you are exempt. Immigration New Zealand has suspended visa processing for most individuals who are outside New Zealand, unless they meet the strict border exception criteria or are currently in a COVID-19 quarantine-free travel zone. The Government has extended the suspension to 6 February 2022. The suspension can be lifted if the border restrictions change. Immigration New Zealand will continue to process visas for those who are not subject to the COVID-19 border restrictions, and for those who have been granted a border exception.  

June 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Bridge strike sparks cancellations, delays to trains on Auckland’s southern line

Auckland Transport is warning commuters to expected delays on the southern line after a Papakura train bridge was struck by a vehicle. Photo / Supplied   South Auckland train commuters are being warned to expect delays after bridge was struck by a vehicle this morning. Auckland Transport said all Southern line train services were cancelled between Homai and Papakura with passenger services ending at Homai train station. The incident had happened before 11am at Subway Rd, Papakura. Those travelling by train were being told to expect delays and cancellations.

June 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 health experts push for compulsory mask wearing in alert level 2

Health experts say they are mystified over the government's reluctance to enforce mandatory mask wearing and QR code scanning under alert level 2. Under alert levels 1, 2 and 3 in New Zealand masks are only compulsory on public transport, domestic flights and in taxis. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas     Masks are compulsory on public transport, domestic flights and in taxis under alert level 1 but these rules do not expand under alert level 2. Instead, Wellingtonians are currently being asked to wear masks when they cannot socially distance two metres in public spaces and one metre indoors. Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has reiterated that while mandating masks is always on the table, current public health advice does not justify these measures. Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker [...]

June 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19: Crucial day five test results expected today

The first of the crucial day five test results are expected today, after Wellingtonians turned out in their thousands to be swabbed for Covid-19 yesterday. Hataiti Park Covid-19 testing centre. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   A Sydney man visited more than a dozen locations in the capital at the weekend before testing positive on Monday. The Ministry of Health advised all contacts - people at same location as the man - to isolate and have a test five days after they were potentially exposed. For thousands of people who were at Te Papa and two large bars on Saturday that was yesterday so some of those results are likely to be available today. Day five was chosen because most infected people - but not all - have signs [...]

June 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Taiwan’s foreign minister says ‘we need to prepare’ for military conflict with China

Taipei, Taiwan (CNN)China's escalating military intimidation of Taiwan shows the self-governed island "needs to prepare" for a possible military conflict, Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in an exclusive interview with CNN. His warning came one week after the island reported the largest daily incursion by Chinese military planes into Taiwan's self-declared Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). The incursion -- by 28 Chinese warplanes including fighter jets and bombers -- did not violate Taiwanese sovereign airspace or international law, but it was seen as show of strength by China's People's Liberation Army. "As Taiwan decision makers, we cannot take any chances, we have to be prepared," Wu told CNN in Taipei on Wednesday. "When the Chinese government is saying they would not renounce the use of force, and they [...]

June 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

NCEA subject changes: Ministry looks to add agribusiness

A proposal for agribusiness to be taught as a high school subject is being welcomed by an agricultural academic. Public feedback is being sought on the changes put forward (File image). Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller   As part of a suggested overhaul of NCEA subjects, the Ministry of Education has proposed developing agribusiness as a separate subject to business studies. Public feedback is being sought on the changes put forward, with consultation set to close in early August. Education Minister Chris Hipkins said some proposals were intended to recognise learning already happening in schools. Lincoln University agribusiness and commerce dean Hugh Bigsby said when students had learned some agribusiness in high school, it made a big difference when they picked up tertiary study. "If you've done Year 13 [...]

June 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

IMAGE COPYRIGHTREUTERS image captionThe attack took place at the Petraki Monastery in Athens   A priest has been arrested in Athens after he threw acid on seven bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church, police say. The attack took place during a disciplinary hearing against the 36-year-old priest on Wednesday afternoon, according to police. Three bishops are being treated in hospital for the burns, mostly on their faces. A policeman, who ran to help the bishops, was also taken to hospital. The suspect, a priest who risked being expelled from the church, was accused of being involved in drug trafficking, according to the ANA press agency. The bishops were meeting to discuss defrocking him - stripping him of his priesthood - after he was allegedly discovered to be in possession [...]

June 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

World’s largest cruise line aims to be carbon-neutral by 2050

The largest cruise company in the world, Carnival, has announced it “aspires” to be carbon-neutral by 2050, one of a list of goals it released ahead of its annual sustainability report expected later this year. Another major player in the industry, Norwegian Cruise Line, announced its own goals to slash carbon emissions on Wednesday by purchasing carbon offsets. Corporate and governmental pledges to stem the emissions of greenhouse gasses are essential to slowing down the impacts of climate change. Carnival also released firm targets for 2030, including reducing air emissions 50 per cent from 2015 levels; expanding the use of alternative fuels like liquefied natural gas (a fossil fuel), fuel cells and biofuels; and slashing the relative emissions of each ship. SUPPLIED Carnival said it aspires to create a [...]

June 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Crushing climate impacts to hit sooner than feared: Draft UN report

With 1.1 deg C of warming clocked so far since the start of the Industrial Revolution, the climate is already changing, says the report.PHOTO: AFP   PARIS - Climate change will fundamentally reshape life on Earth in the coming decades, even if humans can tame planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, according to a landmark draft report from the UN's climate science advisers obtained by Agence France-Presse. Species extinction, more widespread disease, unliveable heat, ecosystem collapse, cities menaced by rising seas - these and other devastating climate impacts are accelerating and bound to become painfully obvious before a child born today turns 30. The choices societies make now will determine whether our species thrives or simply survives as the 21st century unfolds, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says in [...]

June 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

France and Germany want EU summit with Vladimir Putin

After Joe Biden’s meeting with the Russian president, leaders think the bloc can reset relations and help contain its eastern rival Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, left and centre, have sugggested an EU summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AP France and Germany have suggested inviting Vladimir Putin to a summit with the EU as part of a broader reset of the bloc’s relations with Russia. The proposal from Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel comes after Joe Biden’s Geneva summit with the Russian president, and supporters of the idea argue that European leaders can deliver the same direct messages about Russian behaviour while keeping the door open to compromise and cooperation. Critics of closer ties to the Kremlin are concerned that it would reward Putin at a time [...]

June 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

‘Painful farewell’: Hongkongers queue for hours to buy final Apple Daily edition

Million copies printed of last issue as journalists at newspaper that was forced to close mourn ‘historical moment’ moment’ Large crowds queue in Hong Kong for final Apple Daily edition – video   Across Hong Kong on Thursday morning the queues stretched for hundreds of metres, wrapping around corner after corner. Starting before dawn, crowds in the city of 7.5 million people lined up for hours to buy the final print edition of the Apple Daily newspaper, forced to close by authoritieswhich had accused it of national security offences. Normally selling 80,000 copies a day, they printed a million. It was in such hot demand that by mid morning Hongkongers were crowdsourcing an online spreadsheet of convenience stores that still had copies for sale. “Hong Kongers bid a painful [...]

June 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

More Covid-19 testing centres on Wellington’s first day at alert level 2

The number of testing sites in Wellington has doubled after a Covid-19 scare prompted by an Australian tourist who visited the capital on the weekend. Wellington's Lambton Quay and Cuba Streets were quiet, but testing stations were busy, on the first day of the capital being in alert level 2. Photo: RNZ   The Wellington region shifted into alert level 2 at 6pm last night and is expected to stay there until at least 11.59pm on Sunday. Cabinet will review the alert level decision on Sunday morning. The Australian tourist visited a series of restaurants, bars and tourist attractions in the capital on Saturday and Sunday before returning to Sydney on Monday morning and subsequently testing positive for Covid-19. Health authorities are still waiting for full genomic sequencing, but [...]

June 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid 19 coronavirus: New Zealanders first to trial Chinese-developed vaccine

The new Chinese covid vaccine has already been given to some young people who have signed up to the NZ-based trial. Photo / NZCR A group of New Zealanders will be the first humans to trial a new second generation covid vaccine out of China. About 25 young people have this week started being jabbed with the ReCov vaccine as a part of a clinical study. The trial is being run in partnership with vaccine developer Jiangsu Rec-Biotechnology in China and New Zealand Clinical Research, which has centres in Auckland and Christchurch. NZCR is running the trial which will see 100 people vaccinated with ReCov by September. If successful, a larger trial involving thousands of participants would likely also be carried out in New Zealand. The vaccine will be [...]

June 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH, Singapore co-leaders in ASEAN study on regional populations’ immune response to COVID-19 vaccination

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has announced that the Philippines and Singapore are co-leading a regional study to look into the levels of immunity against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the communities within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). (Photo from DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña’s Facebook Page)   DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the first multi-country regional study is one of the two COVID-19 research proposals officially endorsed during the 11th Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science, Technology and Innovation (IAMMSTI-11) and the 79th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI-79) as part commitment to strengthen regional cooperation on science and technology. Both meetings were held virtually on June 15-17. “The Philippines and Singapore are [...]

June 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Former PH President Aquino passes away at 61

Manila, Philippines- Former President Benigno “Noynoy” S. Aquino III, who championed “Daang Matuwid” campaign and scored a landmark ruling against China’s aggressive claims in West Philippine Sea, has passed away, according to a relative of the family. He was 61. A file photo of the late President Benigno S. Aquino III (Malacañang) Aquino, son of pro-democracy icons the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. and the late President Corazon Aquino, was rushed to the Capital Medical Center in Quezon City and died after a heart failure. The former President, fondly called PNoy during his stint in Malacañang, battled lung cancer and went through dialysis for his ailment. He recently had an angioplasty.Aquino, known for his simple and humble leadership, was the country’s 15th President from June 2010 to June 2016. [...]

June 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Wellington events and attractions scramble with cancellations and postponements

Event cancellations and temporary closures have flowed thick and fast in Wellington, following the news the city was to move to alert level 2 at 6pm on Wednesday. Wellington's central Cuba Street. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King Among the significant casualties, is the government apology for the 1970s Dawn Raids. The prime minister was to make the formal apology at a commemoration event at the Auckland Town Hall on Saturday 26 June, but it will be rescheduled for a later date. However Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says government MPs and ministers - who were largely in Wellington during the time the Covid-19 positive traveller was, will not participate in any large gatherings over 100 people anywhere in the country. Live updates: Wellington's first day at Covid-19 alert level [...]

June 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

US has ‘wrong’ expectation for dialogue, says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister

Kim Yo Jong is a key adviser to her brother AFP/JORGE SILVA SEOUL: The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Tuesday (Jun 22) that Washington had "wrong" expectations for dialogue with Pyongyang and was facing "greater disappointment", state media reported. Kim Yo Jong's comments came after US national security advisor Jake Sullivan described her brother's first reaction to Washington's recent review of its approach to the North as an "interesting signal". The Biden administration has promised a practical, calibrated approach, including diplomatic efforts, to persuade the impoverished North to give up its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes. In response, the North's leader Kim last week said Pyongyang must prepare for both dialogue and confrontation. Washington considered his comments as interesting, Sullivan told [...]

June 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Canada’s Trudeau angrily questions China seeking probe of indigenous children’s remains

People visit a makeshift memorial on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, after the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc band council encouraged mourners to take part in a national day of prayer to honour the remains of 215 children that were found at the site in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, on Jun 6, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier) GENEVA/OTTAWA: China and its allies called on Tuesday for an investigation into the discovery of the remains of indigenous children in Canada at the site of a former boarding school, prompting an angry response from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The remains of 215 children, some as young as three years old, were found at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia that closed in 1978, the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Nation said on [...]

June 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis: Heavy fighting reported

IMAGE COPYRIGHTGETTY IMAGES image captionEthiopia's army took control of Tigray's capital, Mekelle, in November last year   Heavy fighting has broken out in several areas in Ethiopia's northern region of Tigray between rebels and federal troops, reports say. The rebel Tigray Defence Force (TDF) said it had seized several towns, where witnesses have told the BBC they have seen its fighters patrolling. The federal Ethiopian army dismissed the claim, saying it was fake news. This is the most serious fighting since November, when the Ethiopian government declared victory in the conflict. Thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced in the war that started almost eight months ago. Following the fighting, some five million people in Tigray are in need of food aid and more than 350,000 are [...]

June 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Wellington Covid-19 visitor: Locations of interest include Te Papa, central city bar and pharmacy

The positive Covid-19 traveller to Wellington visited to Te Papa, an inner city bar and a central city pharmacy, among locations of interest identified by the Ministry of Health. The positive Covid-19 tourist went to an exhibition in Te Papa and visited an inner Wellington bar and a central city pharmacy on Saturday. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas     The man, who along with his partner spent the weekend the capital as a tourist, tested positive for the virus on return to Australia. Four close contacts in New Zealand have been identified and are isolating. Follow the latest on RNZ's live updates The Ministry of Health has released the first six locations visited by the tourists. Locations of interest Qantas Flight QF163 Sydney to Wellington, arrived at Wellington [...]

June 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

China gives 1-billionth COVID shot, eyes ambitious vaccination target

Medical workers inoculate students with the vaccine against the coronavirus disease at a university in Qingdao, Shandong province, China on March 30, 2021. China Daily via Reuters   China on Sunday announced it had administered its one-billionth shot in the world's biggest coronavirus inoculation drive, as Brazil's death toll from the pandemic passed 500,000. The global death toll from COVID-19 is now more than 3.8 million and many nations are still battling outbreaks, but vaccine drives in some countries are allowing activities that were unthinkable a few months ago. China's vaccine milestone came after the number of shots administered globally passed 2.5 billion on Friday, according to an AFP count from official sources. But the Asian giant's vaccination efforts initially got off to a slow start after a successful [...]

June 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Wellington may face Covid lockdown after visit by infected Australian tourist

Healths officials are racing to trace the movements and close contacts of visitor who toured New Zealand capital last weekend The Australian visitor who had coronavirus visited Wellington from Sydney last weekend. The New Zealand capital faces a potential lockdown. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images   New Zealand is racing to track the in-country movements of a tourist with Covid-19 who tested positive on their return to Australia, with the possibility of a lockdown of the capital, Wellington, not ruled out. The traveller spent a weekend visiting Wellington from Sydney, and visited a number of sites around the city, including popular tourism spot Te Papa, the national museum. At this stage, it is assumed they caught coronavirus in Sydney before travelling. Four close contacts have already been identified and are [...]

June 22nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

China’s ambassador to the US to leave after eight years

Longest-serving envoy Cui Tiankai says relations between the countries ‘at a crossroads’ Cui Tiankai speaks to Chinese media in Alaska in March. Photograph: Xinhua/Rex     China’s ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, has announced he will leave Washington after eight years, saying US-China relations are at a “crossroads” as the US recalibrates its engagement policies. Cui, whose departure has been the subject of speculation for months, wrote a farewell statement calling on Chinese people in the US to defend their right to be there, and to “shoulder a great responsibility and mission” in furthering the bilateral relationship. “Sino-US relations are at a critical crossroads, and the US’s China policy is undergoing a new round of restructure, facing a choice between dialogue and cooperation, or confrontation and conflict,” he [...]

June 22nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Fishing restrictions and new protection areas for Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana

Fully protected marine areas will increase from less than 0.3 per cent to over 5 per cent of the 1.2 million hectare marine park that runs from Te Arai to Waihi. Photo / 123RF The Government will ban trawl fishing from most of Auckland's Hauraki Gulf, and create 18 new protection areas, in a major new environmental plan. Ocean advocates say the proposals could represent the "most positive change for the Gulf in a generation" but warn stronger action is needed to undo generations of overfishing, destructive fishing methods and pollution. Under the Government's long-awaited response to the Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari plan for the Hauraki Gulf, which was first published in 2016, fully protected marine areas would increase from less than 0.3 per cent to over [...]

June 22nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Aung San Suu Kyi tells lawyers trial testimony against her is wrong

  Min Min Soe, a lawyer assigned by the National League for Democracy party to represent deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi, meet journalists in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, on Jun 21, 2021. (Photo: AP)   BANGKOK: Lawyers for Myanmar's ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, said on Monday (Jun 21) she told them some of the testimony against her was wrong in her trial on criminal charges that could send her to prison and end her political career. In the trial, now in its second week. Aung San Suu Kyi is charged with illegally importing walkie-talkies for her bodyguards’ use, unlicensed use of the radios, spreading information that could cause public alarm or unrest, and violating COVID-19 pandemic restrictions during the 2020 election campaign. Critics of the ruling military government say the [...]

June 22nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

10 Most Picturesque Places in New Zealand

Photo: Blue Planet Studio / Adobe Stock   New Zealand’s scenery is nothing short of picture perfect. While travelling in New Zealand, you are sure to be amazed by postcard-like landscapes at every corner. For those who love photography or even those who simply enjoy sightseeing, New Zealand is the ideal place to visit. While the entire country is gorgeous, there are a few areas that stand out for being the most picturesque places in New Zealand. Here, we have narrowed it down to the top 10 most picturesque places in New Zealand so you’re sure not to be miss out on the most beautiful spots!   1. Bay of Islands Photo: photo.eccles / Adobe Stock   A 3.5-hour drive north of Auckland sits the Bay of Islands. The [...]

June 22nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Lorde announces first NZ tour in five years

Lorde will tour Australia and New Zealand for the first time in five years, announcing she plans to return to stages across the country early next year. The 2022 tour will be the singer's first tour since 2017 Photo: Getty / 2018 Jeff Kravitz   The New Zealand songstress dropped the single and video for 'Solar Power' earlier this month, and the Solar Power album will be released later this year via Universal Music. She will then tour nine locations in New Zealand and Australia in February and March next year. It will be the first time she has toured the region since her sold-out Melodrama tour in 2017. She will play at Electric Avenue festival in Christchurch on 26 February, and the first show of her tour will [...]

June 22nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Duterte says he won’t face ‘ex-colonizers’ in ICC

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte is never going to face trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his administration's crackdown on illegal drugs.            President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (Presidential photo by Joey    Dalumpines)   Duterte, in a pre-recorded speech late Monday night, lambasted the ICC after former prosecutor Fatou Bensouda sought authorization to allow the conduct of an investigation into the alleged crime against humanity committed during the administration’s drug war. “Itong ICC, b*llsh*t itong (This ICC is b*llsh*t). Why would I defend or face an accusation before white people? You must be crazy. Yung mga colonizers ito noon (They used to be colonizers). They have not atoned for their sins against the countries that they invaded including the Philippines. Tapos eto ngayon [...]

June 22nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Tokyo 2021 Olympic stadiums: every venue hosting the postponed 2020 Games

A total of 42 venues will be used, 27 of which are split between the Heritage Zone and Tokyo Bay Zone in the Japanese capital A combination of old and new for the Games in Tokyo The delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in will be staged at a total of 42 venues, 27 of which are in and around the Japanese capital. Those 27 are split into the Heritage Zone and Tokyo Bay Zone with the other 15 outlying venues. The Heritage Zone contains iconic arenas which were a part of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and will be reused in various forms, while the Tokyo Bay Zone houses 16 venues, as well as the International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre. The Olympic village can be found at the intersection of the [...]

June 21st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Tasmanian devils relocated to Australian island wipe out entire penguin population

The Tasmanian devils were moved to Maria Island to protect them from a deadly facial tumour disease that had spread on mainland Australia CREDIT: PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images   The relocation of endangered Tasmanian devils to a remote Australian island to ensure their survival from a deadly contagious cancer has backfired after they wiped out the local population of penguins. Twenty-eight healthy Tasmanian devils were introduced in 2012-13 to Maria Island, which previously had no population of the animals, to act as “insurance” against the species dying out from the facial tumour disease that had spread on the mainland. Since then, numbers have risen to more than 100, but with tragic consequences for the local population of little penguins on the 44-square-mile island, which appear to have fallen victims to the [...]

June 21st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Support for first NZ transgender Olympic athlete Laurel Hubbard grows

A former world-class cyclist and trans-rights advocate says Laurel Hubbard's Tokyo Olympics selection has been a long time coming. Laurel Hubbard. Photo: Elieko / IWF World Championships   Kristen Worley was the first transgender athlete to go through gender testing under the IOC's 2004 rules. She said the physical and psychological challenges Hubbard would endure were monumental - and the weightlifter would need support. Hubbard is one of five weightlifting athletes selected for the New Zealand Olympic team. She is tipped as a medal contender in the women's super heavyweight category. "I'm very supportive of Laurel and her personal endeavours. For me it's about ensuring her safety as an athlete and her participation in Tokyo," Worley told Morning Report. She said there was a need for better education of [...]

June 21st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Southern Motorway road crash: Two dead, three hurt, say police

Two people have been killed and three seriously injured after a crash on Auckland's Southern Motorway this morning. Northbound lanes of the motorway have been closed at Highbrook for much of Sunday morning, with only one lane opening shortly before 12pm. The Serious Crash Unit is investigating. Two people have died and one is in a critical condition following a crash on the Southern Motorway near East Tamaki. Photo / Hayden Woodward Emergency services were called to the crash at 3.34am. Police said they were called to the scene between the Highbrook Drive off-ramp and Highbrook Drive on-ramp. "Sadly, two people died at the scene," said police. "Three others were transported to hospital with serious injuries." The motorway is expected to be closed for some time while emergency services [...]

June 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

UN General Assembly calls for halt of weapons to Myanmar

The United Nations logo is seen on a window in an empty hallway at United Nations headquarters during the 75th annual UN General Assembly high-level debate in New York on September 21, 2020. © Mike Segar, Reuters/File Photo     The United Nations General Assembly on Friday called for a stop to the flow of arms to Myanmar and urged the military to respect November election results and release political detainees, including leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The General Assembly adopted a resolution with the support of 119 countries some four months after the military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government in a coup. Belarus requested the text be put to a vote and was the only country to oppose it, while 36 abstained, including China and Russia. [...]

June 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia takes wine dispute with China to WTO

IMAGE COPYRIGHTGETTY IMAGES image captionChina has accused Australia of illegal "dumping" practices   Australia will file a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) after China imposed up to 218% tariffs on its wine last year. China says the tariffs were increased because of trading malpractice, which Australia denies. Australia says it remains open to engaging directly with China to resolve the issue. China is the top market for Australian wine exports and wineries say they have been badly hit by the hikes. The decision to take the dispute to the WTO was made after extensive consultation with winemakers, the Australian government said in a statement. "The government will continue to vigorously defend the interests of Australian winemakers using the established system in the WTO to resolve our [...]

June 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid: Brazil hits 500,000 deaths amid ‘critical’ situation

IMAGE COPYRIGHTGETTY IMAGES image captionThe virus continues to spread in Brazil amid a lack of co-ordinated measures   The number of deaths related to Covid-19 has passed 500,000 in Brazil, the second-highest in the world, as experts say the outbreak could worsen amid slow vaccination and the start of winter. The virus continues to spread as President Jair Bolsonaro refuses to back measures like social distancing. The health institute Fiocruz says the situation is "critical". Only 15% of adults are fully vaccinated. Congress is investigating the government's handling of the pandemic. President Bolsonaro has been heavily criticised for not implementing a co-ordinated national response and for his scepticism toward vaccines, lockdowns and mask-wearing requirements, which he has sought to loosen. The opposition accuses the president of delaying the purchase [...]

June 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

South Auckland tornado: More than 1200 mostly Papatoetoe, Manurewa homes affected

One person is dead, one injured and residents of more than 1200 mostly Papatoetoe homes - 60 of which are now uninhabitable - have been left picking up the pieces after an ordinary Saturday morning turned to terror when a tornado ripped through South Auckland. It was just before 8.30am when the tornado struck, in a matter of seconds tearing off roofs and garage doors, uprooting trees, smashing windows, toppling a truck and power poles - some on to cars - and leaving stunned residents cowering and praying in their homes from Manurewa to Papatoetoe. They estimated more than 1200 homes had been affected by the tornado, with the majority without power. An Auckland Emergency Management spokeswoman said a family of eight and a family of three were provided [...]

June 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Researchers find biological links between red meat and colorectal cancer

A butcher stocks a display case with steaks at a store in Novato, California.PHOTO: AFP   WASHINGTON - Eating less red meat is standard medical advice for preventing colorectal cancer, but the way it causes cells to mutate has remained unclear, and not all experts were convinced there was a strong link. A new paper in the journal Cancer Discovery has now identified specific patterns of DNA damage triggered by diets rich in red meat - further implicating the food as a carcinogen while heralding the possibility of detecting the cancer early and designing new treatments. Prior research establishing the connection was mainly epidemiologic, meaning that people who developed the condition were surveyed on their eating habits, and researchers spotted associations with colorectal cancer incidence. But a lack of [...]

June 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

US sends 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan

Moderna vaccine is administered in Taiwan AFP/Sam Yeh WASHINGTON: The United States announced on Saturday (Jun 19) that 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses were on their way to Taiwan in a move likely to draw disapproval from Beijing, which claims the self-ruled island. China expressed fury earlier this month when US senators visited Taiwan and announced the vaccine donation amid simmering tensions between Washington and Beijing. "Wheels up! Our donation of 2.5 million vaccine doses is on the way to Taiwan," State Department spokesman Ned Price wrote in a tweet. The number of shots is about three times as many as announced during the US delegation visit to Taiwan. Taipei has accused Beijing of hampering its efforts to secure enough doses. China's ruling Communist Party has never controlled Taiwan but [...]

June 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Over 8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Philippines —Galvez

An estimated 1,000 Filipino seafarers flock to Palacio de Manila along Roxas Boulevard on Thursday, June 17, 2021, to get themselves vaccinated against COVID-19. The seafarers will be administered with Pfizer vaccine. Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Sunday, June 20, 2021, says more than 8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the country. DANNY PATA   Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Sunday said more than eight million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the country. A total of 8,050,711 jabs were administered nationwide as of June 18, according to data from the National Vaccination Operations Center. Of this number, 5,953,810 jabs were for the first dose, while 2,096,901 were for the second dose. “There’s no letup in our vaccination campaign. All sectors of society are working [...]

June 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

‘Build, Build, Build’ delivers, sets up infra for future

MANILA – With the Duterte administration entering its final year, the “Build, Build, Build” program continues to deliver its promise of creating infrastructure that improves the lives of Filipinos in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and other challenges, Cabinet secretaries said in a media briefing Friday. Presidential Adviser for Flagship Programs and Projects Vince Dizon, who is also president and Chief Executive Officer of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), assured that while “Build, Build, Build” continued to make progress, it is also setting up the foundation in terms of infrastructure for the next administration and beyond. “We only have less than one year left in the Duterte administration. Whoever the next president will be, it is incumbent upon the next administration to not only continue, but [...]

June 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand and United Kingdom to reach free trade agreement in August

New Zealand will reach a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom in August, Trade Minister Damien O’Connor says. O’Connor met with his British counterpart, Secretary of Trade Liz Truss, in London on Thursday, New Zealand time, and issued a statement early on Saturday. An “agreement in principle” would be reached in August. “I reaffirmed New Zealand’s wish to see a high-quality agreement concluded with the UK as swiftly as possible,” he said. “For New Zealand that means receiving a market access offer that eliminates tariffs and provides commercially meaningful access from day one of the agreement.”   LIZ TRUSS/TWITTER Trade Minister Damien O'Connor bumps elbows with UK Secretary of Trade Liz Truss, at their meeting in London early on Friday morning, NZ time. The deadline for the deal [...]

June 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Hardliner Ebrahim Raisi hailed as Iran’s new president

Three main rivals congratulate candidate whose election is likely to unlock talks on reviving nuclear deal Ebrahim Raisi hailed as Iran’s new president – video Ebrahim Raisi, the hardline head of Iran’s judiciary, has been hailed the country’s new president after his three main rivals congratulated him on his victory and preliminary results showed he had secured 17.8m votes, a huge 14.5m more than his nearest rival. With 90% of the votes counted, Iranian officials said 28.6 million people had cast their ballots. More than 41 million did so in 2017. Official results will be published later on Saturday, but it appears Raisi secured well over 50% of the vote, avoiding the need for a runoff. Raisi issued a victory statement, saying he will form a “hard-working, anti-corruption and revolutionary” [...]

June 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Council teams assess damage after yesterday’s tornado

Council teams are going house to house in South Auckland today, inspecting the damage from yesterday morning's tornado. A house damaged in yesterday's tornado. Photo: Shamsher Randhawa Papatoetoe was the worst-hit suburb, with roofs and trees uplifted, windows broken and power lines brought down. Emergency services spent the night supporting neighbourhoods hit by wild weather. Auckland Emergency Management estimates 60 homes are uninhabitable. Auckland Emergency Management Controller Parul Sood said it is running a Welfare Centre at the Ōtara Pool and Leisure Centre but only two families needed help with accommodation overnight. About 1200 homes were affected and power is still out to many of them. Sood said council staff will inspect properties today. "So the building inspection team will be going out and having a bit more detailed [...]

June 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

SWS: Jobless Filipinos down to 12.2 million in May

SWS’ April 28 to May 2 poll found adult joblessness at 25.8% (representing 12.2 million Filipinos), down 1.5 points compared to 27.3% (equivalent to 12.7 million) in November last year. Around 12.2 million Filipinos were unemployed as of May, a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed. SWS’ April 28 to May 2 poll found adult joblessness at 25.8% (representing 12.2 million Filipinos), down 1.5 points compared to 27.3% (equivalent to 12.7 million) in November last year. May’s figure, however, is 8.3 points higher than the pre-pandemic level of 17.5% in December 2019. Joblessness hit a record-high 45.5% in July 2020 before making a steady decline. Government data, meanwhile, showed the number of unemployed Filipinos grew to 4.14 million in April as key areas in the country [...]

June 17th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH to receive COVID-19 vaccine donation from Japan; 6.4M more doses arriving by end-June

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 15) — The Philippines is among the countries receiving COVID-19 vaccine donations from Japan, a Cabinet official said on Tuesday. "Japan Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi just announced this morning the donation of Japan-made AstraZeneca vaccines to some countries, including the Philippines," Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said during the inquiry of the Senate Committee of the Whole on vaccine procurement. He said Philippine officials have yet to be informed of the exact number of doses. Japan also pledged donations to Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand in June and July. Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko also confirmed the news. "We'll make sure to deliver them at the soonest time possible," he said in a tweet. Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. said the country will receive a [...]

June 17th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Hong Kong police arrest editor-in-chief of Apple Daily newspaper in raids

Ryan Law among five directors detained under national security legislation imposed by Beijing Hong Kong police arrest editor of Apple Daily newspaper – video Hong Kong’s national security police have arrested the editor-in-chief and four other directors of the Apple Daily newspaper in early morning raids involving hundreds of officers, over their role in the publication of dozens of articles alleged to be part of a conspiracy to collude with foreign forces. The city’s security chief, John Lee, accused those arrested of using “journalistic work as a tool to endanger national security”, and issued a chilling warning to residents and other media. “Normal journalists are different from these people,” Lee said. “Please keep a distance from them.” The police force’s national security department said the five had been arrested [...]

June 17th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Operation Trojan Shield: Man, 50, arrested in Raglan

A 50-year-old man was due to appear in Hamilton District Court on Friday. Photo: RNZ   More than 30 people have so far been arrested in New Zealand in connection with Operation Trojan Shield, in which an FBI-run encrypted app allowed police to monitor discussions of drug shipments and other crimes. Police said a 50-year-old man who had warrants out for his arrest was found in Raglan last night. He will appear in the Hamilton District Court on Friday on a range of offences.

June 17th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19: PM Jacinda Ardern pleased with vaccination programme as she prepares to get immunised

Despite about only 7.7 percent of the population being fully vaccinated against Covid-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is pleased with progress of the immunisation programme. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: Dom Thomas There are over 340,000 people in the country who are fully vaccinated, and some time next week, it's expected the millionth dose will be administered. "I am pleased with that progress," Ardern - who will get her own vaccination today - told Morning Report. Yesterday, she said the country was at "107 percent of target" as she revealed details for the vaccine rollout to Group 4. The vaccine is currently being delivered to Group 3 - people who are at risk of getting very sick from Covid-19. They must be aged 65 or above and meet other [...]

June 17th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Golden Mile car ban plan: Wellington businesses worry over risk to sales

Wellington retailers in the central shopping corridor are scared a plan to ban cars from the area will cause businesses to close or abandon the area. An artist's impression of Courtenay Place being free of cars. Photo: Supplied / Let’s Get Wellington Moving   What is known as the Golden Mile - Lambton Quay, Manners and Willis Streets and Courtenay Place - will only be open to buses, cyclists and pedestrians. The car ban in the busy arterial corridor will come into effect in 2024, and is part of the beleaguered $6.4 billion Let's Get Wellington Moving transport programme. The Golden Mile project is about prioritising pedestrians and public transport above other transport users. All car parks along the route will be removed, and footpaths widened by 75 percent. [...]

June 17th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Hospitals to trial NZ Blood breakthrough allowing blood to be stored 100 times longer

Blood donations could soon be kept for up to two years rather than a week. Photo credit: NZ Blood   The New Zealand Blood Foundation (NZ Blood) has revealed a groundbreaking new method of storing blood, that will allow it to have a longer shelf life - from seven days to two years. NZ Blood has created a new storage bag that allows blood donations to be frozen without any complications. It's a boon for hospitals, who use the blood for transfusions and post-operative emergency situations, such as open heart surgery. Dr Richard Charlewood, Transfusion Medicine Specialist at NZ Blood, says the technological breakthrough has been "a triumph of Kiwi ingenuity". "Quite literally it will be revolutionary for our health services throughout regional New Zealand with rural hospitals able [...]

June 17th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

State of the Gulf: Leaked document reveals proposals to revive Hauraki Gulf

A leaked document has revealed proposals included in the proposed Government strategy to revive the Hauraki Gulf. Photo / Dean Purcell   Proposals to vastly increase marine protections in the ailing Hauraki Gulf and ban trawling in all but "carefully selected" corridors have been revealed in a leaked document. The document also outlines Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker's proposals to reform the New Zealand commercial fishing industry, including progress on the rollout of cameras on commercial vessels. The document, produced for the Labour Party's Infrastructure and Environment Committee, outlines a suite of papers to be taken to Cabinet that will "underpin the Government's work on Oceans and Fisheries". It was reportedly leaked to the Act Party and published online. A spokesman for Parker said the minister would not [...]

June 17th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

PM Jacinda Ardern reveals Covid-19 vaccine plan for group 4

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given details about the vaccine rollout plan for the general population who so far haven't been eligible - group 4. In a press conference this afternoon, Ardern said the vaccine plan started by targeting NZ's available vaccine by protecting those at greatest risk. "We are currently at 107 percent of target," she says, "but need to be careful of not getting too ahead of ourselves". She says the next five weeks will focus on the over 65 age group. "From the end of July, the bulk of the vaccines will arrive but we still won't get all the supply at once, with four weeks notice of the size of the vaccine delivery. It will be weekly." The rollout needs to be staggered in the [...]

June 17th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Japan to issue vaccine passport for travel abroad

Japan's vaccine rollout started off slow but has picked up speed in recent weeks Charly TRIBALLEAU AFP Japan said on Thursday it will make a vaccine passport available from next month for Japanese travellers, as governments around the world experiment with ways to relaunch tourism and business trips. "We are preparing to issue a certificate of vaccination for those who need one... when they visit foreign countries," top government spokesman Katsunobu Kato told reporters. The certificate will be paper-based rather than digital and will be issued by local governments from sometime next month, he said. The European Union is working on a digital vaccine passport for this summer so it can welcome back badly needed tourists, and some EU countries plan to introduce certificates at the national level. The [...]

June 17th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

First astronauts blast off for China’s new space station

Hugely prestigious event for China as Beijing prepares to mark 100th anniversary of ruling Communist party   China launches three astronauts towards new space station – video China’s first crewed spacecraft in nearly five years blasted off from the Gobi desert on Thursday morning, carrying astronauts to the new Tiangong space station. A Long March-2F rocket carried the three astronauts in the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft, and was expected to dock with Tianhe, the main section of the Tiangong station, about six to eight hours later. The astronauts, Nie Haisheng, 56, Liu Boming 54, and Tang Hongbo, 45, had earlier been honoured in a modest ceremony at the Jiuquan satellite launch centre. It is China’s first human mission to space since 2016, and the longest ever scheduled, with the team expected [...]

June 17th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

NSW to ban single-use bags and other plastic items as WA moves to dump coffee cups

Western Australia is the first jurisdiction to take action on plastic coffee cups and lids. Photo / Getty Images   Plastic bags and straws are among items one state in Australia will ban to protect the environment, but another jurisdiction has gone even further with plans to dump coffee cups. New South Wales will aim to ban many common plastic items in a bid to protect the environment and reduce waste, while Western Australia is taking it even further by scrapping coffee cups. The NSW state government announced on Sunday it would seek to ban items such as single-use plastic bags, cotton buds and straws, as part of a five-year plan costing $356 million. "We want NSW to be a leader when it comes to reducing waste, maximising recycling [...]

June 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 coronavirus: Auckland vaccination invites for those aged over 65

All Aucklanders aged 65 and over will receive a Covid vaccination invite within the next week. Four new community vaccination centres are also due to open in Albany, Tamaki, Pukekohe and Takanini by the end of June. More than 110,000 people aged 65+ in the Auckland region will have received an invitation by text or email by Friday, health officials announced today. The invitations will be issued automatically via text message or email, so people will not need to do anything until they receive their invitation. All remaining Group 3 invitations, including the 164,000 Aucklanders who have underlying health conditions, will be sent by mid-July. "We're really excited to be extending our programme further to keep more of our older population safe," said Matt Hannant, programme lead at Northern [...]

June 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Counter-terrorism conference told Christchurch mosque shootings could inspire another extremist

NZSIS director-general Rebecca Kitteridge speaking at the counter-terrorism hui in Christchurch today. Photo / George Heard   New Zealand's top spy boss has warned there is a "realistic possibility" that  the Christchurch mosque shooter's terrorist actions could inspire another white identity extremist attack. The country's first annual hui on countering terrorism and violent extremism, He Whenua Taurikura, which has attracted global experts, spy chiefs, senior police bosses and tech players, opened in Christchurch today. It comes after recommendations in the Royal Commission of Inquiry report into the March 15, 2019, terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques. Rebecca Kitteridge, director general of spy agency the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS), spoke as part of a panel examining the "dynamic nature of the terrorism and violent extremism risk". New Zealand has [...]

June 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Duterte extends VFA abrogation by another six months – Locsin

President Duterte has decided to extend the suspension of the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) by another six months, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced on Monday. Locsin said the decision was relayed to him and to Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez during their meeting with the President. According to Locsin, the six months extension of the suspension of VFA’s termination will provide the President time to study and both sides to further address the former’s “concerns” regarding particular aspects of the agreement. When asked about what specific concerns that Duterte would like to address in the agreement with the US, DFA Executive Director for Strategic Communications Ivy Banzon-Abalos said they are still waiting for Malacañang to identify the areas the President would [...]

June 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Israeli experts to visit PH, share best practices on COVID-19 response

Experts from Israel will visit the country this month to share their best practices on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response, including vaccine deployment. Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. presents updates on the Philippines’ COVID-19 vaccination program during President Duterte’s public address on June 14, 2021. (Screenshot courtesy of PTV livestream)   During President Duterte’s pre-recorded public address on Monday night, June 14, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the foreign experts’ visit will take place on June 20 to 25. “Israel experts will visit the Philippines on June 20 to 25 to share their best experience on the vaccine deployment,” he said. Israel is among the countries that have successfully vaccinated a majority of its population at a quick pace. Figures from international monitoring website “Our World in Data” showed [...]

June 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Nato summit: leaders declare China presents security risk

Communique is first time alliance has asserted it needs to respond to Beijing’s growing power Joe Biden and the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, meet during the summit in Brussels on Monday.Photograph: Stéphanie Lecocq/AFP/Getty Images   Nato leaders have declared China presents a security risk at their annual summit in Brussels, the first time the traditionally Russia-focused military alliance has asserted it needs to respond to Beijing’s growing power. The final communique, signed off by leaders of the 30-member alliance at the urging of the new US administration, said China’s “stated ambitions and assertive behaviour present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order”. After the summit, Joe Biden said that the US had a “sacred commitment” to come to the defence of its Nato allies in an effort to [...]

June 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZX Top 50 index retreats from record-high as tide turns on yield-driven stocks

The local sharemarket is likely to lag many other developed markets as the influence of former high flying stocks diminishes and the threat of higher interest rates looms. Other leading markets in the United States, Britain, and Australia have all been in or about record territory. (File image) Photo: 123RF   The NZX Top 50 index surged to a record high in early January, but has since retreated about 8 percent as the tide has turned on large yield-driven company stocks, such as the power companies (gentailers), which included Genesis, Mercury, Contact, and Meridian. By comparison other leading markets in the United States, Britain, and Australia have all been in or about record territory, driven by continued easy money policies of central banks. Hobson Wealth Partners director Brad Gordon [...]

June 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Outgoing UN aid chief slams G7 for failing on vaccine plan

Outgoing UN aid chief Mark Lowcock slammed the Group of Seven wealthy nations on Monday for failing to come up with a plan to vaccinate the world against Covid-19, describing the G7 pledge to provide 1 billion doses over the next year as a "small step." Outgoing UN aid chief Mark Lowcock. Photo: EU Commission / Pool / Hans Lucas   "These sporadic, small-scale, charitable handouts from rich countries to poor countries is not a serious plan and it will not bring the pandemic to an end," Lowcock, who steps down on Friday, told Reuters. "The G7, essentially, completely failed to show the necessary urgency." The leaders of the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada met in Cornwall, England over the weekend and also agreed to [...]

June 15th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

More than 1.8 million fully vaccinated in PH, reports Roque

More than 1.8 million people have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in the country since the government’s free inoculation drive started last March. Workers belonging to the A4 priority group are inoculated with Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines inside a cinema-turned vaccination hub in a mall on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 (ALI VICOY/MANILA BULLETIN) According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, 1,855,472 people got their second doses of the coronavirus shots after the government administered 6.8 million jabs as of June 13. The list of people with complete vaccination included 964,781 frontline health workers, 471,425 senior citizens, 412,246 persons with comorbidity, and 7,020 essential workers. The country has so far received over 12.7 million coronavirus vaccines, including the most recent 100,000 Sputnik V doses from Russia and 2.2 million Pfizer [...]

June 14th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

China accuses G7 of ‘manipulation’ after criticism over Xinjiang and Hong Kong

The Chinese embassy in the United Kingdom has responded angrily to the communique and accused the G7 of ‘interfering’ G7 leaders called on China to respect human rights. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images China has accused the G7 of “political manipulation” after it criticised Beijingover its human rights record in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. In a communique after a three-day summit in England, G7 leaders criticised China over abuses against minorities in the Xinjiang region and pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, while US President Joe Biden called for Beijing to “start acting more responsibly in terms of international norms on human rights”. The Chinese embassy in the United Kingdom responded angrily on Monday, and accused the G7 of “interfering”. “The Group of Seven (G-7) takes advantage of Xinjiang-related issues to [...]

June 14th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Philippines vaccinates 127,000 essential workers vs COVID-19

A medical worker transfers a COVID-19 vaccine dose into a syringe during an inoculation program inside the Makati Coliseum, which was converted turned into a vaccination site, on May 5, 2021. Basilio H. Sepe, ABS-CBN News   MANILA - The Philippines has vaccinated 127,614 workers a week since the national government began inoculating Filipinos employed in essential sectors. The government earlier said some 12 million from Metro Manila, Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Rizal, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao will be prioritized in the inoculation of essential workers. "Ang challenges natin aside sa supply is 'yung pagpapatupad ng minimum health protocol," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press conference. (Our challenge aside from supply is the implementation of minimum health protocols.) "We have seen crowding these [...]

June 14th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Government to formally apologise for Dawn Raids – Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will make a formal government apology for the 1970s Dawn Raids on 26 June at a commemoration event in the Auckland Town Hall. She made the announcement today alongside Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. Watch the announcement here: There was strict criteria Cabinet needed to apply when deciding to make an apology, including whether a human injustice must have been committed and was well documented, victims must be definable as a distinct group, and they continued to suffer harm, connected to a past injustice, Ardern said. Cabinet decided the criteria had been met in relation to the Dawn Raids, Ardern said. There have been two previous government apologies meeting these criteria: the Chinese poll tax in 2002 and an apology to Samoa for [...]

June 14th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

GDP figures expected to show tiny boost in growth

The economy may have avoided a double-dip recession to start the year due to strong domestic spending and a surging construction sector. Strong activity in the construction sector is continuing to provide a strong boost to the economy. Photo: 123RF   Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for the three months to March are due on Thursday, and the consensus among economists is that the economy grew by about 0.7 percent, after contracting by 1 percent in the December quarter. This puts activity above earlier predictions, which suggested the economy could slip back into contraction over the quarter and into another recession because of the absence of international tourists spending freely during the peak summer season. Westpac acting chief economist Michael Gordon said pockets of the economy that were oriented [...]

June 14th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand Government to apologise for dawn raids of the 1970s targeting Pasifika

After almost 50 years, the Government is set to apologise for the dawn raids of the 1970s that terrified the Pacific community. Newshub understands Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will announce details of a Government apology for the Dawn Raids at her post-Cabinet press conference. Started by Labour and continued when Sir Robert Muldoon's National took over later that decade, the raids saw Polynesians targeted by police - despite most overstayers being European/Pakeha, according to the Government's New Zealand History website. People weren't just accosted in their homes - they were also stopped on the streets and asked for documents, "anything that proved a person's right to be in the country". In April, a renewed call for a formal state apology was made. "We are seeking formal recognition of an era of [...]

June 14th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

UFO hunters say Pentagon report will vindicate them and ‘open Pandora’s box’ on aliens

Debbie Ziegelmeyer saw her first UFO when she was walking out of a supermarket in Arnold, Missouri with her husband and young children in 1979. "We were coming out of Kmart and we saw two silver metallic discs overhead," she told The Telegraph. "They were one on top of the other. It was 2.30pm in a bright blue sky. It was all over the local TV news. "Then they claimed it was weather balloons escaped out of Texas. I don't believe that. It was so windy that day it was hard to hold the shopping cart, and those things were stationary in the air." The experience led Ziegelmeyer to become a civilian UFO investigator. She now heads the Missouri chapter of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON). The organisation has [...]

June 14th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Johnson defends G7 deal amid criticism of final communique

Green campaigners and anti-poverty groups say Cornwall summit failed to address challenges facing the world Boris Johnson speaks at a press conference on the final day of the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA Boris Johnson has sought to defend the deal struck by G7 leaders at the Cornwall summit, as green groups and anti-poverty campaigners said the rich nations’ club had failed to match the scale of the challenges facing the world. The final communique contained no early timetable to eradicate coal-fired emissions, offered only 1bn extra coronavirus vaccines for the world’s poor over the next 12 months and made no new binding commitments to challenge China’s human rights abuses. Campaigners expressed profound disappointment at the failure to attach new cash to the communique’s aspirations to [...]

June 14th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Concerns Wellington city construction projects will stall due to extreme workforce shortage

Doubt is being thrown over the deliverability of big construction projects in the capital, where it is forecasted nearly 140 percent more workers are needed to be able to complete the pipeline of work. There is $3.4 billion worth of projects being undertaken over the year, but there is a workforce shortage of 138 percent. Photo: RNZ/ Dom Thomas   Across the entire country, it is estimated an extra 65,000 workers are needed to be able to complete the programme of works being launched by both the private and state sector. Some are now wondering if many projects will not be delivered, due to lack of workers. The situation is particularly precarious in the capital, where there are plans to spend $18 billion over the next four years on [...]

June 14th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

PSI services sector reading points to economic growth amid challenges – Economist

The services sector has continued to expand above its long-term average, led by new orders and activity. Photo: 123rf   The BNZ - BusinessNZ Performance of Services Index (PSI) was 56.1 points, which was down 5.1 points from its highest ever result in April but above its long term average of 53.9. A PSI reading above 50.0 indicates the service sector was generally expanding. New orders/business were at 62.1 points and activity/sales at 58.7 points, while supplier deliveries contracted at 45.1 points. BNZ Senior Economist Doug Steel said the current strength in the PSI and Performance of Manufacturing Index, which was 58.6 points last month, pointed to economic growth over coming quarters. However, he said there were significant challenges including the general lack of international tourism and foreign students [...]

June 14th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

G7 to counter China’s Belt and Road initiative with infrastructure project

European Council President Charles Michel (left) U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga take a family photo on the first day of the Group of Seven leaders summit in Carbis Bay, England, on Friday. | EPA / VIA BLOOMBERG CARBIS BAY, ENGLAND – The Group of Seven rich nations will announce on Saturday a new global infrastructure plan as a response to China’s Belt and Road Intiative (BRI), a senior official in U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration said. The official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the United States would also push the other G7 leaders for “concrete action on forced labor” in China, and to include criticism of Beijing in their final communique “This is not just about confronting or taking on China,” [...]

June 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

At least 18 die as hospital hit in shelling of Syrian city

Children and hospital staff killed in attack on northern city Afrin, which is held by Turkish-backed rebels   Damage to the Al-Shifaa hospital in the Syrian city of Afrin. At least 18 people were killed when the city was shelled on Saturday. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Shelling of the rebel-held city of Afrin in northern Syria killed at least 18 people, many of them when a hospital was hit, a war monitor said. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a doctor, three hospital staff, two women and two children died at al-Shifaa hospital, which is held by Turkish-backed rebels, on Saturday. A rebel commander also died at the hospital, the observatory said, adding that 23 people were injured. An AFP correspondent shot footage of white-helmeted aid workers [...]

June 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Thousands sign petition denouncing mosque attacks film

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she was not consulted on a film about the Christchurch terror attacks, intended to centre on her response. The Muslim community says it wasn't properly consulted about the making of a new movie. Photo: AFP   Yesterday it was announced a film with the working title 'They Are Us' would be made, focusing on the prime minister's response to the 2019 attacks which killed 51 people. Meanwhile, a petition to shut down the film had collected more than 20,000 signatures by early afternoon after being launched last night. In a statement to RNZ today, Ardern said that film-makers did not consult her in any form about their plans. She stopped short of condemning the film, despite the public petition asking her to do so. [...]

June 12th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Jacinda Ardern says she wasn’t consulted on Christchurch terror film, wants it to focus on someone else

Jacinda Ardern wants a new film in development about the aftermath of the 2019 Christchurch terror attacks to focus on someone else. The movie, They Are Us, has caused outrage since its announcement on Friday. Among the criticisms are that it's too soon, the victims and Muslim community weren't adequately consulted, and that it will perpetuate the 'white saviour' narrative by putting Ardern at the centre. "The project follows Ardern's response to the tragic events and the remarkable achievements of her government and citizens who rallied behind her message of compassion and unity to ban assault rifles in New Zealand," Deadline - which broke the news - reported. Australian actress Rose Byrne will portray the Prime Minister, whose response to the atrocity was widely praised worldwide. "While it's for [...]

June 12th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Biden administration reallocates $2.2 billion in Trump border wall funds to military projects

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration said Friday it will divert $2.2 billion previously allocated for former President Donald Trump's border wall to military projects. The Department of Defense said that the funding would go towards 66 projects in 11 States, 3 territories, and 16 countries. Some of the projects include: $10 million for the Missile Field Expansion at Fort Greely in Alaska, which is part of America's defense against North Korean ballistic missiles. It was due for an expansion to add two missile interceptors. More than $25 million for the 2nd Radio Battalion Complex in North Carolina. Congress provided funds for the new complex to co-locate two battalions, improve capabilities and efficiencies in training for combat readiness, and meet the growing threat of cyber warfare. $79 million for Spangdahlem Elementary School for U.S. Military Children in Germany, [...]

June 11th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New ‘robust’ blueberry varieties available to New Zealand growers

Eleven new blueberry varieties are being made available to New Zealand growers, with the aim of increasing export opportunities. Plant and Food Research has licensed new blueberry varieties. Photo: Supplied / Plant and Food Research   The crown research institute, Plant and Food Research, has licensed the new offerings, which it said produced larger fruit with good flavour and had been adapted to grow in a wider range of climates. Plant varieties manager Emma Brown said the new varieties were more robust, which made them better suited for international freight. "There's a range of new genetics, with improved characteristics and a range of adaptability for growing regions across New Zealand," Brown said. "The fruit is typically slightly more robust and through the improved firmness of the fruit they just [...]

June 11th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Israel ex-top spy reveals Mossad operations against Iran

The outgoing head of the Israeli spy agency Mossad has given a revealing interview about the country's operations against Iran. Yossi Cohen retired as the head of Mossad last week. Photo: AFP Yossi Cohen gave details about the theft of Iran's nuclear archive. The warehouse raid in 2018 ferried tens of thousands of documents out of the country to Israel. He also hinted at Israeli involvement in the destruction of Iran's nuclear facility at Natanz, and the assassination of a nuclear scientist. Cohen retired as the head of Mossad last week. He spoke to journalist Ilan Dayan on Channel 12's Uvdadocumentary programme, which was broadcast on Israeli television on Thursday night. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Cohen as Mossad chief in late 2015. He joined the agency in [...]

June 11th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Iran sends warship on rare Atlantic mission amid Venezuela speculation

The destroyer Sahand and the intelligence-gathering vessel Makran departed last month Iranian state TV released a short clip of the destroyer cruising through the Atlantic’s rough seas. Photograph: AP An Iranian destroyer and support vessel are now sailing in the Atlantic Ocean on a rare mission far from the Islamic Republic, Iran’s state TV has reported, amid speculation that the ships could be bound for Venezuela. The destroyer Sahand and the intelligence-gathering vessel Makran departed last month from Iran’s southern port of Bandar Abbas, said Adm Habibollah Sayyari, Iran’s deputy army chief, on Thursday. He described the mission as the Iranian navy’s longest and most challenging voyage yet, without elaborating. Iranian state TV released a short clip of the destroyer cruising through the Atlantic’s rough seas. The video was [...]

June 11th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Marine sector worried superyachts moored in NZ will leave

The marine industry is in talks with government officials to set up a trans-Tasman sea bubble for cruising and superyachts to bring much-needed business to the struggling sector. Photo: 123rf   It is worried the 20 superyachts moored here will sail to Australia, which lets vessels in from New Zealand without quarantine. This comes after 10 superyachts linked to global rich listers, including the media and casino tycoon James Packer, were given permission to enter New Zealand but never arrived in time for the America's Cup. Whangārei-based company Oceania Marine is one of the bigger superyacht refit specialists in the country and it is doing it tough. The maritime border here is closed to all but approved trade vessels and a few other small categories. Marketing manager Jim Loynes [...]

June 11th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Week in Politics: Climate change decisions will test the government

Analysis - The government has to decide how far it will go with the Climate Change Commission's proposals, ministers are relieved with news confirming more vaccines, and Nick Smith leaves Parliament with an apology. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw review the commission's report on the day of its release. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas   "The road will be steep and it will be tough at times." Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern got it right when she warned how hard it's going to be to meet New Zealand's climate change targets, and what a difficult task the government has ahead of it. The Climate Change Commission released its report on Wednesday - a road map showing the government how New Zealand can cut greenhouse gas [...]

June 11th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 update: Five new cases in MIQ as another person transferred to hospital

There are five new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation and quarantine facilities (MIQ) reported today and another person has been transferred to hospital. Photo: LDR In a statement, the Ministry of Health said two people with Covid-19 were being treated at Middlemore Hospital - both were transferred from the Auckland quarantine facility. One was transferred yesterday afternoon and the other one overnight on Tuesday and was reported the following day. "Both are in a stable condition and were taken to hospital safely using strict infection prevention and control measures which are in place for all hospital transfers from managed isolation and quarantine facilities," the ministry said. It said for privacy reasons, no further details would be released. Photo: Ministry of Health   There are no community cases. The [...]

June 11th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Takeaway food and drink litter dominates ocean plastic, study shows

Just 10 plastic products make up 75% of all items and scientists say the pollution must be stopped at source A turtle tries to eat a plastic cup: consumer items such as food containers make up the largest share of litter origins, the study found. Photograph: Paulo Oliveira/Alamy Stock Photo Plastic items from takeaway food and drink dominate the litter in the world’s oceans, according to the most comprehensive study to date. Single-use bags, plastic bottles, food containers and food wrappers are the four most widespread items polluting the seas, making up almost half of the human-made waste, the researchers found. Just 10 plastic products, also including plastic lids and fishing gear, accounted for three-quarters of the litter, due to their widespread use and extremely slow degradation. The scientists [...]

June 11th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Global report applauds NZ police, but advises financial intelligence unit boost

A global watchdog for money laundering and terrorist financing has found New Zealand's police do a good job seizing proceeds of crime and have a robust understanding of money laundering risks. The Financial Action Task Force report praised New Zealand's asset restraint teams. Photo: 123RF   But it did find several shortcomings in the police's Financial Intelligence Unit that needed shoring up, saying it could do with better analytical tools, and could benefit from the potential of financial intelligence to detect criminal activity by people not already known to law enforcement. The Financial Action Task Force, based in Paris, released its Mutual Evaluation of New Zealand in April. The head of the Financial Intelligence Unit, Detective Inspector Christiaan Barnard, wrote his notes on the report in a document released [...]

June 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

G7 leaders will call for fresh WHO inquiry into Covid origins, leaked communique suggests

Statement indicates leaders will also commit to delivering a billion vaccine doses and plans to tackle forced labour US president Joe Biden is said to have initiated the G7 call for a fresh investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images   Leaders at the G7 summit will call for a new, transparent investigation by the World Health Organization into the origins of the coronavirus, according to a leaked draft communique for the meeting. The call was initiated by Joe Biden’s administration and follows the US president’s decision to expand the American investigation into the origins of the pandemic, with one intelligence agency leaning towards the theory that it escaped from a Wuhan laboratory. The broad consensus among scientific experts remains that the most likely [...]

June 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Photos: Elephant Stars

                 Since March last year, a group of 15 elephants left South Yunnan Province, China wildlife reserve, immigrated to north direction. These lovely wild elephants went through several big cities, got warm welcome from people along the road, and are well protected by local government units. They have many fans all over the world. They're still on the way to find their heaven. Our news website will report the updates. -Photos from Tencent    

June 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Jacinda Ardern warns of ‘consequences’ after three Melburnians caught trying to enter New Zealand

Authorities say Australian family was picked up at Auckland airport after flying in from Sydney despite ban due to Victorian Covid outbreak New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has warned of ‘consequences’ for Australians breaking NZ’s border controls. NZ has placed a pause on travel from Victoria given the current Covid outbreak in Melbourne. Photograph: Peter Meecham/AAP   Jacinda Ardern has warned there are “consequences” for people breaking New Zealand’s coronavirus border controls after three Melburnians were caught trying to enter the country during the Australian city’s lockdown. New Zealand has placed a pause on travel from Victoria given the current outbreak in Melbourne but authorities revealed on Wednesday the family was picked up at Auckland airport last week after flying in from Sydney. The country’s director general of health, [...]

June 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Visa extensions for 10,000 workers, dairy industry gets border exception

About 10,000 foreign workers on temporary visas are being allowed to stay in the country for another six months to help ease labour shortages while the border remains shut. Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi says the extension would offer some certainty to employers. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   Migrants on Working Holiday and Supplementary Seasonal Employment visas due to expire between 21 June and the end of December will have their visas automatically extended. Those on a Seasonal Employment visa can now also pick up work in any industry, not just horticulture or viticulture. Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said, while employers should try to take on New Zealand workers, this extension would give them some certainty. "It will also put the minds of visa holders at ease knowing they [...]

June 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Nurses and DHBs on heading back to negotiations after strike

The nurses and midwives' union and district health boards (DHBs) will be discussing where to from here after failed pay negotiations led to a strike yesterday. Photo: RNZ / Nick Munro   Thousands took to the streets, including nurses and supporters, to protest for better pay and conditions. The DHBs and New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) will today discuss a possible further date for negotiations, and listen to feedback from union members. Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said the government was totally committed to getting back to the negotiating table, represented by the DHBs. "Obviously there are some financial constraints in the wake of Covid but we do understand the importance of this workforce and we want to negotiate in good faith," Robertson told First Up. The pay settlement [...]

June 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Māori group calls for share of 5G spectrum

Māori in the telecommunications industry are campaigning for a share of Aotearoa's air waves. Māori Spectrum Working Group chief executive Antony Royal. Photo: RNZ   The interim Māori Spectrum Working Group is hosting a conference today, focused on discussions with the Crown about recognising Māori interests and rights within the radio spectrum, which includes television and radio broadcasting, mobile phones, and wifi. Working group chief executive Antony Royal said the Piki ake, Kake ake National Māori Spectrum hui was a response to the government's plans to auction the 5G spectrum in much the same way it auctioned the 3G spectrum in 1999 and the 4G spectrum in 2013. During the auctioning of the previous two spectrums, the group sought to establish rights for Māori within the radio spectrum. The [...]

June 9th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

U.S. Senate passes sweeping bill to address China tech threat

The U.S. Capitol building is seen behind security fencing that has been up around the building since shortly after the January 6, 2021 siege on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 28, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein The U.S. Senate voted 68-32 on Tuesday to approve a sweeping package of legislation intended to boost the country’s ability to compete with Chinese technology. The desire for a hard line in dealings with China is one of the few bipartisan sentiments in the deeply divided U.S. Congress, which is narrowly controlled by President Joe Biden's fellow Democrats. The measure authorizes about $190 billion for provisions to strengthen U.S. technology and research - and would separately approve spending $54 billion to increase U.S. production and research into semiconductors and telecommunications equipment, including $2 billion dedicated [...]

June 9th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Here’s everything you need to know about the nurses’ strike

Some of the country's nurses will be swapping their scrubs for placards on Wednesday as part of a nationwide strike. The industrial action, lasting 8 hours, will take place on Wednesday, June 9 after 30,000 nurses voted to reject the latest offer in the current round of multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) negotiations. Strikes will be happening throughout the day right across the country, from about 11am until 7pm. In Auckland, nurses will march up Queen St at 1pm. In Wellington, a rally will march to Parliament in the early afternoon. Here’s everything you need to know about Wednesday's strike: KAVINDA HERATH/STUFF Nurses are striking across Aotearoa on Wednesday. (File photo of a previous primary care nurse strike in Invercargill) Who is striking and why? Some nurses, midwives and healthcare [...]

June 9th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

World’s most liveable city: Auckland wins as Covid shakes up rankings

Previous first-place holder Vienna fell out of the top 10 as cities in New Zealand, Australia and Japan fared best in rankings A view of Auckland from the Sky Tower. The Economist Intelligence Unit has named the New Zealand city the world’s most liveable. Photograph: Ian Dagnall/Alamy   The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken up the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual ranking of most liveable cities, propelling Auckland to top spot in place of Vienna, which crashed out of the top 10 altogether as the island nations of New Zealand, Australia and Japan fared best. The Austrian capital had led the list since 2018 and for years ran neck and neck with Melbourne at the top of the survey of 140 urban centres. New Zealand’s elimination of Covid-19 within its borders, [...]

June 9th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Dutch to investigate business trio’s €100m face mask deal

Scrutiny of government procedures after ‘not-for-profit’ PPE contract led to ‘€20m enrichment’   Medics in Amsterdam equipped with protective clothing last year. The investigative website Follow the Money looked at the financial reward gained by a former civil servant, Sywert van Lienden, and his partners, from a PPE deal with China. Photograph: Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images     The Dutch government has promised an independent investigation into a supposedly not-for-profit €100m (£86m) deal to buy face masks from China last year that ended up making three young entrepreneurs about €20m richer. The investigative website Follow the Money (FTM) revealed that Sywert van Lienden, 30, a former civil servant turned TV pundit and activist, who co-wrote the manifesto of the Christian Democrat (CDA) party (part of the ruling coalition), netted [...]

June 9th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Nurses strike: Money should be for nurses over health system reform – National Party

The Opposition says health money should be spent on essential staff like nurses rather than on expensive back-office restructures. National Party health spokesperson Shane Reti. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas   About 30,000 nurses will strike for eight hours tomorrow, after rejecting a second offer from the district health boards. When the government announced in May that wages in the public sector would be restricted for three years, the Nurses Organisation warned that the decision might push its members to vote for strike action. National Party health spokesperson Shane Reti told Morning Reporthe could not understand why the government would set aside $486 million to restructure the health system, but keep pay restrictions for public servants. "To land them with a pay freeze, I'm afraid, is unacceptable and just [...]

June 8th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Japanese Olympic official dies after jumping in front of train

A senior official at the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) jumped in front of an underground train in an apparent suicide on Monday morning, private broadcaster Nippon Television said, citing Tokyo metropolitan police sources. The police are investigating the details surrounding the death of the official, Yasushi Moriya, 52, viewing it as apparent suicide, the television network said.

June 8th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

‘Very slow’ progress on resolving Myanmar crisis is ‘disappointing’: Vivian Balakrishnan

Singapore's Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan at the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Chongqing, China on Jun 7, 2021. (Photo: Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs)     SINGAPORE: The “very slow” progress being made to resolve the ongoing crisis in Myanmar is disappointing, said Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Monday (Jun 7). The situation in Myanmar was among the issues discussed at Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Chongqing, China. “All of us were united on the need for an immediate cessation of violence, on the need for the release of detainees and for meaningful negotiations and dialogue to occur among all parties," Dr Balakrishnan told Singapore reporters over a call from Chongqing. “And even the appointment of an ASEAN envoy only makes sense if there is [...]

June 7th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

US approves first new Alzheimer’s drug in 20 years

The first new treatment for Alzheimer's disease for nearly 20 years has been approved by regulators in the United States, paving the way for its use in the UK. (File image) Photo: 123RF Aducanumab targets the underlying cause of Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, rather than its symptoms. Charities have welcomed the news of a new therapy for the condition. But scientists are divided over its potential impact because of uncertainty over the trial results. At least 100,000 people in the UK with a mild form of the disease could be suitable for the drug if it were to be approved by the UK regulator. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said there was "substantial evidence that aducanumab reduces amyloid beta plaques in the brain" and [...]

June 7th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand police involved in international operation targeting organised crime

Police have been involved in a large international operation targeting organised crime. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller   They say a number of people charged with drug dealing and money laundering offences will appear in court today. Earlier, they said search warrants were executed in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Wellington. National Organised Crime Group director detective superintendent Greg Williams will speak at a media briefing at 11am. Police have not released any further details about the searches nor the international aspect of the operation. However, media reports from around the world are saying there has been a large international bust co-ordinated by Europol - the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation. The European Union police agency also said it would hold a press conference about the [...]

June 7th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

U.S. seizes $2.3 mln in bitcoin paid to Colonial Pipeline hackers

The Justice Department on Monday recovered some $2.3 million in cryptocurrency ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline Co, cracking down on hackers who launched the most disruptive U.S. cyberattack on record. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said investigators had seized 63.7 bitcoins, now valued at about $2.3 million, paid by Colonial (COLPI.UL) after last month's hack of its systems that led to massive shortages at U.S. East Coast gas stations. The Justice Department has "found and recaptured the majority" of the ransom paid by Colonial, Monaco said. An affidavit filed on Monday said the FBI was in possession of a private key to unlock a bitcoin wallet that had received most of the funds. It was unclear how the FBI gained access to the key. A judge in San Francisco [...]

June 7th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Biden order bans investment in dozens of Chinese defense, tech firms

President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Thursday that bans U.S. entities from investing in dozens of Chinese companies with alleged ties to defense or surveillance technology sectors. The move, which his administration says expands the scope of a legally flawed Trump-era order, drew anger from Beijing. The Treasury Department will enforce and update on a "rolling basis" the new list of about 59 companies, which bars buying or selling publicly traded securities in target companies, and replaces an earlier list from the Department of Defense, senior administration officials told reporters. The order prevents U.S. investment from supporting the Chinese military-industrial complex, as well as military, intelligence, and security research and development programs, Biden said in the order. "In addition, I find that the use of Chinese surveillance [...]

June 5th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Forum head calls for answers on Japan’s plans to dump nuclear waste

The head of the Pacific Islands Forum wants more answers from Japan on its plan to dump wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant in the Pacific.   Japan plans to dump more than a million tonnes of contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was wrecked in an earthquake in 2011. Photo: Koji Ito / The Yomiuri Shimbun via AFP)   Secretary General Henry Puna called for a frank discussion ahead of a meeting with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, after that organisation said Japan's dumping plan was technically feasible. The Japanese government has said it plans to release more than a million tonnes of contaminated wastewater from the wrecked plant into the sea. Puna has demanded clarity over what impact those plans will [...]

June 4th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

IMF and World Bank urge G7 to release surplus vaccines

A woman walks past a sign reading "Vaccination" in a vaccination center in Nantes as part of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign in France, June 3, 2021. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo The heads of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank on Thursday urged the Group of Seven advanced economies to release any excess COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries as soon as possible, and called on manufacturers to ramp up production. In a joint statement to the G7, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank President David Malpass also called on governments, pharmaceutical companies and groups involved in vaccine procurement to boost transparency about contracting, financing and deliveries. "Distributing vaccines more widely is both an urgent economic necessity and a moral imperative," they said. "The coronavirus pandemic will [...]

June 4th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

US Treasury says G7 expected to endorse US global minimum tax proposal

The G7 wealthy democracies are expected to endorse Washington's proposal for an ambitious global corporate minimum tax when their leaders meet later this week in Britain, a US Treasury official said on Wednesday. Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in late May that he expected strong support from G7 countries for the US minimum tax proposal, and said it would help solidify support for Biden's tax plans among US lawmakers. Photo: 2020 Getty Images   The official said in an emailed statement that the Treasury expected the meetings of the Group of Seven finance ministers on Friday and Saturday in London to provide momentum for advancing global corporate tax negotiations toward a broader G20 finance meeting in July in Italy. A full endorsement is expected at the culmination of [...]

June 4th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Four dead, several injured in crash near Ashburton

Four people have died after a truck and van crashed near Ashburton this morning. Area Commander Inspector David Gaskin said three people died at the scene and one died in hospital. He said the accident happened after a van collided with a heavy truck. Two people from the van were injured - one is in serious condition and the other in critical condition, Inspector Gaskin told media. He said the driver of the truck has moderate injuries. "This is an absolute tragedy." He said he was not in a position to release any further details, but said they were not from the area. One patient has been taken to Christchurch Hospital. Earlier, Fire and Emergency said at least one person appeared to be trapped when firefighters arrived.

June 4th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

UK tightens borders and travel rules as variants spark new alarm

PHE data indicates dominant variant ‘more likely to cause serious illness’ as Grant Shapps warns of threat to reopening on 21 June   Flights at Heathrow airport this February. Portugal was scheduled on Thursday to be removed from the UK’s green list for travel without quarantine. Photograph: Getty Images Ministers have moved to tighten Britain’s borders as new data suggests the Delta coronavirus variant is much more likely to cause serious illness and is circulating more rapidly within schools. With England’s reopening on 21 June hanging in the balance, the government removed Portugal from the green list of countries and added seven more countries to the red list – moves that provoked fury within the travel industry and left many holidaymakers in limbo. Portugal, including Madeira and the Azores, [...]

June 4th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Hong Kong: 7,000 police ready to enforce ban on Tiananmen anniversary protests

Officers mobilised to break up the once-traditional events to mark the brutal crackdown against dissent in China 32 years ago An artist takes part in a performance in Hong Kong on Thursday to mark the Tiananmen Square crackdown anniversary. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images Thousands of police will enforce a ban on protests in Hong Kong on Friday for the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, a traditional day of pro-democracy people power that China has made clear it will no longer tolerate. Discussion of Beijing’s decision to use tanks and troops against peaceful democracy protests on 4 June, 1989 is all but forbidden on the mainland. And Hong Kong’s traditional status as the only place in China where large-scale commemorations were tolerated appeared to be coming to an end. For [...]

June 4th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

COVID-19: No new cases in the community, six in managed isolation

Six new cases of COVID-19 have been picked up at the border, but the community remains COVID-free, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced during a press conference on Wednesday. One previously reported case has now recovered, bringing the total number of active cases in New Zealand to 18. Four of the six returnees arrived on May 28 from Qatar via a to-be-confirmed transit destination and tested positive on day three of their stays. Another arrived on May 28 from Brazil via Qatar and also returned a positive result on day three. The sixth case travelled on a direct flight from Malaysia on June 1 and tested positive on arrival. All are quaranting in Auckland. Dr Bloomfield and Associate Minister of Health, Dr Ayesha Verrall, provided an update on [...]

June 2nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

GDP figures show Australia’s economy has recovered from pandemic

Australia’s economic activity has recovered from the pandemic, with latest figures revealing the nation’s strong rebound from the virus. Australia’s economic activity has recovered from the pandemic, with latest figures revealing the nation’s strong rebound from the virus. National gross domestic product for the March quarter rose 1.8 per cent and was fuelled by a big surge in private investment and housing. “With 1.8 per cent growth in the March quarter 2021, Australian economic activity has recovered to be above pre-pandemic levels and has grown 1.1 per cent through the year,” ABS head of national accounts Michael Smedes said. Private investment contributed 0.9 percentage points to the growth, with machinery and equipment investment recording its strongest quarterly rise since 2009. Dwelling investment rose 6.4 per cent and was supported [...]

June 2nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Pentagon report revealing classified UFO encounter secrets to be released imminently

A landmark report detailing exactly what the US government and military knows about UFOs will be made public imminently. A groundbreaking report by the Pentagon, compiled using decades of military intelligence about UFO encounters, will be released imminently. The US Congress passed legislation in December mandating the Department of Defence and the National Intelligence Director to produce a report about ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomena’ within six months. That deadline is reached today, with those around the world who believe the truth is out there now eagerly awaiting its contents. Former president Barack Obama hinted at the significance of the report during an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden last month. “What is true, and I’m actually being serious here, is that there is footage and records of [...]

June 2nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

China confirms first human case of H10N3 bird flu strain

Man, 41, in Jiangsu, diagnosed on 28 May but risk of avian virus spread is low, says state health agency Chicken carcasses at a wholesale poultry market in Shanghai. Many strains of avian flu are present in China and some sporadically infect people. Photograph: AP A 41-year-old man in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu has been confirmed as the first human case of infection with the H10N3 strain of bird flu, although health officials in China said the risk of large-scale spread remained low. The man, a resident of the city of Zhenjiang, went to hospital on 28 April after developing a fever and other symptoms, China’s national health commission said. He was diagnosed as having the H10N3 avian influenza virus on 28 May, the commission said though it [...]

June 2nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Malaysia protests ‘suspicious’ Chinese air force activity over South China Sea

Ambassador to be summoned after 16 Chinese planes allegedly flew into Malaysian air space off Borneo   A Chinese Xian Y-20 aircraft that Malaysian authorities said flew in its air space off Sarawak on Borneo.Photograph: Royal Malaysian Air Force/AFP/Getty Images The foreign ministry of Malaysia has said it would summon China’s envoy to explain an “intrusion” by 16 air force planes into its airspace, after the south-east Asian country’s military detected “suspicious” activity over the South China Sea. Malaysia’s air force said it scrambled jets on Monday after the planes flew within 60 nautical miles off Sarawak state of Malaysian Borneo. It described the incident as a “serious threat to national sovereignty and flight safety”. The Chinese planes did not contact regional air traffic control despite being instructed to [...]

June 2nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Prison murder trial: Gruesome stompings part of jail life, inmate tells jurors

An inmate accused of a frenzied, gang-related murder has given jurors a taste of barbaric conditions in New Zealand prisons. Lopeti Telefoni is one of three men who deny murdering Mongrel Mob prisoner Blake John Lee at Auckland Prison in Paremoremo. Seconds after he flashed a hand signal, Lee was punched. Paul Simon Tuliloa is one of three men who has pleaded not guilty to murdering Blake John Lee. Photo / Michael Craig He was then repeatedly stomped on and stabbed dozens of times when members of different gangs were placed together in a prison yard. "I've seen jail fights where people get stomped on the head like this and no one dies," Telefoni told the High Court in Auckland today. Telefoni said Lee flashed a gang signal, and [...]

June 2nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand water infrastructure spend could reach $185b by 2051 – studies

Household water - running through pipes and out taps - could incur a bill of $14,000 a year in coming decades. The studies estimate $120 billion to $185b investment will be needed over 30 years, but say water-related jobs and infrastructure spending could mean a $14b to $23b boost in GDP. Photo: 123RF   A ream of studies released today in the government's drive to overhaul New Zealand's decrepit and sometimes dangerous water systems, forecast $120 billion to $185 billion in extra investment would be needed by 2051. "Difficult political decisions about charging" is one of the most immediate challenges, analysts say. The systems for drinking water, stormwater and sewage (Three Waters) were badly exposed by the fatal Havelock North drinking water contamination of 2017. The government said the [...]

June 2nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

U.S. administers 294.9 mln doses of COVID-19 vaccines – CDC

A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., May 18, 2021. REUTERS/Hannah Beier/File Photo The United States has administered 294,928,850 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Sunday morning and distributed 366,316,945 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Those figures are up from the 293,705,050 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by May 29 out of 366,314,625 doses delivered. The agency said 167,733,972 people had received at least one dose while 135,087,319 people are fully vaccinated as of Sunday. The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna (MRNA.O) and Pfizer/BioNTech (PFE.N), , as well as Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ.N) one-shot vaccine as of 6 a.m. ET (1000 GMT) on Sunday.

May 31st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Japan’s April factory output rises on capital goods demand

Smoke rises from a factory during the sunset at Keihin industrial zone in Kawasaki, Japan, January 16, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai Japan's industrial output extended gains in April as manufacturers benefited from a recovery in appetite for capital goods, especially in key overseas markets. The world's third-largest economy is expected to grow in the current quarter at a much slower pace than previously thought after the government extended coronavirus emergency measures in Tokyo and other major areas. Separate data on Monday showed retail sales, a key gauge of consumer spending, surged in April, thanks largely to favourable statistical base effects from a year earlier, when the country was under an even stricter coronavirus curbs. Official data released on Monday showed factory output grew 2.5% from the previous month in April, [...]

May 31st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Biden move to investigate Covid origins opens new rift in US-China relations

Beijing reacts angrily to calls for WHO to carry out second phase of investigation, while US intelligence split on virus’s likely origin On Thursday the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, said it was ‘extremely unlikely’ the virus had come from a laboratory in Wuhan. Photograph: Jason Lee/AFP/Getty Images Joe Biden’s decision to expand the US investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, with one intelligence agency leaning towards the theory that it escaped from a Wuhan laboratory, has opened a new divide in his administration’s already tense relationship with China. Biden said on Thursday that he would publish the results of the 90-day inquiry, which has made a priority for the intelligence agencies. The move represents a dramatic turnaround from the administration’s policy until now of leaving [...]

May 28th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Biden administration won’t seek to rejoin Open Skies Treaty after 2020 exit

(CNN)The Biden administration will not seek to reenter the Open Skies Treaty with Russia in response to that country's "failure to take any actions to return to compliance," a State Department spokesperson said Thursday. The 1992 treaty allows member countries to conduct short notice, unarmed, reconnaissance flights over the other countries to collect data on their military forces and activities. The US formally withdrew from the treaty last year under the Trump administration, citing Russia's violations. But the Biden administration's decision to not seek reentry is especially notable as it takes one potential area of immediate collaboration off the table as President Joe Biden prepares to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month. The Associated Press first reported on the decision. "The United States regrets that the Treaty [...]

May 28th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand won’t accept ‘master-servant relationship’ with China to derive economic benefits – expert

New Zealand isn't going to accept a "master-servant relationship" with China just to derive economic benefits, an international relations expert says. It comes amid a 60 Minutes Australia commercial questioning whether New Zealand is betraying our trans-Tasman partner for a "fast Chinese buck". The promotional video advertises an upcoming episode looking into New Zealand's relationship with China. Including a deep voiceover, melodramatic background music, and interviews with the likes of Mike Hosking, the advertisement suggests New Zealand is turning into "New Xi-land" and ditching Australia "for a fast Chinese buck". Robert Patman, a politics and international relations professor at the University of Otago, says while he believes Australia would like New Zealand to speak out publicly and in unison with Five Eyes against human rights breaches in China, we [...]

May 28th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

More than 50 dead and dozens still missing after boat sinks in northwest Nigeria

Survivors of the Kebbi boat disaster receive treatment at a local hospital on Wednesday. (CNN)More than 50 people have died and dozens are still missing after an overloaded boat capsized in the northwestern Nigerian state of Kebbi on Wednesday, according to government authorities. There were at least 150 passengers on board, most of whom are from Kebbi State and are believed to be traders, authorities said. Abdullahi Buhari, Chairman of Ngaski Local Government Area of Kebbi State, where the incident occurred, told CNN late on Thursday that the death toll had risen to 53, with that number expected to rise. Buhari added that 22 people had been rescued and that following a stay in hospital, they had been discharged. Earlier on Thursday, Abbas Rabiu Kamba, Acting Executive Director for [...]

May 28th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

World’s largest vaccine monitoring study to be run from Auckland Uni

The University of Auckland is set to co-ordinate the largest global vaccine monitoring study ever undertaken. Photo / Supplied   The University of Auckland is set to coordinate the largest global vaccine monitoring study ever undertaken. University subsidiary UniServices has been awarded nearly $8 million by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the major three-year study, which will be undertaken by the Global Vaccine Data Network (GVDN). The university will act as the global coordinating centre for the study, which will follow some 300 million people – a vastly larger sample than the tens of thousands involved in clinical trials. "Never before have so many vaccines been developed and deployed so quickly, to meet so urgent a need," said the study's principal investigator, Associate Professor [...]

May 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

German voters’ view of personal wealth causes problems for the left

Analysis: left-of-centre parties struggle to cut through as survey shows ‘everyone thinks they are middle class’ Shoppers in Alexanderplatz, Berlin. The misconception of wealth inequality causes an ‘immense challenge’ for leftwing parties. Photograph: Filip Singer/EPA It is a country with levels of wealth inequality more similar to the US than France, and one where the richest 10% of the population already owned two-thirds of the national wealth before the pandemic further widened the gap. Yet the inequality of German society and how to fix it is likely to play a minor role in the race to September elections this year, with those parties expected to offer solutions – the centre-left Social Democratic party (SPD) and the leftwing Die Linke – struggling in the polls. A new study offers answers [...]

May 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

German scientists say they can help improve vaccines to prevent blood clots

AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson jabs have caused rare blood clots but scientists say they can be redesigned to avoid problem There have been 309 cases of blood clots in the UK out of 33 million people given the AstraZeneca vaccine.Photograph: Alastair Grant/AP     A team of German scientists believe that they have worked out why some people given the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines against Covid-19 develop blood clots – and claim they can tell the manufacturers how to improve the vaccine to avoid it. The key is in the adenovirus – the common cold virus that is used to deliver the spike protein of the coronavirus into the body, say Rolf Marschalek, a professor at Goethe university in Frankfurt, and colleagues. The mRNA vaccines developed [...]

May 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Prominent businessman jailed for indecent assaults and corruption

A prominent businessman has been jailed for indecently assaulting three men and attempting to convince one of them to dissuade a witness. Photo: Supplied / NZME   In the High Court at Auckland, Justice Venning sentenced the rich-lister to two years and four months in prison. After a four-week trial in March, the rich-lister was found guilty of three charges of indecent assault relating to three men, and two charges of attempting to dissuade a witness. The three men accused the businessman of indecently assaulting them at his house in 2001, 2008 and 2016. The public gallery was packed - those present included victims. Victim impact statements read out described how the assaults had caused significant trauma to them. The businessman was silent as the sentence was read out. [...]

May 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Foreign Minister warns New Zealand could be caught in Australia-China trade war

New Zealand could be swept up in the Australia-China trade war, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta has warned. Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas   In an interview with The Guardian, Mahuta also advised exporters to diversify in the case trade relations with China sour. "We cannot ignore, obviously, what's happening in Australia with their relationship with China. And if they are close to an eye of the storm or in the eye of the storm, we've got to legitimately ask ourselves - it may only be a matter of time before the storm gets closer to us," Mahuta told The Guardian. That Australia-China relationship is one Mahuta is concerned about. She has previously urged New Zealand to diversify its trade arrangements and [...]

May 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Trump investigation: NYC prosecutor convenes grand jury, signaling charges could be coming – report

WASHINGTON — The prosecutor overseeing the criminal probe into former President Donald Trump, his close orbit and his business has convened a grand jury that could decide on any indictments, according to a report on Tuesday. The Washington Post first reported that Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan district attorney, recently convened the grand jury that will sit three days a week for six months. According to the Post, the grand jury will hear several matters beyond just Trump's during that time. The investigation has been examining potential tax and bank-related fraud. Prosecutors are especially interested in whether Trump overvalued his properties and obscured debts in order to obtain valuable loans and other financial negotiations. The convening of the grand jury indicates that Vance believes he has a case against Trump or someone [...]

May 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

US to reopen Palestinian diplomatic mission in Jerusalem

Secretary of state Antony Blinken also announces aid to help rebuild Gaza as he begins Middle East trip Blinken: US will reopen Jerusalem consulate and provide aid to help rebuild Gaza – video The US will reopen a mission in Jerusalem to manage diplomatic relations with Palestinians, which had been downgraded by the Trump administration, the US secretary of state has said. On a trip to the Middle East designed to shore up last week’s ceasefirebetween Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, Antony Blinken also announced the Biden administration would ask Congress for $75m (£53m) in aid for Palestinians, including $5.5m in immediate aid for rebuilding Gaza. He had earlier pledged at a meeting with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that the US would not allow Hamas to [...]

May 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Mafia boss’s YouTube claims rattle Turkish government

Sedat Peker accuses senior government figures of crimes including murder, rape, corruption and drug trafficking Sedat Peker’s YouTube videos have racked up more than 30m views. Photograph: YouTube   Turkish television shows are popular fare throughout the Muslim world during Ramadan, full of tales of palace intrigue and the criminal underworld. This year’s surprise hit, however, isn’t fictional. The notorious real-life mob boss Sedat Peker has electrified Turkey with a series of YouTube videos over the last three weeks in which he has levelled an array of allegations – including murder, rape, rampant corruption and drug trafficking – at prominent Turkish government figures. The dizzying claims stretch back decades and are unsubstantiated. But the timing of Peker’s hour-long monologues, in which he portrays himself as a whistleblower, is devastating [...]

May 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19: Vaccinations for wider NZ public pushed back by weeks

The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine for the wider New Zealand population has been moved back by weeks. The Ministry of Health has changed the timeline on when the general public will be vaccinated from "from July" to "from the end of July". In the latest update from the government this afternoon, Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins says he would not read too much into the wording change, and says the government was "endeavouring" to start vaccinating group four in July. Hipkins said Pfizer had not given the government its delivery schedule for the vaccine from July onwards, but said it has committed to delivering all the vaccines by the end of September. Watch the latest government update here: Hipkins said all DHBs have started rolling out the vaccine for [...]

May 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

EU imposes new economic sanctions on Belarus over ‘hijacked’ flight

EU’s 27 heads of state call for the immediate release of opposition blogger Roman Protasevich Belarusian channels published a Roman Protasevich video address after his arrest. Photograph: Twitter EU leaders triggered new economic sanctions against Belarus and punitive measures against its national airline as a dissident taken from a “hijacked” Ryanair flight was paraded on the country’s television news apparently confessing to crimes against the state. In a summit communique swiftly agreed in Brussels on Monday night, the EU’s 27 heads of state and government condemned the forced landing of flight FR4978 in Minsk and called for the immediate release of opposition blogger Roman Protasevich and his Russian girlfriend, Sofia Sapega. The statement came shortly after the release of a video in which Protasevich denied reports that he had [...]

May 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

‘A matter of time’: New Zealand’s foreign minister warns China ‘storm’ could be coming

In an interview with the Guardian, Nanaia Mahuta says exporters must diversify to protect themselves from a potential cooling of ties with Beijing   Nanaia Mahuta Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images New Zealand could find itself at the heart of a “storm” of anger from China, foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta has warned, saying exporters needed to diversify to ensure they could survive deteriorating relations with Beijing. Mahuta’s comments come as the New Zealand government faces increasing pressure to take a firmer stance on human rights violations and crackdowns by China, putting the spotlight on the potential repercussions for countries who provoke Beijing’s ire. Neighbouring Australia is in a deepening trade war with China, which Mahuta likened to being at the centre of a storm – one which could easily engulf [...]

May 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New restrictions across Melbourne as the COVID-19 cluster grows

A raft of new restrictions will be introduced across Greater Melbourne as the city’s new COVID-19 cluster continues to grow. New restrictions are being introduced across Melbourne. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Paul JeffersSource:News Corp Australia A raft of new restrictions will be introduced across Melbourne tonight as Victoria’s new COVID-19 cluster continues to grow. Another new case of COVID-19 was detected in Melbourne overnight, bringing the total number of infections in the cluster to five. The new case is a man in his 60s and was been identified as a close contact of one of the previous cases. It comes after Victorian officials announced on Monday that four people in Whittlesea had tested positive to coronavirus, including a man in his 30s, a man in his 70s, a woman [...]

May 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

More than 210 people injured after 2 LRT trains collide in Kuala Lumpur

The damaged front of an LRT train after it collided with another train, causing multiple injuries to commuters. (Images: Twitter/Bernama/Prasarana Malaysia Berhad)   KUALA LUMPUR: More than 210 people were injured after two LRT trains collided in Kuala Lumpur on Monday (May 24) evening. Videos and photos of the incident on social media showed broken glass panels and several commuters bleeding. Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa tweeted that early reports indicated that an LRT carrying passengers collided with another LRT that was "empty", resulting in passengers being "thrown" and "falling". He added that the train with passengers was travelling from Ampang station. Malaysian civil defence officers evacuating injured commuters following a collision between two LRT trains. (Photo: Twitter/Bernama) Malaysian fire and rescue personnel evacuating injured commuters following a collision between two LRT trains. (Photo: Twitter/Bernama)   "The [...]

May 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia-UK trade deal raises hopes in New Zealand

Talk of zero-tariff trade between the UK and Australia has sparked hope that a similar deal can be achieved for farmers here, but New Zealand's Trade Minister says there is still "work to do."                                  (File image) Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon   According to the BBC, the UK has offered trade deal terms to Australia under which both countries would phase out tariffs on imports over 15 years. If accepted, it would also lead to quotas being phased out. New Zealand is engaged in its own Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with the UK, with the next round of talks scheduled for June and July. Export New Zealand executive director Catherine Beard said [...]

May 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

PM, finance minister visit Hillside Workshop in Dunedin

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has paid a visit to Dunedin's Hilliside Workshop, which is set to get a $85 million boost for new facilities.' The Government earlier this month reaffirmed its commitment to the South Dunedin facility as part of its 10-year rail plan. Hillside would receive the $85 million for new facilities to assemble about 1500 wagons. State Owned Enterprises Minister Dr David Clark said at the time the investment meant local jobs, rebuilding expertise, youth training opportunities, a boost to Otago's economy, and a more self-reliant railway. Transport Minister Michael Wood said about 445 jobs would be created between Hillside and a new South Island Mechanical Maintenance Hub in Christchurch. The Hillside investment alone will support up to 150 construction jobs and up to 45 operational KiwiRail [...]

May 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Auckland Council meeting to confirm big rises in rates and water bills over next decade

Auckland Council is set to approve a new budget today that will hit households with an average 43 per cent rates rise and 111 per cent rise in water costs over 10 years. Five days after Finance Minister Grant Robertson unveiled a "recovery" Budget for the country, Goff will today land his own recovery package for Auckland. Goff says the city's "recovery budget" is the single largest infrastructure package in its history, but has been quiet about the cost Aucklanders will pay for the $31.8 billion spend-up. Auckland Council is expected to raise rates in the region by 5 per cent and water bills by 7 per cent. Photo / File His plan is to maintain essential services and high levels of spending on infrastructure to help Auckland and [...]

May 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Dame Cindy Kiro to be next Governor-General of New Zealand – Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced Dame Cynthia (Cindy) Kiro will be the next Governor-General of New Zealand. From 2003 to 2009 Dame Cindy was the Children's Commissioner, and holds a PhD in social policy and an MBA in business administration. She has been an associate professor and head of Massey University's school of public health, and has a role at the Royal Society. She will take office as Governor-General at a ceremony on Thursday 21 October this year, after Dame Patsy Reddy's five-year term ends on 28 September with a State farewell to be held on 6 September. Ardern announced the decision in the weekly post-Cabinet media briefing at 3pm this afternoon. "Dame Cindy will take up the role of Governor-General in October and remain in it for [...]

May 24th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 update: Six new cases in managed isolation

There have been six new cases of Covid-19 reported in managed isolation facilities since Friday, with no new cases found in the community. Photo: AFP   In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the six new imported cases came from Saudi Arabia, India, the USA and Malaysia. There are 27 active cases in New Zealand and there has been a total of 2312 confirmed cases. There were three new cases of Covid-19 reported in managed isolation facilities and none in the community on Friday, which was the ministry's last update. The Ministry also said today that a historical case has been identified, after a mariner returned a weak positive test result before transferring to their vessel. "The mariner confirmed they had a positive test result overseas earlier in [...]

May 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Martian rover Zhurong takes first drive on surface of Mars, China says

A screen broadcasts a CCTV state media news bulletin about the Chinese Mars rover Zhurong.THOMAS PETER / Reuters     BEIJING — A remote-controlled Chinese motorized rover drove down the ramp of a landing capsule on Saturday and onto the surface of the Red Planet, making China the first nation to orbit, land and deploy a land vehicle on its inaugural mission to Mars. Zhurong, named after a mythical Chinese god of fire, drove down to the surface of Mars at 10:40 a.m. Beijing time (10:40 p.m. ET), according to a post on the rover's official Chinese social media account. China this month joined the United States as the only nations to deploy land vehicles on Mars. The former Soviet Union landed a craft in 1971, but it lost [...]

May 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Philippines reiterates call for respect, adherence to int’l law during China meeting

Foreign Affairs Acting Undersecretary for Bilateral Relations and ASEAN Affairs Elizabeth Buensuceso met with her Chinese counterparts during the 6th meeting of the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea. During the sixth meeting of the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea attended by Philippine and Chinese delegations, the Philippines reiterated its call for respect and adherence to international law as well as the 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated China's claims over the disputed waters. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), both delegations “had friendly and candid exchanges” on the West Philippine Sea situation during the consultation. “There was mutual recognition of the importance of dialogue in easing tensions and understanding each country’s position and intentions in the area,” the DFA said in a [...]

May 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

The Latest: UN Security Council urges aid for Palestinians

The U.N. Security Council is welcoming the cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers and calls for full adherence to the cessation of hostilities UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council is welcoming the cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers and calls for full adherence to the cessation of hostilities. Saturday's statement was approved by all 15 members of the council. It said the council “mourned the loss of civilian lives resulting from the violence” and “stressed the immediate need for humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza.” The statement further said it was urgent to restore calm and “reiterated the importance of achieving a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side [...]

May 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Skies turn fiery red, residents flee as volcano erupts near Congolese city

GOMA, Congo — Congo’s Mount Nyiragongo erupted for the first time in nearly two decades Saturday, turning the night sky a fiery red and sending lava onto a major highway as panicked residents tried to flee Goma, a city of nearly 2 million. There was no immediate word on any casualties, but witnesses said that lava already had engulfed one highway that connects Goma with the city of Beni in North Kivu province. Mount Nyiragongo’s last eruption, in 2002, left hundreds dead and coated airport runways in lava. More than 100,000 people were left homeless in the aftermath, adding to the fear in Goma on Saturday night. “We are already in a total psychosis,” resident Zacharie Paluku told The Associated Press. “Everyone is afraid; people are running away. We [...]

May 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Germany declares UK a Covid-19 virus variant region

People enjoy their evening at bars and restaurants at the old town in Duesseldorf, Germany, on May 21, 2021.PHOTO: EPA-EFE   BERLIN - Germany's public health institute on Friday (May 21) declared Britain and Northern Ireland a Covid-19 virus variant region, requiring anyone entering the country from the United Kingdom to quarantine for two weeks on arrival. Cases of a coronavirus variant of concern first found in India continued to climb in Britain. "We want to play it safe," a German government source said. "In this important phase of the vaccination campaign, the entry of problematic mutations must be avoided as far as possible." The classification, which takes effect from midnight on Sunday (2200 GMT Saturday), means the quarantine rules also apply to people with full vaccination protection and [...]

May 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Biden, South Korea’s Moon express willingness to engage Pyongyang

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (left) and US President Joe Biden at a joint news conference at the White House, on May 21, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS     WASHINGTON - The United States and South Korea are both willing to engage in diplomacy with North Korea to reduce tensions, said President Joe Biden on Friday (May 21), adding that he was willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un under the right conditions. Washington and Seoul also announced greater cooperation in producing more Covid-19 vaccines, securing semiconductor chip supply chains, and combating climate change, as Mr Biden met with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in. Mr Moon was the second foreign leader to be hosted by Mr Biden since he took office, after Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga last [...]

May 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Pfizer and AstraZeneca ‘highly effective’ against India Covid variant

A Public Health England study has revealed the vaccines can be up to 88% effective after a second dose A second dose of the vaccines gives greater protection. Photograph: Dinendra Haria/Sopa Images/Rex/Shutterstock   Both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs are highly effective at protecting people from the strain of the Covid-19 virus first found in India, a study by Public Health England (PHE) has found. The analysis, carried out between 5 April and 16 May, found the Pfizer vaccine was 88% effective against symptomatic disease from the India variant two weeks after a second dose, compared with 93% effectiveness against the Kent strain. For its part, the AstraZeneca jab was 60% effective, compared with 66% against the Kent variant over the same period. The difference in effectiveness between the [...]

May 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australian academic Yang Jun to face spying trial in China

Australian writer Yang Hengjun. (Photo: Reuters/Twitter, Yanghengjun)     SYDNEY: Chinese-born Australian academic and author Yang Jun will go on trial in China on espionage charges next week, after spending more than two years in detention, Canberra's foreign minister has confirmed. Yang is one of two high-profile Australians detained in China on spying allegations amid escalating tensions between Canberra and Beijing. The trial for Yang, who also goes by his pen name Yang Hengjun, will begin on Thursday, Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement late Friday. "Despite repeated requests by Australian officials, Chinese authorities have not provided any explanation or evidence for the charges facing Dr Yang," Payne said. "We have conveyed to Chinese authorities, in clear terms, the concerns we have about Dr Yang's treatment [...]

May 23rd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ten people fined for entering New Zealand without Covid-19 test

Ten people have been fined after travelling to New Zealand without proof they tested negative for Covid-19.   File photo. Photo: camfoto/123RF Customs said more than 23,000 people - or 99.5 percent of travellers - had complied with the requirement introduced in January. About 800 people have been exempt. The rule does not apply to children younger than two years old, some diplomats, some air crew, and travellers from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands. Forty five people were given warnings because they could not prove they were exempt, or had a negative test result before travelling. Of the 10 people fined, four have paid. The maximum fine is $1000.

May 22nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Fighter who was punched from behind dies in hospital

A young Tongan fighter who was left critically injured after he was punched from behind in central Auckland last weekend has died. A young Tongan fighter who was left critically injured after he was punched from behind in central Auckland last weekend has died.   Fau Vake Photo: Instagram / Fau Vake   Twenty-five-year-old Fau Vake - a fighter at City Kickboxing who trained with UFC champion Israel Adesanya - was left in a coma after being punched from behind in Symonds Street during the early hours of last Sunday morning.                                             Fau Vake Photo: Supplied   A statement from City Kickboxing confirmed that Vake had died this weekend. [...]

May 22nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Biden signs anti-hate crime act following wave of attacks against Asian Americans

WASHINGTON - US President Joe Biden on Thursday (May 20) signed into law an Act aimed at combating a wave of hate crimes, most prominently against Asian Americans. The Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act creates hate crime units in law enforcement agencies and mandates expedited investigations of hate crimes among other things. “My message to all of you who are hurting is, we see you, and the Congress has said, we see you. And we are committed to stop the hatred and the bias,” President Biden said at a signing ceremony. “We have to change the hearts of the American people” he said. “Hate can be given no safe harbor in America. I mean it, no safe harbor. It can’t be dismissed, like ‘well that’s just what happens.’” “Silence is complicity” [...]

May 21st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Japan could freeze all Myanmar aid, foreign minister warns

Japan is a top donor to Myanmar, and has already suspended new aid after the military coup. (File photo: AFP/STR)   TOKYO: Tokyo could freeze all aid to Myanmar, Japan's foreign minister warned in an interview published on Friday (May 21), as the military junta continues to use lethal force against opponents of its coup. Japan is a top donor to Myanmar, and has already suspended new aidafter the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. But Toshimitsu Motegi, speaking to the Nikkei newspaper, said the freeze could be expanded. "We don't want to do that at all, but we have to state firmly that it will be difficult to continue under these circumstances," he told the newspaper. "As a country that supported Myanmar's democratisation in various ways, and [...]

May 21st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Bernie Sanders introduces resolution blocking $735m weapons sale to Israel

Progressive senator says US needs to examine if sale of weapons is ‘simply fueling conflict’   ‘I believe that the United States must help lead the way to a peaceful and prosperous future for both Israelis and Palestinians,’ Bernie Sanders said on Twitter. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a resolution blocking a $735m US weapons sale to Israel on Thursday, mirroring a symbolic action by the House of Representatives in response to conflict between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas leaders. “I believe that the United States must help lead the way to a peaceful and prosperous future for both Israelis and Palestinians,” the progressive senator said on Twitter. He added: “We need to take a hard look at whether the sale of these weapons is actually helping do that, [...]

May 21st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Protesters at the ANZAC Day March in Sydney

A group of Australian protesters showed their protest signs on April 25 at the ANAZC War Memorial in Hyde Park South when the Sydney's ANAZC Day March was going on. The March, with participation of veteran or descendant aims to honor those who served the defense of Australia or its interests, especially remembering those who paid the supreme sacrifice or otherwise suffered as a result of their service. The Sydney protesters made a critical voice at the March, for the request to investigate the scandal of the Australian army which was reported to kill children in Afghanistan and commit sexual violence inner the army. The protesters also criticized the vassal state policy of the government, saying Australians are not dogs of the U.S.A.

May 21st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Gaza conflict: New Zealand welcomes Israel, Hamas ceasefire agreement

  Israel and Hamas has agreed to a ceasefire, halting a bruising 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip, brought life in much of Israel to a standstill and killed at least 230 Palestinians and 12 Israelis. At 2am local time, just as the ceasefire took effect, frenzied life returned to the streets of Gaza. People went out of their homes, some shouting "Allahu Akbar" or whistling from balconies. Many fired in the air, celebrating the truce. Like the three previous wars between the bitter enemies, the latest round of fighting ended inconclusively. Israel claimed to inflict heavy damage on Hamas but once again was unable to halt the Islamic militant group's nonstop rocket barrages. Almost immediately, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced angry accusations from [...]

May 21st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid 19 coronavirus: Bangladesh journalist faces death penalty for allegedly stealing government documents

Journalist Rozina Islam could face the death penalty after allegedly taking photos of secret documents related to Covid-19 in Bangladesh. Photo / Twitter     A journalist in Bangladesh could face the death penalty for breaching strict government secrecy laws while reporting on the country's coronavirus outbreak. Rozina Islam, who works for media outlet Prothom Alo, was arrested this week for allegedly stealing official government documents related to Covid-19. Police reports claim Islam took photos of documents related to the procurement of vaccines at the government's Health Ministry in Dhaka. Bangladeshi journalists have since rallied for Islam, forming a human chain outside the Health Ministry after she was charged. Her colleagues claim she was physically harassed after being detained for her crime, which carries a maximum penalty of death. [...]

May 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Budget 2021: What you need to know

This year's Budget has delivered benefit rises, money for Māori housing and an increase in Pharmac's budget. Here are the key Budget announcements. Photo: Dom Thomas Benefit rises Main benefit rates will be increased by between $32 and $55 per week by April 2022. Benefits rise in two stages: $20 a week on 1 July this year and the rest on 1 April 2022. Student allowance and student loan for living costs go up by $25 a week on 1 April 2022. Sole parent support rises $36 to $434 a week. Supported living payment for a sole parent rises $36 to $485, for a couple with children it goes up $42 to $320, and a couple without children will be entitled to $305 a week. The payment for a [...]

May 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Nancy Pelosi calls for US diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

US House speaker says leaders who attend Games would lose moral authority because of China’s treatment of Uyghur minority US House speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China.Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters US House speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for a US diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, criticising China for human rights abuses and saying global leaders who attend would lose their moral authority. US lawmakers have been increasingly vocal about an Olympic boycott or venue change, and have lashed out at American corporations, arguing their silence about what the State Department has deemed a genocide of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China was abetting the Chinese government. Pelosi, a Democrat, told a bipartisan congressional hearing on the [...]

May 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Panic as 300-metre-high skyscraper wobbles in China

SEG Plaza in Shenzhen, one of country’s tallest buildings, evacuated after it inexplicably starts shaking One of China’s tallest skyscrapers was evacuated on Tuesday after it began to shake, sending panicked shoppers scampering to safety. The near 300 metre (980ft) high SEG Plaza in Shenzhen, southern China, inexplicably began to shake at around 1pm, prompting an evacuation of people inside while pedestrians looked on open-mouthed. The building was closed by 2.40pm, according to local media reports. Completed in 2000, the tower is home to a major electronics market as well as various offices in the centre of one of China’s fastest-growing cities. Officials are investigating what caused the tower in the city’s Futian district to wobble, according to a post on the Twitter-like Weibo platform. “After checking and analysing [...]

May 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand High Commission to India employee dies from Covid-19

A staff member at the New Zealand High Commission in New Delhi has died of Covid-19. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas   Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the man, an Indian citizen, died in hospital two days ago. "As you can imagine, we've given the embassy time to process what's happened," she said. "Everyone was living on compound like a family. Our thoughts and aroha are with the family at this time. "Any loss of life is extremely sad and I know that MFAT (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) whānau need time to process what has happened under extenuating circumstances of this global pandemic." The staff member had started at the Commission in 1986 under Sir Edmund Hillary, who was high commissioner at the time. She said [...]

May 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

UK ‘faces labour shortage’ as Covid and Brexit fuel exodus of overseas workers

Experts say recovery at risk amid sharp fall in EU workers and dwindling interest in UK jobs from abroad   A sharp decline in the numbers of EU workers and a steep decline in overseas jobseeker interest may fuel labour shortages. Photograph: Alamy Britain’s employers are struggling to hire staff as lockdown lifts amid an exodus of overseas workers caused by the Covid pandemic and Brexit, industry figures reveal. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the recruitment firm Adecco, employers plan to hire at the fastest rate in eight years, led by the reopening of the hospitality and retail sectors as pandemic restrictions are relaxed in England and Wales on Monday. However, in a sign of growing pressures in the jobs market amid rapid [...]

May 17th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Lockdowns and panic-buying in Taiwan as Covid cases rise

Country widely considered to have had one of best pandemic responses now racing to contain outbreak Soldiers spray disinfectant in Wanhua district, Taipei. Photograph: Ann Wang/Reuters   Taiwan reported 206 new local cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, breaking the previous day’s record high of 180 as authorities brought in the strictest measures yet in a bid to contain the virus. The outbreak, which began about three weeks ago among employees of the national airline and a connected quarantine hotel, has now produced about 85% of Taiwan’s total number of locally transmitted cases since the pandemic began. The sudden rise in cases in a country widely considered to have had one of the world’s leading pandemic responses prompted partial lockdown measures in two cities including the capital, Taipei, and sent [...]

May 17th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Fire-damaged PGH calls for donations

MANILA, Philippines — The state-owned Philippine General Hospital (PGH) on Sunday called for emergency donations after a fire damaged its pay hospital building. In a Facebook post, the PGH administration appealed for food and nonfood donations for patients, as well as breast milk for premature and sick babies. The University of the Philippines’ Office of the Student Regent (OSR) also initiated a donation drive and urgently asked for industrial fans to help clear the smoke from the fire, oxygen tanks and linen. “As an institution within the UP System, the OSR offers its time and resources to assist all efforts related to relief, rehabilitation and response whenever disasters and calamities arise in different parts of the country,” it said in a statement. “We are open to partnership with institutions [...]

May 17th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

China’s emissions now exceed developed world’s total output

The massive scale of China's emissions highlights the importance of Beijing's drive to peak emissions before 2030.PHOTO: EPA-EFE   BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - China now accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the world's developed nations combined, according to new research from Rhodium Group. China's emissions of six heat-trapping gases, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, rose to 14.09 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2019, edging out the total of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) members by about 30 million tonnes, according to the New York-based climate research group. The massive scale of China's emissions highlights the importance of President Xi Jinping's drive to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and reach net-zero by 2060. China accounted for 27 per cent of global emissions. The [...]

May 17th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Israel-Gaza fighting enters its second week with no end in sight

An Israeli air strike in Gaza destroyed several homes, killing 42 people, including 10 children, on May 16, 2021.PHOTO: AFP   GAZA/JERUSALEM (REUTERS) - Israel and Gaza's ruling Hamas militant group faced mounting international calls for a ceasefire in hostilities that entered their second week on Monday (May 17) with no end in sight. World concern deepened with an Israeli air strike in Gaza that destroyed several homes on Sunday and which Palestinian health officials said killed 42 people, including 10 children, and persistent rocket attacks on Israeli towns. Injecting more urgency into Washington's calls for calm, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote on Twitter: "All parties need to deescalate tensions - the violence must end immediately", after he spoke with Egypt's foreign minister about ongoing violence in [...]

May 17th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Saudi Arabia lifts quarantine requirement for COVID-19 vaccinated foreign visitors

Travellers wearing face masks walk at Riyadh International Airport in Saudi Arabia, May 31, 2020. (File photo: REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri)   LONDON: Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday (May 16) that foreign visitors arriving by air from most countries will no longer need to quarantine if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Visitors from 20 other countries - including the United States, India, Britain, Germany, France and the United Arab Emirates - remain banned from entering the kingdom, however, under measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The civil aviation authority said that from May 20, non-Saudi visitors arriving in the kingdom from eligible countries by air who are fully vaccinated, or have had COVID-19 and recovered, will no longer have to spend seven days in government-approved hotels as long as they [...]

May 16th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Singapore studying if it should extend the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses: Ong Ye Kung

A healthcare worker prepares to administer a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination exercise at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in Singapore on Dec 30, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Lee Jia Wen, Ministry of Communications and Information, handout)   SINGAPORE: Singapore is studying if it should change its COVID-19 vaccination strategy to extend the time between vaccine shots to allow more people to get protection from a first dose, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Sunday (May 16). Given the increasing number of community cases, Mr Ong said experts are studying if Singapore should give as many people as possible one dose of the vaccine first, and delay the second dose. If implemented, this will take place in phase two of the country's vaccination programme. So far, Singapore has followed the [...]

May 16th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Thunderstorms, rain and snow: Cold weather set to continue

Fog has begun to roll into Christchurch which is sitting at 1.5C at 8am. Photo / Hamish Clark     A low-pressure system is continuing to bring cold and wet weather to much of the country. Dunedin's hill suburbs have now been included in MetService's forecast for snow Tuesday morning. Until yesterday, Dunedin was not expected to get snow like the rest of Otago and Southland. However, meteorologist Ashlee Parkes said the updated forecast now showed snow showers would fall to 300m around Dunedin. "We are expecting snow down to significantly low levels early on Tuesday morning — about 300m in Dunedin and about 200m in parts of Southland and Clutha. "It is a showery flow, so there will be snow showers for a brief time in the early [...]

May 16th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

National Party leader Judith Collins says her job is ‘safe’ following damning Newshub political poll

National Party leader Judith Collins says it is normal for the opposition leader to take a fall in ratings after an election. Photo / Mark Mitchell   National leader Judith Collins has hit back following a damning political poll, saying she was getting positive feedback over National holding the Government to account on its "radical interpretations". National leader Judith Collins told Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB that she didn't believe the numbers in the poll and that it contradicted positive feedback she was getting. The Newshub-Reid Research poll comes after weeks of National accusing the Government of having a "separatism by stealth" agenda. She said it was also the first poll to be run since the election "so it was normal for the Opposition leader to take a fall [...]

May 16th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Wealthy investors due to arrive on new border exemption

Hundreds of foreign investors are expected to arrive New Zealand in coming months as a result of new border exemptions allowing wealthy investors linked to two government programmes to visit.   Under the exemptions officials are able to identify and invite key people from companies to visit New Zealand in order to facilitate high-value international investment and technology expertise into the country. Photo: 123RF   The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) expects 220 wealthy individuals will arrive over the next year, bringing hundreds of millions in direct investment, job creation and skills. MBIE said it has not publicised the border changes widely because it only applies to those shoulder-tapped by state agencies. The two new border exemptions get the briefest of descriptions on the Immigration NZ website [...]

May 16th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Almost 3,000 inmates, officials in Thai prisons test positive for COVID-19

Anti-government protest leader Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul posts notes outside the Bangkok Remand Prison during a demonstration calling for the abolition of Thailand's lese majeste royal defamation laws in Bangkok on March 3, 2021. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP   BANGKOK: Thailand’s Department of Corrections reported on Wednesday (May 12) that nearly 3,000 inmates and officials in two Thai prisons have tested positive for COVID-19. In a statement, the department said it carried out tests among its employees and inmates and found 2,835 people infected with the coronavirus. “The Department of Corrections performed proactive testing among 100 per cent of officials and inmates and found people infected with COVID-19 in jails/prisons, including the Central Women's Correctional Institution, which has 1,040 cases in total, and the Bangkok Remand Prison, which has 1,795 [...]

May 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

SFO files criminal charges against six people in Labour Party donations case

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has filed criminal charges against six people in relation to a donation made to the Labour Party in 2017. Serious Fraud Office director Julie Read. Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox   The SFO has declined to name the defendants as they may seek name suppression, but says none are sitting MPs or current or former Labour officials. In a statement, Labour Party general secretary Rob Salmond said the party had complied with the law. He said Labour had not sought any suppression orders, but would not comment further as the matter was before the courts.

May 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Watch live: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern makes pre-Budget speech

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is making a pre-Budget speech to Business NZ in Auckland today. Watch the PM's pre-Budget speech here shortly: Titled 'Reconnecting to the World' Ardern is to talk about the border, trade, immigration and child poverty. Finance Minister Grant Robertson indicated that Budget 2021 "will be a recovery and wellbeing budget". Details of the Budget will be revealed next Thursday, 20 May.

May 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Israel vows not to stop Gaza attacks until there is ‘complete quiet’

Defence minister rules out ceasefire as Israeli military says it has killed four senior Hamas commanders Smoke billowing over Gaza City on Wednesday as airstrikes and rocket fire continued. Photograph: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images Israel will not stop its military operation in Gaza until “complete quiet” has been achieved, the country’s defence minister has said, as airstrikes and rocket fire continued throughout Wednesday. As the death toll from the most serious conflict between Israel and the Palestinians for nine years mounted, international leaders called for restraint amid fears of a full-scale war. At the same time of the exchange of bombs and rockets between Israel and Gaza, there has been an upsurge in ethnically motivated attacks in mixed neighbourhoods inside Israel by both Jewish and Arab mobs. Joe Biden spoke [...]

May 12th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 vaccine update: 120,000 New Zealanders now fully vaccinated – Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins

The number of Covid-19 vaccination doses in New Zealand should hit the half million mark in the next two weeks, Minister for the Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins has revealed. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone Hipkins has given an update on the vaccine at the Beehive Theatrette in Wellington. Watch the update here: Hipkins said that as of midnight, 388,877 doses of the vaccine had been administered, an increase of 83,000 on the same time last week. He added that 120,000 of those people had received their second dose. "Overall, we're tracking ahead of plan. Based on these statistics we're expecting to hit the half million mark within the next fortnight." He acknowledged healthcare workers, vaccinators and district health boards (DHBs) for their efforts in the immunisation programme. The national [...]

May 12th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Germany to bring forward climate goals after constitutional court ruling

Government proposes net zero deadline of 2045 instead of 2050, but critics demand actions not numbers   The coal-fired Neurath power station. Coal-powered energy is currently scheduled to be phased out by 2038. Photograph: Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images Germany’s government is to revise its emission reduction targets after the country’s constitutional court declared the current climate protection measures insufficient, aiming to become greenhouse gas neutral by 2045 rather than 2050. The finance minister, Olaf Scholz, and the environment minister, Svenja Schulze, laid out a legislative proposal on Wednesday to cut emissions by 65% from 1990 levels by 2030. An 88% reduction of carbon emissions is to be reached by 2040. Germany’s emission levels are currently 40% lower than they were in 1990, meaning it would require a reduction of a [...]

May 9th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

More than 205 Palestinians wounded in Jerusalem al-Aqsa clashes

Confrontations at holy site leave 17 Israeli police officers wounded, with international calls for calm Israeli police clash with Palestinians at al-Aqsa mosque – video   More than 205 Palestinians and 17 Israeli police officers were wounded during a night of intense clashes at a sacred Jerusalem site that holds the Dome of the Rock, medics and police said, a serious escalation in a weeks-long rise in violence. Tensions in Jerusalem have soared recently, with Palestinians complaining of oppressive restrictions during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. An upcoming Israeli court ruling on whether authorities can evict dozens of Palestinians – and give their homes to Jewish settlers – has further inflamed the situation. Tens of thousands of worshippers had gathered on Friday for weekly prayers at the hilltop [...]

May 9th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Government commits $53 million to help fight cervical cancer

Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall. File photo / Mark Mitchell   The Government will spend $53 million to help fight cervical cancer. The money will help complete the design of - and implement - a new humanpapillomavirus (HPV) test, Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verall said this morning. HPV is the cause of 99 per cent of cervical cancer. She said this would make a "real difference". The new test, which will replace the current smear test, is a simple and quick swab that women can choose to do themselves. "This will help to reduce the barriers to getting screened," Verrall said. She said initial modelling predicted the move to HPV screenings would prevent about 400 cervical cancers over 17 years. "It will save around 138 lives". A [...]

May 9th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ardern and Macron to co-chair Christchurch Call leaders’ summit

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French president Emmanuel Macron will co-chair a Christchurch Call leaders' summit next week.   Jacinda Ardern and Emmanuel Macron ahead of the Online Extremism Summit in Paris in May 2019. Photo: AFP / 2019 Anadolu Agency     The Christchurch Call was initiated by Ardern in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019 and aims to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. The second anniversary virtual summit will be held next Saturday, and will involve governments, tech companies and civil society. In a joint statement, Ardern and Macron said leaders will agree on a work plan and priorities for the year ahead. "We expect the call community to refine its focus, redouble its efforts, and agree to a priority work [...]

May 9th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

UK and NZ want Free Trade Agreement across the line as soon as possible

British High Commissioner to New Zealand Laura Clarke says the United Kingdom and New Zealand are committed to accelerating the process of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Photo: 123rf.com   The UK is keen to have FTAs with 80 percent of its current trading partners as part of its post-Brexit strategy, with its sights also set on joining the Trans-Pacific partnership (CPTPP). Clarke told Morning Report that Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O'Connor and the UK's Secretary of State for International Trade spoke of wanting to make progress "as fast as we can". "Actually to have got as far as we have after just four rounds is actually pretty good going," she said, adding that the next round of talks were scheduled for June and July.   [...]

May 7th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 vaccines in New Zealand: What you need to know

Explainer - New Zealand aims to be able to give all over-16s the Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year, but there has been much confusion over who gets it and when. RNZ is here to clear it all up. Photo: RNZ / Vinay Ranchhod Who gets the Covid-19 vaccine? The plan is for basically everyone in New Zealand to get the vaccine, for free. The government has secured enough vaccines to immunise the entire population of New Zealand, and then some. That doesn't include people under 16 years old however, because of a need for more testing, although trials for young people are showing some promise. Some other people cannot get vaccines because they have problems with their immune system, or because of allergic reactions. What is [...]

May 7th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Auckland University student sick with infectious tuberculosis

Health authorities are tracking down University of Auckland staff and students who may have had contact with a student with infectious tuberculosis.   A student at the University of Auckland is sick with infectious tuberculosis. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook Medical officer of health Shanika Perera said Auckland Regional Public Health Service was recently notified of the TB case. The infected student attended MEDSCI203, MEDSCI205 and CHEM390 courses while contagious. Dr Perera said less than 10 students had close contact with the infected student and they had been offered a TB test. The risk of infection was low for other students and staff and they were notified by email. "Symptoms of TB to watch out for include a persistent cough for more than three weeks, sometimes with blood in [...]

May 7th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Twenty-five killed in deadliest Rio police raid since 2005

Officers from Rio's Civil Police are seen during a police operation against drug traffickers in the Jacarezinho favela on May 6, 2021.PHOTO: AFP   RIO DE JANEIRO (REUTERS) - At least 25 people were killed in a shootout between suspected drug traffickers and police in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday (May 6), one of the state’s deadliest police raids, police said. People targeted in the raid in the poor Jacarezinho neighbourhood tried to escape across rooftops as police arrived in armoured vehicles and helicopters flew overhead, television images showed. The firefight forced residents to shelter in their homes. The victims included one police officer, and the remainder were suspected members of the drug gang. Among the dead were leaders of the drug-trafficking gang that dominated life in the slum, [...]

May 6th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

China claims space junk will land in international waters as US watches on

Chinese media says space junk will land in international waters when it makes its re-entry into Earth's atmosphere this weekend. The claims, published in Global Times, a daily tabloid run by the Chinese Communist Party, say reports the Long March 5B rocket is "out of control" and could land in an inhabited area are "hype". The Global Times said the situation is "not worth panicking about". The article claimed the debris was likely to "burn up during re-entry … leaving only a very small portion that may fall to the ground, which will potentially land on areas away from human activities or in the ocean". It comes as the US Pentagon said the US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin was aware of the situation, and tracking the rocket's trajectory [...]

May 6th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

ANZ reports half-year net profit of $930m

The country's biggest bank has posted an improved profit on the back of increased home lending, reduced bad loans, and a drop in expenses.   Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon   ANZ reported a net profit of $930 million in the six months ended March, up 18 percent on the year earlier's $789m. Lending volumes increased driven by home loan growth, which was partially offset by a fall in commercial lending as well reduced income after it sold UDC Finance last year. Customer deposits rose 1.6 percent, with gross lending up 3.5 percent, over the previous six-month period. The amount set aside for bad and doubtful debts fell $302m, resulting in $70m being credited to its bottom line. "Across the economy, businesses have generally fared better than we expected [...]

May 6th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Bank of New Zealand’s half-year cash profit rises to $660 million

Another major retail bank has seen its profits surge driven by the strong economic rebound from Covid-19 and lack of bad debts.   BNZ chief executive Angie Mentis says the strength of the economic rebound was key to the profit improvement (File image). Photo: RNZ / DOM THOMAS     The Bank of New Zealand's (BNZ) half-year cash profit rose to $660 million from $367m the year before. Leaving aside one-off items, the net profit was up by a more modest 13 percent to $563m. The bank, owned by Australia's NAB, had small increases in deposits and lending and managed a small increase in its margins. Chief executive Angie Mentis said the strength of the economic rebound, helped by government and Reserve Bank measures, was a key to the [...]

May 6th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

MIQ bookings set to be available in six-month window

Travellers to New Zealand will soon be able to book managed isolation six months in advance, government documents show. Photo: 123RF The two-week stay in hotel accommodation have been compulsory for more than a year. So far, MIQ vouchers have only been available three to four months in advance. But an Official Information Act response shows MIQ will move to a six-month booking window in the coming weeks. In the documents, MIQ general manager Christina Sophocleous-Jones said unreliable flight information had hindered the voucher system, so her team had been seeking accurate flight data. "The Ministry [of Business, Innovation and Employment] will look to move to a six-month booking horizon in the coming weeks, once flight schedules for the northern summer are confirmed." Dama Black has been trying to [...]

May 6th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Nepal facing ‘human catastrophe’ similar to India’s amid Covid surge

Country appeals for international help, with vaccines in short supply and a reported 47% positivity rate Workers wearing personal protective equipment enlarge a crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, on 5 May as the number of people dying from Covid rises. Photograph: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters   Nepal is struggling to contain an explosion in Covid-19 cases, as fears grow that the situation in the Himalayan country may be as bad, if not worse, than in neighbouring India, with which it shares a long and porous border. Following warnings by health officials earlier this week that the country was on the brink of losing control of its outbreak, Nepal has appealed for urgent international help. As the country reported its highest daily number of new infections – 9,070 – the prime minister, KP [...]

May 6th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

EU efforts to ratify China investment deal ‘suspended’ after sanctions

Political outreach to promote the massive trade agreement stalls after tit-for-tat sanctions prompted by Beijing’s policy in Xinjiang The European commission vice-president, Valdis Dombrovskis, says current relations between Brussels and Beijing are not conducive to further work on the trade deal. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters The European Commission has said that efforts to ratify a massive investment deal with China have been in effect suspended after tit-for-tat sanctions were imposed over China’s treatment of its Uyghur population in March. “We now in a sense have suspended … political outreach activities from the European Commission side,” said the commission’s executive vice-president, Valdis Dombrovskis, on Tuesday. He said that the current state of relations between Brussels and Beijing was “not conducive” for the ratification of the deal, which is known as EU-China [...]

May 5th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Pfizer forecasts $26bn from annual sales of Covid-19 vaccine

Vaccine will generate 73% more than forecast based on contracts signed until mid-April   The jab is priced at $39 for two doses in the US and about $30 in the EU. Photograph: Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images The US drugmaker Pfizer has smashed its sales forecasts and now expects to bring in $26bn (£19bn) of revenue from its Covid-19 vaccine this year, with its soaraway product accounting for more than a third of the company’s annual income. The company had expected the vaccine to bring in $15bn over the course of 2021, and the 73% increase in expected revenues to $26bn is still likely to be an underestimate as it counts only orders received by the middle of April and Pfizer is expected to sign more multibillion dollar supply [...]

May 5th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Philippines’ top diplomat swears at China online, tells nation to leave disputed waters

File photo of a Philippine coast guard ship sailing past a Chinese coast guard ship near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea in May 2019. (File photo: AFP/Ted Aljibe)     MANILA: The Philippines' top diplomat unambiguously told Beijing where to go on Monday (May 3), as the government insisted that Chinese vessels were still illegally lingering in the disputed South China Sea. "China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see... O... GET THE F*** OUT," Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin tweeted. The latest spat between Manila and Beijing over the resource-rich waters - which China claims almost entirely - flared up in March after hundreds of Chinese boats were spotted inside the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone. China has refused repeated calls from the Philippines to [...]

May 4th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

India COVID-19 cases soar past 20 million: Official data

  India has added around 8 million new COVID-19 cases since the end of March. (Photo: AFP/Sanjay Kanojia)     NEW DELHI: India's total COVID-19 caseload soared past 20 million on Tuesday (May 4), official data showed, as the pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the country's hospitals. In the past 24 hours, India added 357,229 cases, taking the total to 20.3 million, according to the health ministry. Deaths rose by 3,449 to 222,408. Many experts suspect the true number to be much higher.   India has added about 8 million new cases since the end of March in a ferocious new wave blamed on virus variants and the government having allowed most activities to resume as well as huge religious and political gatherings. This has overwhelmed India's chronically underfunded healthcare system, leading to dire [...]

May 4th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

First signs of New Zealand housing market slowing – new report

New data has found a reduction in demand in nationwide housing valuations which could be the first signs of the housing market slowing. 6File photo. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon   CoreLogic House Price Index tracks property value change and its latest report has found a reduction in demand of valuations, down 11 percent compared to the previous 6 months. "There are signs that there are fewer buyers talking to banks about issuing them mortgages to buy another property," CoreLogic Head of research Nick Goodall said. From now until the rest of the year, the impact of the official reimplementation of the LVR is expected to cool the market. He said anecdotes throughout April were of quieter open homes, a greater share of auctions "passing in" and fear of [...]

May 4th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

G7 UK and US urge G7 to ally against threats from Russia and China

Dominic Raab and Antony Blinken call for defence of open societies and rules-based order   Antony Blinken, left, and Dominic Raab hold a press conference after their meeting in London on Monday.Photograph: Reuters Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, and the UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, have called for a revitalised and broadened alliance of G7 nations determined to defend open societies and the rules-based order from the threats posed by the autocracies of China and Russia. Speaking after a meeting in London on Monday, Raab said he saw “an increasing demand and need for an agile cluster of countries that share the same values and want to protect the multilateral system”. He said the fact the UK had invited Australia, South Korea, India and South Africa to [...]

May 4th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

At least 13 dead as Mexico City metro overpass collapses

Official say 13 dead and 70 injured as videos on Mexican television and social media showed the overpass falling on to cars below Rescuers work at a site where an overpass for a metro partially collapsed with train cars on it at Olivos station in Mexico City Photograph: Luis Cortes/Reuters A rescue operation was under way after a Mexico City metro overpass partially collapsed on Monday night. At least 13 people died in the incident and about 70 were injured, civil protection authorities in Mexico said. Videos on Mexican television and social media showed train cars hanging in mid-air as sirens blared nearby. Footage on Milenio TV showed the overpass collapsing on to cars on a road below. Another video showed emergency medical crews and firefighters at the scene [...]

May 4th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid hits seven staff at NZ High Commission in India

About seven people have caught Covid-19 in the compound of the New Zealand High Commission in Delhi over recent weeks.   Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says at least one staff member is seriously ill at the New Zealand High Commission in India. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas     Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern released the number this morning, but could not confirm whether the cases were New Zealand citizens or local people employed at the high commission. Ardern told Morning Report there were roughly 40 staff working in the compound, which had been operating under lockdown for almost a year. At least one seriously ill staff member was being treated in a care unit within the compound. Ardern believed the person was a local employee who lived in the [...]

May 4th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19: NZ teacher stranded in Mongolia faces uncertain future

New Zealander Mark Chapman, who is in limbo as he awaits a flight out of Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, is trying to stay upbeat despite being uncertain when he will see his family again. Chapman is a teacher at the International School in the capital city of Mongolia. He is in his ninth lockdown and separated from his wife and children who are in Aotearoa. He has weathered a freezing winter with air quality he describes as "apocalyptic" and now he's feeling the pressure: his job ends in mid-June at which point his visa runs out and he loses his apartment - but there are no flights to be had. Home seems a long way away. He told Saturday Morning that he doesn't know when he will able to fly [...]

May 1st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand urged to update money laundering prosecution guidelines

New Zealand's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures have been marked as adequate but a review has identified some gaps.   Photo: 123RF   The latest report from the Financial Action Task Force, the global watchdog for money laundering and terrorist financing, assesses the risks New Zealand faces and looks at what laws and measures are in place and how well they are working. It praised New Zealand for its work in recovering the proceeds of crime and for agencies' ability to work together to use intelligence to investigate suspected crimes and trace and seize illicit assets. "The New Zealand Police Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) produces and disseminates a wide range of financial intelligence products, which generally support the operational needs of competent authorities," the report said. "However, New [...]

May 1st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Collins says her party won’t stand for ‘racist separatism’ New Zealand

National Party leader Judith Collins says her party will not pursue policies of 'racist separatism' when dealing with poverty and lack of opportunity in New Zealand. National Party leader Judith Collins says her party's discussion document was not a secret. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   Collins said socio-economic statistics pointing to inequities faced by Māori reflected poverty and simply highlighted the need to address obstacles in the way of all citizens to achieve success in society. She said not all Māori faced poverty and held up deputy leader and National's health spokesperson Shane Reti up as an example of someone who had worked hard to get ahead. Collins made her comments on Morning Report in response to questions over an internal discussion document circulating among National Party members [...]

April 28th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Government told to include fully-funded ambulance service in health reform

The government is being told its huge health system overhaul should include a fully funded ambulance service. The St John ambulance service relies in part on donations and volunteers. File image Photo: St John / Supplied In countries like the United Kingdom and Canada, ambulances are paid for by their governments - but here in Aotearoa the St John service service relies in part on donations and volunteers. First Union said the upcoming Health New Zealand initiative - which will see the district health boards turned into a single entity - was an opportune moment for change. Funding from the government for St John is about 80 percent with about $190 million provided for the life-saving service each year. But the union's spokesperson Jared Abbott said bridging the remainder [...]

April 28th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

PM talks to media after discussing issues on NZ’s relationship with the US

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is meeting with the American Chamber of Commerce to discuss issues relating to New Zealand's relationship with the United States. Watch the PM speaking here: "For us Five Eyes will continue and will always be very very strategically important to New Zealand. But always going forward we will continue to make sure that we work with our partners around issues like human rights, democracy and as we have always done, we will make sure we raise those concerns in those arenas on an ongoing basis because that is keeping with New Zealand foreign policy," Ardern says. Ardern says New Zealand has an independent foreign policy: "We have chosen partners par se, we have always chosen to stand on our values, which is strongly embedded in [...]

April 28th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Former Obama White House adviser arrested for allegedly stealing over $200,000 from charter schools he founded

Seth Andrew speaks about charter schools on C-SPAN in 2017 (CNN)A former White House senior adviser for the Obama administration who helped found a network of charter schools is accused of allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the schools and attempting to launder the funds in order to get a lower interest rate on a mortgage for a Manhattan apartment, according to federal prosecutors. Seth Andrew was charged by prosecutors in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York with wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements to a bank. Prosecutors say Andrew helped create a network of charter schools based in New York City in 2005, and left the network in 2013 for a job at the US Department of Education, and [...]

April 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

China offers South Asian countries help with accessing COVID-19 shots

The fiancee of a person who died of COVID-19 breaks down during their cremation in Guwahati, India, on Tuesday, Apr 27, 2021. (Photo: AP/Anupam Nath)   BEIJING: China said on Tuesday (Apr 27) that it had offered help to South Asian countries in accessing COVID-19 vaccines, but India did not attend a regional video conference on the matter, although it is currently suffering the world's worst wave of the pandemic. China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi hosted the conference attended by Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, to which China's neighbour and regional rival India was also invited, the Chinese foreign ministry said. There was no immediate comment from the Indian government. Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is displayed on a screen as he [...]

April 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia suspends travel from India

Australia has just announced it will suspend all direct flights from India until 15 May, and place restrictions on some indirect routes. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison Photo: AFP   Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced this afternoon that all flights from India to Australia would be temporarily halted, as the India continues to deal with a record-breaking Covid-19 outbreak that has plunged its medical system into chaos. The pause which includes repatriation flights into the Howard Springs facility near Darwin, will last until 15 May and the decision will be reviewed before then. Morrison said indirect flights through other cities like Doha, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur had been paused by their respective governments. He also said Australia would send a range of goods to India to help as [...]

April 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Tax rules eased for start-ups facing losses

The rules on the carry-forward of tax losses have been eased to the delight of growing start-up companies and their investors. Photo: nito500/123RF   The previous tax law, which was said to be among the most restrictive in the OECD, was changed last month to make it easier for start-up companies to make use of business losses in their early years, when investment could result in big changes to their shareholder register. The original rule had a business continuity test, which included a requirement that tax losses in past years could only be used if 49 percent of the shareholders then were still on the register. Simpson Grierson tax partner Barney Cumberland said the restrictive approach had acted as an impediment to capital raising for early and growth stages [...]

April 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Northlanders over 50 can now get Covid-19 vaccine

A big drop in the age limit for accessing the Covid-19 vaccine means anyone over 50 can now get their shot at Northland immunisation clinics. A nurse holds a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19. Photo: AFP or licensors   Northland District Health Board said it changed the age limit when it realised people over 65 had been offered their flu vaccine last week. Those who took it would have to wait two weeks before getting their Covid-19 immunisation, meaning fewer people were eligible for their Covid-19 shot. Northland DHB said the age was changed to reduce any vaccine waste and to accommodate the age of Northland's rural communities. There was a large queue of people waiting to get the Covid-19 vaccine when the Whangārei clinic opened at [...]

April 27th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Pressure mounts on Johnson over alleged ‘let the bodies pile high’ remarks

Tory sources have lent weight to claim PM said he’d prefer thousands of deaths to another lockdown   Boris Johnson during a visit to Llandudno on Monday. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters     Boris Johnson faced mounting pressure on Monday night as Conservative insiders added weight to claims that the prime minister said he would rather see bodies pile up than order another lockdown. Faced with fury from relatives of the bereaved, Johnson and senior ministers emphatically denied he said “no more fucking lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands” after reluctantly approving a second England-wide lockdown late last year. The claim followed a briefing war at the weekend between Johnson and his former chief aide Dominic Cummings, who resigned from Downing Street after what was believed [...]

April 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Palmerston North hospital upgrade: construction yet to start

A stopgap upgrade of parts of rundown Palmerston North Hospital is proceeding slowly, reaching the stage of doing a developed design.   Palmerston North Hospital Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas     The $26 million project aims to expand surgical and related services in operating theatres that are old and too cramped. It was announced in January 2020 as part of a $300m injection to hospital projects nationwide. Architects came up with a preliminary design last month. Midcentral District Health Board said funding had been approved, the project was within budget and it was working on finding builders. The aim is to end up with nine operating theatres compared with seven now; four procedure rooms instead of just two; and to set up a new cardiac lab. The new facilities [...]

April 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealanders in India ‘just want to get home’

New Zealanders stuck in India are desperate for help, as the country experiences a devastating second wave of Covid-19 cases.   Patients take a stroll at a quarantine centre for Covid-19 coronavirus infected patients at a banquet hall that was converted into an isolation centre to handle the rising cases of infection in New Delhi. Photo: AFP     India reported more than 350,000 daily cases on Monday, and more than 2800 deaths, with overcrowded hospitals running low on supplies. New Zealander Kiri Tepana moved to India just over a year ago when her husband was denied a visa to stay in New Zealand. She's isolating at home with him and their two daughters in a small village in Punjab, and said the latest wave of Covid-19 cases was [...]

April 26th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Attack sends Chinese American New York man to hospital

© Getty Images A New York man is hospitalized in critical condition after he was the victim of what is thought to be an anti-Asian attack, USA Today reported.  The 61-year-old Chinese American man was attacked on Friday, New York City police said. The victim was collecting cans in East Harlem when the suspect attacked him from behind, knocked the him to the ground and and repeatedly stomped on his head, according to USA today. In a Saturday tweet, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the attack “outrageous.”.  ADVERTISEMENT “This is outrageous. Make no mistake, we will find the perpetrator and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” De Blasio said.   New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said on Sunday that he’s sending his state hate crimes [...]

April 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

EU official: Vaccinated Americans can visit Europe this summer

© Greg Nash Americans who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to visit the European Union this summer, more than a year after nonessential travel was suspended between the U.S. and Europe amid the pandemic. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, told The New York Times in Brussels on Sunday that EU member states will “accept, unconditionally” people who are inoculated with European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines. “The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,” von der Leyen told the Times. “This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union.” “Because one thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by E.M.A.,” she added. The [...]

April 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia defence minister says conflict with China over Taiwan ‘should not be discounted’

China has been increasingly clear about its reunification ambitions with Taiwan, says Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton.PHOTO: REUTERS     MELBOURNE (REUTERS) - Conflict with China over Taiwan "should not be discounted", but Australia will work with its allies in the region to try and maintain peace, Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton said on Sunday (April 25). "I don't think it (conflict) should be discounted," Mr Dutton said in a television interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) when asked whether the prospects of a conflict over Taiwan are growing. He added that China has been increasingly clear about its reunification ambitions with Taiwan. "People need to be realistic about the activity," Mr Dutton said. "There is militarisation of bases across the region. Obviously, there is a significant amount [...]

April 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Hong Kong-Singapore air travel bubble to start on May 26: Sources

Hong Kong and Singapore may announce as soon as April 26 a start to their two-way air travel bubble.PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI/ AFP     HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Hong Kong and Singapore may announce as soon as Monday (April 26) a start to their highly anticipated two-way air travel bubble, according to people familiar with the matter, after multiple delays. Flights under the agreement - which allows people to travel quarantine-free between the two financial hubs - will begin from May 26, said the people, who asked not to be identified as they are not authorised to speak publicly. The number of flights will be increased by June 26 if there are no further outbreaks in either city, one of them said. Hong Kong and Singapore have been working on the [...]

April 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZSIS counterterror focus on white supremacists found new targets quickly

The spy agency took two years to implement a major shift in how it targeted threats, but once it did, the rewards were almost immediate.   NZ Security Intelligence Service director Rebecca Kitteridge speaks after the release of the final report by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. Photo: RNZ / Sam Rillstone   The Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) got 10 leads on right-wing extremists in the lead-up to the Christchurch mosque attacks. This came within a few months of the SIS shifting from an overriding focus on Islamists and threats it knew about, to looking much harder at ones it did not, notably white supremacists. Summaries of its strategies - newly released to RNZ under the OIA by the SIS - alongside [...]

April 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

All 53 on board sunken Indonesian submarine confirmed dead, more debris found: Military chief

The Indonesian military displays an orange submarine escape suit at a press conference in Bali on the sunken submarine KRI Nanggala 402 on Apr 25, 2021. (Photo: Kiki Siregar)     BALI: All 53 crew members on board a sunken Indonesian submarine have been confirmed dead, with debris of the vessel found, said Indonesia's military chief on Sunday (Apr 25). Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said search teams had received "visual images" which have been confirmed as parts of the KRI Nanggala 402 submarine, such as the rear vertical rudder, anchors and the outside of the pressure body. "... Based on authentic evidence we state that KRI Nanggala 402 has sunk and all of the crew members have died. "Therefore, with deep sadness, as the commander, I declare that 53 KRI Nanggala 402 [...]

April 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid 19 coronavirus: Perth lockdown – New Zealand-Western Australia travel suspended; Air NZ flight cancelled

The six-day-old transtasman bubble has suffered its first major setback. Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins last night halted travel between New Zealand and Western Australia after Perth and a neighbouring region went into a three-day lockdown. The lockdown of Perth and the Peel region came after authorities discovered two people infected with Covid-19 had been in the community for five days, and there were numerous locations of interest, including a pool, eateries, short-stay accommodation and a Qantas flight to Melbourne. The situation was "emerging and serious", West Australian Premier Mark McGowan said in announcing the lockdown, which began at midnight (4am NZT). As set out in the transtasman bubble protocols, travel between New Zealand and Western Australia had been "paused", pending further advice from the state government, Hipkins said. "New [...]

April 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand stands firm on decision not to criticise China via Five Eyes

New Zealand has criticised as "ill-informed" suggestions its part in the Five Eyes alliance is at risk amid fears over Beijing's influence. Earlier this week, New Zealand said it was "uncomfortable" with letting the Five Eyes intelligence alliance with Australia, Canada, US and Britain dictate its dealings with China. Insiders said the Government would not be corralled into sabotaging its relationship with China, its main trading partner, and would not outsource its foreign policy as rhetoric over China became increasingly bellicose. New Zealand has been reluctant to sign joint statements from Five Eyes partners criticising China over its crackdown in Hong Kong and the arrests of activists there. But it played down suggestions the intelligence-sharing group had fundamental differences over China. Phil Goff, New Zealand's former foreign affairs minister, [...]

April 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Anzac Day 2021: Dawn services and parades in Auckland and across New Zealand

Prince William and Kate have delivered a special message - and a sweet gift - to New Zealand to commemorate Anzac Day. In a written message delievered along with a batch of Anzac biscuits in London, the Duke of Cambridge says the "Anzac qualities of endurance, courage, ingenuity, good humour and mateship are admired as fiercely as ever before". His message and gift came as thousands of New Zealanders today gather together across the country to mark Anzac Day - for the first time in two years, after Covid-19 restrictions meant the anniversary had to be marked without public services in 2020 for the first time since 1916. Prince William and Kate paid tribute to the "indomitable spirit" and "courage" of Australian and New Zealand forces as he joined [...]

April 25th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Inspection finds peeling walls and residue at US plant that ruined 15m Johnson & Johnson vaccine dose

Food and Drug Administration report describes concerning conditions at Baltimore site where manufacturing was halted A vial of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine. An FDA report said a site where manufacturing was halted was not ‘clean and sanitary’. Photograph: Mark Lennihan/AP A US Food and Drug Administration inspection report found unsanitary conditions and other problems at a Baltimore manufacturing plant that ruined more than 15m doses of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine. The FDA reported the plant operated by Emergent BioSolutions “is not maintained in a clean and sanitary condition”. The report says the paint on the plant’s walls were peeling in several areas and paint flecks were found on the floor. The report also found brown residue on the walls and floors. In late March, the drugmaker [...]

April 21st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Leading finance firms sign up to Mark Carney forum on low-carbon investment

Barclays, HSBC and Axa among 160 firms in global alliance to hasten transition to net zero economies Banks have joined the new Glasgow forum which aims at ‘mainstreaming climate finance’ but which does not set deadlines for ending fossil fuel investment. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images   Banks and financial institutions with more than $70tn assets have pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and ensure their investment portfolios align with the science on the climate. In the initiative, chaired by Mark Carney, the former governor of the Bank of England, 160 companies, including 43 banks from 23 countries, will set targets to cut the carbon content of their assets by 2030, in line with an overall goal of net zero emissions by 2050. The forum, the Glasgow Financial Alliance [...]

April 21st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand’s first hydrogen bus takes its maiden voyage, as Auckland grapples with its transport emissions

As New Zealand’s first hydrogen-powered bus took off on its maiden voyage in Auckland yesterday afternoon, hardly a murmur could be heard, nor was exhaust gas coming out of its tail end. The bus's departure from Botany Town Centre shortly after 1pm marked the beginning of a two-year trial for Auckland Transport. The trial will compare the hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle’s performance and its operating costs to similar diesel and electric buses doing the same route. The prototype’s trial marks the next step of Auckland Transport's push to achieve an emissions-free bus fleet by 2030. Bus drivers had been testing the $1.175 million prototype bus on the road, initially without passengers, after it was unveiled at Ports of Auckland at the end of March. Bus driver Roanne Paea told [...]

April 21st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Bank deposits up to $100,000 to be guaranteed by Government

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says Cabinet has finalised new measures aimed at protecting New Zealanders’ interests in the banking and financial system. File image of $50 and $100 notes. Source: 1 NEWS The new measures include guaranteeing deposits of up to $100,000 per eligible institution. In a statement this morning Robertson says this number was increased from $50,000 after feedback and will fully protect 93 per cent of depositors. The reforms will also include a new process for setting lending restrictions, such as loan-to-value ratios. Robertson said the changes, which are the final part of a comprehensive review of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act, have been the subject of extensive consultation. Grant Robertson. Source: Q+A     "Taken together, the recommendations will considerably strengthen New Zealand’s financial system safety [...]

April 21st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Indonesia searching for missing submarine north of Bali with 53 on board

The KRI Nanggala submarine is believed to have disappeared in waters about 95km north of Bali. Photo / AP   Indonesia's navy is searching for a submarine that went missing north of the resort island of Bali with 53 people on board, the military said Wednesday (local time). Military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said the KRI Nanggala 402 was participating in a training exercise when it missed a scheduled reporting call. The submarine is believed to have disappeared in waters about 95km north of Bali, he said. Tjahjanto said the navy has deployed scores of ships to search the area, including a hydrographic survey ship, and has asked for help from Singapore and Australia, which have submarine rescue vessels. The Indonesian Defence Ministry said the submarine lost contact after being [...]

April 21st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New police station in Mt Roskill, Auckland, opens

Police have opened a new station in the Auckland suburb of Mt Roskill. The new Mt Roskill police station. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook   The build was part of a modernisation programme for police properties. Police Commissioner Andrew Coster and Police Minister Poto Williams cut the ribbon at the official ceremony this morning. The new base opened after more than two years of planning, is fitted out with new features to provide better access for the public, and can house nearly 100 staff. It comes after several stations across New Zealand were merged or closed in recent years. Coster said the new station highlighted the police commitment to carry out duties in more "fit-for-purpose" workplaces.   Police commissioner Andrew Coster at the opening. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

April 21st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Sydney businesses welcome Kiwis: ‘It’s a big momentum lift’

Sydney tourism operators are over the moon to be welcoming back New Zealanders taking advantage of the quarantine-free travel arrangement. Photo: 123RF Soaking in the sights of Sydney on top of the Harbour Bridge is a key attraction in the city. Bridge Climb Sydney group chief financial officer Deb Zimmer said the past year had been very challenging. "We had a pretty rocky start, obviously we had to close for three months. We were shut from March to June. Then we started to reopen but just shorter days. We used to be open every day of the week and then we started opening three days a week. We're just about to start opening five. So we're stepping up gradually," she said. "But it's been very hard for us. We've [...]

April 21st, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin convicted of murder in George Floyd case

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin listens as the verdict is read in his trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, on Apr 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo: Court TV via AP, Pool)   MINNEAPOLIS: Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on Tuesday (Apr 20) of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter in the deadly arrest of George Floyd, a milestone in the fraught racial history of the United States and a rebuke of law enforcement's treatment of black Americans. The 12-member jury found Chauvin, 45, criminally liable in Floyd's death last year after considering three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, including bystanders, police officials and medical experts. Jurors began their deliberations on Monday. In a confrontation [...]

April 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Auckland Aiport worker has UK strain of Covid-19 – Hipkins

Genomic sequencing has shown the strain of Covid-19 a Managed Isolation and Quarantine worker has is the UK variant and is most closely linked to a passenger that arrived 10 April, the Covid-19 Response Minister says.   Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone The MIQ worker, who cleans high-risk planes at Auckland International Airport, tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday. Chris Hipkins told Morning Report he was awaiting confirmation that the worker cleaned the plane of the most closely linked returnee. "The match is exactly the same, it's identical, so that would suggest it's person to person [contact]." An investigation currently underway would uncover how the person picked up the virus, he said. However, it was possible that with the air conditioning switched off in planes as they were cleaned, droplets [...]

April 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Long-term NZSIS officer runs Thompson and Clark surveillance operations

A former long-term Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) officer is running private intelligence operations for the controversial private investigation company Thompson and Clark. This includes the tracking and monitoring of ex-members of the Exclusive Brethren as reported by Radio New Zealand yesterday. The former intelligence officer, known only by his first name Gerry, uses skills and surveillance techniques learned while working for over thirty years for the NZSIS to assist Thompson and Clark’s private clients. This includes covert surveillance teams, tailing cars and watching houses, photographing people in public places, and extensive monitoring of social media. Covert car tracking devices have also been used. RNZ reported that Thompson and Clark staff have conducted many hundreds of hours of active surveillance against past Exclusive Brethren members in the past two years, assisting [...]

April 20th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Pacific Ocean storm intensifies into year’s first super typhoon

Waves crash the shore in the province of Catbalogan in Samar, Philippines, on April 18, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS     MANILA (REUTERS) - Strong winds and high waves lashed the eastern Philippines on Monday (April 19) as the strongest typhoon ever recorded in April barrelled past in the Pacific Ocean, killing one man and triggering flooding in lower-lying communities, disaster officials said. The national weather bureau issued a severe wind and heavy rainfall warning on Monday, saying "destructive typhoon-force winds extend outward up to 110km from the centre of the storm". More than 100,000 people were evacuated from coastal areas, according to provincial disaster agencies. The core of Surigae, or Bising as the storm is known locally, is not expected to hit land. But with a diameter of 500km and [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Masks come off as Israel vaunts coronavirus victory

Pedestrians walking along a boulevard in Tel Aviv after Israel rescinded the mandatory wearing of masks outdoors, on April 18, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS     JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israelis stepped into the streets without masks on Sunday (April 18) for the first time in a year, a key milestone as the country vaccinates its way out of a coronavirus nightmare. “It’s very strange but it’s very nice,” said Ms Eliana Gamulka, 26, after getting off a bus near the busy Jerusalem shopping boulevard of Jaffa Street and removing her face covering. “You can’t pretend that you don’t know anyone any more,” she smiled. With over half the population fully vaccinated in one of the world’s fastest anti-Covid 19 inoculation campaigns, the health ministry announced on Thursday that masks would no longer [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand says ‘uncomfortable’ with expanding Five Eyes

The New Zealand flag. (File photo: AFP/Marty MELVILLE)   SYDNEY: New Zealand said it is "uncomfortable" with expanding the role of the Five Eyes, a post-war intelligence grouping which also includes the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada, recently criticised by China. China is New Zealand's largest trading partner, and Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said in a speech that New Zealand sought a predictable diplomatic relationship. New Zealand will find it necessary to speak out on issues where it does not agree with China, including developments in Hong Kong and the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, she said in a speech on Monday (Apr 19) to the government-funded New Zealand China Council. In later comments to media reported by New Zealand's Newshub, Mahuta said New Zealand did not favour [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Services sector expanding for first time in five months

The services sector is back in expansion for the first time in five months. Photo: 123RF The BNZ-Business NZ Performance of Services Index (PSI) for March was 52.4 points, which was up 2.7 points from February and the strongest result since July. However it was below the long-term average of 53.8, with a reading above 50.0 indicating the service sector was generally expanding. The move back into expansion was in line with last month's manufacturing sector activity, which soared to record levels, towering over the long-term averages for production and new orders. New orders, sales and employment also led the services sector back into expansion, while supplier deliveries and inventories remained in contraction. "Any sustained shift towards the services sector exhibiting ongoing expansion will need to see activity/sales and [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Japan asks Myanmar to release detained Japanese journalist

Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi raises his hands as he is escorted by police upon arrival at the Myaynigone police station in Sanchaung township in Yangon, Myanmar when he was briefly held on Feb 26, 2021. (Photo: AP)   TOKYO: Japan's government said on Monday (Apr 19) that it is asking Myanmar to release Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi who was arrested at his home in Yangon. BBC Burmese quoted a witness as saying Kitazumi was taken into custody by troops on Sunday night. He was asked to raise both hands and was taken away in a car, it said. Kitazumi has not been charged yet and diplomats are seeking permission to visit him in jail, a spokesman told AFP on Monday, adding that he had been transferred overnight from a police watchhouse [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

India struggles with record COVID-19 count and bed shortage; political rallies continue

People wait to receive a COVID-19 vaccination jab in Mumbai, India on Apr 18, 2021. (Photo: AP/Rafiq Maqbool)     BENGALURU: India's daily COVID-19 cases jumped by a record 273,810 on Monday (Apr 19) as the health system crumbled under the weight of patients, bringing total infections closer to that of the United States, the world's worst hit country. India's hospitals are struggling with a shortage of hospital beds and oxygen supplies as infections pass the 15 million mark, second only to the United States. The country's deaths from COVID-19 rose by a record 1,619 to reach a total of 178,769. Despite soaring infections, politicians continued to hold mass rallies across the country for state elections. Social media was flooded with people complaining about the lack of beds, oxygen cylinders and drugs, and [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

$15 trillion Investor group calls for banks to set tougher climate targets

A group of investors managing $US11 trillion ($NZ15t) in assets has called on banks to set tougher emissions targets ahead of a meeting of world leaders aimed at accelerating efforts to fight climate change.   Photo: 123RF   The group, which includes Pimco, the world's biggest bond investor, and Britain's biggest asset manager, Legal & General Investment Management, said they wanted lenders to set 'enhanced' pledges to decarbonise their lending books. While a number of the world's biggest banks have already said they have an 'ambition' to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, many have yet to specify how they plan to do so and continue to fund heavy emitting activities. "The problem we face today is that too many banks are failing to consider climate harm [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Minister calls to expand NZ international trade arrangements

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta is urging New Zealand to diversify its trade arrangements and not put all its eggs all one basket with China.   Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone Mahuta has also raised concerns about loan arrangements between China and other Pacific Nations. The comments were made in a keynote speech at the New Zealand China Council meeting in Wellington today. China has been the country's largest trading partner since 2017. "This is a relationship in which all New Zealanders have an interest, and it is a relationship that the government approaches keeping in mind all New Zealanders' long-term interests," Mahuta said. She noted the recent upgrade to the country's fair trade agreement with China which would modernise the existing agreement and [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New UK trial studies if people can catch coronavirus again

  A nurse attends to a patient on a COVID-19 ward at Milton Keynes University Hospital, amid the spread of the pandemic in the UK on Jan 20, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville)   LONDON: British scientists on Monday (Apr 19) launched a trial that will deliberately expose participants who have already had COVID-19 to the coronavirus again, to examine immune responses and see if people get reinfected. In February, Britain became the first country in the world to give the go-ahead for so-called "challenge trials" in humans, in which volunteers are deliberately exposed to COVID-19 to advance research into the disease caused by the coronavirus. The study launched on Monday differs from the one announced in February as it seeks to reinfect people who have previously had COVID-19 in [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Macron says France “finalizing” plans to ease restrictions for vaccinated travelers

Washington — France is finalizing plans to lift restrictions for Americans traveling to the country who have received their COVID-19 vaccines, French President Emmanuel Macron said, as the nation grapples with another surge in coronaviruscases. "We will progressively lift the restrictions of the beginning of May, which means that we will organize in the summer time with our professionals in France for French European citizens, but as well for American citizens," Macron said in an interview with "Face the Nation" that aired Sunday. "So we are working hard to propose a very concrete solution, especially for U.S. citizens who are vaccinated, so with a special pass, I would say." France is currently in its third national lockdown as it battles another wave of coronavirus infections, with schools closed through [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Mahuta warns against economic overexposure to China

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has delivered a significant speech on New Zealand-China relations, saying China must act in ways consistent with its role as a growing power Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says there are some issues on which New Zealand and China do not and cannot agree. File photo: Lynn Grieveson     New Zealand must not put all its eggs in one basket when it comes to trade, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has warned in a major speech on Aotearoa-China relations. Mahuta has also signalled the Government’s concern about so-called ‘debt-trap diplomacy’ in the Pacific, saying China’s contribution to the region’s stability should not come through financing loans. In an address to the New Zealand China Council, Mahuta said the relationship with China was “necessary [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand will not be tied to Australia for other border re-openings – Jacinda Ardern

While the trans-Tasman bubble is "a significant day" for New Zealanders, any moves to open the borders to other countries will need to be be based on hard evidence, the prime minister says.   The border will open to other parts of the world in stages based on research and data, Jacinda Ardern says. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon   After months of discussions, the trans-Tasman bubble is officially open. The prime ministers of New Zealand and Australia are describing it as a world-leading arrangement that promotes travel between the two countries, without letting Covid-19 into the community. Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison say the Pacific Islands are next on the list. Opening up to the Pacific does not need to be done in lock-step with Australia, Ardern told [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Russia expels 20 Czech diplomats after blast blamed on Skripal suspects

The Czech Republic said it had informed Nato and European Union allies that it suspected Russia of causing the 2014 blast.PHOTO: AFP   MOSCOW/PRAGUE (REUTERS) - Moscow expelled 20 Czech diplomats on Sunday (April 18) in a confrontation over Czech allegations that two Russian spies accused of a nerve agent poisoning in Britain in 2018 were behind an earlier explosion at a Czech ammunition depot that killed two people. Prague had on Saturday ordered out 18 Russian diplomats, prompting Russia to vow on Sunday to "force the authors of this provocation to fully understand their responsibility for destroying the foundation of normal ties between our countries". Moscow gave the Czech diplomats just a day to leave, while Prague had given the Russians 72 hours. The Czech Republic said it [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Fukushima: Japan announces it will dump contaminated water into sea

Environmental groups and neighbours condemn plan to release more than 1m tonnes of contaminated water in two years’ time   The storage tanks for treated water are seen at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Japan. Photograph: Sakura Murakami/Reuters Japan has announced it will release more than 1m tonnes of contaminated water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea, a decision that has angered neighbouring countries, including China, and local fishers. Official confirmation of the move, which came more than a decade after the nuclear disaster, will deal a further blow to the fishing industry in Fukushima, which has opposed the measure for years. The prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, told a meeting of ministers on Tuesday that the government had decided that [...]

April 19th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Trans-Tasman travel – Here’s what you need to know

After a year of waiting, quarantine-free 'green' flights between Australia and New Zealand will run from today - only the second such travel bubble operating in a world still under siege from Covid-19. Photo: 123RF   We join Taiwan and Palau as neighbours providing reciprocal, restriction-free travel, after achieving joint success in eliminating community cases and controlling Covid-19 it at the border. However, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has warned, travel isn't without its risks, with the Covid-19 status of both countries fluid and changeable. Here's what you need to know about the travel bubble. All Australian states and territories are participating in quarantine-free travel with New Zealand. However, you will need to check that the state or territory you want to land in, or travel onwards to, is [...]

April 18th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Kris Faafoi announces new border exceptions for relatives of some migrant workers

New border exceptions will allow partners and dependent children of temporary visa holders, who themselves hold visas, into New Zealand. It is one of a number of exceptions announced by Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi. Watch the announcement here:   The government is fixing an anomaly which meant migrant workers who entered the country before last year's Covid-19 border closure could not bring their families but those who came after could. It has been reported that 5000 family members are affected by the rule. Only temporary visa holders who were overseas when the border closed, but who normally live here, can apply to enter under the border exceptions. Offshore visa applications for the families of healthcare workers are also covered under the exceptions, meaning once again these workers can apply [...]

April 18th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Polyfest 2021 day three: Tongan, Niue and Samoan stages

Hundreds more performers shone on the Polyfest stages today as the competition began for Tonga, Samoa and Niue. Auckland's Polyfest 2021 returned after two years of disruption and cancellations and although school participation numbers had dwindled, the passion was still very much alive. RNZ's Mabel Muller and Dan Cook were there to capture the action from day three.

April 16th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Magic mushrooms show promise in treatment for depression, study says

Trial suggests psilocybin combined with psychological therapy is as effective as antidepressant drug One of the authors of the study warned against seeking out mushrooms for DIY treatment. Photograph: Imperial College London/PA Magic mushrooms have a long and rich history. Now scientists say they could play an important role in the future, with their active ingredient a promising treatment for depression. The results from a small, phase two clinical trial have revealed that two doses of psilocybin appears to be as effective as the common antidepressant escitalopram in treating moderate to severe major depressive disorder, at least when combined with psychological therapy. “I think it is fair to say that the results signal hope that we may be looking at a promising alternative treatment for depression,” said Dr Robin [...]

April 14th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Sweden has highest new Covid cases per person in Europe

Figure of 625 new infections per 1m people is many times larger than Nordic neighbours   People queue for their vaccine against Covid-19 at the Stockholmsmässan centre in Stockholm, Sweden.Photograph: Fredrik Sandberg/EPA Sweden has reported Europe’s highest number of new coronavirus infections per head over the past week and has more patients in intensive care than at any time since the pandemic’s first wave. The Scandinavian country, which has opted against strict lockdowns but gradually ratcheted up its still mostly voluntary restrictions, has a seven-day average of 625 new infections per million people, according to ourworldindata.org. That compares with 521 in Poland, 491 in France, 430 in the Netherlands, 237 in Italy and 208 in Germany, the data showed. The figure was many times higher than the 65, 111 [...]

April 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand introduces climate change law for financial firms in world first

FILE PHOTO: The town of Glenorchy on Lake Wakatipu and Otago river in New Zealand. (Reuters/Henning Gloystein)   SYDNEY: New Zealand has become the first country to introduce a law that will require banks, insurers and investment managers to report the impacts of climate change on their business, minister for climate change James Shaw said on Tuesday (Apr 13). All banks with total assets of more than NZ$1 billion (US$703 million), insurers with more than NZ$1 billion in total assets under management, and all equity and debt issuers listed on the country's stock exchange will have to make disclosures. "We simply cannot get to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 unless the financial sector knows what impact their investments are having on the climate," Shaw said in a statement. "This [...]

April 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

More than 18,200 people visited Singapore through unilateral border openings; 70% from China

Travellers walking out from the arrival hall at Changi Airport Terminal 1 (Photo: Jeremy Long)   SINGAPORE: More than 18,200 visitors have entered Singapore on an Air Travel Pass from places that Singapore has unilaterally opened its borders to. The figure, as of Apr 8, includes about 2,400 travellers from Australia, 800 from Brunei, as well as 12,800 from mainland China, which made up about 70 per cent of the total number. There were also 300 Air Travel Pass visitors from New Zealand, 800 from Taiwan and 1,100 from Vietnam, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said in response to queries from CNA. The Air Travel Pass allows short-term, leisure travellers to enter Singapore without any restriction on their itineraries. This is different from the reciprocal green lanes between countries, which are for essential or business travel. [...]

April 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Turkey’s economic turmoil drives Bitcoin frenzy

Investors turn to cryptocurrency after Erdoğan’s sacking of central bank governor caused further fall in lira A man holds a physical imitation of a Bitcoin at a cryptocurrency exchange near the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul.Photograph: Ozan Köse/AFP/Getty Images The neighbourhood teahouse is a focus of daily life across Turkey, an Ottoman tradition that has endured through the centuries. At the Red Lightning teahouse in Çorum, the enterprising owners have one foot in the past and one in the future: it’s the first one in the country where customers can pay in bitcoin. “Everyone we know in Çorum is starting to invest in cryptocurrency. We think that in five years or so regular currency will be in decline, it will be replaced by digital ones. So we wanted to be in [...]

April 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Largest Chinese breach of Taiwan air zone in a year after US warning

China sends 25 military jets a day after US secretary of state’s comments about Beijing’s aggression   A file photo from February 2020 of a Taiwanese military jet in the foreground flanking a Chinese bomber passing near Taiwan. Photograph: AP Twenty-five Chinese military jets breached Taiwan’s defence zone on Monday, the island’s government has said, after a senior US official warned of an “increasingly aggressive” Beijing. The defence ministry scrambled aircraft to broadcast warnings to leave after Chinese jets, including 18 fighters, entered the island’s southwest air defence identification zone for a 10th straight day. The incursion – the largest in a year – came after the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, on Sunday warned China not to attempt to change the status quo around Taiwan, saying to [...]

April 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Becomes First In World For Climate Reporting

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark says Aotearoa New Zealand has become the first country in the world to introduce a law that requires the financial sector to disclose the impacts of climate change on their business and explain how they will manage climate-related risks and opportunities. The Financial Sector (Climate-related Disclosure and Other Matters) Amendment Bill has been introduced to Parliament and will receive its first reading this week. “It is important that every part of New Zealand’s economy is helping us cut emissions and transition to a low carbon future This legislation ensures that financial organisations disclose and ultimately take action against climate-related risks and opportunities, “Becoming the first country in the world to introduce a law like this means we have an opportunity to show [...]

April 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

COVID ‘long Way From Over’ As Cases And Deaths Surge – WHO

The COVID-19 pandemic is “a long way from over” but there are many reasons to be optimistic and it’s possible the pandemic can be brought under control “within months”, the head of the UN health agency said on Monday. Although January and February saw six consecutive weeks of plummeting COVID-19 cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) chief said that had gone into reverse, with last week yielding “the fourth-highest number of cases in a single week so far”. “We have now seen seven consecutive weeks of increasing cases, and four weeks of increasing deaths”, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists at a regular media briefing. Keep physical distancing More than 780 million doses of vaccine have now been administered globally, but several Asian and Middle Eastern countries have seen large [...]

April 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

2020 Prime Minister’s Science Prize winners

There are some familiar faces as well as some new names among the Prime Minister’s Science Prize winners this year. Two of the five prizes are awarded for efforts to better understand and communicate the Covid-19 pandemic.   A team of 24 researchers working on covid-19 modelling with Te Te Pūnaha Matatini has won the 2020 Prime Minister's Science Prize. Photo: University of Auckland   The five Prime Minister’s Science Prizes are New Zealand’s most valuable research awards. Awarded annually, they are worth nearly $1 million. A real team effort The team prize, worth half a million, has been awarded to a consortium of 24 researchers working together in the field of complexity science as part of Te Pūnaha Matatini, a Centre of Research Excellence. In early 2020, director Shaun Hendy saw [...]

April 13th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Police, Defence Force and Transport Agency contractor spending up by at least 15%

Private contractors and consultants are doing well out of government spending propelled by the pandemic and big IT projects. Photo: 123rf  Thousands of them were collectively paid more than a billion last year by 17 of the largest departments or agencies. The Covid-19 response has forced spending up, and there's more to come, say several agencies in their annual reviews. Caught in the crosshairs, the Social Development Ministry expects its spending on contractors to rocket up 50 percent this year, to $93 million, as it starts up IT projects delayed by the pandemic. Public Services Minister Chris Hipkins is forecasting greater demand for contractors for the next 12 months, due to the pandemic and one-off capital projects like building classrooms, but says overall the trend is down. Yet, even [...]

April 11th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Tropical Cyclone Seroja makes landfall in Western Australia

The destructive core of tropical cyclone Seroja is moving inland north of Geraldton in Western Australia after wind gusts of up to 170km/h were reported during landfall. The storm hit the Western Australian coast south of Kalbarri at 8.00pm AWST on Sunday as a category three system. At 10.00pm AWST the storm weakened to a category two system as it continued moving inland. Cyclone Seroja is travelling at around 55km/h and significant impacts are expected to extend south and inland through to Wheat Belt communities overnight. The cyclone will weaken as it moves further inland today but is still likely to result in damaging wind gusts and heavy rain. A severe weather warning is current for areas to the southeast of the Tropical Cyclone Warning area. The Bureau of [...]

April 11th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

India protests US Navy’s transit through its exclusive economic zone

India's military monitored the movement of the USS John Paul Jones (pictured) as it headed towards the Malacca Straits.PHOTO: AFP     NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - India protested to the United States for a navy vessel conducting a transit through its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) without consent, the foreign ministry said on Friday (April 9), in a rare row between the friendly navies of the two countries. The USS John Paul Jones "asserted navigational rights and freedoms," inside India's EEZ in line with international law by sailing about 130 nautical miles (241km) west of India's Lakshadweep islands, the US Seventh Fleet said in a statement on Wednesday. But an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement that UN rules did not allow such passage without consent. "The Government [...]

April 11th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Pacquiao dares hate crime suspects: ‘Ako labanan mo, duwag!’

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 1) — Senator and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao took to social media to challenge hate crime suspects amid waves of reported anti-Asian violence in the United States. Pacquiao joined the voices of other celebrities and personalities in condemning Asian-American attacks. "Tigilan nyo ang pag-atake sa mga Pilipino na walang laban. Ako labanan mo, duwag!" the Filipino boxing icon said in his Facebook post. [Translation: Stop attacking Filipinos who can't defend themselves. Fight me instead, you coward!]   Pacquiao is the only eight-division world champion and oldest welterweight champion in boxing history. He holds a record of 62 wins, seven losses, and two draws in a career that spans over two decades. The recent hate-crime attack involved a 65-year-old Filipino-American woman. The assault was captured [...]

April 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Coronavirus: WHO chief criticises ‘shocking’ global vaccine divide

IMAGE COPYRIGHTREUTERS image captionThe WHO-led Covax scheme is designed to boost vaccine supplies to poorer nations around the world     The World Health Organization (WHO) has criticised what it describes as a "shocking imbalance" in the distribution of coronavirus vaccines between rich and poor countries. The group's chief said a target of seeing vaccination programmes under way in every country by Saturday would be missed. The WHO has long called for fairer distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. It is leading the Covax scheme which is designed to get jabs to poorer nations. So far, more than 38 million doses have been delivered to around 100 countries under the scheme. Covax hopes to deliver more than two billion doses to people in 190 countries in less than a year. In [...]

April 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Elon Musk startup shows monkey with brain chip implants playing video game

Neuralink video appears to show monkey controlling game paddle simply by thinking Elon Musk co-founded the San Francisco-based Neuralink in 2016. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters The billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s brain-chip startup released footage on Friday appearing to show a monkey playing a simple video game after getting implants of the new technology. The three-minute video by Neuralink shows Pager, a male macaque with chips embedded on each side of its brain, playing Mind Pong. Although he was trained to move a joystick, it is now unplugged. He appears to control the paddle simply by thinking about moving his hand up or down. “First @Neuralink product will enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs,” Musk tweeted on Thursday. Neuralink works by [...]

April 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Kindness shown in ship’s sinking unites Chinese and Māori cultures in Northland

The kindness which formed an enduring relationship between two cultures has been hailed as a powerful example for all New Zealanders. The joining of Māori and Chinese cultures was recognised in Northland on Saturday at the historical SS Ventnor memorial dedication ceremony. Held at Opononi on the edge of the Hokianga Harbour, the ceremony brought together about 200 people with different backgrounds, ethnicities and languages.                         LUCY XIA/STUFF A lion dance pays tribute to deceased Chinese miners whose remains sank with the SS Ventnor in 1902, at the SS Ventnor memorial dedication ceremony at Opononi.   The story of the SS Ventnor is one that was almost lost in time. In 1902 the ship was chartered by association [...]

April 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Kōkako population increasing in Pirongia Forest Park

The kōkako population in the Pirongia Forest Park in Waikato is expected to reach about 60 this year after the native bird had disappeared from the maunga in the 1990s. Predators, such as rats, stoats, possums, feral cats and hedgehogs threaten the survival of the kōkako. Photo: supplied A joint project between the Department of Conservation and the Pirongia Te Aroaro O Kahu Restoration Society (PRS) has worked to bring back the kōkako. About 40 were released in the park in 2017 and 2018 to kickstart a breeding programme. Clare St Pierre from the society said with the latest nesting season over it is hoped another 20 chicks will be raised successfully. ''It was in the 1990s the last were captured to stop them going extinct, so DOC arranged [...]

April 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Govt increases Air NZ loan by $600m

The government has increased how much money Air New Zealand can borrow, as it defers its plan for a capital raise until September. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook The national carrier had initially planned to tap shareholders for a cash injection around June. However, the company has delayed that until late September as it assesses recent developments such as the vaccine roll-out, an extension to the airfreight capacity scheme, and the opening of a trans-Tasman bubble. "These developments are good news and fundamental to Air New Zealand's return to success, but the storm hasn't cleared yet," Air New Zealand chair Therese Walsh said. To ensure the company has sufficient cash reserves until then, the government has increased loan to the airline by $600 million to a total of $1.5 [...]

April 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Commentary: Singaporean companies are not spared the impact of Myanmar’s political woes

Besides coping with changed rules, Singaporean businesses have come under increased scrutiny by international and Myanmar activists, says ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute’s Dr Su-Ann Oh.   Unrest -- including a widespread strike -- has crippled Myanmar's economy AFP/STR     SINGAPORE: Singaporean businesses, like other enterprises in Myanmar, have been trying to navigate the turbulent waves created by the military coup on Feb 1. Their operations have been affected in three main ways: Everyday disruptions brought about by political protests against the coup, challenges raised by the measures taken by the military government to assert control over resistance to the coup, and greater scrutiny of Singaporean businesses and their links with the Myanmar military. In the first few days after the coup, internet blackouts and communication blocks set [...]

April 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Iran starts up advanced centrifuges in nuclear deal breach

  The type of centrifuges used at Iran's uranium enrichment plant in Natanz are one of the key restrictions it signed up to under a troubled 2015 nuclear deal with major powers AFP/HO   TEHRAN: Iran announced on Saturday (Apr 10) it has started up advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges in a breach of its undertakings under a troubled 2015 nuclear deal, days after the start of talks on rescuing the accord. The United States had said on Friday that it had offered "very serious" ideas on reviving the accord but was waiting for Tehran to reciprocate, something Saturday's move signally failed to do. President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated the three cascades of 164 IR-6 centrifuges, 30 IR-5 and another 30 IR-6 devices at Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment plant in a ceremony broadcast [...]

April 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa to get tougher steps to fight coronavirus

Special countermeasures likely to apply to capital's 23 wards and Musashino, the city of Kyoto and Naha The Japanese government will decide Friday to put Tokyo plus Kyoto and Okinawa prefectures under the novel coronavirus quasi-emergency stage following a resurgence in infection cases there. The stage, under which powerful “priority” measures can be taken under a recently revised law, is expected to run from Monday until May 11 in Tokyo and until May 5 in Kyoto and Okinawa. The decision will be made Friday at a meeting of the government’s coronavirus response headquarters, headed by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. The Tokyo metropolitan government is considering taking the priority measures mainly in the densely populated 23 special wards and the nearby city of Musashino, informed sources said. The measures will [...]

April 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

World leaders react to news of Duke of Edinburgh’s death

World leaders have expressed sympathy and sorrow at the Duke of Edinburgh's death.   Archive photo: Prince Phillip in 2015 Photo: AFP   In a statement, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed condolences to the Queen and the Royal Family. "Our thoughts are with Her Majesty The Queen at this profoundly sad time. On behalf of the New Zealand people and the Government, I would like to express my sincere condolences to Her Majesty and to all the Royal Family," Ardern said. "Prince Philip will be fondly remembered for the encouragement he gave to so many young New Zealanders through The Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award. In over 50 years of The Award in New Zealand, thousands of young people have completed life-changing challenges through the programme. "New Zealanders will [...]

April 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

COVID-19 variants could drive up economic hit on Tokyo by ¥4 trillion

A woman films with her mobile phone on a street in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward on Friday. | AFP-JIJ University of Tokyo economists estimate the capital could take an additional ¥4 trillion economic hit if highly contagious coronavirus variants spread quickly across the city, but says the impact can be mitigated if infections are slowed. A relatively speedy spread of mutations in Tokyo could leave the capital dealing with over 1,400 daily infections in May — up from around 500 in recent days — an increase that would make variants a major source of new COVID-19 infections by around July, the estimate shows. Such a scenario would expand the economic loss in Tokyo by ¥3.76 trillion, according to the team led by Taisuke Nakata, an associate professor of economics, and [...]

April 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Alibaba fined $2.8 billion on competition charge in China

BEIJING (AP) — Alibaba Group, the world’s biggest e-commerce company, was fined 18.3 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) by Chinese regulators on Saturday for anti-competitive tactics, as the ruling Communist Party tightens control over fast-growing tech industries. Party leaders worry about the dominance of China’s biggest internet companies, which are expanding into finance, health services and other sensitive areas. The party says anti-monopoly enforcement, especially in tech, is a priority this year. Alibaba was fined for “abusing its dominant position” to limit competition by retailers that use its platforms and hindering “free circulation” of goods, the State Administration for Market Regulation announced. It said the fine was equal to 4% of its total 2019 sales of 455.712 billion yuan ($69.5 billion). “Alibaba accepts the penalty with sincerity and will ensure [...]

April 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Air New Zealand starts to sell direct flights to Tasmania

Air New Zealand has started selling tickets for the airline's direct flights to Tasmania. (file picture) Photo: Supplied / Air New Zealand   The Auckland to Hobart service will be the airline's first new international route since the Covid-19 pandemic started. The first flight is set to depart at 9am on the 22 April and will operate on Thursdays and Sundays. Chief executive Greg Foran said it is exciting to be launching a new route after a year of being predominantly a domestic airline. "It's really exciting to be launching a new route alongside reopening our other Australian ports after a year of being predominantly a domestic airline," he said in a statement. Foran said the non-stop service opens a direct link between Auckland and a potential 540,000 Tasmanian [...]

April 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Adapting at pace: One year of MIQ in New Zealand

The leaders of MIQ have paid tribute to a system they describe as a cornerstone of New Zealand's Covid-19 elimination strategy.   Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas     One year ago today, all arrivals at New Zealand airports began to be taken to managed isolation hotels for a 14-day stay. Since then, 130,600 people have passed through the 32 border hotels. Joint head Megan Main said staff working at the facilities had made "considerable personal sacrifices" to keep those people safe. More than 850 people have tested positive for Covid-19 during their stay - including about 95 current cases. Main said MIQ had been a process of continuous improvement and the biggest learning curve had been adapting "at pace". "If something goes wrong, we get together and learn from [...]

April 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

US unveils new rules for government contacts with Taiwan

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announces his appointment of Gayle Smith as the new State Department Coordinator for Global COVID-19 Response and Health Security as he speaks about U.S. leadership in fighting the coronavirus pandemic at the State Department in Washington, Monday, April 5, 2021. (Al Drago/Pool via AP) WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department on Friday unveiled new rules for U.S. government contacts with Taiwan that are likely to anger China but appear to reimpose some restrictions that had been lifted by the Trump administration. The department announced the changed policy in a statement that said the Biden administration intends to “liberalize” the rules to reflect the “deepening unofficial relationship” between the U.S. and Taiwan. However, the revised guidelines don’t include all the changes put in place by [...]

April 10th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

World shares mixed, US futures higher

Men wearing protective masks stand in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm as a car passes by in Tokyo Friday, April 9, 2021. Shares fell Friday in most Asian markets after China reported a stronger than expected rise in prices that could prompt authorities to act to cool inflation. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) BANGKOK (AP) — European shares opened higher on Friday and U.S. futures gained after a lackluster session in Asia. Germany’s DAX edged up 0.1% to 15,222.44 and the CAC 40 in Paris picked up 0.3% to 6,182.93. Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.1% to 6,932.51. The future for the S&P 500 inched up 0.1% and the future for the Dow industrials added 0.2%. Asian shares were mostly lower after [...]

April 9th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, dies at 99

FILE - In this Wednesday Aug. 2, 2017 file photo, Britain's Prince Philip, in his role as Captain General of the Royal Marines, attends a Parade on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, in central London. Buckingham Palace says Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died aged 99. (Hannah McKay/Pool via AP, File) LONDON (AP) — Prince Philip, the irascible and tough-minded husband of Queen Elizabeth II who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife in a role that both defined and constricted his life, has died, Buckingham Palace said Friday. He was 99. His life spanned nearly a century of European history, starting with his birth as a member of the Greek royal family and ending as Britain’s longest serving consort during a turbulent reign in [...]

April 9th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ardern invited to US-led summit on the climate crisis

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is among 40 world leaders invited to a virtual summit on climate to be hosted by US President Joe Biden. Jacinda Ardern will be among leaders asked to share their countries climate plans, when a climate summit happens later this month. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone The Leaders Summit on Climate on 22-23 April will underscore the urgency - and the economic benefits - of stronger climate action, the White House said in a statement. The US regards the event as a forerunner to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow in November. The virtual meeting will be live-streamed for public viewing. It reconvenes the US-led Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which brings together 17 countries responsible for [...]

April 9th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Beijing colour-codes buildings to show workers’ Covid vaccination rates

Chinese capital rolls out grading system as part of campaign to vaccinate 560m people by June   A man walks past a blue sign indicating workers’ Covid vaccination rates on the door of a printing business in Beijing. Photograph: Leo Ramirez/AFP/Getty Images     Beijing authorities are colour-coding buildings to show the public the rates of vaccination among businesses’ employees, as part of a campaign to vaccinate more than 560 million people by June. In recent weeks, green signs have appeared in the shopping centre in the Chinese capital’s financial district. The circular design showed a health worker in full PPE, holding a giant syringe and a medieval knight-style shield, and text declaring the vaccination rate of workers in the area was more than 80%. Other buildings with rates [...]

April 9th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Festival drug testing law to be made permanent – Minister Little

The government has given a permanent all clear for pill testing at summer festivals, allowing partygoers to check whether their illicit drugs have been laced.   Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas MPs rushed through interim legislation under urgency late last year to ensure volunteer checkers would not be prosecuted over the holiday period. The bill is set to expire in December but Health Minister Andrew Little says fresh legislation would be passed this year, making it permanent. He says Victoria University of Wellington research shows 68 percent of festival-goers who used the service changed their behaviour as a result. Some disposed of the drugs that had been tested, some reduced the amount of drugs they took, and most 87 percent said that as a result of talking to the [...]

April 9th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Macron to close elite school that hothouses French leaders

Institution has been pathway to power for country’s elite, including four French presidents The former French president François Hollande (right) and his successor Emmanuel Macron in 2017. Both leaders studied at ENA. Photograph: Eric Feferberg/AFP via Getty  Emmanuel Macron is expected to officially announce on Thursday the closure of the École Nationale d’Administration, the elite French finishing school for the country’s leaders where he studied. Known as ENA, the grande école has been the hothouse for France’s top civil service and a pathway to power in the public and private sectors. Four French presidents, including Macron, have passed through its doors as have dozens of ministers and business leaders. Founded by Gen Charles de Gaulle in October 1945 with the idea of breaking the upper-class hold over France’s higher [...]

April 8th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Great Britain’s electricity system has greenest day ever over Easter

Sun and wind generated 60% of all electricity on Monday, data shows   Solar farm on Godley Reservoir in Hyde, Manchester. Sunshine and windy weather helped National Grid to lowest carbon intensity recorded since 1935. Photograph: Ashley Cooper pics/Alamy Stock Photo Great Britain’s electricity system recorded its greenest ever day over the Easter bank holiday as sunshine and windy weather led to a surge in renewable energy. The power plants generating electricity in England, Scotland and Wales produced only 39g of carbon dioxide for every kilowatt-hour of electricity on Monday, according to National Grid’s electricity system operator, the lowest carbon intensity recorded since National Grid records began in 1935. The new low smashed the grid’s previous record of 46g on 24 May last year, during the country’s greenest ever [...]

April 8th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand temporarily suspending travel from India – PM Jacinda Ardern

Travel into New Zealand from India - including for New Zealand citizens and residents - is being temporarily suspended because of high numbers of Covid-19 cases, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.   Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield confirmed this afternoon that a border worker had tested positive for Covid-19. Bloomfield also announced 23 new positive Covid cases in managed isolation, 17 of whom had arrived from India. Ardern says she is focusing on the new cases at the border today. "Cases of the virus have been on the rise internationally ... with surges particularly in Brazil and India... we are starting to see this global trend mirrored here," she says. "We are temporarily suspending entry into New Zealand for travellers from India." The travel ban will be from 11 [...]

April 8th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Russian President Putin signs law allowing him to serve two more terms

The legislation gives Russian leader Vladimir Putin the possibility to stay in power until 2036.PHOTO: REUTERS     MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday (April 5) gave final approval to legislation allowing him to hold office for two additional six-year terms, giving himself the possibility to stay in power until 2036. The 68-year-old Russian leader, who has already been in power for more than two decades, signed off on the Bill on Monday, according to a copy posted on the government's legal information portal. Putin proposed the change last year as part of constitutional reforms that Russians overwhelmingly backed in a vote in July. Lawmakers approved the new Bill last month. The legislation will allow Putin to run in presidential elections again after his current and [...]

April 7th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

All DHBs now operating vaccination programmes- Bloomfield

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says all New Zealand's district health boards are now operating vaccination programmes, and vaccine numbers are likely to increase further.     He was speaking at today's Covid-19 vaccine update, alongside Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare. Bloomfield says 90,286 vaccine doses administered have been administered so far and New Zealand is likely to hit the 100,000 milestone in the next couple of days. He says 147 adverse reactions to the vaccine have been recorded, and three of those cases are considered serious. All those involved an allergic reaction of some kind and no new safety concerns have been identified in New Zealand. Henare received his first Pfizer vaccine dose at a clinic in Porirua this morning. He is one of several politicians with a [...]

April 7th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Research shows promising development in hunt for HIV vaccine

Though they've shown success, the trials are still in the very early stages.             STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images After more than 30 years of attempts, there may be a promising advance in the search for a vaccine for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS if left untreated.   Now, preliminary data from an early stage clinical trial out of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, suggests that a new HIV vaccine may hold promise.   "These are very early studies. But nonetheless, they are provocative," said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventative medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, who was not involved in the clinical trial.   Although the vaccine candidate will still [...]

April 7th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Race to find dozens missing in deadly Indonesia, Timor-Leste floods

Rescuers retrieving a victim's body in Nelemamadike village, East Flores, after torrential rains triggered floods and landslides in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. (Photo: AFP/National Search and Rescue Agency/Handout)     LEMBATA: Rescuers were searching for dozens of people still missing on Tuesday (Apr 6) after floods and landslides swept away villages in Indonesia and Timor-Leste, killing at least 120 people and leaving thousands more homeless. Torrential rains from Tropical Cyclone Seroja turned small communities into wastelands of mud, uprooted trees and sent about 10,000 people fleeing to shelters across the neighbouring Southeast Asian nations. Indonesia's disaster management agency said it had recorded 86 deaths in a cluster of remote islands near Timor-Leste, where another 34 have been officially listed as dead since the disaster struck on Sunday. Authorities revised down a higher [...]

April 6th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Janet Yellen pledges greater US international co-operation

GETTY IMAGES The US "isolated ourselves and retreated from the international order that we created," Janet Yellen said     US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has signalled a stronger engagement on issues from climate change to human rights to tax evasion, pledging to restore America's economic leadership. "America first must never mean America alone," she said in her first major speech on its overseas economic policy. Ms Yellen is also keen for greater global co-operation, rolling back Donald Trump's protectionist policies. She also raised the issue of a global corporate tax rate. "Over the last four years, we have seen first hand what happens when America steps back from the global stage," Ms Yellen said pointing to a reversal of Mr Trump's international economic policies. The US "i