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9843 new Covid cases on Tuesday, 8 deaths reported

There are 9843 new Covid-19 cases in the community, the Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday. A man receiving a Covid-19 test. (Source: istock.com)   The numbers were reported over the past 24 hours. There have been 8 more deaths of people with Covid-19, bringing New Zealand’s Covid death toll to 986. Of the 8 deaths, one person was in their 60s, four people were in their 70s, and three were aged over 90. Four were women and four were men. Nationwide, there are 421 people in hospital with Covid-19 and, of those, 10 people are in ICU or in a high dependency unit. That’s 6 more people in hospital with the virus than on Monday, when 415 hospitalisations were reported. Tuesday's positive cases, detected through rapid antigen tests [...]

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

IMF lifts weighting of dollar, Chinese yuan in SDR basket

FILE PHOTO: Chinese Yuan and U.S. dollar banknotes are seen in this illustration taken February 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo BEIJING— The International Monetary Fund said on Saturday it has increased the weighting of the dollar and Chinese yuan in its review of the currencies that make up the valuation of its Special Drawing Rights (SDR), an international reserve asset. The review is the first since the yuan, also known as the renminbi, joined the basket of currencies in 2016 in what was a milestone in Beijing's efforts to internationalise its currency. The IMF raised the U.S. currency's weighting to 43.38 per cent from 41.73 per cent and the yuan to 12.28 per cent from 10.92 per cent. The euro's weighting declined to 29.31 per cent from 30.93 per [...]

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

Covid-19 update: 15 more deaths, 5745 new community cases reported in NZ

Fifteen more deaths of people with Covid-19 have been reported today, with another 5745 new community cases also recorded. Photo: FRANK HOERMANN / SVEN SIMON The seven day rolling average of new cases is 7608 today, up from 7510 last Sunday. The Ministry of Health said there were 384 people with Covid-19 in hospital, down from 398 yesterday, with eight in ICU. Two of the 15 people whose deaths were reported today were in their 50s, one in their 70s, nine in their 80s and three were aged over 90. Seven were women and eight were men. Three people were from the Auckland region; two were from Waikato, one was from Taranaki, two were from the Wellington region, four were from Canterbury and three from Southern. The number of [...]

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

G7 to continue economic pressure on Russia, tackle ‘wheat war’

The Group of Seven foreign ministers vowed on Saturday to reinforce Russia's economic and political isolation, continue supplying weapons to Ukraine and tackle what Germany's foreign minister described as a "wheat war" being waged by Moscow.   Russian soldiers guard the Azovstal plant in Mariupol in Ukraine. Photo: AFP   After meeting in the Baltic Sea resort of Weissenhaus, senior diplomats from Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United States and the European Union also pledged to continue their military and defence assistance for "as long as necessary". They would also tackle what they called Russian misinformation aimed at blaming the West for food supply issues around the world due to economic sanctions on Moscow and urged China not to assist Moscow or justify Russia's war, according to [...]

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

Harris tells ASEAN leaders US committed ‘for generations’

US Vice President Kamala Harris (center) welcomes Southeast Asian leaders to a lunch at the State Department (Photo: AFP/OLIVIER DOULIERY) WASHINGTON— Vice President Kamala Harris said Friday (May 13) that the United States was committed to Southeast Asia for the long haul as the region's leaders held a first summit in Washington. "Our administration recognises the vital strategic importance of your region, a role that will only grow with time," Harris told leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations over a working lunch at the State Department. "As an Indo-Pacific nation, the United States will be present and continue to be engaged in Southeast Asia for generations to come," she said. President Joe Biden will address the leaders later Friday after inviting them Thursday night to the White [...]

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

Australia Elections: How is the Australian government elected?

The Australian Parliament is made up of two houses - the House of Representatives and the Senate. In order to win government in its own right, a party needs to hold the majority of seats in the House of Reps, which is the lower house. There are 151 elected members, one representing each of Australia's electorates. So the magic number is 76. You need to get to the magical number of 76 in the House of Representatives to get across the finishing line. (Nine/Tara Blancato) The Australian Federal Election process A federal election is held about every three years. This year, the federal election will take place on May 21. It's compulsory for Australians aged 18 and over to vote and you need to be enrolled to do so. [...]

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

China responds to claim they sent a spy ship to Australia

A Chinese Foreign Ministry has responded to the Australian defence minister's claim a Chinese surveillance ship has been travelling along the Western Australia coast on an intelligence-gathering mission, saying Beijing "always abides by international law". Photo: 123RF Australian Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said the ship had been tracked along the coastline for the past week and was sighted on Friday morning heading north, about 250 nautical miles from Broome in Western Australia. Asked about the ship, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said he had no information about the specific situation, but "China always abides by international law and international practice". "The relevant Australian politician should see the relevant situation objectively and calmly, and not make sensational remarks," Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing. Dutton had said [...]

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

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tests positive for Covid-19

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed that she has tested positive for Covid-19. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver Her daughter Neve tested positive on Wednesday, she added in the post. Her partner Clarke Gayford tested positive on Sunday. "Despite best efforts, unfortunately I've joined the rest of my family and tested positive for Covid-19," Ardern wrote on social media. Ardern has been symptomatic since Friday night, according to a statement, and has "moderate" symptoms. She returned a weak positive Friday night and a clear positive this morning on a RAT test. Ardern will be required to isolate until the morning of Saturday 21 May. Ardern, who has been isolating since Gayford tested positive, will now have to miss the Budget announcement on Thursday and the release of the government's [...]

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

Biden, Xi congratulate Marcos, hopeful for stronger ties

Metro Manila, Philippines— The leaders of two powerhouse nations have recognized the electoral victory of the Philippines’ presidential race apparent winner Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. ahead of official proclamation. United States President Joe Biden personally called Marcos on Thursday to congratulate him on his election, the White House said. Biden is also anticipating improved ties and cooperation on different issues, including human rights, it added. "President Biden underscored that he looks forward to working with the President-elect to continue strengthening the U.S.-Philippine Alliance, while expanding bilateral cooperation on a wide range of issues, including the fight against COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, promoting broad-based economic growth, and respect for human rights," the White House statement read. Marcos, for his part, invited Biden to his inauguration. “I have also invited [...]

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

Updated vaccine pass to be rolled out – Hipkins

An optional updated vaccine pass will include booster information, and will be available to people who have had Covid-19 in the past three months. Photo: 2021 Getty Images Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced the move this morning, saying the updated passes would be available to download in under two weeks' time - from 24 May. People who had reported a positive rapid antigen test in the past three months would also be able to request a pass from 31 May. Hipkins said while the passes were no longer legal requirements for access, some businesses could choose to continue using it as a condition of entry, and encouraged people to get their up-to-date passes as a record of their vaccination status. "We've learnt over the last couple of years [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: 29 deaths, 7441 new cases in New Zealand

There have been 7441 new community cases of Covid-19 and another 29 further deaths reported today, including five people aged under 40. Photo: AFP   There are 398 people in hospital, with six in ICU. The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers is 7548, almost unchanged from last Friday's 7555. The 29 deaths of people with Covid-19 reported today include 14 people who have died in the past two days, with the rest dying between 24 March and 7 May. Two people were in their 20s, three in their thirties, three in their fifties, four in their sixties, six in their seventies, three in their eighties and eight over the age of 90. Fourteen were women and 15 were men. Six were from Auckland; one from Waikato, one [...]

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

Major reforms to NZ immigration settings announced

The Government has announced major reforms to New Zealand immigration settings to "increase the available pool of labour, while also speeding up our tourism recovery", Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Wednesday. A work visa application form - stock image. (Source: istock.com) She says a streamlined Accredited Employer Work Visa system will be running from July 4, so employers will not need to provide as much information, with changes to speed up the process. On top of those changes, a medium wage threshold will be brought in for most Accredited Employer Work Visas and for Foreign Fishing Crew Visas at $27.76. There will be exemptions for sectors including tourism and hospitality, with a threshold of $25 per hour until April next year. Construction and infrastructure; meat processing; seafood; and [...]

May 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China’s zero-Covid policy is not sustainable, WHO director general says

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus calls for shift in approach as scores of Chinese cities remain in strictly enforced lockdown A medical worker collects a Covid swab sample from a Beijing resident on Tuesday. Photograph: VCG/Getty Images The head of the World Health Organization has voiced concerns over China’s effort to eliminate the Covid virus, in a rare rebuke to Xi Jinping’s pledge to achieve “dynamic zero-Covid”. The WHO’s director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told a media briefing on Tuesday that his organisation does not think China’s Covid policy is “sustainable considering the behaviour of the virus”. “We have discussed about this issue with Chinese experts and we indicated that the approach will not be sustainable … I think a shift would be very important,” he said. Mike Ryan, [...]

May 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand border reopening fully from end of July

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed the border will fully reopen from the end of July, including for cruise ships and international students. Jacinda Ardern Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver It comes with a range of other immigration announcements, including sector-specific agreements to support a shift away from low-skilled migrant labour, and a new 'Green list' of 85 hard-to-fill high-skill roles that provides a priority pathway to residency. Visas for some 20,000 migrants already in the country are also being extended, and there will be new restrictions on students being able to work. Ardern, who is isolating with her partner at home, has announced the move virtually at a Business NZ lunch in Auckland this afternoon, with Minister of Immigration Kris Faafoi and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins at [...]

May 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Luxon on National-ACT alliance, budget, abortion

National Party leader Christopher Luxon won't be drawn on how he might work with the ACT party and its leader David Seymour if his party wins next year's election. National leader Christopher Luxon, left, and ACT leader David Seymour. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone Luxon confirmed yesterday his deputy, Nicola Willis, will be finance minister if his party wins the election, and ruled out Seymour taking the role. But Seymour said yesterday that was a premature move. "It's a promise that he can't actually keep because he doesn't even know what the election results are," he said. Speaking to Morning Report, Luxon said it was "very premature" to talk about partnership arrangements, and he would not play the "rule in, rule out game" regarding Seymour as finance minister. "All [...]

May 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s PM resigns after weeks of protests over economic crisis

Police are imposing nationwide curfew following violence at protest site in Colombo Demonstrators and government supporters clash outside in Colombo on Monday. Photograph: Ishara S Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has resigned after months of protests over the country’s deepening economic crisis, as once-peaceful protests turned violent and at least five people were killed in clashes. Turmoil began to engulf the country on Monday following violence at a major protest site in Colombo, where pro-government supporters attacked demonstrators and police responded with teargas and water cannon. Anti-government protestors, who had been largely peaceful, began retaliating across the country. Houses and vehicles of several pro-Rajapaksa politicians and the residence of Mahinda Rajapaksa were set on fire. A nationwide curfew was imposed but five were killed and almost [...]

May 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Philippine Elections: Marcos Jr., Sara Duterte lead partial, unofficial count in Eleksyon 2022

Former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte are leading the presidential and vice presidential race, according to the partial and unofficial count of votes from 95.17% of the nationwide election returns as shown in the Comelec Transparency Server. As of 6:02 a.m., Marcos had 30,303,899 votes. The other presidential candidates and the number of their votes are as follows: Vice President Leni Robredo 14,431,591 Senator Manny Pacquiao 3,463,654 Manila Mayor Isko Moreno 1,843,726 Senator Panfilo Lacson 865,831 Faisal Mangondato 233,161 Ernesto Abella 109,136 Leody De Guzman 89,355 Norberto Gonzales 85,782 Jose Montemayor 58,065 Duterte had 30,629,541 votes. The other vice presidential candidates and the number of their votes are as follows: Senator Francis Pangilinan 8,993,072 Senator Vicente Sotto III 8,027,121 Dr. Willie Ong 1,807,130 Buhay party-list [...]

May 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Consumer NZ launches petition to combat high grocery prices

Action against high prices at the checkout is being taken by Consumer NZ. The organisation launched a petition last night with a plan to deliver it to David Clark, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. The petition will call on the minister to go beyond the Commerce Commission's recommendations in it's report on the grocery sector in order to bring about stronger competition. According to the Commerce Commission report the two big supermarket operators, Foodstuffs and Woolworths, are making over $1 million of excess profit every single day. Both operators refute this point, saying their profits are not excessive and point out that the report also said profit margins were in line with other global retailers. They say the largest component of shelf prices go to suppliers, and that [...]

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

PM Jacinda Ardern returns negative Covid-19 test result

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has returned a negative rapid antigen Covid-19 test result. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pictured last month (file photo). Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   Ardern is isolating in Wellington this week after partner Clarke Gayford tested positive at the weekend. Yesterday Ardern told RNZ the family was doing fine. "We're having the same experience that many New Zealanders have had over the course of the past three months ... so juggling a few things, but doing just fine," she said. "He's okay, he's definitely crook, but he's doing okay. So far I'm fine, so we'll see how we go - as long as we stagger it so we can keep parenting we should be okay." A rapid antigen test returned a negative result this morning. [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: 12 deaths, 6745 new community cases, 339 people in hospital

There have been 12 further deaths and another 6745 new community cases of Covid-19 reported today. Photo: 123rf.com The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers is 7512 today, up from 7415 last week. In today's statement, the Ministry of Health said there were 339 people with Covid-19 in hospital, down from 363 yesterday, with 15 people in intensive care. There has now been a total of 857 deaths of people with Covid-19 in New Zealand. The 12 reported today include three people were from Auckland; two from Waikato; one from MidCentral; two from the Greater Wellington region; three from Canterbury and one from Southern. One person was in their 40s; one in their 60s; two in their 70s; four in their 80s and four were aged over 90. [...]

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

Covid-19 led to 15 million deaths globally, not the 5m reported – World Health Organisation

Almost three times as many people have died as a result of Covid-19 as official data shows, according to a new World Health Organisation (WHO) report, the most comprehensive look at the true global toll of the pandemic so far. The Indian government said in a statement that WHO had released the report "without adequately addressing India's concerns" over what it called "questionable" methods. Photo: AFP   There were 14.9 million excess deaths associated with Covid-19 by the end of 2021, the UN body said on Thursday. The official count of deaths directly attributable to Covid-19 and reported to WHO in that period, from January 2020 to the end of December 2021, is slightly more than 5.4m. The WHO's excess mortality figures reflect people who died of Covid-19 as [...]

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

US spies reportedly helped Ukraine sink Russia’s flagship

New reports suggest the US helped Ukraine take down the largest Russian warship to sink in combat since World War Two. US spies helped sink Russia’s flagship by revealing the ship’s radar was down as Ukraine distracted the sailors with a drone, it is reported. Moskva – the largest Russian warship to sink in combat since World War Two – plunged to the bottom of the Black Sea on April 14 after being hit by two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles, The Sun reports. The Russian ministry of defence said explosions ripped through the ammunition stores on April 13 triggering a major blaze before it sunk the next day. Moskva had played a deadly role in the war by bombarding towns and cities in Ukraine from positions at sea. Russia’s [...]

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

Eighteen dead after huge blast rocks Havana hotel

At least 18 people have died and more than 60 have been hospitalised after a massive explosion rocked one of Cuba's most exclusive five-star hotels. A rescuer walks past some of the wreckage caused after the explosion at the Saratoga Hotel in Havana. Photo: AFP   The blast at the Saratoga Hotel in Old Havana on Friday appears to have been caused by a gas leak, according to local officials. The historic five-storey building was set for a post-pandemic reopening in four days. It now lies in ruins, with much of its outer wall torn off. Search and rescue operations are currently underway to locate people trapped under the debris. The Cuban presidency said the dead included a pregnant woman and a child. The injured are being treated at [...]

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

NZ Covid-19: ‘We could continue to see 10-15 deaths per day for months’ – Baker

Covid-19 hospitalisations have fallen for two consecutive days and the average number of new cases has been relatively stable for two weeks, but epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker says infection rates around the country will continue to go up and down. Photo: 123RF Professor Baker told RNZ it was unlikely there will ever be a stable rate with a virus of this kind. "Almost one in a thousand people getting this infection are dying from it. So that is obviously going to be really tough. If we level out at maybe 15,000, and that's not counting all of them, then we will continue to see 10-15 deaths per day for months," he said. It all comes down to the different factors driving transmission. Baker expects numbers to continue to creep [...]

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

Sri Lanka president declares state of emergency amid unrest

A demonstrator helps another as police use tear gas and water cannon to disperse students demanding the resignation of Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the country's crippling economic crisis, near parliament in Colombo on May 6, 2022 (Photo: AFP/ISHARA S. KODIKARA) COLOMBO—  Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday (May 6) declared a state of emergency for the second time in five weeks, giving security forces sweeping powers as a nationwide strike demanding his resignationbrought the country to standstill. A spokesman for the president said he invoked the tough laws to "ensure public order" after shops closed and public transport was halted Friday by unions blaming him for the unprecedented economic crisis, which has ignited weeks of unrest. Earlier Friday, police used tear gas and water cannon to [...]

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

Facebook accused of deliberately disrupting Australia emergency services

GETTY IMAGES/ Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg reportedly called the result "the best possible outcome in Australia"   Facebook deliberately used an over-zealous blocking system that took down the pages of Australian emergency services last year as a negotiating tactic, whistleblowers claim. The social network moved to block all news outlets in Australia over a row about paying news providers. But fire services and state health services were also blocked, during fire season and Australia's vaccine rollout. Facebook says blocking other pages had been an honest mistake. Former employees, backed by the Whistleblower Aid charity, say the company intentionally "over-blocked" Australian pages at a critical time to gain leverage over the Australian government. "It was clear this was not us complying with the law, but a hit on civic institutions and [...]

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

China builds permanent COVID-19 testing stations for life after lockdown

People line up to get tested at a mobile nucleic acid testing site, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing, China May 6, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SHANGHAI— China is setting up thousands of permanent PCR testing stations, with 9,000 already completed in Shanghai alone, as authorities seek to "normalise" tough pandemic controls even after the current round of lockdowns end. At present, nearly 25 million residents in the eastern financial hub of Shanghai remain under some form of lockdown as the city battles China's biggest-ever coronavirus outbreak. But in a bid to head off future flare-ups, municipal authorities have been setting up a system that will make regular COVID-19 testing a permanent feature of everyday life, with other cities taking similar steps. Of Shanghai's 9,000 testing sites, [...]

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

#TheFilipinoVotes: Dos and don’ts on Election Day amid COVID-19 pandemic

Metro Manila, Philippines— Around 65.8 million voters, including 6.9 million newly registered ones, are expected to cast their ballots this May 9. CNN Philippines lists what the voting public should keep in mind on Election Day. General reminders Polling precincts will open at 6 a.m. and will accommodate voters until 7 p.m. Should there still be voters in line by 7 p.m., they will all be accommodated as long as their distance from the precinct is within 30 meters. The Commission on Elections says bringing a valid ID is not required but still encouraged, especially to address any possible issues concerning your identity or appearance in the Election Day Computerized Voters’ List (EDCVL). After signing the EDCVL, the voter will receive their ballot which they must inspect for any [...]

May 6th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand foreign minister blames ‘relationship failure’ for China-Solomons security deal

Nanaia Mahuta confirms ‘unwelcome and unnecessary’ deal came as a surprise to New Zealand and Australia, saying the Solomons must provide transparency New Zealand foreign affairs minister Nanaia Mahuta has said shock at the China-Solomons security deal shows Australia and New Zealand have suffered a relationship failure with leadership in Honiara. Photograph: Reuters The shock over China’s security deal with Solomon Islands is evidence of “a relationship failure” , New Zealand’s foreign affairs minister has said, confirming that the pact took New Zealand, Australia and other Pacific nations completely by surprise. The deal marks Beijing’s first known bilateral security agreement in the Pacific. The text of the final deal is secret, but a draft leaked on social media in March granted Chinese military and police significant access to the [...]

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

Warmer winter set to follow wider NZ region’s third-hottest summer

Climate scientist's expanded record reveals how unusually warm NZ's summer was. Unusually balmy sea conditions predicted to delay our winter by a month follow one of the wider New Zealand region's warmest seasons on record, a climate scientist says. Niwa is forecasting another winter of unusually warmer temperatures – they're predicted to be above-average in the north and either near or above average in most of the south – as a lingering La Niña climate system continues to influence our weather. As well, coastal waters were running abnormally hot – sea temperatures ranged as high as 2.7C above average over April – which in turn were driving up the mercury on land. "Relatively speaking, we're surrounded by this boiling pot of water – so it's pretty tough to cool [...]

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

Sweden says it received US security assurances if it hands in NATO application

Swedish and NATO flags are seen printed on paper this illustration taken on Apr 13, 2022. (Photo :REUTERS/Dado Ruvic) STOCKHOLM— Sweden has received assurances from the United States that it would receive support during the period a potential application to join NATO is processed by the 30 nations in the alliance, Foreign Minister Ann Linde said in Washington on Wednesday (May 4). Sweden and neighbour Finland stayed out of NATO during the Cold War, but Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its invasion of Ukraine have led the countries to rethink their security policies, with NATO membership looking increasingly likely. Both countries are concerned they would be vulnerable during an application process, which could take up to a year to be approved by all NATO's members. "Naturally, I'm [...]

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

Biden to talk with G7 leaders this week about further sanctions on Russia

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on economic growth, jobs, and deficit reduction in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, on May 4, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein) WASHINGTON— US President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he would speak with other leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies this week about potential additional sanctions against Russia over its continuing and intensifying war in Ukraine. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the United States was in constant discussions with its partners about further sanctions and could take "additional actions" to pressure Moscow. At a Wall Street Journal conference, Yellen would not preview any specific actions under consideration, but stressed that further measures were likely "if Russia continues this war against Ukraine". Biden told reporters, "We're always open to [...]

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

US makes biggest interest rate rise in 22 years

The US central bank has announced its biggest interest rate increase in more than two decades as it toughens its fight against fast rising prices. The US Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington. Photo: AFP The Federal Reserve said it was raising its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point, following a smaller increase in March. With US inflation at a four-decade high, further hikes are expected. The push marks the latest effort to contain spiking costs being felt by households around the world. India's central bank on Wednesday announced a surprise increase to its benchmark rate, while Australia's central bank recently enacted its first interest rate hike in more than a decade. In the UK, Bank of England was also widely expected to raise rates on Thursday, which [...]

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

Eurozone growth slips as Russia-Ukraine war pushes up energy costs

France’s economy stalls and Italy’s shrinks but Germany rebounds from contraction   France’s economy unexpectedly ground to a halt in the first three months of 2022. Photograph: Mohammed Badra/EPA Warning lights are flashing in the eurozone economy, with first-quarter growth in France stalling and shrinking in Italy, as Russia’s war in Ukrainedrives up energy costs across the continent. Figures from Eurostat, the EU’s statistics body, showed growth in GDP across the single currency area slipped to 0.2% in the first three months of 2022, down from 0.3% in the final quarter of 2021, when Omicron weighed on activity. City economists had forecast a growth rate of 0.3% for the 19 euro area countries, highlighting the economic risks from the war in Ukraine amid soaring wholesale oil and gas prices [...]

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

Covid-19 update: 9047 new community cases and a further 13 deaths reported in NZ

Thirteen more people have died with Covid-19 and there have been 9047 new community cases reported, the Ministry of Health says. Photo: AFP Today's seven-day rolling average of case numbers is 7705, down from 7935 last week. There are 484 people in hospital with the virus - with 15 in ICU. The 13 deaths reported today included people who had died over the previous nine days, apart from two deaths on 4 April. The Ministry of Health said 723 people with Covid-19 had now died in New Zealand. Two of today's deaths were from the Auckland region, three from Bay of Plenty, two from Waikato, one from Taranaki, one from MidCentral, one from Hawke's Bay, and three from Canterbury. Two were in their 50s, two in their 60s, one [...]

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

Government announces $1.4b funding to boost Auckland housing growth

The government has revealed plans to spend $1.4 billion into infrastructure in a bid to boost housing stock across five Auckland suburbs. Mt Roskill MP Michael Wood, Auckland mayor Phil Goff and Housing Minister Megan Woods at the announcement of $1.4b in funding to boost Auckland housing. Photo: RNZ / Katie Todd The funding, which comes from the government's $3.8b Housing Acceleration Fund, will focus on infrastructure upgrades including sewage and stormwater systems, roading and flood protection measures to unlock more housing. Minister for Housing Dr Megan Woods said the funding would focus on 400 urban renewal projects in Mt Roskill, Māngere, Tāmaki, Oranga and Northcote. She said the work would allow for the replacement of old Kāinga Ora homes, 2000 additional ones, as well as 10,000 new affordable [...]

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

White supremacism biggest source of illegal content – DIA report

White identity-motivated extremism continues to be the leading driver of online content investigated and shut down by Internal Affairs (DIA). Internal Affairs Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson   DIA today released its first annual report into online violent extremism content, covering 2021. The report is in part a result of the Christchurch Call - efforts by governments to eliminate such content online led by New Zealand and France after the 15 March attacks on Christchurch mosques in 2019 - and aims to produce a yearly snapshot of the volume of content investigated and removed. It shows white identity-motivated extremist ideology accounts for the largest portion of investigated content by far. Nearly three years after the mosque terror attack, the massacre livestream continued to be shared and promoted, particularly by [...]

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

No more COVID-19 tests for fully vaccinated travellers entering Malaysia, masks optional outdoors from May 1

Malaysia Airlines aircraft are seen at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia on Apr 1, 2022. (Photo: AP/Vincent Thian) KUALA LUMPUR— Malaysia announced that it will broadly lift COVID-19 restrictions beginning May 1, including the removal of a mask mandate while outdoors as well as dropping the need for fully vaccinated travellers to be tested for the coronavirus. Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that wearing of masks is still required indoors, including in shopping malls and on public transportation. “The wearing of masks outdoors is optional, but is still encouraged,” he said during a press conference on Wednesday (Apr 27). The minister said that people are also encouraged to wear masks outdoors in crowded places such as at Ramadan bazaars, stadiums and night markets. Mr Khairy also announced [...]

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

Inflation shock, rate rise risk jolt Australia PM’s election campaign

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media at Melbourne Commonwealth Parliament Office, in Melbourne, Australia February 11, 2022. Darrian Traynor/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo SYDNEY— Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday (Apr 28) blamed the war in Ukraine and COVID-19 related supply chain disruptions for a record rise in living costs which could jeopardise his chances of winning a national election to be held within weeks. Australian consumer prices surged at the fastest annual pace in two decades last quarter, data out on Wednesday showed, as petrol, home-building and food costs rose, fueling speculation interest rates could rise from record lows as soon as next week. "We are still feeling the effects of the rather extraordinary economic times that we are living in," Morrison said [...]

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

Kiwis paying more for rent as inflation rise bites

Kiwis are paying more for rent overall, despite a drop in demand, according to Trade Me’s March rental price index. File image. (Source: istock.com)   The amount of rent tenants are paying has risen by roughly 7% in the past year to the end of March, and now sits at around $575 a week. Trade Me says the jump is in line with record-high inflation and will be hard for renters. “It’s not an easy time to be a renter as Kiwis are having to fork out significantly more for everyday items across the board, including housing costs,” says Trade Me property sales director, Gavin Lloyd. Not all parts of New Zealand have seen the same rate of rent rise in the past year. The largest growth in median [...]

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

2 electric ferries coming to Auckland by 2024

In two years' time, Aucklanders could be making their way across the harbour in one of two electric ferries, the Government announced on Tuesday. An artist’s impression of an electric ferry being developed by EV Maritime. (Source: EV Maritime) Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said the ferries promised quieter, greener and cleaner trips across the city's major inner and mid-harbour services. The carbon fibre ferries, developed by Auckland-based company EV Maritime, could reach a top speed similar to that of modern diesel ferries at 25 knots. It has a range of 40 kilometres and can carry 200 people each. "Today’s ferries contribute about 20% of Auckland’s public transport emissions," Woods said. "These electric ferries promise to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with each electric ferry displacing approximately 1000 [...]

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

Philippine Elections: Comelec said NZ ballot ‘deliberately edited’

(FILE PHOTO) Metro Manila, Philippines — The Commission on Elections said a photo of a ballot in New Zealand received by a voter was tampered to make it appear as though Vice President Leni Robredo's name was not included in the list of candidates running for president. "The Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) confirms that the photo showing an official ballot received by an overseas voter in New Zealand has been deliberately edited to make it appear that VP Robredo's name is missing from the list of presidential candiates," Comelec said in a statemnent Monday, The photo of the alleged ballot made it to social media over the weekend, and Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said it was likely "fake news." In Monday's statement, Comelec said the OFOV was working with [...]

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

Twitter board agrees to $44b takeover by Elon Musk

The board of Twitter has agreed to a US$44 billion takeover offer from billionaire Elon Musk. Musk has suggested a series of changes to Twitter from relaxing its content restrictions to eradicating fake accounts. Photo: AFP   Musk, who made the shock bid less than two weeks ago, has claimed he is the right person to "unlock" the social media firm's "extraordinary potential". He also called for a series of changes from relaxing its content restrictions to eradicating fake accounts. The firm initially rebuffed Musk's bid, but it will now ask shareholders to vote to approve the deal. Musk is the world's richest man, according to Forbes magazine, with an estimated net worth of US$273.6b mostly due to his shareholding in electric vehicle maker Tesla which he runs. He [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: 6380 community cases, 508 hospitalisations, four more deaths

Four more people have died with Covid-19 and there are 6380 new community cases in the country today, the Ministry of Health says. Photo: 123rf.com Meanwhile, there are 508 people in hospital and 16 of those are in ICU. The average age of those hospitalised is 61. In a statement, the ministry said "Today we are sadly reporting the deaths of four people with Covid-19. The deaths being reported today include people who have died over the previous two days. "These deaths take the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 to 687 and the seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 12. Of the people whose deaths we are reporting today, two people were from Taranaki and two were from Canterbury. Two were in their 70s and [...]

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

Philippine Elections: Comelec sets protocols for repair, replacement of defective VCMs, SD cards

Metro Manila, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has established technical hubs for replacing Secure Digital (SD) cards and vote counting machines (VCMs) that could encounter problems come May 9. In a resolution promulgated Apr. 20 but only released Friday, Comelec said there will be 82 hubs for the replacement of defective SD cards and eight sites for VCMs nationwide. Each technical hub will be directly supervised and controlled by the concerned regional election director, provincial election supervisor, or election officer depending on where it's situated. The designated poll official must keep an inventory of and safekeep defective cards, while the concerned Comelec field officer must account for the tally of defective machines. Personnel in charge of replacing SD cards with issues will solely come from the Department [...]

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

5662 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, 9 deaths

There are 5662 new Covid-19 community cases in New Zealand on Sunday, the Ministry of Health reports. A person getting tested for Covid-19. (Source: istock.com)   Nine deaths of people with the virus were also announced, with the deaths stretching back over the past nine days. The deaths take the total number of publicly-reported deaths of people with Covid-19 to 674. The seven-day rolling average of these deaths is 13 - a drop of one from last Sunday's figure. Of the nine people, five people were over 90 years old. There was one each in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. "Delays to reporting can be associated with people dying with Covid-19, rather than from Covid-19, and Covid being discovered only after they have died," the ministry said. Across [...]

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

An exclusive look at NZ’s largest dam to be built in decades

The Waimea Dam at the top of the south is the largest public dam to be built in New Zealand in more than 20 years. While it's due to start filling with water later this year, it's behind schedule and way over budget.   The dam is due to be filled with water later this year, but it's behind schedule and over budget. (Source: Q and A) 1News took a tour of the dam that hopes to eventually provide water security for the Tasman region for the next 100 years. It's about 75% complete with the large 50-metre high concrete face mostly in place. Over the next few months, the spillway and parapet will be the focus. Waimea Water is responsible for the project. CEO Mike Scott says it's [...]

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

Afghanistan: Taliban orders TikTok, PUBG ban for ‘misleading’ youths

GETTY IMAGES TikTok has been popular with young Afghan men who enjoy filming and sharing short video clips   The Taliban has ordered a ban on video-sharing app TikTok and online multi-player game PUBG, insisting they were leading Afghan youths "astray". The militant group said it would also ban TV channels from airing what it deemed as "immoral material". It comes after recent bans on music, movies and television soap operas. The Taliban promised a softer approach to government when it took power last year, but has increasingly curtailed freedoms especially for women. The group was known for their severe version of Islamist rule that characterised their first stint in government between 1996 and 2001. Taliban spokesman Inamullah Samangani said that the latest ban was necessary to "prevent the [...]

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

Tourist boat missing off Japanese coast

EPA/ The Kazu 1 sightseeing vessel has capacity for 65 people (undated file image) A tourist boat is missing off the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, the country's coast guard says. Authorities lost contact with the vessel, which had 26 people on board, after it sent a distress signal saying it was taking on water at 13:15 local time (04:15 GMT) on Saturday. Four people have since been found and have been taken for medical attention. The boat, Kazu 1, is believed to have been on a three-hour sightseeing voyage around the Shiretoko Peninsula. The area is a designated UNESCO world heritage site, and boat trips are popular with tourists hoping to spot whales and sea lions as well as brown bears on the rocky beaches. The coast guard says [...]

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

Macron or Le Pen: France faces stark choice for president

The French vote today in an election that will decide whether pro-European Union centrist president Emmanuel Macron keeps his job or is unseated by far-right eurosceptic Marine Le Pen in what would amount to a political earthquake. A pedestrian walks past campaign poster of French President Emmanuel Macron and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen of the far-right Rassemblement National party. Photo: AFP Opinion polls in recent days gave Macron a solid and slightly growing lead as analysts said Le Pen - despite her efforts to soften her image and tone down some of her National Rally party's policies - remained unpalatable for many. But a surprise Le Pen victory cannot entirely be ruled out, given the high numbers of voters who were undecided or not sure if they would [...]

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

Philippine Elections: Sofitel threatens to stop use of debate venue over Comelec sponsor’s ₱14M debt

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 21) — The last stretch of the debates organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) may face cancellation if the poll body's sponsor Impact Hub Manila fails to settle its unpaid dues to Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila worth ₱14 million. The debates are set for April 23 and 24. A demand letter dated April 20, which was made available to the media on Thursday, stated that Philippine Plaza Holdings Inc. (PPHI) - the owner of the hotel - has yet to receive complete payment as a venue partner for the Pilipinas Debate 2022. Impact Hub Manila, the group behind Vote Pilipinas, is Comelec's partner and sponsor for the debates. Under the deal between the two parties, Impact Hub Manila committed to pay PPHI a total [...]

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

Computer Recycling unveils new machine to deal with NZ’s huge e-waste problem

A new state-of-the-art machine that sorts and shreds electronic waste has officially started operation in Auckland. The BLUBOX machine is aiming to catapult New Zealand from one of the worst electronic waste offenders to one of the best. The recycling machine is one of eight in the world and was switched on for the first time at Computer Recycling in Penrose on Thursday afternoon. The technology shreds and sorts e-waste in an enclosed negative pressure system, recovering up to 90 percent of components. E-waste items considered hard to recycle include mobile phones, light bulbs, flat screen TVs and more. Environment Minister David Parker was present at the launch of the new machine, which was supported by a $1.5 million grant from the Waste Minimisation Fund. Parker said the technology [...]

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

New Zealand and Japan prime ministers meet, agree to boost security ties

New Zealand is beefing up its security ties with Japan in the face of "unprecedented challenges" through a plan to share more classified information on international issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had their first ever meeting in Tokyo last night. Photo: Supplied by official photographer   Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sat down with her Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida late on Thursday in Tokyo, in their first conversation since Kishida's election last year. The two leaders agreed to have their officials drum up a deal which would see more "seamless" sharing of classified material. The type of information which would be exchanged is unclear, but a spokesperson for the prime minister said it would not be intelligence. Speaking at the conclusion of the meeting, [...]

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

One in five older children in Philippines suffer online sexual abuse, study says

Research into 12- to 17-year-olds adds to concerns that Covid has left them more vulnerable in their country If the findings are scaled to the population, it could mean 2 million children were subjected to online sexual abuse in one year. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA One in five children aged between 12 and 17 were subjected to grave instances of online sexual abuse while using the internet in the Philippines in 2020, research suggests. The study adds to concerns that the pandemic has heightened the vulnerability of children in the country, which was already considered a global centre of such abuse. Researchers who surveyed 950 children found a fifth of those who used the internet had experienced online sexual abuse over the past year, such as being blackmailed or coerced [...]

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

Joe Biden announces $800m in new arms supplies to Ukraine

Joe Biden has announced $800m (£613m) in new arms supplies to Ukraineand said he will go to Congress to ask for more funding to help fend off the renewed Russian offensive in the east and south. Howitzers, artillery and drones among new deliveries, and president to ask Congress for more funding A Ukrainian service member walks along a trench with a Javelin missile system in the north Kyiv region in mid-March. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters The new US weapon deliveries will include 72 howitzers and their towing vehicles along with 144,000 artillery rounds and more than 120 drones tailored for Ukraine’s needs. “We’re in a critical window of time when [the Russians] are going to set the stage for the next phase of this war,” Biden said. “And the United [...]

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

Saline solution: Japan invents ‘electric’ chopsticks that make food seem more salty

Device uses a weak current to artificially amplify the taste of salt, as part of efforts to reduce sodium levels in popular dishes The chopsticks can enhance food taste using an electrical stimulation waveform developed by Kirin and Meiji University's School of Science and Technology Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters Diners in Japan could soon be able to savour the umami of a bowl of ramen or miso soup without having to worry about their salt intake. In what they claim is a world first, researchers have developed chopsticks that artificially create the taste of salt, as part of efforts to reduce sodium levels in some of the country’s most popular dishes. The chopsticks work by using electrical stimulation and a mini-computer worn on the eater’s wristband. The device transmits sodium [...]

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

Joint NZ-US solar power company launches

A new solar power company has emerged from the shadows with the backing of a senior Google executive. Helios Energy says it has put together a list of grid-connected solar power sites across the country, which would generate a total of one gigawatt of power. Photo: 123RF Renewable energy developers from the United States and New Zealand have formed a joint venture called Helios Energy, to build grid-scale solar developments with an estimated cost of more than $1 billion. The company has put together a list of grid-connected solar power sites across the country over the past two years, which would generate a total of one gigawatt of power, enough for about 250,000 households. Google executive Urs Hölzle is investing in a private capacity, with the size of the [...]

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

NZ targets Russian banks in latest sanctions over Ukraine war

Russia's largest banks and financial institutions have been targeted in New Zealand's latest round of sanctions against the country. Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says the targeted institutions made up 80 percent of Russia's banking assets. Photo: Pool / NZME The sanctions apply to 18 entities, including its central bank, sovereign wealth fund and eight of its largest banks. Seven other banks with links to oligarchs, Russia's defence sector and annexation of Crimea are also targeted. Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta made the announcement on Tuesday evening. She said the targeted institutions made up 80 percent of Russia's banking assets. The sanctions were designed to impose economic and political cost on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. "With this latest round of sanctions, New Zealand is joining countries around [...]

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

New Zealand and Singapore add climate to partnership priorities

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong have added a focus on climate and sustainability to the enhanced relationship between the two countries. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Photo: Karan Gurnani Speaking after bilateral talks in Singapore, the pair jointly announced a fifth pillar would be added to the agreement on the New Zealand-Singapore Enhanced Partnership. They announced the initial enhanced partnership in 2019 during Ardern's last official visit, with the four pillars of trade and economics; security and defence; science, technology and innovation; and people-to-people links. The fifth pillar added today will be "climate change and the green economy". Ardern said given the existential threat posed by climate change, it was fitting. "When it comes to climate [...]

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

Russia warns US to stop arming Ukraine or risk ‘unpredictable consequences’

Ukrainian soldiers tow a damaged Russian tank from a field near the village of Lypivka, west of Kyiv, on April 15, 2022. PHOTO: NYTIMES WASHINGTON- Russia has sent a series of warnings to the Biden administration, including a formal diplomatic protest this week, demanding that it halt shipment of advanced weapons to Ukraine that could strike into Russian territory or risk unspecified "unpredictable consequences." The diplomatic note, called a demarche, was sent through normal channels, two administration officials said. It was not signed by President Vladimir Putin or other senior Russian officials. But it was an indicator, one administration official said, that the weapons sent by the United States so far were having an effect. It also suggested that the Russians were concerned about the new tranche of more [...]

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

Philippine Elections: Some presidential bets to hold joint presser on Easter Sunday; reason unclear

Metro Manila, Philippines  – Some presidential candidates announced they will hold a joint press conference on Easter Sunday, although the reason behind it is unclear. The camps of at least three presidential hopefuls – Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Senator Ping Lacson, and former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales – on Saturday sent invites for a press conference set on the following day, 11 a.m., at the Manila Peninsula Hotel. In its advisory, Lacson’s media bureau said a total of five presidential candidates will be attending. Two other presidential bets, Senator Manny Pacquiao and former presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, were also mentioned in the list of expected attendees. Pacquiao’s camp confirmed he will join. However, it also noted the senator is currently in his hometown General Santos City and that his attendance [...]

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

5933 Covid-19 community cases, 10 deaths to report on Sunday

There are 5933 Covid-19 community cases and 10 Covid-related deaths to report on Sunday, according to the Ministry of Health. Covid-19 vaccination centre in Auckland. (Source: 1News) There are 537 people in hospital with the virus, including 20 in an intensive care or high dependency unit. The ministry said a statement on Saturday under-reported hospital numbers for the Bay of Plenty due to a data reporting issue which has since been resolved. The figure for the Bay of Plenty was reported as 17. It has since been corrected to 27. Our seven-day rolling average of case numbers has continued to decline, with Sunday's seven-day rolling average at 8,170, down from 10,543 last Sunday. "The number of reported community cases is expected to continue to fluctuate day to day, but [...]

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

No MOH Covid-19 update on Good Friday, next one on Saturday

The Ministry of Health is taking a break from its daily Covid-19 updates on Good Friday, with new case information expected tomorrow. Ministry of Health building in Wellington (file photo). (Source: 1News) The next update is expected at 1pm on Saturday, when the numbers of new cases, deaths and hospitalisations from the previous 48 hours will be released. Daily updates are expected for the rest of the long weekend. In a statement, a Ministry of Health spokesperson said the approach was similar to that taken for Christmas and New Year's Day. Good Friday is a national public holiday in New Zealand. In their statement on Thursday, health officials had urged travellers to prepare plans in case they had to self-isolate. "You would need to self-isolate and likely remain wherever [...]

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

Children who received expired Covid-19 vaccine still protected – medical advisor

NEW ZEALAND— A vaccine expert says 56 children who received an expired dose of the Covid-19 vaccine are still likely to have high protection against the virus. Taranaki DHB also said the 36 children who received a dose within 48 hours of its expiry do not need an additional vaccine. Photo: AFP   Taranaki District Health Board announced yesterday the expired paediatric doses were administered between 28 March and 6 April. "The administering of an expired vaccine happened following a misinterpretation of the Ministry of Health's extended expiry date on some paediatric vaccines on March 9, which extended the Pfizer Paediatric expiry dates from six to nine months. The extension related to frozen stock, not refrigerated stock, which remained at 10 weeks," the DHB said in a statement. All [...]

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

Rural pressure in days of drought: Farmers ‘notorious for putting animal welfare in front of their own health’

NEW ZEALAND— Farmer welfare is a serious concern in Southland after the driest start to a year on record, the Southland Rural Support Trust says. Photo: RNZ / Liz Garton Meaningful rain has finally fallen in the south this week, but it has come too late to bring any relief to the feed shortage confronting the region's farmers. Southland farmers say they expect the economic fallout of the drought to linger into next year. Southland Rural Support Trust chair Cathie Cotter said everything had landed on the region's farmers at once with the Omicron wave at its peak in the south. "A whole lot of things have just increased the pressure on our rural sector and we are really concerned about how our farmers will get through," she said. [...]

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

Philippine Elections: Bongbong Marcos to Comelec: Ensure that votes are counted correctly

Presidential candidate and former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) should make sure that all votes are counted correctly as the overseas absentee voting commenced, presidential candidate and former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said. Marcos made the remark Wednesday night following reported issues regarding overseas absentee voting such as actual votes and results not matching as well as pre-shaded ballots in Singapore and Dubai.  “Pinapatingnan namin, nagtatanong kami sa Comelec na sana tiyakin nila na lahat ng boto ay mabibilang ng tama,” Marcos said in an interview on SMNI on the sidelines of his campaign in Quezon City. (We are asking the Comelec to look into it and asking them to ensure that all votes will be counted correctly.) “Hindi ko [...]

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

Japan, US to hold finance ministers’ meeting next week – Kyodo

TOKYO— Japan and the United States are likely to hold a bilateral finance ministers' meeting next week on the sidelines of the Group of 20 gathering to be held in Washington, Kyodo news agency reported on Friday. Both governments are currently negotiating the exact date for the meeting, which will likely be held around April 21, Kyodo said without citing sources. (Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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

Hong Kong confirms it will ease COVID-19 restrictions from Apr 21

People wearing face masks cross a street, following the COVID-19 outbreak, in Hong Kong, Mar 9, 2022. (File photo: Reuters/Lam Yik) HONG KONG—  Hong Kong confirmed on Thursday (Apr 14) it will ease some of the world's most stringent COVID-19 restrictions, allowing beauty parlours, cinemas and gyms to reopen from Apr 21 as infections in the global financial hub hover below 2,000 per day. The Chinese-ruled city has been hit by a fifth wave of coronavirus since early this year that has battered business and led to more than 8,600 deaths, many in the past two months, although cases have dropped in recent days. Coronavirus restrictions have battered businesss and helped fuel a net outflow of around 70,000 people in February and March, up from nearly 17,000 in December, raising [...]

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

Russian warship Moskva has sunk – defence ministry

MAX DELANY/AFP The Moskva patrolling the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Syria A Russian warship that was damaged by an explosion on Wednesday has sunk, Russia's defence ministry has said. Moskva, the flagship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, was being towed to port when "stormy seas" caused it to sink, according to a ministry message. The 510-crew missile cruiser was a symbol of Russia's military power, leading its naval assault on Ukraine. Kyiv says its missiles hit the warship. Moscow has not reported any attack. It says the vessel sank after a fire. The blaze caused the explosion of the warship's ammunition, Russia says, adding that the entire crew were later evacuated to nearby Russian vessels in the Black Sea. It provided no further details. After saying initially [...]

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

NZ Hercules departs on mission to help deliver aid to Ukraine

A Defence Force Hercules aircraft is on its way to Europe to help transport donated military aid to Ukraine. An RNZAF Hercules departs for Europe. (Supplied: RNZAF) The Hercules, which is carrying 9 personnel, left Auckland's Whenuapai airbase on Wednesday morning. It will join a chain of military aircraft from partner nations that will first land in the UK to prepare for its mission carrying equipment to distribution centres in European countries, which is due to begin next week. This distribution is being coordinated by an international coordination centre in Stuttgart, Germany. Forces won’t be entering Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia nearly two months ago. A three-person advance party is currently in the UK, where they are facilitating the arrival of the aircraft and assimilation of personnel into [...]

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

Covid-19: All of NZ to move to orange setting from 11.59pm tonight

Will New Zealand move out of the red traffic light setting today? Minister Chris Hipkins has more... Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has confirmed the entire country will drop from red to the orange traffic light setting from 11.59pm tonight, saying the "overall picture is a very positive one." Watch Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins here: Hipkins said the change in alert levels was justified for several reasons, including an ongoing decline in cases. He said it had been three weeks since the most recent simplification to the traffic light system, and despite the "significant relaxation of the settings, we've continued to see positive improvements in the overall trajectory". He said case numbers now sit below 10,000 new cases per day for the first time since 24 February, and [...]

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

Brooklyn shooting: over 20 injured, including 10 shot, in subway attack

Biden says ‘We’re not letting up until we find the perpetrator’ as manhunt under way for shooter Members of the New York police department and emergency vehicles crowd the streets in Sunset Park following the shooting. Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images A gunman wearing a gas mask filled a crowded New York subway car with thick black smoke from a canister and opened fire on morning rush-hour passengers, injuring more than 20, including 10 with gunshot wounds. A manhunt was under way on Tuesday after the shooter, described as a heavy-built Black male about 5ft 5in tall, wearing a green construction-type vest and hooded grey sweatshirt, fled the scene of the shooting. Officers were searching for a U-Haul truck with an Arizona license plate as of Tuesday afternoon, police told [...]

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

Heavy rain to hit East Coast as Cyclone Fili approaches

NEW ZEALAND— Heavy rain warnings have been upgraded to red for the Wairoa District and Gisborne, with downpours and gales forecast to lash the eastern North Island as Cyclone Fili closes in. Photo: 123RF MetService has issued severe weather warnings for the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne regions with Cyclone Fili expected to track southeastwards across the east of the North Island on Wednesday, then move away from the country on Thursday. Wairoa District and the Gisborne region were expected to get 200-300mm of rain expected over 24 hours starting around 10pm tonight. Rainfall could reach peak rates of 15-25mm per hour while levels of 35-50mm per hour are possible in some areas tomorrow afternoon. Heavy rain is expected to cause dangerous river conditions while significant flooding and slips [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: 11,063 new community cases and 16 further deaths

There are 11,063 new community cases of Covid-19 today and 16 further deaths to report. Photo: RNZ/Marika Khabazi   Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there are 622 people in hospital with the virus, including 23 in intensive care. New Zealand has recorded its third death considered to be linked to the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. Yesterday there were 7592 new community cases reported, with further 11 deaths. More than 500 people have died in New Zealand from the coronavirus.

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

Dozens dead in Philippines landslides, flooding: Authorities

An aerial photo shows highway and houses submerged by flood waters in Abuyog town, Leyte province, southern Philippines, on Apr 11, 2022, following heavy rains brought about by Tropical storm Agaton (Megi). (Bobbie ALOTA / AFP) MANILA—  At least 24 people have been killed in landslides and flooding across central and southern Philippines, authorities said on Monday (Apr 11), after a storm dumped heavy rain and disrupted travel ahead of the Easter holidays. More than 13,000 people fled to emergency shelters as tropical storm Megi pounded the disaster-prone region on Sunday, the national disaster agency said, flooding houses, inundating fields, cutting off roads and knocking out power. Megi is the first storm to hit the archipelago this year, which sees around 20 such storms annually. The central province of [...]

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

Macron and Le Pen restart campaigns with Mélenchon a potential kingmaker

The race to run France began again on Monday morning as first-round winners Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen launched their campaigns to win over losing candidates’ supporters before the second-round vote in less than two weeks. Macron needs to unite a hostile electorate from the political extremes to vote for him on 24 April. With many, particularly on the left, feeling politically orphaned by Sunday’s result, getting them to vote at all will be the first hurdle. The president emerged with a lead of several points after the first-round ballot, scoring 27.6% against Le Pen’s 23.41%, according to the latest almost complete figures from the French interior ministry. However, the results suggested up to a third of voters chose far-right candidates including Éric Zemmour, and they are likely [...]

April 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Sri Lanka nearly out of medicine as doctors warn toll from crisis could surpass Covid

Emergency surgery may soon be impossible, president told, while protests continue amid worsening economic downturn Protesters outside the Sri Lankan president’s office call for his resignation as anger mounts over the country’s deepening economic crisis. Photograph: Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto/Rex/Shutterstock Sri Lanka’s doctors have warned they are almost out of life-saving medicines and say the country’s economic crisis threatened a worse death toll than the coronavirus pandemic. Weeks of power blackouts and severe shortages of food, fuel and pharmaceuticals have brought widespread misery to Sri Lanka, which is suffering its worst downturn since independence in 1948. The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) said all hospitals in the country no longer had access to imported medical tools and vital drugs. Several facilities have already suspended routine surgeries since last month because they [...]

April 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Ukraine economy to shrink by almost half this year, World Bank forecasts

Bank says many surrounding countries will suffer severe hardship as result of invasion, with Russia predicted to fall into recession A burnt-out car among destroyed buildings in Kyiv. The country’s GDP is on course to shrink by about 45% in 2022, says the World Bank. Photograph: Alexey Furman/Getty Images Ukraine’s economy is on course to contract by almost half this year as the Russian invasion and the impact of a “deep humanitarian crisis” takes its toll, the World Bank has said. With a blockade of Black Sea ports in the south of Ukraine and the havoc caused to industry in the east, the war-torn country’s GDP is projected to shrink by about 45% in 2022. The Washington-based development organisation said Russia would also fall into recession and many countries [...]

April 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia election: PM Scott Morrison calls poll for 21 May

GETTY IMAGES/ Scott Morrison has been Australia's prime minister since 2018 Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called a federal election for 21 May. Mr Morrison's ruling coalition holds 76 seats in the House of Representatives - the minimum needed to retain power. Polls suggest there will be a change of government, with the opposition Labor Party, led by Anthony Albanese, tipped to take office. However, in the last election, the centre-right Mr Morrison won despite most polls predicting otherwise. Mr Morrison announced the date after talks with the Governor General in the capital, Canberra. "It's a choice between a strong future and an uncertain one. It's a choice between a government you know and a Labor opposition that you don't," the prime minister said on Sunday. But Mr Albanese [...]

April 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid 19 Update: 7592 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, 11 deaths reported

There are 7592 new Covid-19 community cases in New Zealand, the Ministry of Health has announced on Monday. Health worker hands out rapid antigen tests at Covid-19 testing centre in Henderson, Auckland (Source: Getty) The numbers were reported over the last 24 hours. There are 640 people in hospital with the virus, including 23 in an intensive care or high dependency unit. This is an increase on Sunday's hospitalisations of 604, with one more person in ICU compared with 24 hours ago. The ministry also announced 11 Covid-related deaths. Ten of them had died over the past three days, while one had died 12 days ago. The deaths were only recently identified to the ministry. The ministry explained delays to reporting can be associated with people dying with, rather [...]

April 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Auckland couple ‘buzzing’ after $8.5M Powerball win

An Auckland couple are buzzing after winning $8.5 million in Saturday’s Lotto Powerball draw. A Lotto Powerball ticket. (Source: 1 News) The husband and wife, who have asked to remain anonymous, said they were lying in bed on Sunday morning when they received an email from Lotto. The husband said: “She [his wife] took one look at the email and immediately started buzzing – she kept saying ‘check it, check it, check it’. “So we jumped out of bed and raced to the living room, grabbed the laptop and pulled up MyLotto. We sat together and watched our ticket get checked – there was one number, then another, then another… and before we knew what was going on, every number on the line was circled. “That’s when I saw [...]

April 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ government favours economic sanctions on Russia over expelling ambassador

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says expelling the Russian ambassador remains an option, but it would not have the most impact of the actions New Zealand can take to condemn the Russian invasion. PM Jacinda Ardern speaks to media following Russia's invasion of Ukraine Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver MPs are debating whether they can summons the ambassador Georgii Zuev for questioning, after he has twice rebuffed their requests to discuss the war in Ukraine. Ardern told Morning Report that it is a current discussion by the foreign affairs select committee and it would be "very unusual" for her to interfere in it. "It's actually for the foreign affairs select committee to finish their deliberations on this and this is where I'm a little bit cautious because I'm not meant [...]

April 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Easy Russia sanctions exhausted, US and allies face economic bite

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, next to Australian advisor Mikaela James, US State Department Counselor Derek Chollet and US State Department spokesperson Ned Price in Brussels, Belgium, on Apr 6, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/Evelyn Hockstein)   WASHINGTON— As the world's wealthy democratic powers roll out new sanctions against Russia in response to horrifying images of executed Ukrainians in the city of Bucha, it has become clear that the easiest options are now exhausted and stark differences have emerged among allies over next steps. The European Union proposed a first stab at curbing Russia's energy sector in response to its invasion of Ukraine launched in February, banning imports of Russian coal. But EU countries remain divided even over this move, much less restricting imports [...]

April 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Bloomfield ‘felt the pressure along with the rest of us’

Health workers are thanking Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield for his work stopping the ailing health system from collapsing in the pandemic - and for saving lives. Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. (Source: rnz.co.nz)   They say they can relate to him needing a rest. Bloomfield leaves his job in July, stepping down 12 months early after the huge stress of the past two years. There are few public servants who have had the same degree of fame. For two years he has been a regular in the living rooms of the country, particularly in the first lockdown when almost everyone was home tuning in every day to hear news of the Covid-19 threat. Emergency doctor and chairman of the Council of Medical Colleges John Bonning said [...]

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

Greens call for rent controls, publish open letter to PM

The Green Party has published an open letter to the prime minister, calling for her to immediately freeze rents until rent controls are strengthened. Houses in Mt Albert, Auckland (file picture). (Source: istock.com) The open letter has received more than 2000 signatures as of 11am today, Thursday. Co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson said they wanted to see limits on annual rent increases, linking rents to what previous tenants paid and temporarily freezing rents until annual limits are in place. They said it will "help rebalance the rental market in favour of people". A November 2021 report by the Ministry of Social Development found more than 60 per cent of low-income renters in New Zealand in 2018 were spending more than 40% of their income just covering the rent [...]

April 6th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

ADB: PH economy to grow at 6% this year, 6.3% in 2023 but risks still loom

Metro Manila, Philippines — The Philippine economy is expected to grow 6% this year and 6.3% in 2023, but not without risks posed by ongoing geopolitical tensions, the Asian Development Bank ​said in its annual report released Wednesday. "The economic recovery is expected to gain traction this year and next, underpinned by strengthening domestic investment and consumption,” the Asian Development Outlook said, citing factors like the downtrend in COVID-19 cases coupled with most areas easing to the laxer Alert Level 1. While both projections are quicker than the 5.6% expansion logged last year, the estimate for 2022 falls short of the economic team’s 7-9% target band while the one for next year is within the 6-7% range pegged for the period. The relaxation of travel rules for fully vaccinated foreigners will [...]

April 6th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australian Election 2022: Phone-in voting to be massively expanded for federal election to cope with Covid surge

Many Australians expected to be in isolation, with AEC staff prevented from accessing hospitals and some aged care facilities Voters in Wentworth during the last Australian federal election. Phone-in voting will be expanded to accommodate people isolating with Covid. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP Phone-in voting will be expanded to accommodate people isolating with Covid but the Australian Electoral Commission is warning the process “won’t be smooth”, as surging coronavirus case numbers complicate polling plans on the eve of the federal election. Large numbers of Australians are expected to be in isolation come election day, with the pandemic also preventing AEC staff accessing hospitals and some aged care facilities. The AEC says postal votes can be applied for until the Wednesday before polling day. But for those who either contract [...]

April 6th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

New Zealand applies new sanctions against Russia with 35 percent tariff

The price of fertiliser may go up and there could be a shortage of vodka under the government's new sanctions on Russia, says Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O'Connor. Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O'Connor said the sanctions were a significant move for New Zealand. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone All Russian imports to New Zealand will be hit with a 35 percent tariff in response to what our government has described as "abhorrent and reprehensible" atrocities committed against Ukrainian citizens. Existing export prohibitions to industrial products closely connected to strategic Russian industries have also been extended. The Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O'Connor told Morning Report the tariffs were in line with a number of New Zealand's partner countries. "For New Zealand this is a [...]

April 6th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia – New Zealand refugee resettlement deal: What you need to know

Explainer - What is the Australia New Zealand refugee resettlement deal and why has it been agreed after nearly a decade? Photo: RNZ / Leilani Momoisea Australia and New Zealand have announced a landmark refugee resettlement deal that will see 450 refugees from Australia's regional processing program relocated to Aotearoa. Under the agreement, 150 refugees will be allowed to resettle in New Zealand each year for the next three years - these refugees will fall under the government's annual refugee quota. But why has the deal taken almost a decade, what does the deal mean for the future of offshore detention facilities, and how will refugees be supported as they transition into New Zealand society? RNZ is here to clear it all up. How did the deal come to [...]

April 6th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield to step down from role

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield is stepping down from his role at the end of July. Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes revealed Dr Bloomfield's decision in a statement this morning. Bloomfield had signalled to the commissioner late last year he intended to step down before his term officially ended on 11 June 2023, Hughes said. He said Bloomfield had done an outstanding job leading the government's health response to Covid-19 and the vaccination rollout. "Dr Bloomfield has worked tirelessly for more than two years to keep New Zealanders safe from coronavirus," Hughes said. "Dr Bloomfield has demonstrated remarkable resilience and courage in leading the health system's overall response to Covid-19. That response has saved lives. "I thank Dr Bloomfield [...]

April 6th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH May 2022 Elections: Nine presidential bets tackle political reforms, human rights, renewable energy in second Comelec debate

Metro Manila, Philippines  – Nine out of ten presidential candidates discussed political system reforms, human rights and sources of renewable energy during the second presidential debate held by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Sunday. Vice President Leni Robredo and labor leader Leody De Guzman both proposed a law that would prevent turncoatism, or jumping from one political party to another, to strengthen the political system of the country. On the other hand, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno strongly pushed for a shift to a two-party system, while former defense secretary Norberto Gonzales raised again his proposal to move to a parliamentary form of government. The issue of lack of proper representation in the party-list system was also tackled. However, lawyer and doctor Jose Montemayor, Jr. pushed to keep the [...]

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

Australian News: Poll: Coalition cash splash leaves voters cold as just a quarter say budget will be good for them

Half of voters say budget designed to win election as Labor takes 11-point lead on economic management Follow our Australia news live blog for the latest updates Download the free Guardian app; get our morning email briefing Josh Frydenberg delivers his post budget National Press Club address. Only 25% of poll respondents say the budget has made them more likely to vote for the Coalition, and a further 19% say it has made them less likely. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP Only a quarter of Guardian Essential respondents think the Morrison government’s cash splash budget is good for them personally, and just over half (56%) think the budget’s primary purpose is to help the Coalition win the coming election. The new poll findings come as shadow treasurer, Jim Chalmers, sharpens Labor’s [...]

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

Australian election 2022 Labor has no plans to increase taxes on Australians if elected, Jim Chalmers says

Shadow treasurer moves to make Labor policy crystal clear after Coalition seizes on ambiguity in Anthony Albanese’s comments Jim Chalmers says Labor will ‘make multinational tax fairer’ and the party has no plans to increase taxes if elected Photograph: Darren England/AAP Labor has no plans to increase taxes on Australians and will look to lift foreign aid if elected in May, the shadow treasurer, Jim Chalmers, has said. The senior frontbencher said on Sunday that federal Labor’s only tax proposal was to crack down on multinational tax avoidance. Chalmers’ clear statement was an attempt to clarify the Labor party’s position after the opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, failed to rule out new taxes last week. Labor is also under pressure from the Coalition to cost its promise to fund pay [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: 14,120 community cases, 23 further deaths, 692 people in hospital

There are 14,120 community cases of Covid-19 and 23 further deaths to report today. Rapid antigen test nasal swab Photo: 123rf.com This is a jump in numbers from yesterday, when there were only over 10,000 cases, but a fall in hospitalisations. The Ministry of Health says the jump in numbers is not unexpected as there is usually lower testing and reporting in the weekends. There are now 692 people in hospital, with 30 people in ICU or HDU. Cases in hospital are in Northland: 31; Waitemata: 105; Counties Manukau: 127; Auckland: 101; Waikato: 77; Bay of Plenty: 35; Lakes: 14; Tairāwhiti: 2; Hawke's Bay: 28; Taranaki: 11; Whanganui: 4; MidCentral: 21; Wairarapa: 2; Hutt Valley: 15; Capital and Coast: 15; Nelson Marlborough: 13; Canterbury: 49; South Canterbury: 8; West [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: 8810 new community cases, 18 deaths, 690 people in hospital

New community case numbers in New Zealand have dropped below the 10,000 mark for the first time in more than a month, with 8810 new community cases reported today, along with 18 new deaths. Photo: 123rf.com Today was the lowest number of new cases since 24 February, when 6137 cases were reported. While there is generally lower testing and reporting over weekends, today's seven-day rolling average is 13,543, down from 16,325 a week ago. In today's statement, the Ministry of Health said the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has risen slightly after several days of falls, with 690 hospitalisations reported today, up from 678 yesterday. There are 26 people in intensive care. The 18 new deaths reported today include one person in the 30s. The rest include [...]

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

Australia-India trade deal to open ‘biggest economic door’: Morrison

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media at Melbourne Commonwealth Parliament Office, in Melbourne, Australia February 11, 2022. Darrian Traynor/Pool via REUTERS Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a trade agreement with India due to be signed on Saturday (Apr 2) represented “one of the biggest economic doors there is to open in the world today”. Morrison is expected to call a general election within days, and has been eager to secure the trade deal before campaigning began, having been in negotiations with India for a decade. The Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement would be signed in a virtual ceremony by Trade Minister Dan Tehan and India's Minister of Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal, and both countries would continue to work towards a full [...]

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

Ukraine says it has regained control of ‘whole Kyiv region’

Ukrainian soldiers stand by a burnt Russian tank on the outskirts of Kyiv, on Mar 31, 2022. (Photo: AFP/RONALDO SCHEMIDT) KYIV—  Ukraine has regained control of "the whole Kyiv region" after invading Russian forces retreated from some key towns near the Ukrainian capital, deputy defence minister Ganna Maliar said on Saturday (Apr 2). "Irpin, Bucha, Gostomel and the whole Kyiv region were liberated from the invader," Maliar said on Facebook, referring to towns that have been heavily destroyed by fighting. All three towns lie northwest of Kyiv and have suffered heavy destruction since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb 24. Irpin and Bucha, commuters towns outside Kyiv, were retaken by the Ukrainian army this week. Both have seen large civilian death tolls. AFP saw at least 20 bodies on a [...]

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

Russia to halt cooperation over International Space Station

Director of space agency Roscosmos says partnership will be restored only when ‘illegal sanctions’ are removed Cosmonauts Sergey Korsakov, Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveyev on the ISS on 18 March wearing the colours of the Ukrainian flag. Photograph: AP Russia says it will end cooperation with western countries over the International Space Station until sanctions are lifted. Russia’s space director said on Saturday that the restoration of normal ties between partners at the ISS and other joint space projects would be possible only once western sanctions against Moscow were lifted. Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, said in a social media post that the aim of the sanctions was to “kill Russian economy and plunge our people into despair and hunger, to get our country on its knees”. He [...]

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

Three Waters package funds affirmation of local government – LGNZ

Three Waters Reform Package grants are recognition of funding constraints faced by councils, and a vote of confidence in the future of local government, Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) says. Photo: 123RF Councils have been invited to submit projects for their share of $500m. A further $1.5b will become available in mid-2024. LGNZ president Stuart Crosbie said the money can be used for a broad range of projects and initiatives to benefit the community - from parks and gardens to swimming pools, libraries or community centres. "Anything from community facilities through to what they might see as essential infrastructure that they may have had to put off due to financial constraints, so a very broad range." Councils have until the end of September to apply.

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

$10m wildlife centre to be haven for native birds

A Taranaki environmental group is hoping visitors will flock to a multimillion dollar wildlife centre to be established in Inglewood. The North Island brown kiwi Photo: DOC / Rod Morris   The East Taranaki Environment Collective has been trapping 13,000 hectares of bush at Purangi, East Taranaki since the early 2000s. It's since become a stronghold for North Island western brown kiwi and other native species. Collective chair Chris French said it was now time to share its work. "We really want to enhance the awareness amongst the public ... of what happens in the conservation space in East Taranaki because it's not a particularly accessible part of the country. "So we really want to bring the conservation effort, the magnificent conservation effort, that's going on among iwi and [...]

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

Hundreds of travellers cross checkpoints as Singapore-Malaysia land border fully reopens

Cars and motorbikes make their way towards Woodlands Checkpoint on Apr 1, 2022 as the Singapore-Malaysia land border reopens. (Photo: CNA/Vanessa Lim) SINGAPORE— Hundreds of travellers crossed the checkpoints at Woodlands and the Second Link as Singapore and Malaysia fully reopened their land borders on Friday (Apr 1). It is the first time in about two years that people can travel freely between both countries by private transport without the need for testing or isolation. Travellers have to be fully vaccinated, and children aged 12 and below who are not fully vaccinated have to be accompanied by an adult who is vaccinated. Queues formed at Woodlands Checkpoint more than an hour before the border was fully reopened. People queuing outside the Woodlands Checkpoint at about 10.40pm on Mar 31, 2022. (Photo: Vanessa Lim) [...]

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

Australia to send armoured vehicles to Ukraine

Australia will send some of its Bushmaster armoured vehicles to Ukraine following a request from the war-torn nation’s president Volodymyr Zelensky in his address to Parliament. Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed on Friday morning that some of the Australian-made four-wheel-drive armoured vehicles would be sent over to Ukraine, along with a further $25 million worth of military support announced on Thursday. Scott Morrison has announced Australia will send armoured vehicles to Ukraine after President Volodymyr Zelensky asked for them in his address to Parliament on Thursday.CREDIT:ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN “We are not just sending our prayers, we are sending our guns, ammunitions, humanitarian aid, all of this, our body armour, all of these things,” he said. “We will send our armoured vehicles, our Bushmasters, as well, and we will fly them [...]

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

PH Govt preparing to auction Marcos properties due to tax deficiencies – DOF

Metro Manila– The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is consolidating the titles of the Marcoses' properties in favor of the government so they can be sold at a public auction and the proceeds used to settle the family's tax deficiencies, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said on Thursday. Dominguez III said the BIR, an agency under the Department of Finance, is collecting payment and demanding that the Marcos family settle their tax liabilities. “BIR will continue to consolidate the titles in favor of the government on those properties which have been levied upon. The procedure may take time as it involves selling at public auction to convert to cash,” Dominguez told reporters. Government rules provide that an individual's properties can be auctioned off to settle tax deficiencies. “They have [...]

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

Extra 600,000 flu vaccines available for Kiwis this year

Two million free flu vaccines will be available for Kiwis as the vaccination campaign gets underway on Friday, Health Minister Andrew Little has announced. The Government will this year be making 2 million flu vaccines available - up from an average of 1.4 million - while also widening eligibility for Kiwis who can receive the vaccine for free. The shot will be available not only for at-risk New Zealanders and those aged 65 and over, but also Māori and Pasifika aged 55 and over. The $12 million expansion programme is being funded from the Government’s Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund. “With the Omicron wave still working its way through the country, we need to protect our most vulnerable from getting the flu as well, and our health system from [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: 17 new deaths, 13,475 new community cases, 764 people in hospital

The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 continues to fall, but there have still been 13,475 new cases in the community and 17 more deaths reported in New Zealand today. Photo: AFP / Science Photo Library There are now 764 people in hospital, down from 830 yesterday, with 31 people in intensive care. Yesterday, there were 15,250 cases reported, and 22 deaths. The seven-day rolling average of case numbers has also continued to decline, with today's rolling average at 14,171 cases, compared to last week's 17,197 cases. The 17 new deaths of people with Covid-19 include two in their 50s, four in their 60s, five people in their 70s, three in their 80s and three over 90. Fifteen were male and two were female. Seven were from the [...]

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

Japan, Philippines eye 1st 2-plus-2 meeting

Flags of Japan (L) and Philippines | INQUIRER.net stock photos   TOKYO — Japan and the Philippines are planning to hold a 2-plus-2 meeting for the first time in Tokyo in early April, it has been learned. Foreign affairs and defense chiefs from the two countries are expected to agree to strengthen cooperation in maritime security in light of China’s increased nautical activities. They will also likely confirm a policy of zero tolerance for unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas by force, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and President Rodrigo Duterte agreed to hold 2-plus-2 talks when they spoke via telephone last November. If it comes to fruition, the Philippines will be the second member of the [...]

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

China, Russia ‘more determined’ to boost ties, Beijing says

Flags of China and Russia are displayed in this illustration picture taken March 24, 2022. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration BEIJING—  Moscow and Beijing are "more determined" to develop bilateral ties and boost cooperation, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday (Mar 30) following a meeting in eastern China with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, amid the Ukraine crisis. The two also condemned what they called illegal and counterproductive Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its actions in Ukraine, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. Wang and Lavrov spoke in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui, where China is hosting two days of multilateral meetings on Afghanistan. "Both sides are more determined to develop bilateral ties, and are more confident in promoting cooperation in various fields," Wang said. "China [...]

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

‘Critical’ for US to stay engaged with Asia, PM Lee tells Speaker Pelosi

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s Bipartisan Leadership Meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at the US Capitol on Mar 30, 2022. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long) WASHINGTON— It is “critical” for the United States to stay involved and engaged in the Asia-Pacific, while developing and growing its economic ties with the region, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday (Mar 30) as he attended a bipartisan leadership meeting at the Capitol in Washington. Delivering brief remarks at the start of the meeting, Mr Lee, accompanied by US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, pointed to America’s Indo-Pacific Economic Strategy and in particular, the forthcoming Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. “We hope to see this bear fruit in years to come,” said the Prime Minister, who is on a working visit [...]

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

Solomons’ leader confirms security pact with China

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Mannaseh Sogavare has confirmed his government has finalised a security treaty with China. Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare (right) with Li Ming, China's first ambassador to the Solomon Islands. Photo: George Herming - Government Communications Unit  A draft security cooperation agreement was leaked on Friday and it could allow China to deploy police and military personnel in Solomon Islands. The document lays down a framework which could permit Beijing to deploy forces to protect the safety of Chinese personnel and major projects in Solomon Islands. Speaking to the parliament yesterday, Sogavare was critical of media reporting around the leak. But in responding to a question about how far along negotiations on the treaty were, Sogavare, said the document was already finalised. "Mr Speaker I [...]

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

Tā Tipene O’Regan named New Zealander of the Year

The recipients of New Zealander of the Year awards for 2022 were announced tonight and among them are an ecologist, a healthy lifestyle champion, an innovator. Tā Tipene O'Regan. Photo: Supplied Here's a list of the winners tonight: 2022 New Zealander of the Year: Tā Tipene O'Regan Tā Tipene O'Regan is known for his work in Ngāi Tahu's Treaty Settlement, as an educator and as a public figure whose life has been dedicated to building an inclusive, bicultural nation. Local Hero of the Year: Dave Letele Dave Letele is the founder of the not-for-profit Brown Buttabean Motivation programme - a free, gym-based weight-loss programme that has inspired thousands of New Zealanders to get fit and get healthy. Environmental Hero of the Year: Charmaine Bailie Described as a force of [...]

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

Five confirmed dead following helicopter crash north of Melbourne

Five people have been killed after a helicopter crashed into rugged terrain in regional Victoria this morning. Police said a pilot and four passengers were on board the helicopter, all of whom died at the crash scene near Mt Disappointment, an hour north of Melbourne's CBD. Police announced the tragic update just after 7.30pm. Police were winched down to the crash site to access the accident. (Nine)  The dense bushland made accessing the crash site difficult. (Nine) They said the crash victims were: - A 32-year-old man from Cheltenham, Victoria - A 50-year-old woman from Inverloch, Victoria - A 73-year-old man from Albert Park, Victoria - A 59-year-old man from New South Wales - A 70-year-old man from New South Wales "It's believed the chartered helicopter had taken off [...]

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

15,250 new Covid cases on Thursday, 22 deaths reported

There are 15,250 new Covid-19 community cases in New Zealand, the Ministry of Health announced on Thursday. Health workers at a Christchurch Covid-19 testing centre. (Source: Getty) The numbers were reported over the last 24 hours. 22 new Covid-19 related deaths were announced by the ministry on Thursday. This includes deaths in the past month that the Ministry has only just become aware of. Of the deaths announced today, 1 was from Northland; 10 were from the Auckland region; 1 was from Waikato; 2 were from Bay of Plenty; 2 were from the Lakes DHB; 2 were from the Wellington region; and 4 were from Canterbury. Two people were in their 50s, four people were in their 60s, Three people were in their 70s, six in their 80s and [...]

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

Man sentenced to jail for threatening to kill Jacinda Ardern

A New Zealand man on Thursday was sentenced to one year in prison for threatening to kill Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Jacinda Ardern. (Source: Getty) Prosecutors said Michael Cruickshank, 56, sent 88 lengthy emails to Government officials in 2019 and 2020, calling them criminals, slave-traders and state-sanctioned terrorists. But it was two emails that he sent in January 2020 that crossed a line by threatening violence. In one email, Cruickshank threatened to blow Ardern’s head off and in another said he would “personally wipe you off this f------ planet,” The New Zealand Herald reported. He copied one of the emails to lawmaker Andrew Little, who is now the health minister. “You have kids who want to see you grow old, as do I,” Cruickshank wrote. “I suggest you place [...]

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

Shanghai rules out full lockdown despite sharp rise in Covid cases

Concern about economy leads city to try targeted approach with rolling restrictions of individual neighbourhoods A worker calls through a megaphone for residents to go for testing inside the barriers of an area in Shanghai under lockdown. Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters Shanghai has recorded a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, but officials have ruled out a full lockdown over the damage it would do to the economy. Millions of Chinese in affected areas have been subjected to city-wide lockdowns by an Omicron-led outbreak that has sent daily case counts creeping ever-higher, though they remain insignificant compared with other countries. Shanghai, however, has aimed to ease disruption with a more targeted approach marked by rolling 48-hour lockdowns of individual neighbourhoods and large-scale testing while largely keeping the metropolis of 25 million [...]

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

Psychologists struggling as NZ’s mental health crisis worsens

A grim picture is emerging of New Zealanders' mental health, two years on from the country's first lockdown. Clinical psychologist Dr Victoria Thompson told 1News demand for mental health help is sky-high, saying, "people are wanting more help than ever". "We are doing our best but we can't keep up with demand and without extra help and resources to clear the public sector, it's going to be a long time." "Then you're holding more severe mental health which means you're going to be working with that person much longer than you might've been if you caught them at mild to moderate." Over the past 18 months, life insurer AIA's seen Covid-19 linked to around 70% of income protection claims for mental health, with claimants citing decreased income, delayed medical [...]

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

Cost of living: NZ urged to tackle retail food industry

The Government has been urged to tackle the retail food industry in order to get on top of the cost of living crisis. In February, Stats NZ revealed food prices had risen by 6.8% for the year, the largest annual increase in a decade. NZME head of business Fran O’Sullivan told Q+A that on top of other inflationary impacts like energy costs and supply chain crunches, the supermarket sector is also driving costs up. “I think we need to see more push out of the Commerce Commission to ensure that we do get more competition, particularly at the supermarkets but not just there,” O’Sullivan said. Te Pāti Māori have launched a petition pushing for GST removed from all food. (Source: 1News) “This is a nation full of duopolies, and [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: Four further deaths, 10,239 new community cases, 848 people in hospital

Four further deaths of people with Covid-19 have been reported in New Zealand, with the number of confirmed cases dropping to 10,239 today. Photo: 123rf.com In today's statement, the Ministry of Health said there were 848 people in hospital with the coronavirus, up slightly from 841 yesterday. There are 28 people in intensive care, one more than yesterday. The ministry said while today's hospitalisation numbers are slightly higher, it was encouraging to see the total number of cases in hospital remain considerably lower than the peak of more than 1000 cases in hospital from five days ago. "This reflects the decrease in hospitalisations across Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty, some of the first regions to be affected by Omicron." The four new deaths reported today were two men [...]

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

Polling reveals Australia’s most and least trusted politicians

Polling suggests government ministers are some of Australia’s least trusted politicians whereas Labor frontbenchers are among the most trusted. Of sitting members, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Defence Minister Peter Dutton, and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce are the least trusted politicians, according to polling from Roy Morgan. On the other side of the scale, Labor’s leader in the Senate Penny Wong, Opposition leader Anthony Albanese, and Shadow Education Minister Tanya Plibersek are the most trusted. Politicians with highest net distrust score. Source: Roy Morgan Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said this level of distrust in government leaders could spell trouble for the Coalition. “With Peter Dutton the second most distrusted politician in Australia and Josh Frydenberg almost out of the top ten, this may well become crucial if the [...]

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

COVID-19: New Zealand’s traffic light system rules change overnight

There's been a significant shift in New Zealand's COVID-19 settings overnight, with gathering limits doubled (and in some cases removed altogether) and QR code scanning requirements removed. At 11:59pm on Friday, the Government's recently-announced changes to the traffic light system came into effect. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier this week said this "simplified" framework was aimed at targeting restrictions "at those activities that reduce transmission the most". That means ditching outdoor gathering limits and not requiring masks to be worn at outside events. If by chance there is nice weather this weekend, that means outdoor sporting events and concerts are back on. Indoors there are still restrictions, such as the need to be seated and separated at hospitality venues, but gathering limits have jumped from 100 to 200. That's [...]

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

May 2022 PH Elections: Comelec sets ‘totality rule’ in vote-buying

The Commission on Elections will use what it calls the “totality rule” in determining if giving away of cash during the campaign period by any candidate or by the candidate’s surrogates is vote-buying, which is punishable under the Omnibus Election Code. Comelec Commissioner George Garcia, speaking to ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo, said giving ayuda or assistance during the campaign period did not automatically mean that act constituted vote-buying, especially if the poll body issued a certificate of exemption to the candidate to give out such ayuda or relief goods. “However, if it is not related to the regular service of local government, then we can investigate because it is illegal without permission of Comelec,” he said in Filipino. The poll commissioner said that while Comelec could motu proprio investigate alleged vote-buying [...]

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

Israel blocked Ukraine from buying Pegasus spyware, fearing Russia’s anger

Revelation of denial offers new insight into the way Israel’s relationship with Moscow has undermined Ukrainian objectives Ukrainian officials lobbied for access to the Pegasus spyware tool, say people familiar with the matter. Photograph: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images Israel blocked Ukraine from buying NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware for fear that Russian officials would be angered by the sale of the sophisticated hacking tool to a regional foe, according to people familiar with the matter. The revelation, following a joint investigation by the Guardian and Washington Post, offers new insight into the way Israel’s relationship with Russia has at times undermined Ukraine’s offensive capabilities – and contradicted US priorities. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has been critical of Israel’s stance since Russia launched its full and bloody invasion of Ukraine on [...]

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

NATO: 7,000 to 15,000 Russian troops dead in Ukraine

A customer checks his rifle in a gun shop in Lviv, western Ukraine, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. The rush for guns and gun training continued in the western city of Lviv. The state of war has streamlined gun purchasing in Ukraine, now simplified. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) KYIV, Ukraine — NATO estimated on Wednesday that 7,000 to 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in four weeks of war in Ukraine, where fierce resistance from the country’s defenders has denied Moscow the lightning victory it sought. By way of comparison, Russia lost about 15,000 troops over 10 years in Afghanistan. A senior NATO military official said the alliance’s estimate was based on information from Ukrainian authorities, what Russia has released — intentionally or not — and intelligence gathered from open sources. [...]

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

PH Gov’t adopts 10-point policy agenda to hasten economic recovery

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang. ROBINSON NIÑAL/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte government has adopted a 10-point policy agenda to hasten and sustain the country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 166 on March 21, a copy of which was issued to reporters on Wednesday. “The State hereby adopts the Ten-Point Policy Agenda to sustain and accelerate economic recovery, and to drive broad-based expansions across various productive sectors, in the midst of challenges brought about by the continued persistence of COVID-19,” the order reads. The 10-point policy agenda are the following: Strengthen healthcare capacity [...]

March 23rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ economy in strong position though Omicron, Ukraine add uncertainty – IMF

The International Monetary Fund has given the government an approving nod for its handling of the pandemic and economy, but warned high inflation and housing affordability need to be tackled, and caution taken in reducing support. The IMF logo (file). Omicron and the war in Ukraine could adversely affect economic activity and inflation in New Zealand, the IMF said. Photo: AFP   In its annual health check on the country, it said the economy was in a strong position because of "sound management", although the Omicron outbreak and war in Ukraine added new uncertainty. "[They] could adversely affect economic activity and inflation in New Zealand through weaker external demand and higher commodity prices. Extended global supply chain disruptions could impact growth and inflation," the report said. It also noted [...]

March 23rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Israel: Four killed in shopping centre attack

REUTERS The attack happened outside the BIG shopping centre Four Israelis have been killed and several others wounded in an attack in the south of the country, police say. Three were stabbed to death outside the BIG shopping centre in Beersheba, while a fourth was rammed by a vehicle driven by the assailant, they say. The attacker was shot dead by a bus driver. Israel's internal security agency said the assailant was an Israeli Arab who had once been jailed for supporting the Islamic State (IS) group. The Shin Bet named him as Muhammad Galeb Ahmad Abu Alqian, a high school teacher from the Bedouin town of Hura about 12 miles (19km) east of Beersheba. Alqian had been arrested in 2015 when he planned to leave for Syria to [...]

March 23rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH Elections: Comelec vows quick canvassing, no more 7-hour glitch for May 2022 polls

Metro Manila, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said additional preparations for the May 2022 polls should prevent a repeat of the controversial "seven-hour glitch" in the May 2019 polls which left the vote tally for media partners empty on the night hours after polls closed. New Commissioner George Garcia said a separate server has been added to the existing automated elections system (AES) for media to access the running total of votes canvassed by Comelec. "Nangyari 'yung glitch sa tinatawag na transparency server natin. 'Yan talaga ay sinigurado ngayon ng komisyon at ako mismo ay sinigurado ko rin na hindi na mangyayari 'yan [The glitch happened in what we call the transparency server. The commission made sure, and I myself made sure, it won't happen again]," Garcia [...]

March 23rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: Total death toll rises above 200, with 20,087 new community cases reported today

New Zealand's total death toll of people with Covid-19 has now grown to more than 200, with 11 new deaths announced today, as well as 20,087 new community cases. Photo: 123rf.com The new deaths bring the official total of people who have died with Covid-19 to 210. The 11 deaths announced today include two from Northland, five from the Auckland region, one from Bay of Plenty and three from the Wellington region. One of these people was in their 30s, one in their 60s, one in their 70s, four were in their 80s and four in their 90s. Six were men and five were women. The seven-day rolling average of deaths is nine. There are also 960 people in hospital with the coronavirus today, down from 1016 yesterday, but [...]

March 23rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

More than half of Pinoy voters support ‘partial continuity’ of Duterte’s policies — survey

(MANILA BULLETIN / FILE PHOTO) PHILIPPINES— Over 50 percent of Filipino voters prefer the new administration to “partially continue,” rather than change or fully continue, President Duterte’s policies, according to a survey conducted by public opinion research firm WR Numero Research (WRN). The results of the survey conducted in 2021 and were released on Tuesday, March 22, showed that 54.59 percent of voters want soft continuity of the President’s policies. The portion of Filipino voters who prefer full continuity stood at 29.57 percent, while those who want change only accounted for 15.84 percent. According to WRN, the survey reflects one of the key criteria on how the voters will decide in the May 9, 2022 elections. Filipinos’ support for the partial continuity of President Duterte’s policies was also clear [...]

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

PM reveals changes to mandates, vaccines passes and restrictions

The Prime Minister has announced changes to New Zealand's Covid restrictions - lifting all gathering restrictions on outdoor settings, scrapping vaccine passes and removing vaccine mandates for some workforces. Jacinda Ardern. Gathering limit changes will come into effect on March 25 at 11.59pm, which also included raising indoor limits from 100 to 200 under Red. It will also mean all vaccine mandates will be removed for workforces, except for health and disability, aged care, Corrections and border workforces. Ardern made the announcement from Parliament on Wednesday, to lay out the "next set of changes to our Covid settings in New Zealand". "While we have been successful, it has also been bloody hard," Ardern said, looking back at the last two years. "Everyone has been safer, but everyone is also [...]

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

Air NZ to relaunch direct Auckland-New York flights

Air New Zealand is relaunching its Auckland-New York direct service, which was canned before it even started in 2020 due to the pandemic. (Source: 1News)   Originally to begin in October 2020, it will now launch in September this year. The three-times-a-week flight will take between 16 and 18 hours on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. New Zealand is opening its borders to those coming from visa-waiver countries on May 2. “The US has always been a key market for us, and this new route cements our commitment to developing growing tourism opportunities between the two countries," chief executive Greg Foran said. "In the six years leading up to Covid, the US visitor numbers to New Zealand doubled and looking at the average spend in New Zealand by US tourists, [...]

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

PH still very low risk for Covid

The Philippines remains a very low risk for Covid-19, OCTA Research said on Monday. OCTA cited data from the Johns Hopkins University, Our World in Data and Worldometer showing that as of March 18, the country averages 527 Covid-19 cases a day, 22 percent lower than the average the week before. The country's average daily attack rate (ADAR) is 0.47, OCTA said. ADAR is the seven-day average number of new Covid-19 cases per day per 100,000 population. Four other countries in East Asia — Timor-Leste, Taiwan, Cambodia and China — are also classified as very low risk. OCTA said China is experiencing a Covid-19 surge along with South Korea, Vietnam and Laos, with cases up by 362 percent. South Korea recorded the highest seven-day average with 404,666, a 42-percent [...]

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

Biden tells US businesses to ‘harden’ defences against Russia cyber threat

US President Joe Biden told US CEOs that they need to prepare businesses for possible Russian cyber attacks. (Photo: AFP/Nicholas Kamm) WASHINGTON— President Joe Biden on Monday (Mar 21) warned of intelligence pointing to a growing Russian cyber threat and urged US businesses to "immediately" prepare defences. "If you have not already done so, I urge our private sector partners to harden your cyber defences immediately," he said in a statement. Biden cited "evolving intelligence that the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks," including in response to Western sanctions over Moscow's launching of the war in Ukraine. "It's part of Russia's playbook," he said. Biden said the US government would "continue to use every tool to deter, disrupt, and if necessary, respond to cyberattacks against critical infrastructure." [...]

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

Russia bans Facebook and Instagram under ‘extremism’ law

Court in Moscow labels parent company Meta as ‘extremist’ amid crackdown on western media Meta relaxed its policies on hate speech towards Russian soldiers and Vladimir Putin in relation to the invasion of Ukraine. Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters A Russian court has banned Facebook and Instagram in the country, labelling its parent company Meta as “extremist” amid the Kremlin’s sweeping crackdown on western social media giants. Access to Facebook and Instagram had already been restricted earlier this month after Meta confirmed it was relaxing its policies on hate speech towards Russian soldiers and Vladimir Putin in relation to the country’s war in Ukraine. Meta later said the laxer rules would only apply to people posting from inside Ukraine. The court in Moscow said that Facebook and Instagram –both of which [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: 20,907 new community cases, 15 deaths and 1016 people in hospital

There are 20,907 new community cases of Covid-19, a further 15 deaths and 1016 people in hospital in Aotearoa today, the Ministry of Health says. Photo: Unsplash / Annie Spratt   Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says there are also 25 people in ICU or HDU. Dr Bloomfield says the latest analysis shows Covid-19 case numbers have passed their peak in Auckland, and are tracking down in all three district health boards. Yesterday there were 1000 people in hospital, 33 of whom were in an intensive care or high dependency unit. There were also nine deaths, taking the country's death toll since the start of the pandemic to 184. The ministry announced another 14,463 new community cases yesterday. Tomorrow the government is set to announce any decisions regarding the [...]

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

Calls for free public transport amid high living costs

NEW ZEALAND— Ryan Hooper-Smith from public transport campaign Free Fares NZ is calling for free public transport in Aotearoa. It comes as the government announced 50% off public transport fares for three months starting on April 1 in response to rising petrol costs, but Hooper-Smith said the Government needs to be doing more. Free Fares NZ gained more than 13,000 signatures on a petition presented to the Government asking to make public transport free for students, community service card holders, under 25s and low income earners. Hooper-Smith told Breakfast “we thought that a campaign pushing for something like free public transport is quite radical so we’re going to see and push back but surprisingly a lot of people are in favour of it". “You know ultimately when you put [...]

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

EU split on Russia oil sanctions, mulls other steps

Europian Union flags fly outside the Europian Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on August 10, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Yves Herman)   BRUSSELS— The European Union's foreign ministers disagreed on Monday (Mar 21) on whether and how to slap sanctions on Russia's lucrative energy sector over its invasion of Ukraine, with Germany saying the bloc was too dependent on Russian oil to decide an embargo. The EU and allies have already imposed hefty measures against Russia, including freezing its central bank's assets. Russia's siege and bombardment of Mariupol port, which EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called "a massive war crime", is increasing pressure for action. But targeting Russian energy exports, as the United States and Britain have done, is a divisive choice for the 27-nation EU, which relies on Russia [...]

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

Four dead, one missing after New Zealand fishing boat sinks in bad weather

Rescue operation off North Island’s North Cape hampered by thunderstorms, swells and torrential downpours A charter fishing boat (R) operated by Enchanter Fishing Charters. Four people have died and one person is missing after one of the company’s boats sank off New Zealand’s North Cape.Photograph: David Fisher/AP   A fishing trip in New Zealand has ended in tragedy, with four people dead and one passenger still missing after their boat sank during wild weather. The rescue operation began on Sunday evening after a charter fishing vessel activated an emergency beacon off the North Island’s North Cape. A helicopter was first on scene at the remote location, arriving at about 11.40pm but by 2.30am the boat had sunk. Search and rescue crews winched five people to safety and transported them [...]

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

Hong Kong to lift flight ban on 9 countries in April, cut quarantine to 7 days for travellers

Up to 4 people will be allowed for public gatherings, up from the current 2. Passengers arrive at the international airport in Hong Kong on Mar 21, 2022. (Photo: AFP/DALE DE LA REY) HONG KONG— Hong Kong is set to resume international flights from the United States, Britain and seven other countries, the government said Monday (Mar 21) as it announced a loosening of some of the world's toughest COVID-19 restrictions. The hotel quarantine period for arrivals from abroad will also be reduced to seven days. The flight bans, known as a "circuit breaker", would be lifted from Apr 1. These were put in place after the highly transmissible Omicron variant emerged in January, with the restrictions initially covering eight countries deemed high-risk - Australia, United States, Britain, Canada, France and India, Pakistan [...]

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

Ukraine rejects Russian demand for surrender in Mariupol

People gather amid the destruction caused after shelling of a shopping center, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 21, 2022. (AP Photo/ (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)   LVIV, Ukraine— Ukrainian officials defiantly rejected a Russian demand that their forces in Mariupol lay down arms and raise white flags Monday in exchange for safe passage out of the besieged strategic port city. Even as Russia intensified its attempt to bombard Mariupol into surrender, its offensive in other parts of Ukraine has floundered. Western governments and analysts see the broader conflict grinding into a war of attrition, with Russia continuing to barrage cities. In the capital Kyiv, Russian shelling devastated a shopping center near the city center, killing at least eight people and leaving a sea of rubble amid scarred high-rises. Ukrainian authorities [...]

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

PH Fuel firms announce first price rollback for 2022

Metro Manila, Philippines — After eleven straight weeks of increases, fuel prices will be going down this week, oil companies announced in separate advisories on Monday. Caltex, Cleanfuel, Flying V, Petro Gazz, Petron, Phoenix, Total, and Unioil said they will slash per-liter prices of gasoline by ₱P5.45 and diesel by ₱11.45 effective 6 a.m. Tuesday, March 22. Caltex, Flying V, Petron, and Unioil will also cut kerosene rates by ₱8.55 per liter on the same day. The Department of Energy, which earlier projected a big-time rollback for this week, said in its latest oil monitor that as of March 15, prices of gasoline have gone up by ₱7.10-₱7.20 per liter since the start of 2022. By the liter, diesel costs have since risen by ₱12.00-₱13.25 per liter and ₱10.50 [...]

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

China Eastern plane carrying 132 people crashes in Guangxi

A China Eastern Airlines plane carrying 132 people on board has crashed in Guangxi province, China's Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) says. File photo. Photo: AFP   It is feared there are no survivors, but the number of casualties - and reason for the crash are not yet known. The crash of the Boeing 737 jet, in a mountainous region, led to a fire in the woods, state media is reporting. "Can confirm the plane has crashed," China Eastern Airlines said in a statement in which it also gave details of a hotline for relatives of those on board. The CAAC said the aircraft lost contact over the city of Wuzhou. It had 123 passengers and nine crew on board. State media said earlier there were 133 people [...]

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

NZ to send body armour, helmets, camouflage vests to Ukraine

New Zealand is pledging another $5 million in aid to Ukraine, as well as sending body armour and helmets among other equipment. Jacinda Ardern. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the additional $5 million would bring New Zealand's contribution to $11 million. When asked why New Zealand is not sending weapons, Ardern said Ukraine's request for lethal aid was being met by other countries. "What's important is that their needs are being met in ways that every country can contribute. "We haven't yet made the decision to add those additional ways of support. We have less scope than many countries to provide it and it would be a fundamental change in approach." Local residents carry water from the food warehouse, on the territory which is under the Government of the [...]

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

Joe Biden warns Xi Jinping of ‘consequences’ if China backs Russia

Leaders spoke for nearly two hours but Biden did not make any direct requests to Xi to persuade Putin to end the attack Joe Biden speaks with Xi Jinping from the White House on Friday. Photograph: The White House/AFP/Getty Images Joe Biden spoke for nearly two hours with Xi Jinping as the US sought to dissuade China from backing Russia’s war on Ukraine. A White House account of the call on Friday said that the US president “described the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia as it conducts brutal attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians”. A senior administration official said there would be consequences “not just for China’s relationship with the United States, but for the wider world”, but would not give more details on [...]

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

Putin appears at big rally as troops press attack in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin seen on the big screen as he delivers his speech at the concert marking the eighth anniversary of the referendum on the state status of Crimea and Sevastopol and its reunification with Russia, in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 18, 2022, with a banner reading "For Russia" projected in the backgroud. (Vladimir Astapkovich/Sputnik Pool Photo via AP)   Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared at a huge flag-waving rally at a packed Moscow stadium Friday and lavished praise on his troops fighting in Ukraine, three weeks into the invasion that has led to heavier-than-expected Russian losses on the battlefield and increasingly authoritarian rule at home. Meanwhile, the leader of Russia’s delegation in diplomatic talks with Ukraine said the sides have narrowed their differences. The Ukrainian side said [...]

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

Ardern conveys NZ support for Ukraine in call to Denys Shmyhal

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this morning spoke to Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, to offer New Zealand's strong support for Ukraine and its people, and its total condemnation of Russia's aggression. Jacinda Ardern and Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. Photo: NZME / AFP   "Prime Minister Shmyhal thanked New Zealand for being one of the first countries to take swift practical action against Russia's aggression," Ardern said. "As he noted, when it comes to the importance of the global response, there is no bigger or smaller country, there are only countries that are reacting." Ardern said she told Shmyhal that this country considered Russian President Vladimir Putin's attacks on his neighbour to be "unprovoked, unjustified and illegal". "New Zealand will continue to call on Russia to immediately cease military [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 Update: 18,514 new Covid-19 community cases on Saturday, 10 death

There are 18,514 new Covid-19 cases in the community in New Zealand on Saturday, the Ministry of Health has announced. Covid-19 vaccination centre in The Cloud, Auckland. (Source: 1News)   There are 939 people in hospital with the virus, including 24 in an intensive care or high dependency unit. This is a decrease on Friday's hospitalisations of 943, with one less person in ICU compared with 24 hours ago. The ministry also announced 10 Covid-related deaths. Of the 10 people who died, one was from Northland, three were from Auckland, one was from Waikato, two were from Bay of Plenty, two from the Lakes DHB area, and one was from Wellington. One of the people was in their 40s, two were in their 60s, four were in their 80s, [...]

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

‘Safe’ New Zealand to reopen borders early

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. XINHUA PHOTO   WELLINGTON— New Zealand will scrap its strict border controls early because the country's world-leading pandemic response has made it "a safe place to visit," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Wednesday. "We're ready to welcome the world back," Ardern told reporters. "I'm proud that New Zealand is a country able at this moment in time to provide a safe place for our tourists to return to." Vaccinated Australians could visit without undergoing quarantine or self-isolation starting in April, rather than the July date originally planned. Travelers from nations with visa-free arrangements with New Zealand — including major markets in the Northern Hemisphere, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan — can do the same from May 1 onward. Ardern called the change [...]

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

‘Close the sky over Ukraine’, President Zelenskyy urges US Congress

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a video address to senators and members of the House of Representatives gathered in the Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium, at the US Capitol in Washington on Mar 16, 2022. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Pool via REUTERS) WASHINGTON—  Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged American lawmakers to do more to protect his country from Russia's invasion in an address to the US Congress on Wednesday (Mar 16) and pleaded with President Joe Biden to be the world's "leader of peace". Zelenskyy continued his push for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Ukraine and asked for aircraft and defensive systems to respond to the invasion launched by Russian last month that has unleashed a wave of refugees. He also called for more economic sanctions against Russia. Ukraine is [...]

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

Vietnam ends COVID-19 quarantine for international travellers

Ho Chi Minh City residents are now barred from gathering in groups larger than pairs in public AFP/Huu Khoa HANOI— Vietnam announced an end to quarantine for international travellers on Wednesday (Mar 16), as it seeks to restart its tourism industry after two years of strict COVID-19 restrictions. The only virus requirement for visitors will be a negative COVID-19 test, the country's ministry of health said in a statement. The communist state's tourism sector was worth up to US$32 billion a year before the pandemic, but it ground to a standstill during the pandemic as the government restricted travel. Virus curbs have slowly been eased in recent months, with visitors trickling back in since November to play golf at resorts, under a bubble arrangement. Vietnam also announced the resumption [...]

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

Economy up 3 percent in final quarter of 2021 – Stats NZ

The economy rebounded at the end of last year as consumer spending picked up after Covid lockdowns were eased. Photo: 123rf Stats NZ data showed gross domestic product (GDP) rose a seasonally adjusted 3.0 percent in the three months ended December, slightly below expectations, and compared with a revised 3.6 percent fall in the previous quarter. Growth was driven by improved activity in the retail, hospitality and construction sectors. "Households spent more on goods and services, particularly on durable items such as clothing and footwear, and electrical appliances," Stats NZ senior manager Ruvani Ratnayake said. Service industries make up about two thirds of the economy, and showed 2.5 percent growth, but the household spending component rose 5.2 percent. Goods producing industries such as manufacturing rose 6.5 percent, after slumping [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: Ten deaths, 930 people in hospital, 19,566 new community cases

Ten deaths - the most in a single day - have been reported in today's Ministry of Health statistics, along with 19,566 new cases. Photo: AFP There are 23 people in intensive care. Speaking at today's Covid update, Northern Region Health Coordination Centre chief clinical officer Dr Andrew Old said they were pleased Auckland case numbers were tracking down and confirmed that Auckland's peak had now passed. Authorities are hopeful hospitalisations may turn a corner in the next week. The average age of those hospitalised in the northern region remains about 40 The total average stay remains less than two days but for those over 65, it is more than three days. Dr Old said an initial review of hospital admissions had found one third of those clearly had [...]

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

Russia and Ukraine ‘close to agreeing’ on neutral status, says Sergei Lavrov

Foreign minister’s claim undermined by aggressive comments from Vladimir Putin   Sergei Lavrov suggested in a media interview that talks with Kyiv were making ground despite the continued bloodshed. Photograph: Maxim Shemetov/AFP/Getty A peace deal under which Ukraine abandons its Nato aspirations in return for Russian withdrawal and western security guarantees appeared to inch closer on Wednesday even as Vladimir Putin’s troops were accused of killing people queueing for bread in a northern Ukrainian city. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, suggested talks were making progress despite continued bloodshed and fears from some EU leaders that the Kremlin was toying with Kyiv. “The negotiations are not easy for obvious reasons,” Lavrov told RBC News. “But nevertheless, there is some hope of reaching a compromise. [...]

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

As Indonesia prepares to move its capital to Kalimantan, some civil servants are reluctant to relocate

This undated handout showing computer-generated imagery released by Nyoman Nuarta on January 18, 2022 shows a design illustration of Indonesia's future presidential palace in East Kalimantan, as part of the country's relocation of its capital from slowly sinking Jakarta to a site 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) away on jungle-clad Borneo island that will be named "Nusantara". (Photo: Handout via AFP/Nyoman Nuarta) JAKARTA— Indonesian civil servant Dwi (not her real name) has been thinking about her career and future lately. President Joko Widodo signed the Bill on capital relocation into law on Feb 15 and it has become evident that civil servants would need to relocate from Jakarta to the new capital named Nusantara. Authorities said the move is necessary to save sinking and congested Jakarta as well as to enhance [...]

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

‘Empowered women to boost economy’ -Sara Duterte

VICE presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. Photos by John Orven Verdote PHILIPPINES— Vice presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio highlighted the importance of economic empowerment for women as the country pushes for post-Covid economic recovery. A longtime champion of women empowerment, Duterte-Carpio stressed the need to address the lack of economic opportunities for women in the communities, saying they are good community partners, especially in driving the country's economy. "Alam natin na ang mga kababaihan sa mga komunidad ay isa sa mga sektor na minsan ay hindi nabibigyan ng pagkakataon na maging parte ng ating paglago o progreso — kahit pa man alam din natin na malaki ang kanilang potensyal at papel sa usapin ng kaunlaran (We all know that women in our communities [...]

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

UK to host Baltic, Nordic leaders to find new ways to isolate Russia

FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street in London, Britain March 9, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah McKay LONDON— British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will host leaders from countries along Russia's northwestern flank next week to discuss ways they can respond to President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, including finding new ways to isolate Russia's economy. The leaders from countries in the Joint Expeditionary Force, a British-led grouping made up of Denmark, Estonia, Finland and Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden will meet for talks in London on Tuesday. The leaders are expected to agree to more military exercises in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea and will discuss the war in Ukraine and energy security, Johnson's office said. "European security has been shaken by the attack [...]

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

Back to the future: Govt proposing buy-back bottle scheme

The Government is proposing a new recycling and waste management scheme that would give New Zealanders 20c every time they recycle a plastic bottle. It would also standardise curbside collections around the country so that councils recycle the same materials, and households and businesses would be able to separate food scraps and stop putting organic waste into landfills. Environment Minister David Parker says the aim is to encourage people to hand in their single use plastic bottles. The scheme won't be rolled out until 2025, but it would see a 20c increase in price for drinks in single use plastic bottles, which is given back to consumers when they return their bottles. Similar schemes existed for glass bottles in the past and were a staple of many a Kiwi [...]

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

Auckland case numbers could be peaking, modeller says

There are strong signs Auckland has reached the peak of Omicron Covid-19 case numbers, a modeller says, but hospitalisations and other regions' cases are not there yet. Photo: 123rf   Canterbury University epidemic modeller Michael Plank said he is confident community cases in the Auckland region will edge down from here, but that hospitalisations will be slower to decline. Community case numbers in the supercity have been falling slowly: 6077 were reported yesterday, which is down from 7240 the day before and less than half the number reported some days last week. Plank, who is a maths professor, said hospitalisations lag behind community cases and are expected to continue rising before they begin slowly decreasing. He expects other regions' case numbers will follow Auckland, and will peak in about [...]

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

Russia strikes near Ukrainian capital; port city under siege

Seen through a broken window, a fire burns in an apartment building after the shelling of a residential district in Mariupol, Ukraine, Friday, March 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)   MARIUPOL, Ukraine— Russian forces pounded the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on Saturday, shelling its downtown as residents hid in an iconic mosque and elsewhere to avoid the explosions. Fighting also raged in the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv, as Russia kept up its bombardment of other cities throughout the country. Mariupol has endured some of Ukraine’s worst punishment since Russia invaded. Unceasing barrages have thwarted repeated attempts to bring food, water and medicine into the city of 430,000 and to evacuate its trapped civilians. More than 1,500 people have died in Mariupol during the siege, according to the [...]

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

Saudi Arabia puts 81 to death in its largest mass execution

SASHA MORDOVETS/GETTY IMAGES ‘If someone threatens the life of many people, that means he has to be punished by the death penalty,’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly said in an interview with The Atlantic.   Saudi Arabia on Saturday executed 81 people convicted of crimes ranging from killings to belonging to militant groups, the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom in its modern history. The number of executed surpassed even the toll of a January 1980 mass execution for the 63 militants convicted of seizing the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 1979, the worst-ever militant attack to target the kingdom and Islam's holiest site. It wasn't clear why the kingdom choose Saturday for the executions, though they came as much of the world's attention remained [...]

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

Prepare for petrol to reach $4 litre – AA says

Drivers should prepare to pay up to $4 a litre for petrol, according to the Automobile Association. Petrol prices in Auckland last Friday. Photo: RNZ / Sarah Robson   Extreme market volatility pushed crude oil prices to nearly $US140 a barrel this week. AA policy advisor Terry Collins said Europe has relied on Russian energy, but can't any more, and global sanctions are halting supply. "There's a concern they can use it as an economic weapon by turning off the gas or coal or petrol supplies, so what Europe's now deciding is to wean itself off that reliance on Russian energy. "In the short term the US and other economies are putting sanctions on it, which means they can't sell the product anyway." Even though New Zealand is not [...]

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

Firm Pentagon ‘no’ to Polish plan to send jets to Ukraine

A military officer is passing between Bulgaria's MiG-29 and Spanish Eurofighter EF-2000 Typhoon II aircraft and MiG-29, in Graf Ignatievo, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022.. As part of the united efforts of NATO partners to bolster the defense of the Alliance's eastern flank while tensions are continuing over a possible Russian invasion in Ukraine, Spain is sending fighter jets to Bulgaria to implement joint air policing missions. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)   WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon on Wednesday slammed the door on a Polish proposal for providing Ukraine with MiG fighter jets, saying allied efforts against the Russian invasion should be focused on more useful weaponry and the MiG transfer with a U.S. and NATO connection would run a “high risk” of escalating the war. By rebuffing the proposal involving [...]

March 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Australia’s military to grow by nearly 20,000 people by 2040

Australia's military will move towards a wartime footing under government plans to boost the number of uniformed personnel to almost 80,000 by 2040, amid strategic risks posed by China and Russia. The expansion will see 18,500 more uniformed defence personnel (file picture). Photo: AFP / Australian Department of Defence   The proposed $38 billion expansion would see the full-time Australian Defence Force grow to a size not seen since the Vietnam War, requiring its biggest recruitment effort in 40 years. Under the massive expansion to be unveiled by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Peter Dutton at Brisbane's Gallipoli Barracks on Thursday, the total number of Defence employees, including civilians, would rise to more than 101,000. According to the government, the additional 18,500 uniformed personnel is 6000 more [...]

March 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

IMF approves US$1.4 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine

People gather at the main hall of the Central train station, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Warsaw, Poland on Mar 9, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/Kacper Pempel) WASHINGTON— The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said its executive board on Wednesday (Mar 9) approved US$1.4 billion in emergency financing for Ukraine to help meet urgent spending needs and mitigate the economic impact of Russia's military invasion. The global lender said Ukrainian authorities had canceled an existing stand-by lending arrangement with the IMF, but would work with the fund to design an appropriate economic program focused on rehabilitation and growth when conditions permit. "The Russian military invasion of Ukraine has been responsible for a massive humanitarian and economic crisis," IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement after the meeting, predicting [...]

March 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: 21,015 new community cases, 845 people in hospital, 16 in ICU

The daily number of new community cases has dropped slightly today to 21,015 cases, but the number of people in hospital with the coronavirus continues to soar, rising to 845 today. Photo: 123rf.com   The Ministry of Health said 16 people are in intensive care. There was also one new death reported today. There are now more people in hospital with Covid-19 than at any other point over the past two years, the Ministry said. "DHBs have been planning and preparing for managing Covid-19 and the higher number of cases in the community which are resulting in more people in hospital. Our hospitals and their dedicated teams are continuing to do what's needed to make sure everyone gets the treatment they need." Today's numbers are down compared to yesterday's [...]

March 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Asian shares surge as Russia-Ukraine talks buoy sentiment

FILE PHOTO: A customer hands over Russian rouble banknotes and coins to a vendor at a market in Omsk, Russia February 18, 2022. REUTERS/Alexey Malgavko BEIJING—  Asian shares surged on Thursday, tracking Wall Street's gains as planned diplomatic talks between Russia and Ukraine buoyed sentiment, although analysts warned the rally could be susceptible to a sharp reversal as risks remain. Oil prices also regained some footing, having fallen more than 12per cent on the previous session as United Arab Emirates pledged to support hiking oil output to ease mayhem in energy markets. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 1.6per cent in early trade. Japan's Nikkei surged 3.4per cent while Australian shares were up 1per cent. Chinese blue chips rose 1.96per cent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng [...]

March 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

McDonald’s, Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Pepsi suspend Russian operations

‘Our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine,’ says burger chain’s chief executive   A McDonald's restaurant on Pushkin Square in Moscow. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images The pull-out of iconic western brands from Russia is gathering momentum, with Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Pepsi joining McDonald’s in pausing operations in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Late on Tuesday, PepsiCo, the soft-drink and snack maker, said it was suspending all advertising in Russia and stopping the sale of its drinks brands, after a similar announcement by its rival Coca-Cola. Fast-food giant McDonald’s said earlier that it will temporarily suspend operations at its 850 locations. The Chicago-based company, which owns 84% of its stores in Russia, could take a big financial hit because of the closures. In a [...]

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

Australian Prime Minister to declare floods a national emergency

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will declare a national emergency in response to catastrophic floods in northern New South Wales. Federal and state governments have been criticised for a slow response to the flooding disaster - here soldiers load food for delivery to areas of northern New South Wales affected by floods. Photo: AFP / Australian Defence Force / Dustin Anderson   The declaration gives the federal government power to intervene and deploy resources. It is a legislative power that Morrison sought after the 2019-2020 bushfire crisis. Morrison is also set to outline more money to help communities recover from floods on the east coast when he visits Lismore today, as government ministers expect anger from residents whose lives have been upturned. The federal government has been criticised for the [...]

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

Drivers in the Philippines fret over shrinking income

RIDE OF THE FUTURE | Some families may turn to the energy-efficient e-tricycle, such as this one picking up passengers on Tuesday in Divisoria, Manila, to ride out the soaring prices of diesel and gasoline. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is driving up global oil prices. (MARIANNE BERMUDEZ / PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER)   MANILA, Philippines — Jeff Gochangco, a 58-year-old jeepney driver and a father of four, became jobless when the series of lockdowns to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 put a stop to public transportation. Although he was allowed to pay only part of the P5,000 monthly rent as a relief from his landlord, his unpaid bill has now accumulated to P56,000 after nearly two years of the health crisis. He was able to return to work [...]

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

Covid-19 update: 22,454 new community cases in New Zealand, 742 people in hospital, four further deaths

  The Ministry of Health is reporting 22,454 new community cases of Covid-19 and four further deaths today, with 742 people in hospital with the virus. Photo: 123rf.com   Today's case numbers are slightly down on yesterday's 23,894 new cases of Covid-19, with the number of hospitlisations also dropping from 756 yesterday. However the number of patients in ICU has increased from 16 to 19. The four new deaths reported today were in the Lakes, Tairāwhiti, and Counties Manukau DHBs. Today's community case numbers include 8,529 in the Auckland Region. The Ministry said this represents 56 percent of the total new cases, down from 61 percent of total new cases a week ago. "This number is still high and the outbreak is still very active in the Auckland region, [...]

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

Joe Biden bans Russian oil imports in ‘powerful blow to Putin’s war machine’

Joe Biden speaks in Fort Worth on a visit to Texas on Tuesday. As he stepped off Air Force One, Biden acknowledged gas prices were going to go up. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images Joe Biden announced a ban on US imports of Russian oil on Tuesday, the latest effort to cut off foreign revenue as punishment for the invasion of Ukraine. “Today I’m announcing the United States is targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy,” Biden said at the White House. “We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy. That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports, and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine.” As recently as Sunday, the Biden administration appeared not to be in [...]

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

France in talks with PH for submarine deal, joint patrols in West PH Sea

Metro Manila, Philippines — France is ready to extend assistance to the Philippines in modernizing its armed forces, including the possibility of supplying assets for a Philippine "submarine force." In a press briefing, Rear Admiral Jean Mathieu-Rey, Joint Commander of the French Armed Forces in the Asia-Pacific, said France is a good partner for the Philippines should it decide to pursue buying submarines. "We are working with our partners with the Philippines on these kinds of assets. France has a long-time tradition of building submarines. We have started our submarine patrol since 1973," Rey said. "We are good partners who can help in establishing a submarine force," he added. Rey, however, clarified that no official deal has been reached so far. The French official added that a "submarine force" would be [...]

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

Isolation length to be shortened for Covid cases and contacts

The isolation length for Covid cases and household contacts will be decreased from 10 days to seven, kicking in from 11.59pm March 11. Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said that "high case numbers and household contacts, and the current 10 day isolation requirement, is having a wider impact on many parts of our lives". "There needs to be a balance between effectively controlling the outbreak and the flow-on effect for business and essential goods and services such as transport and food supply. "The most up to date public health advice is that there is a decline in infectiousness of Omicron over time, and that in most cases transmission occurs within seven days," he said. Hipkins said the reduction follows "similar changes overseas and increasing evidence that people are most [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: 15,161 new community cases, 618 in hospital, one death

There are 15,161 new community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, with 610 people now in hospital, the Ministry of Health reports. Photo: 123rf.com   In a statement, the Ministry said 10 of the people in hospital are in ICU. While this is the third day in a row to see a drop in case numbers, the Ministry is still urging caution. "The variation in reporting numbers each day means that the rolling average of cases gives a more reliable indicator of testing trends. The seven-day rolling average of cases is today 17,272, up from 16,687 yesterday." It said it was also possible that there may be delays in people self-reporting Rapid Antigen Test results, even if it is a negative result. The Ministry also noted the increases [...]

March 6th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Sydney faces more rain as death toll from Australian floods rises

Major floods are still underway in some areas west of Sydney along the Hawkesbury River (Photo: AFP/Nikki Short) Sydney—  Australia's most populous city, braced for more rain on Sunday (Mar 6) after being drenched by heavy downpours over the past week, as the death toll from flooding across the eastern part of the country reached 17. A wild weather system that dumped more than a year's worth of rainfall over a week in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales (NSW) brought widespread destruction, leaving thousands of people in the states displaced and sweeping away property, livestock and roads. Seventeen people have been killed since the deluge began, including a Queensland woman, whose body was found on Saturday, according to police. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) of NSW said [...]

March 6th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

China urges ‘direct’ Russia-Ukraine negotiations as war rages

Ukrainian soldiers help a fleeing family crossing the Irpin river in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Mar 5, 2022. (Photo: AP/Emilio Morenatti) BEIJING— Beijing urged direct negotiations between Russia and Ukraine during a Saturday (Mar 5) call between Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and his American counterpart Antony Blinken, as the war following Moscow's invasion entered a tenth day. The exchange marked the first call between the country's top diplomats since the beginning of hostilities marked by heavy Russian bombardment and fierce resistance from Ukrainian fighters who maintain control of the capital Kyiv. China has walked a cautious diplomatic line since the conflict began, refusing to condemn Moscow's actions after only last month touting a "no limits" friendship between the two countries. On Saturday, Wang told Secretary of [...]

March 6th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Kiwis must accept Covid is ‘not going to go away’ – Hipkins

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says New Zealanders will have to accept Covid-19 is “not going to go away” as the virus continues to run rampant through the community. “I think there’s certainly more infection in the community than the testing numbers will be showing,” he told Q+A on Sunday. Chris Hipkins. (Source: Getty)   “I think there are a lot of people who will be experiencing very mild symptoms. Some of them will be staying home, and some of them will just be completely oblivious to the fact they might have Covid-19.” It comes after recent models predicted the country’s Covid-19 infection rate could be as much as five times higher than daily case numbers are showing. Hipkins said it is “certainly possible”, adding, “I suspect there’s a [...]

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

Defiant Putin warns the west: your sanctions are akin to an act of war

Ukraine told: your statehood is in doubt as Russian bombs end ceasefire in Mariupol Ukrainian soldiers help families fleeing the town of Irpin on Saturday. Photograph: Vadim Ghirdă/AP Vladimir Putin delivered a chilling warning to the west over the imposition of sanctions on Russia on Saturday, warning that measures designed to cripple his country’s economy were “akin to an act of war”. In comments that were both defiant and threatening, the Russian president also told Ukraine’s leaders that their nation risked being dismantled as an independent sovereign state if they continued to resist Russia’s invasion. “The current leadership needs to understand that if they continue doing what they are doing, they risk the future of Ukrainian statehood,” Putin said. “If that happens they will have to be blamed for [...]

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

New Zealand borders set to reopen this year but could be bumpy road ahead – Tourism NZ

The head of Tourism New Zealand says 2022 looks like the year of reopening, but he acknowledges it will be a bumpy road ahead. New Zealand's borders have been mostly closed to overseas travellers for nearly two years. Photo: RNZ / Katie Todd   The borders have been closed for nearly two years with only a few attempts at a trans-Tasman bubble. In response - and at the request of the then tourism minister - the organisation began honing in on the domestic market, including launching the campaign 'Do Something New, New Zealand'. Its chief executive René de Monchy said Tourism New Zealand would continue to play a role in domestic marketing and supporting the industry and regions, but its primary focus would be back on international markets. "The [...]

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

Christopher Luxon’s State of the Nation speech: Government needs to stop its ‘tax grab’

National is launching a major offensive against the government, promising to reverse every tax increase imposed by this Labour government. Chris Luxon gave a State of the Nation speech in Auckland this morning Watch it here: Luxon's address was delayed earlier this year because of the Omicron outbreak. He said if elected in 2023, National will repeal the Regional Fuel Tax, the extension to the Bright Line Test, and the removal of interest deductibility for landlords. A National-led government would also adjust all tax bracket thresholds, so people would pay less tax. Luxon said New Zealand has a cost of living "crisis" and the government needs to stop its "tax grab".

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

US senator slated for calling for Russians to assassinate Putin

  South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is facing intense pushback from all corners of Washington after calling for the Russian people to end the Ukraine war by assassinating President Vladimir Putin. Lindsey Graham. (Source: Associated Press)   White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that it is “not the position of the United States government.” Graham, a former Air Force lawyer and longtime defence hawk, tweeted on Friday (NZ time) that “the only people who can fix this” are Russians. “The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out,” Graham tweeted. “You would be doing your country - and the world - a great service.” The tweet drew swift pushback from some of the most conservative and liberal members of Congress. Texas [...]

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

Concerns around false information online amid Ukraine invasion

Netsafe is warning Kiwis not to take all social media content about the conflict in Ukraine at face value. Concerns raised around false information online in Ukraine invasion. Netsafe's Sean Lyons says discerning fake from real can be a challenge. (Source: 1News) "We might be forming opinions that aren't actually accurate. We might be part of the spread of that information if we don't know where it's come from," says Sean Lyons, Director of Technology and Partnerships for Netsafe. Tom Mutch is a Kiwi journalist on the ground in Ukraine. Speaking from Lviv, he says discerning fake from real online can be a real challenge. "It's often very hard to figure out these videos, exactly where they are, exactly what the troops in them are doing, exactly where the [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: 18,833 new community cases, 597 people in hospital, five deaths

The Ministry of Health has reported 18,833 new community cases of Covid-19 today, with 597 people in hospitals, including 10 people who need intensive care. Photo: AFP   The Ministry has also reported the deaths of five people with the coronavirus. Yesterday there were 22,527 new community cases, 562 in hospital including 11 in intensive care, and five deaths reported. What's been happening? Auckland health officials said yesterday that case numbers may have reached a peak in the country's biggest city, but warn the number of people in hospital could continue to rise for the next week. A leading immunisation specialist says parents should not be worried about US research showing plummeting immunity among children who received the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, as there's a straightforward explanation, and other studies [...]

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

Hong Kong retail chains ration staples to curb COVID-19 panic buying

Customers wearing face masks queue up to pay at a supermarket, ahead of mass coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing, in Hong Kong on Mar 2, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu) HONG KONG— Two of Hong Kong's largest consumer retail chains started rationing some food and drug items on Friday (Mar 4) to curb panic buying that has plagued the city over the past week amid fears of a citywide lockdown as COVID-19 cases soar. Health authorities reported 52,523 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and 136 deaths. This compares with about 100 infections at the start of February and a clean three-month streak of zero cases before the end of December. It was the third consecutive day that the number of cases topped 50,000. The spread has limited available manpower in the health [...]

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

May 2022 PH Elections: UniTeam tells poll rivals to stop ‘gutter politics’

BBM, LENI, ISKO ON ROAD TRIP Presidential canidates former senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., Vice President Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo and Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso hit the road as they campaign in Sorsogon, Cavite and Isabela on Friday, March 4, 2022. Robredo and Moreno were with running mates Sen. Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan and Dr. Willie Ong. PHOTOS BY RENE H. DILAN, MIKE ALQUINTO AND JOHN ORVEN VERDOTE   PHILIPPINES— Clarifications were made on Friday by the camp of former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. or BBM and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and that of Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo and Sen. Francisco Pangilinan on perceptions that, respectively, they were chickening out from public scrutiny and were using the Catholic Church to advance their campaigns for [...]

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

Russia steps up onslaught after Ukraine ‘narrowly’ escapes nuclear disaster

Putin forces intensify strikes on civilian areas as UN security council hears of their ‘incredibly reckless’ attack on power plant   A house on fire following shelling on the town of Irpin, west of Kyiv, Ukraine. Photograph: Oleksandr Ratushniak/AP The US envoy to the UN said the world had narrowly averted a nuclear catastrophe in Russia’s attack on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, as Moscow’s forces intensified their devastating campaign of artillery and airstrikes against civilian areas of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Nato warned there was still worse to come in the war. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, speaking at an emergency meeting of the UN security council in New York on Friday, said Russia’s actions, which caused a major fire at the Zaporizhzhia compound, reflected a “dangerous new escalation” in its invasion of [...]

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

Russia blocks Facebook, says it restricts access to Russian media

Russia is blocking Facebook, the country's communications regulator said on Friday, in response to what it said were restrictions of access to Russian media on the platform. Photo: 123rf   The regulator, Roskomnadzor, said there had been 26 cases of discrimination against Russian media by Meta Platforms Inc's Facebook since October 2020, including restrictions in recent days of state-backed channels like RT and the RIA news agency. The move is a major escalation in an ongoing confrontation between big tech companies and Russia, which has in recent years issued a slew of fines and hobbled services through slowdowns. The tensions have ramped up amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special operation." Meta's head of global affairs Nick Clegg said the company would continue to do everything [...]

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

NCR under Alert Level 1 in March

PHILIPPINES— The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Sunday placed the National Capital Region (NCR) and 38 other areas under Alert Level 1. The lower alert level will be in force from March 1 to 15, Cabinet Secretary and Palace acting spokesman Karlo Alexei Nograles said. Other areas in Luzon that will be under Alert Level 1 are Abra, Apayao, Baguio City and Kalinga in the Cordillera Administrative Region; Dagupan City, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan in Region 1; Batanes, Cagayan, City of Santiago, Isabela and Quirino in Region 2; Angeles City, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Olongapo City, Pampanga and Tarlac in Region 3; Cavite and Laguna in Region 4-A; Marinduque, Puerto Princesa City and Romblon in Region 4-B; and Naga [...]

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

Australia to send weapons to Ukraine, stepping up military aid

Australia will fund the supply of weapons to the government of Ukraine to help it fight Russian forces invading the country, stepping up its support days after saying it would only provide “non-lethal” military equipment. Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke to cabinet colleagues on Sunday morning to start sending the military supplies to Ukraine through allies such as the United States and NATO partners in Europe. A civilian volunteer waits with his gun at a territorial defence unit registration office.CREDIT:GETTY   Speaking after joining Ukrainian-Australians at a church service in Sydney, the Prime Minister also signalled more humanitarian aid after the government spoke to the Ukrainian community about taking refugees who are fleeing the war. Mr Morrison spoke to Defence Minister Peter Dutton on Sunday to arrange the expansion [...]

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

More than 360,000 people have fled war in Ukraine so far, says UN

More than 4.5m more could join exodus if fighting spreads, according to Ukrainian authorities   A volunteer distributes toys to Ukrainian children in Medyka, Poland, on Sunday. Photograph: Aleksander Kalka/Zuma Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock   At least 368,000 people have already fled their homes in Ukraine, according to the UN refugee agency, and more than 4.5 million more could follow if the fighting spreads, Ukrainian authorities have said, with reports of tens of thousands on the move within the country itself. The majority of people are fleeing to one of 12 border crossings Ukraine shares with its neighbour Poland, which by Sunday morning had registered 156,000 arrivals. Others are crossing at one of nine border points with Romania, or into Hungary, Slovakia or Moldova, according to figures collected by the UNHCR. [...]

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

World Russia’s Putin puts nuclear forces on high alert as West rallies behind Ukraine

People walk towards a damaged vehicle, at the site of fighting with Russian troops, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb 26, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko) KYIV— President Vladimir Putin put Russia's nuclear deterrent on high alert on Sunday (Feb 27) in the face of a barrage of Western reprisals for his war on Ukraine, which said it had repelled Russian ground forces attacking its biggest cities. The United States said Putin was escalating the war with "dangerous rhetoric", amid signs that the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two was not producing rapid victories, but instead generating a far-reaching and concerted Western response. The Ukrainian president's office said negotiations with Moscow without preconditions would be held at the [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: 14,633 new community cases, 344 in hospital, five in ICU

As New Zealand marks two years of living with Covid-19, there are 14,633 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today, the Ministry of Health reports. Photo: AFP   In a statement, the Ministry of Health said there are also 344 cases in hospital and five in ICU. The cases in hospital are in Northland (5), North Shore (53), Middlemore (128), Auckland (100), Tauranga (11), Taranaki (1), Waikato (28), Canterbury (4) Southern (4), Hutt Valley (6) Capital and Coast (3) and Tairawhiti (1). The new community cases today are in Northland (208), Auckland (9,305), Waikato (1,530), Bay of Plenty (762), Lakes (265), Hawke's Bay (138), MidCentral (175), Whanganui (30), Taranaki (67), Tairāwhiti (60), Wairarapa (52), Capital and Coast (604), Hutt Valley (281), Nelson Marlborough (178), Canterbury (573), South Canterbury [...]

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

New tsunami alert in works for NZ after Tonga eruption

A new national Civil Defence tsunami alert category is being worked up following the huge impact of the Tongan volcano eruption on Northland's coastline. Tūtūkākā marina's Sunday-morning Tongan tsunami aftermath. Photo: Tania Whyte/ Northern Advocate   No lives were lost when the tsunami hit Tūtūkākā marina after the 15 January eruption, but a woman was rescued in the dark from the sea after falling overboard into powerful swirling currents - while trying to get off her damaged boat, into her dinghy and onto terra firma. Millions of dollars of damage ensued with boats wrecked and sunk. Meanwhile Whangaroa Harbour boaties feared they would be cast adrift after the sea's violent tsunami swirling almost forced loose their anchors. The new notification would add specific references for boaties into tsunami notification [...]

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

Officers stood down over mandates seen protesting at Parliament – Police association

Some officers who resigned rather than get a Covid vaccination have been seen protesting at Parliament, facing down their former colleagues on the frontline, the police association says. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver   The High Court on Friday quashed the mandate for police and Defence Force staff but it doesn't impact interal vaccination policies of the organisations. The police association is expecting most officers stood down over Covid-19 vaccine mandates will return to work. Association president Chris Cahill told Morning Report police would have to consider what work returning officers do as some may have been protesters at Parliament. The roles they would do back on the force would also have to be considered from a health and safety perspective, he said. Cahill said unvaccinated officers would be [...]

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

13,606 Covid-19 cases in New Zealand on Saturday

There are 13,606 cases in New Zealand on Saturday, the Ministry of Health has announced. Nurses at an Auckland testing centre preparing PCR nasal swabs. (Source: Getty)   The figure is another daily record for New Zealand, eclipsing the 12,011 cases that were announced on Friday. The cases are in Northland (218), Auckland (9,262), Waikato (1,154), Bay of Plenty (690), Lakes (185), Hawke’s Bay (106), MidCentral (123), Whanganui (28), Taranaki (52), Tairāwhiti (48), Wairarapa (18), Capital and Coast (413), Hutt Valley (130), Nelson Marlborough (176), Canterbury (469), South Canterbury (20), Southern (505), West Coast (3); Unknown (6). Those case numbers are from both PCR and rapid antigen (RAT) tests. There are 263 cases in hospital, with five in ICU or HDU.

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

Defense chief: PH ‘neutral’ on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Metro Manila, Philippines  — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday said the Philippines will remain neutral for now as Russia unleashes deadly military attacks on Ukraine. He said authorities are closely watching the developments in Ukraine, but refused to issue a strong statement against Russia and its president Vladimir Putin despite earlier rebuke from various world leaders. The Philippines' Asian neighbors, such as Japan and Taiwan, strongly condemned Russia on Friday, declaring that they will impose economic sanctions on Russia. "Wala naman tayong pakialam sa Europe kung ano ang ginagawa nila doon, hindi naman tayo katabi ng Ukraine. Yung mga bansang karatig, nagpapahayag ng suporta sa Ukraine. Tayo neutral muna tayo ngayon," he said in an interview. [Translation: We are not located beside Ukraine and it's none of our [...]

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

China says it respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and Russia’s security concerns

China's Wang Yi, state councillor and foreign minister, waves as he leaves a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, Nov 24, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato/Pool) WASHINGTON— Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told senior European officials on Friday (Feb 25) that China respects countries' sovereignty, including Ukraine's, but that Russia's concerns about NATO's eastward expansion should be properly addressed. After weeks of warnings from Western leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed an invasion of Ukraine from the north, east and south on Thursday that was the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two. Weeks before the invasion, China and Russia announced a strategic partnership, and so far Beijing has stayed clear of condemning Moscow's actions. Wang said the current situation in Ukraine was not something Beijing wished to [...]

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

EU, US, UK and Canada announce sanctions targeting Vladimir Putin and Sergei Lavrov

Move is largely symbolic but part of attempt to highlight resolve to stand up to Russia over Ukraine Vladimir Putin (right) and Sergei Lavrov in the Kremlin last week. Photograph: EyePress News/Rex/Shutterstock The EU, the US, the UK and Canada have moved to freeze foreign-held assets of Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, after Europe was accused by Ukraine’s president of failing to act hard and fast enough against Russian aggression. The initiative is largely symbolic, as the Russian president is unlikely to have identifiable personal wealth abroad, but the move followed recognition that appeals for action from Volodymyr Zelenskiy had to be heard. The sanctions were closely coordinated. Two hours into a meeting of foreign ministers, the Latvian representative, Edgars Rinkēvičs, tweeted that the bloc had [...]

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

Anti-mandate protesters march across Auckland Harbour Bridge

All southbound traffic lanes on State Highway One over the Auckland Harbour Bridge has been closed as anti-mandate protesters march across the bridge. Photo: RNZ   State Highway 1 on the Northern Motorway is now closed to southbound traffic between Esmonde Rd and Fanshawe St. Hundreds of people gathered at Onepoto Domain at the northern end of the bridge and have now set out towards the bridge. Māori Wardens told RNZ they are escorting the protesters for safety reasons. The march has been organised by Destiny Church's Freedoms and Rights Coalition. Anti-mandate protesters in Auckland. Photo: RNZ In a statement, police said the safety of staff, road users and protesters was the priority. They will be actively engaging with the protesters to prevent them crossing the bridge due to [...]

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

Ukraine fights for its survival as Putin presses forward

Ukraine leaders warn world to wake up to Russian threat as west promises to make Putin international pariah World leaders warn Moscow has embarked on a dangerous new era of imperial expansion.Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Ukraine was fighting for its survival after Vladimir Putin unleashed a punishing offensive on the country that left hundreds dead or injured, and world leaders warned that Moscow had embarked on a dangerous new era of imperial expansion. The continent awoke to the shock of scenes it once believed it had left in the 20th century: helicopters strafing homes outside the capital, long lines of tanks ploughing ever deeper towards Ukraine’s heartland, roads choked with refugees, and civilians huddled in underground stations to escape bombardment. The west scrambled to respond with a range of [...]

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

PH May 2022 Elections: If she wins, Sara Duterte vows fair enforcement of war on drugs and crime

Batangas City, Philippines — Should Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte win in the upcoming May elections, expect President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs and crime to continue in the next six years. The presidential daughter, however, said she is looking at implementing her father’s trademark program in a different way. “Ang gagawin natin is kung ano ‘yung ginawa natin doon sa Davao City. I-emphasize natin sa ating mga law enforcement agencies particularly sa ating mga kapulisan, sa Philippine National Police (PNP) natin, na ang unang-unang trabaho nila, isang pantay-pantay na enforcement ng ating batas,” the vice presidential candidate said in an interview with journalists in Batangas City Tuesday. [Translation: We will do what we did in Davao City. We will emphasize to our law enforcement agencies, particularly to the [...]

February 23rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH Covid-19 Update: Mayors vote to downgrade Metro Manila to Alert Level 1 for March

Metro Manila, Philippines  — The local chief executives in Metro Manila unanimously voted to downgrade the capital region to Alert Level 1 starting March 1, Metro Manila Council chairperson and Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez confirmed to CNN Philippines on Wednesday. The recommendation will be sent to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, which will issue the final decision. The mayors met on Tuesday night to come up with a recommendation for the next alert level status in the capital region. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said Alert Level 1 — the lowest classification — will likely be considered as the "new normal" scenario until the state of public health emergency is lifted in the country. He also said the public must still continue [...]

February 23rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 update: Record 3297 new community cases reported in New Zealand today

Today there are 3297 new cases of Covid-19 in the community in New Zealand today, the Ministry of Health has confirmed. File image. Photo: 123RF   In today's statement, the Ministry said there were 179 people in hospital with the coronavirus, with one in intensive care. It said 1729 of the new cases were in the Auckland DHBs, with the rest in the Northland (40), Waikato (297), Bay of Plenty (157), Lakes (54), Hawke's Bay (18), MidCentral (56), Whanganui (5), Taranaki (30), Tairāwhiti (16), Wairarapa (16), Capital and Coast (123), Hutt Valley (28), Nelson Marlborough (85), Canterbury (176), South Canterbury (7), Southern (455) and West Coast (3) DHBs. There were also eight new cases in managed isolation today. Yesterday the Ministry of Health reported 2846 Covid-19 cases in the [...]

February 23rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH May 2022 Elections: Bongbong, Sara top Publicus poll

Presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bong bong" Marcos Jr., with Manila Mayoral candidate Alex Lopez, waves to the crowd during a campaign motorcade that started at Parola, Tondo, Manila, on 20 February 2022. (PHOTO: MIKE ALQUINTO)   PHILIPPINES— Presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and his running mate Sara Duterte-Carpio topped the National Election Tracker Survey of Publicus Asia conducted on February 11 to 16. Fifty-two percent of the survey respondents picked Marcos as their choice for president, giving him a 30 percentage points lead over second-placer Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo. Compared to Publicus' survey in December 2021, there was no change in voter preference for Marcos, while Robredo moved up by 2 percent. Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso had 9 percent, followed by Senators Panfilo "Ping" Lacson and [...]

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

Australia fully reopens borders shut by COVID-19 pandemic, welcomes back tourists

A man hugs his granddaughter upon arriving at Sydney International Airport on Feb 21, 2022, as Australia reopened its borders for fully vaccinated visa holders, tourists and business travellers. (Photo: AFP/SAEED KHAN) SYDNEY— Australia on Monday (Feb 21) fully reopened its international borders to travellers vaccinated against the coronavirus after nearly two years of pandemic-related closings as tourists returned and hundreds of people were reunited with family and friends. More than 50 international flights will reach the country throughout the day, including 27 touching down in Sydney, its largest city, as the tourism and hospitality sectors look to rebuild after getting hammered by COVID-19 restrictions. "It is a very exciting day, one that I have been looking forward to for a long time, from the day that I first [...]

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

Covid-19 update: 2846 community cases today, 143 people in hospital

There are 2846 Covid-19 cases in the community today and 143 people in hospital with the virus, the Ministry of Health reports. Photo: 123RF   In a statement, the ministry said one of the people in hospital was in intensive care or a high dependency unit. The average age of the current hospitalisations is 56. Of the new cases today, 36 were in Northland, 1802 in Auckland, 285 in Waikato, 86 in Bay of Plenty, 19 in Lakes, 25 in Hawke's Bay, 25 in MidCentral, 19 in Whanganui, 26 in Taranaki, 17 in Tairāwhiti, two in Wairarapa, 84 in Capital and Coast, 25 in Hutt Valley, 77 in Nelson Marlborough, 105 in Canterbury, four in South Canterbury and 206 in the Southern DHB. There were also 15 new cases [...]

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

UN Security Council to meet urgently on Ukraine crisis

People wave Russian national flags celebrating the recognizing the independence in the center of Donetsk, the territory controlled by pro-Russian militants, eastern Ukraine, late Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. In a fast-moving political theater, Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved quickly to recognize the independence of separatist regions in eastern Ukraine in a show of defiance against the West amid fears of Russian invasion in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov)   MOSCOW (AP) — The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Monday night after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and ordered Russian troops to “maintain the peace” there. The meeting comes at the request of Ukraine, the United States and six other countries. Russia, which currently holds the rotating council presidency, [...]

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

PH aims to vaccinate 80% of vulnerable population before shift to Alert Level 1

Metro Manila— The government aims to vaccinate 80% of the vulnerable population against COVID-19 before the country eases to Alert Level 1. In a televised briefing Monday night, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the recommendation is from presidential adviser for COVID-19 response Vince Dizon. "Bago ma-de-escalate to Alert Level 1, kinakailangang 80% [ang vaccination rate] ng atingA2 and A3... At kung hindi po sila makarating sa panukatan na 'yan ay hindi tayo puwedeng ibaba," he said. [Translation: Before we de-escalate the country to Alert Level 1, the vaccination rate of the A2 and A3 groups should be 80%. If they will not reach this, then we cannot de-escalate.] The vaccination rate is also a good metric to use when deciding which areas are ready to shift to Alert [...]

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

Three cops hospitalised after substance thrown by protesters

Three police have been admitted to hospital after a substance was thrown at them by protesters outside Parliament. Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers. (Source: 1News) Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers was unable to confirm what the substance was. It happened on Tuesday morning after a confrontation with police around some of the streets outside Parliament. "Three of our police staff have been admitted to hospital... with a substance that was thrown at them from the protest group," Chambers said. He said police were using shields as they were "aware members in the protest group were determined to again throw human faeces at our police staff". Chambers was asked how many police had faeces thrown at them but he was unable to answer. Chambers said some of the protesters' actions were "disgraceful [...]

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

Australia hugs nature, shuts biggest coal plant

Origin Energy said the 2.88 gigawatt Eraring power plant was unable to compete with the ‘influx of renewables’ © AFP via Getty Images     SYDNEY—  Australia's largest coal-fired power plant, and also among the world's biggest, will shut in 2025 — several years sooner than planned — operators announced Thursday, saying the facility is no longer viable given the low cost of renewables. Observers see the move as the country's call for a more nature-friendly gesture in serving the power needs of its citizens. Origin Energy told investors that the "influx of renewables" was "undermining the economics" of the vast Eraring plant just north of Sydney. The plant currently includes four 720-megawatt coal-fired generators and one 42-megawatt diesel generator, supplying Australia's most populous state New South Wales with [...]

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

How the United States views New Zealand as Indo-Pacific faces ‘urgent challenges’

New Zealand's partnership with the United States is "vitally important" and has seen "tremendous growth" over the last decade, a top US official says, as the superpower attempts to strengthen its position within the Indo-Pacific. The US late last week released its Indo-Pacific Strategy, detailing its intent to modernise its relationships in the region, which it says is facing "urgent challenges" such as the growing influence of China, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. They're challenges New Zealand is familiar with. In regards to China, New Zealand's Ministry of Defence last December released a report warning the Asian nation is "the major driver of geopolitical change" and "China views an increased presence in the Pacific as part of its natural progression towards its global goals". The US document says [...]

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

Taupō wins most beautiful large town title

LOVETAUPO.COM     - Beautiful Taupō.   Taupō has been named the most beautiful large town in the country for the second time in four years at the annual Keep New Zealand Beautiful Awards. The awards were held online on Thursday and are Aotearoa's longest-running sustainability awards and provide a benchmark for environmental excellence. Mayor David Trewavas accepted the award via video link and said winning the prestigious title again was testament to Taupō's great community spirit. "As a council, we are proud of the amount of work we do and the partnership approach we take with our schools, businesses and volunteer groups like Tidy Taupō and Greening Taupō, to protect and enhance our town,” he said. Taupō: The North Island's most underrated town. This little town of just 30,000 [...]

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

First woman reported cured of HIV after stem cell transplant

A girl lights lamps during an HIV/Aids awareness campaign on the occasion of World Aids Day, in India, on Dec 1, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS CHICAGO—  A US patient with leukaemia has become the first woman and the third person to date to be cured of HIV after receiving a stem cell transplant from a donor who was naturally resistant to the virus that causes Aids, researchers reported on Tuesday (Feb 15). The case of a 64-year-old woman of mixed race, presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunisitic Infections in Denver, is also the first involving umbilical cord blood, a newer approach that may make the treatment available to more people. Since receiving the cord blood to treat her acute myeloid leukemia – a cancer that starts in blood-forming [...]

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

Migrant doctors lured overseas as immigration woes mount

Consultants are among an exodus of medical staff from New Zealand to countries whose immigration policies are more attractive. Photo: 123RF One of the sticking points is the parent category - the government has reiterated that no decision has been made on when the programme will re-start, but said it was not part of the border re-opening plan. One specialist has an offer from an Australian hospital almost tripling his salary and with a sign-on bonus of $300,000. He will leave to take the job in April, but says he will stay if the government agrees to re-start the process of accepting migrants' parents as residents. The specialist, who is a New Zealand citizen and UK-trained, said his father, who is in his 80s, is staying with him and [...]

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

PM says Parliament occupation ‘no longer a protest’

The occupation on Parliament's lawn and the surrounding streets "is no longer a protest", says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as the stand-off with police stretches into its tenth day. Hundreds have set up camp for over a week, with stalls and food areas set up. On Thursday threats and accusations were still written in chalk all around Parliament buildings, slurs were displayed from some vehicles, while some protesters continued to spread misinformation over loudspeakers. New signs had been erected on the edge of the protest apologising to people who have been abused on their way to work. "Protest is not illegal in New Zealand," Jacinda Ardern said from Rotorua. "Building camps on the lawn of Parliament, obstructing the ability of young people to go to school, of workers to [...]

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

Australia intends to list Hamas as terrorist organisation

FILE PHOTO: Australian Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews at the US Department of Justice in Washington, December 15, 2021. (Photo: Leigh Vogel/Pool via REUTERS) SYDNEY— The Australian government intends to list the entirety of Palestinian militant group Hamas as a terrorist organisation under the country's criminal code, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said on Thursday (Feb 17). A listing by Australia of the whole group, rather than just its military arm as at present, would bring its stance in line with the United States, the European Union and Britain. "The views of Hamas and the violent extremist groups listed today are deeply disturbing, and there is no place in Australia for their hateful ideologies," Andrews said in a statement. Andrews said she had written to Australia's state and [...]

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

Hong Kong’s COVID-19 fight intensifies as cases multiply by 60 times

Hong Kong's healthcare system is buckling under an Omicron-fuelled COVID-19 wave. (File photo: AFP/Peter Parks) HONG KONG— Hong Kong's COVID-19 battle intensified on Thursday (Feb 17) as authorities reported new cases had multiplied by 60 times so far this month and media reported that testing would become compulsory for everyone in the global financial hub from March. Hospitals are overwhelmed with some patients, including elderly, left lying on beds outside in chilly, sometimes rainy weather, in shocking scenes that prompted an apology from the authorities. Schools, gyms cinemas and most public venues are shut. Many office employees work from home. But, many residents are fatigued by the harsh restrictions imposed to protect them against the pandemic, even as most other major cities in the world adjust to living with [...]

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

Filipinos want strong, honest leaders – poll

PHILIPPINES— A pre-election survey conducted by the group Boses, Opinyon, Siyasat at Siyensya para sa Pilipinas (Boses Pilipinas) revealed that Filipinos desire leaders that are strong, honest and intelligent. Sixty-nine percent of the respondents said they prefer candidates who could provide strong leadership, 55 percent said it is important for candidates to be honest while 42 percent said intelligence is crucial to a candidate. Meanwhile, 37 percent of the respondents said they prefer candidates who get things done, 33 percent said they want morally upright candidates while 19 percent said they want compassionate candidates. Boses Pilipinas convenor Dr. Imelda Deinla said the results could help Filipinos evaluate their candidates. "With all the noise in media and social media platforms — as well as the highly curated portrayal of the [...]

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

Two New Zealanders into Olympic freeski final

The Porteous brothers, Nico and Miguel, have both qualified for the final of the men's freeski halfpipe in the Beijing Olympics. New Zealand's Nico Porteous practices before the start of the freestyle skiing men's freeski halfpipe qualification run during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games on February 17, 2022. Photo: AFP / Marco Bertorello   Nico Porteous, who won bronze in the 2018 Games as a 16-year-old, nailed his second jump to score 90.50 and place second overall. His older brother, Miguel Porteous, had a brilliant first run to come ninth with a score of 81.00. However, fellow New Zealanders Gustav Legnavsky and Ben Harrington failed to join them in Saturday's final. Harrington was particularly unlucky, finishing 13th. Despite having a good first run, he crashed on his second [...]

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

Protesters’ vehicle blockade remains on 10th day of occupation

Police have pulled back on their plans to begin towing vehicles illegally parked around the anti-vaccine, anti-mandate protest on the Grounds of Parliament. Police outside the Parliament protest on 17 February 2022. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver   Yesterday, police estimated more than 400 cars, vans and campervans remained ensconsed in several streets alongside Parliament. Despite previous ultimatums, protesters showed little sign of voluntarily removing their vehicles today. In a statement, police said they now had access to significantly more tow trucks to remove illegally parked vehicles but they were concentrating on engaging with protest leaders. Protesters' vehicles and camps are blocking Wellington streets. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver Police said they were exercising "careful judgement" about when to start the towing process. "Having observed the response from protesters [...]

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

Police Commissioner gives ultimatum to protesters outside Parliament

Police is putting into action its Major Operations Centre at the headquarters in the capital in a bid to quell protesters "unreasonably impacting the city". Police are moving to clear the roads outside and near Parliament as protesters continue to occupy the area for the eighth day. Photo: RNZ   About 1000 people are outside the Beehive today, protesting against a range of the government's Covid-19 measures. It is the eighth day of the occupation, which has been inspired by similar movements overseas. Nearly 200 parking tickets were handed out to the protesters at Parliament, with wardens out this afternoon ticketing vehicles blocking roads and illegally parked near the protest. But only one of the 180 issued before today has actually been paid. While protesters have been given free [...]

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

Over 300 Filipinos in Ukraine urged to evacuate

Department of Foreign Affairs building. (File photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer)   MANILA, Philippines — Over 300 Filipinos in Ukraine were urged to leave the country temporarily amid the threat of an invasion by Russia. Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun made the call after the Department of Foreign Affairs said it was monitoring the tension between Ukraine and Russia. Fortun called on the government to ensure the safety of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Ukraine and neighboring countries such as Belarus, Poland and Moldova. “Filipinos can either secure in place and care about their Ukrainian employers and friends, or temporarily evacuate the countries just outside of Ukraine through commercial rail and airlines,” Fortun said in a statement on Saturday. He also urged OFWs in countries adjacent to [...]

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

Wild weather causes slips, power cuts, transport disruption in some parts of New Zealand

Ex-cyclone Dovi. (Source: Niwa ) What you need to know: - Flights have been cancelled - Auckland Harbour Bridge is closed due to high winds - Slips and flooding in parts of the North Island 12:55pm Photos show slips created by the adverse weather in Melling. A slip near State Highway 2 in Melling. (Source: Civil Defence) 12:47pm New photos posted by Civil Defence on Twitter shows earlier flooding at the Plimmerton roundabout. Flooding at a roundabout on State Highway 59 northbound at Plimmerton. (Source: Civil Defence)   12:35pm Network infrastructure provider Chorus’ website is showing significant disruption to copper phone and internet services in parts of Northland. Meanwhile, Spark says mobile customers in some towns in the area may have lost phone, text and data services. Spark outage [...]

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

US announces deeper engagement strategy to match China in the Pacific

The United States insists it is a Pacific nation and has unveiled a raft of new strategies to better engage with other nations in the Region. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) attends a meeting with Fijian acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (R) in Nadi, Fiji, on February 12, 2022. Photo: Leon LORD / AFP)   United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken is the first Secretary of State to visit Fiji in nearly 37 years. During his historic visit, Blinken announced that the United States was pursuing deeper engagement plans with Pacific nations. A key element and motivation for those plans is the strengthening of the US presence to match the growing influence of China in the Pacific. In its engagement strategy, he said that China has [...]

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

Covid-19 protest at NZ Parliament enters sixth day

The number of protestors joining the crowd at the anti-mandate demonstration is steadily growing, after a subdued start to the day. More people joined the protest yesterday, taking numbers up to about 1000, but rain last night drove numbers down to about 500. Photo: RNZ   Hundreds of people are on the parliament lawn, though some have been driven away by the heavy rain and winds lashing the capital. A cheer erupts from the crowd each time a sudden and forceful gust of wind and downpour of rain blasts the demonstration. The playlist booming through parliament's loudspeakers changed about 11, and now includes a out of tune recorder rendition of 'My Heart Will Go On', the Titanic theme song by Celine Dion. UK musician James Blunt earlier posted on [...]

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

Metro Manila now at low risk for COVID-19 transmission – OCTA

Metro Manila skyline at night. As of Feb. 9, 2022, key coronavirus figures in the National Capital Region have gone down, according to Dr. Guido David, OCTA Research fellow. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / JILSON SECKLER TIU)   MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila is now at low risk for COVID-19 transmission as its reproduction number and other key coronavirus figures have decreased recently, Dr. Guido David, an OCTA Research fellow, said in a Twitter post on Wednesday. “As predicted two weeks ago, NCR improves to low risk as of February 9,” David said in his tweet. By Wednesday, Metro Manila’s reproduction decreased from the previous week’s 0.41 to 0.25, its positivity rate from 15 percent to 9.1 percent, its average daily attack rate (ADAE) from 17.83 to 6.67. ADAR refers [...]

February 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Belarus military drills to begin as Russia ratchets up Ukraine tensions

Satellite imagery shows much Russian hardware has been moved to locations close to Ukraine border Russian and Belarusian troops at a joint combat training exercise last week. Photograph: MOD/EyePress/Rex/Shutterstock Russia and Belarus will begin 10 days of joint military drills on Thursday, setting in train one of the most overtly threatening elements of the Kremlin’s buildup of forces around Ukraine’s borders. Valery Gerasimov, the head of the Russian general staff, arrived in Belarus on Wednesday to oversee the drills. Russia has moved up to 30,000 troops, two battalions of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and numerous fighter jets into Belarus for joint training exercises with the Belarusian army. Satellite imagery shows much of the hardware has been moved to locations close to the border with Ukraine. The Russian president, Vladimir [...]

February 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 update: Record 306 new community cases in New Zealand today

There are 306 new community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today - a new record high - with 216 cases in Auckland alone. Photo: SCIENCE PHOTO LI / DDJ / Science Photo Library via AFP   In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the new community cases were in Northland (12), Auckland (216), Waikato (48), Tairāwhiti (4), Bay of Plenty (7), Lakes (6), MidCentral (2), Taranaki (5), Hutt Valley (3) and Capital and Coast (3). There are 12 cases in hospital in Auckland, Rotorua, Bay of Plenty and Christchurch. None of them in ICU The Ministry said there were 30 cases in MIQ, with travellers arriving from UAE, Australia, Fiji, India, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Qatar. There were 204 community cases reported in New [...]

February 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Anti-mandate protesters camp outside Parliament for second night

Anti-vaccine mandate protesters have camped outside Parliament for the second night in a row. Police remain on guard outside Parliament as anti-mandate protesters camp out for a second night. (Source: 1News)   They remain despite things turning sour on Wednesday, with arrests made after some protesters allegedly attempted to push past a line of officers and enter Parliament. The three arrests came shortly after 3pm in the second day of protests, which had been previously peaceful, when tensions escalated into aggressive behaviour by some. Police said the behaviour was "extremely disappointing". The three people have been charged with obstruction and have been trespassed from Parliament grounds. They have been bailed and are due to appear in the Wellington District Court on Monday. On Thursday morning, there are a quite [...]

February 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tells anti-vaccine mandate protesters outside Parliament to ‘move on’

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has told anti-vaccine mandate protesters outside Parliament to 'move on'. Photo: RNZ / Nick Munro   She spoke after visiting a Covid-19 vaccination centre in Albany, Auckland. At Parliament grounds, well over a dozen people have been arrested in efforts to remove anti-vaccine mandate protesters who have been occupying the precinct. More than 100 extra officers have been called in, including from other districts. Ardern says it's ultimately an operational matter for police. "Obviously every New Zealander has a right to protest, but there are also rules around what is able to happen on Parliament's forecourt and of course we would expect that people have behaviours that don't disrupt the ability of others to go on with their lives as well." She says she thinks [...]

February 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Malaysia’s National Recovery Council agrees to fully reopen borders without quarantine by March

Malaysia's National Recovery Council chairman Muhyiddin Yassin. (Photo: Facebook/Muhyiddin Yassin) KUALA LUMPUR—  Malaysia’s National Recovery Council (NRC) has agreed to fully open the country’s borders by March to support the country’s economic recovery. NRC chairman Muhyiddin Yassin told a press conference on Tuesday (Feb 8) that it agreed to full opening of the borders as early as Mar 1 without the need for mandatory quarantine. “However, COVID-19 testing before departure and upon arrival at the border has to be done according to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) recommendations. “The opening of national borders needs to be implemented in a planned manner and based on current risk assessments,” he said after chairing the NRC meeting. Mr Muhyiddin added that the MOH would announce the full details on the requirements and [...]

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

PH May 2022 Elections: Fight for Palace seat starts on festive note

MANILA, Philippines — There were balloons, campaign T-shirts, rhythmic chanting, posters galore, hand signs, party colors — the festive features of Philippine elections — plus promises to lift the country out of the misery caused by the pandemic and its crippling effects on the national economy. And so, the candidates seeking the highest office in the land, and their running mates, launched their official three-month campaigns on Tuesday following adhoc vote-getting since even before they filed their certificates of candidacy in October last year. At the cavernous Philippine Arena in Bulacan, the martial law-era anthem “Bagong Pagsilang” was sung by a band onstage at the proclamation rally of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his vice presidential candidate, first daughter Sara Duterte. After the singing, an ebullient Toni [...]

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

Italian woman found dead seated at table in mummified state

Discovery of 70-year-old’s remains years after she died prompts calls for better care for older people in Italy Police stumbled upon Marinella Beretta’s remains when they made a house call during high winds in Lombardy. Photograph: barbacane/Alamy   Italian police have discovered the mummified remains of a 70-year-old woman sitting at a table more than two years after she died, prompting calls for better care for older people in the country. Marinella Beretta, who had no living relatives, was found in her house in Prestino near Lake Como in northern Italy. Police stumbled upon her remains when they made a house call during high winds in Lombardy, which risked uprooting neglected trees in her garden. She had not been seen by neighbours for at least two and a half [...]

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

Canadian truckers block main bridge to US as Trudeau demands end to protest

Trucks block Ambassador Bridge linking cities of Detroit and Windsor, where 8,000 trucks normally cross each day Trucks backed up on the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit on Monday. Photograph: Daniel Mears/AP Traffic has ground to a halt at the busiest border crossing in North America, as Canadian truckers and others angry with vaccine mandates spread their protest beyond Ottawa. Trucks started blocking the Ambassador Bridge linking the cities of Detroit and Windsor late on Monday, closing down traffic in both directions. On Tuesday, entry to Canada remained blocked while US-bound traffic slowed to a crawl. Each day, 8,000 trucks normally cross the bridge, which handles about 27% of trade between Canada and the US. Protesters also targeted another major border crossing in Coutts, Alberta. Canada’s capital city remained blockaded [...]

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

National wants Auckland regional fuel tax scrapped

National leader Christopher Luxon says taxes such as the Auckland regional fuel tax could be removed in order to help Kiwis at the pump. Christopher Luxon. (Source: Getty)   The price for 95 topped $3 a litre at some Auckland stations over Waitangi weekend, with prices very close to that mark in Wellington. The Motor Trade Association has said not to blame retailers for rising costs, explaining 52 per cent of the cost consists of taxes such as fuel excise duty, Emission Trading Scheme levy and GST. Thirty-seven per cent is made up of production and shipping costs, with the remaining 10.6 per cent as the wholesaler and retailer margin. Luxon told Breakfast on Wednesday the Auckland regional fuel tax had raised more than $500 million since it began [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: 204 new community cases reported today

There are 204 new community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today. (File image) Photo: 123RF   In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the new community cases were in Northland (8), Auckland (135), Waikato (35), Rotorua (1), Taupō (1), Bay of Plenty (11),Taranaki (1), Palmerston North (2) Wellington (3), Hutt Valley (3), Nelson Marlborough (1), Canterbury (3) There are 16 cases in hospital, although none are in ICU. A Flourish data visualization The ministry said there were 46 cases in MIQ reported yesterday, with travellers arriving from India, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Pakistan, UK, Australia, Fiji, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, France, USA and the Philippines. There were 202 new community cases and 63 in MIQ reported yesterday. There have now been 18,126 cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand since [...]

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

DILG chief opposes ‘no booster card, no entry’ proposal: The economy will suffer

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)   MANILA, Philippines — The country’s economy will suffer if the “no booster card, no entry” proposal is implemented, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Monday, noting that over half a million individuals in Metro Manila remain unvaccinated against COVID-19. Año said that the government is prioritizing the immunization for primary series or the first doses and second doses. “Sa ngayon hindi pa ‘yan napapanahon. Ang ating priority pa rin—although nag-booster na tayo ng mga fully vaccinated—ang ating primary priority, mag-vaccinate pa rin ng primary series,” Año  said on TeleRadyo’s Sakto. (As of now, it is not yet time. Our priority—although we boosted the fully vaccinated—our primary priority is to administer the primary series.) “At isa pa sa Metro Manila, 2.6 million pa [...]

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

Russian attack on Ukraine possible ‘any day’ but diplomacy still an option: White House

A service member of the Ukrainian armed forces walks in a trench at combat positions near the line of separation from Russian-backed rebels outside the settlement of Zaitseve in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on Feb 5, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko)   WASHINGTON— Russian President Vladimir Putin could order an attack on Ukraine within days or weeks, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned on Sunday (Feb 6), as Washington and its European allies continued efforts to offer Putin a diplomatic way out of the crisis. "We are in the window. Any day now, Russia could take military action against Ukraine, or it could be a couple of weeks from now, or Russia could choose to take the diplomatic path instead," Sullivan told the Fox News Sunday programme. Sullivan made [...]

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

NZ marks Queen’s platinum jubilee with 21 gun salute

New Zealand has marked the Queen's platinum jubilee with a 21 gun salute in Wellington on Monday. The anniversary falls on 6 February, however gun salutes are not conducted on Sunday so this year it took place on Monday. The gun salutes were fired by personnel from the 16th Field Regiment, Royal New Zealand Artillery, based at Linton Military Camp. The salute was conducted from the Saluting Battery at Point Jerningham - the only permanent saluting battery in New Zealand - using four 25-pound guns. The salute in Wellington comes after Sunday dawned in Britain, where the Queen remembered the past and sought to cement the future of the monarchy as the United Kingdom marked the 70th anniversary of her rule. In remarks delivered in time for Sunday morning’s [...]

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

188 community cases in New Zealand on Monday

There are 188 new community Covid-19 cases to report on Monday. Health workers at a Covid-19 testing station in Auckland. (Source: Getty)   The cases are in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Tairāwhiti, Lakes, Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Mid Central, Hutt Valley and Canterbury. Four cases are in hospital with the virus, with one in ICU or HDU, the ministry said. Auckland has 117 new cases, with health officials supporting 2,495 people in the region to isolate at home, including 997 cases. There were 16 new cases in Northland on Monday, seven of which were first announced in Sunday's update. Of the nine remaining cases, six are in Kerikeri and three are in Whangārei. The nine cases are under investigation to determine whether they are linked to existing cases. In [...]

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

Reports outline plan to improve NZ cancer prevention, treatment

Two major cancer reports have outlined a plan to improve prevention and treatment of the disease in New Zealand. Pūrongo Ārai Mate Pukupuku, the Cancer Prevention Report, from Te Aho o Te Kahu, the Cancer Control Agency, focuses on recommendations for addressing risk factors including tobacco; alcohol; poor nutrition and excess body weight; a lack of physical activity; excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation; and chronic infections. Around 25,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year and Te Aho o Te Kahu said up to half of these could be prevented through improved prevention measures. Approximately 10,600 Kiwis die each year from cancer. The report states if all risks are addressed through prevention measures, 4400 fewer people could die. “If we look at tobacco, for example, something like one in [...]

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

Philippine Presidential candidates pitch platforms, plans and programs

A peek into the minds of the contending aspirants for the highest post in the land as the election campaign period officially begins next week Presidential candidates in the May 2022 polls attend the presidential forum organized by the KBP. Screenshot from the forum. De Guzman: Land reform will end insurgency Labor leader and presidential aspirant Leody de Guzman plans to end the country’s 53-year-old communist insurgency by implementing a “proper and broad-based” land reform program. “My solution is to respond to the demands of the [New People’s Army (NPA)] as stipulated in their documents. Their demand for true land reform is only just,” the labor leader said when asked on how he plans to end the communist insurgency during the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) presidential [...]

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

Republican party calls January 6 attack ‘legitimate political discourse’

Party censures Cheney and Kinzinger, the only Republicans on the Capitol attack House panel, as Pence says ‘Trump is wrong’ A mob climbs through a window they broke at the US Capitol during the January 6 attack.Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters In an extraordinary move, the Republican party officially said Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his 2020 election defeat and the deadly attack on the US Capitol were “legitimate political discourse”. A leading Democrat on the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection said historians would be “aghast”. The move by the Republican National Committee (RNC) came at its winter meetings in Salt Lake City on Friday, as part of the formal censure of Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the only Republicans on the January 6 panel. [...]

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

Winter Olympics officially open

Chinese President Xi Jinping declared the opening of the Beijing Winter Games, triggering a burst of fireworks that marked the start of an Olympics whose preparations were beset by the Covid-19 pandemic and criticism over human rights in China. Photo: IOC/Greg Martin   The ceremony in a partially-filled Bird's Nest stadium - the scene of Beijing's triumphant 2008 Summer Games launch - was filled with imagery of ice and snow, with Xi's declaration followed by red-suited "skaters" sliding across virtual ice. Held on the first day of Spring by the Chinese calendar, it began with a performance by dancers waving glowing green stalks to convey the vitality of the season, followed by an explosion of white and green fireworks that spelled the word "Spring". On a three-dimensional cube resembling [...]

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

More Covid vaccines for Samoa and Tonga from NZ

New Zealand has donated additional Pfizer vaccines to Tonga and Samoa. The Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, said Aotearoa New Zealand is donating an additional 9,300 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Tonga, and 10,000 doses to Samoa, She said it is part of this country's ongoing commitment to global vaccination efforts and to support vaccine rollout in the Pacific. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   This donation brings New Zealand's total vaccine donations to over 47,000 for Tonga and 94,000 for Samoa. The Associate Health Minister Aupito William Sio said the vaccines will enable frontline workers and vulnerable populations to access a booster as early as possible,. The foreign minister said with Tonga in lockdown and Covid detected at the border in Samoa, "ensuring populations are boosted will play [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: New record number of 243 new daily cases in the community today

New Zealand has recorded the highest number of community cases in one day, with 243 new cases reported today. Photo: 123rf.com   The previous highest number of cases reported in one day was 222 during the Delta outbreak in November. In a statement, the Health Ministry said the continued increase in cases today is "a reminder that, as expected, the Omicron variant is spreading in our communities as we have seen in other countries". The ministry said getting a booster dose as soon as it is due was one of the best steps to take. "Boosters lower your chances of getting very sick and being hospitalised. Being boosted also helps slow the spread of the virus. If you're over 18 and your booster is due, please get it now." [...]

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

PH Gov’t pursues holistic livestock industry development to help keep prices stable— NEDA

The Philippine government continues to strengthen its policies to support the livestock industry and reduce food prices, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said. As reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) today, the country’s headline inflation rate continued its downward trend as it further eased to 3.0 percent in January 2022 from 3.2 percent in December 2021. Non-food inflation slightly declined to 3.8 percent in January from 3.9 percent in December. Meanwhile, food inflation remained at 1.6 percent in January, as the slower inflation in meat was offset by the faster inflation in corn. Meat inflation fell to 4.3 percent in January from 8.7 percent in December, as inflation for all meat products decreased. In particular, pork inflation decreased to 6.2 percent from 10.8 percent. On the [...]

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

Johnson under pressure as more Tory MPs call for him to go

Gary Streeter, Tobias Ellwood and Anthony Mangnall all make moves on Wednesday in sign of rising anger At least 54 letters would be required to trigger a vote among Tory MPs on Johnson’s future.Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images A fresh wave of Conservative MPs have submitted letters of no confidence in Boris Johnson, breaking cover to criticise the prime minister as the fallout from Downing Street parties scandal continued to imperil his premiership. In a sign that Johnson’s position is still under threat despite No 10’s desperate attempts to move on from the crisis, three more MPs publicly called on the prime minister to resign, describing their shock and anger at Johnson’s conduct since the publication of the interim report. The Guardian has been told of one other backbench MP [...]

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

Ottawa police considering military intervention to end ‘unlawful’ blockad

Authorities also warned brining in the military carried a ‘massive risk’ as they believed the protesters are armed Dozens of tractor trailers are refusing to leave the highway near Coutts, Alberta, where drivers are protesting mask mandates, vaccines, and other Covid-19 restrictions. Photograph: Jeff McIntosh/AP CANADA— Police in Ottawa warned they may have to call in the military to disband “unlawful” protests in the nation’s capital and a town near the US border, amid mounting tensions between protesters opposing Covid restrictions and local residents. The Ottawa police chief, Peter Sloly, warned on Wednesday that the officers did not have the resources to remove a fleet of trucks parked by the protesters in the national capital, adding the city was considering requesting help from Canadian armed forces. But he warned [...]

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

Robredo not open to unification talks with Marcos

Metro Manila, Philippines— Vice President Leni Robredo is not opening her doors for a possible unification with rival former senator Bongbong Marcos amid the latter's refusal to admit his crime and the atrocities committed under his father's regime. According to the presidential hopeful, discussions about unification should always be "based on justice." "Alam natin na mayroon pa siyang hindi pinapanagutan na mga ginawa niya, na mahirap makipagsundo dahil una walang pagtanggap," Robredo said when the topic of reconciliation cropped up during an interview with DZRH. "Itong klase ng pamamahala na nire-represent niya, hindi ito 'yung klase ng pulitika at pamamahala na makakabuti sa bansa," Robredo also said. [Translation: We know he has yet to admit the things he has committed, making it difficult to reconcile because, firstly, there is [...]

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

PH mortality rate in 2021 highest in 63 years; COVID, heart attack leading causes of death — POPCOM

The Philippines has registered its highest mortality rate in 63 years in 2021, with more than 760,000 deaths recorded mostly due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and heart attacks, the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) said.   (FILE PHOTO)   Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), POPCOM said a total of 768,504 deaths have been registered across the country in the first 11 months of 2021—translating to a mortality rate of 6.98 per thousand. POPCOM’s report showed that ischemic heart disease is the leading cause of death in 2021 which killed 110,332 Filipinos from January to October 2021, higher than the 86,164 in the previous year. This was followed by COVID-19 which was tagged as the underlying cause of death for 75,285 Filipinos last year, up from [...]

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

Tokyo’s daily COVID-19 infections exceed 20,000 for first time

People wearing protective face masks are seen in Tokyo, Japan on Feb 1, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/Issei Kato) TOKYO— New COVID-19 cases in Tokyo exceeded 20,000 for the first time on Wednesday (Feb 2), dimming hopes that a wave of infections fuelled by the Omicron variant is peaking in Japan. Nationwide cases reached a record 91,760, while 18 prefectures recorded all-time highs, according to a tally by online news service JX Press. Tokyo reported 21,576 new cases, surpassing the previous record of 17,631 in the Japanese capital on Friday. The closely watched usage rate of hospital beds reserved for COVID-19 patients edged up to 51.4 per cent. Officials previously said that a state of emergency would be needed if the rate reached 50 per cent, but now say the decision [...]

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

New Zealand to stay closed to foreigners until October

FILE PHOTO: A photo taken on Aug 9, 2021 shows an Air New Zealand plane taking off from Auckland Airport. (AFP/William West) AUCKLAND— New Zealand will not fully reopen its borders until October, as it cautiously dismantles some of the world's toughest pandemic border restrictions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday (Feb 3). Ardern announced a five-step plan to reconnect New Zealand to the rest of the world, beginning with waiving hotel quarantine requirements for Kiwis stranded overseas by the pandemic. She said New Zealanders in Australia could return home and self-isolate, rather than going into quarantine, from Feb 27, followed two weeks later by Kiwis elsewhere in the world. The border quarantine regime will then be progressively relaxed to allow in other groups such as skilled migrants, international [...]

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

Fines up to $12k for isolation breaches when border opens

Fines up to $12,000 could be issued for those who do not comply with self-isolation requirements when the international border opens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced. New border reopening dates were released by the Government on Thursday, with vaccinated Kiwis offshore allowed to come home from various countries in a staggered approach, without having to go through MIQ. The announcement came with a warning. Ardern said fines between $4000 and $12,000 could be issued if self-isolation requirements were breached. The arrivals area at Auckland Airport. (Source: Getty)   “When you move to self-isolation it does have a high level of personal responsibility involved," she said. “We have made the decision to move to this phase at a time when New Zealand will be in a better position to deal [...]

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

Covid-19: Border reopening for New Zealanders confirmed for end of February – what you need to know

New Zealanders in Australia will be able to return home by the end of the month under a five-stage reopening plan announced by the government today. The first stages of the plan would see returning vaccinated New Zealanders able to go into self-isolation and taking a test on arrival, rather than going into managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ). The five stages: 11.59pm 27 February: Self-isolation opens for New Zealanders and eligible travellers coming from Australia 11.59pm 13 March: Open to New Zealanders and eligible travellers from the rest of the world; skilled workers earning at least 1.5x median wage; working holiday visas 11.59pm 12 April: Offshore temporary visa holders who still meet visa requirements; 5000 international students; consideration of further class exemptions for critical workforces that do not meet [...]

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

PM Lee ‘cautiously optimistic’ about 2022 as Singapore progressively reopens borders, resumes travel

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday (Jan 31) that he is “cautiously optimistic” about the year ahead, as Singapore progressively reopens its borders and resumes travel. Speaking to journalists on a visit to Jurong Point on the eve of Chinese New Year, Mr Lee said that while some sectors like F&B and tourism are still facing issues, Singapore’s economy is on "an even keel" and set to grow 3 to 5 per cent this year. Responding to a question about his thoughts for 2022, Mr Lee said: “Economically, I think it’s not bad because America’s economy is quite strong, still growing well. Europe, a bit more guarded but they’re also growing." He said while the Omicron wave is an uncertainty, "it has gone up quickly (and) [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: 126 new community cases, 79 in MIQ

There are 126 new cases of Covid-19 in the community and 79 at the border, the Ministry of Health is reporting today. Photo: 123RF   It comes as Cabinet prepares to discuss the reopening of New Zealand's borders. Today's new community cases are in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Lakes, Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti, Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Nelson Marlborough, and Canterbury. In a statement, the Ministry of Health said there were 22,508 booster doses administered yesterday, taking the total to date to 1,324,160. "With Omicron in New Zealand, the best thing you can do is get your booster as soon as it is due," the ministry said. "Boosters lower your chances of getting very sick and being hospitalised. Being boosted also helps slow the spread of the virus. If you're [...]

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

Russia, US exchange harsh words over Ukraine at UN

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, addresses the United Nations Security Council, before a vote, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)   UNITED NATIONS — Russia accused the West on Monday of “whipping up tensions” over Ukraine and said the U.S. had brought “pure Nazis” to power in Kyiv as the U.N. Security Council held a stormy and bellicose debate on Moscow’s troop buildup near its southern neighbor. U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield shot back that Russia’s growing military force of more than 100,000 troops along Ukraine’s borders was “the largest mobilization” in Europe in decades, adding that there has been a spike in cyberattacks and Russian disinformation. “And they are attempting, without any factual basis, to paint Ukraine and Western countries as the aggressors to fabricate a [...]

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

Philippine Senate, House pass bills granting more benefits to health workers

Health workers. Artwork by Ed Lustan   MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Monday unanimously passed a bill granting monthly risk allowances to health workers ranging from P3,000 to P9,000 depending on risk classification, and compensation for death or sickness, among other benefits. By a 23-0 vote, the chamber approved Senate Bill No. 2421, or the proposed COVID-19 Benefits and Allowances for Health Workers Act of 2021, sponsored by the committees on finance, health and ways and means. Under the senators’ proposal, all public and private medical personnel in hospitals and COVID-19 facilities will be entitled to a monthly COVID-19 risk allowance, depending on risk. Those with “low risk exposure,” meaning they perform administrative duties, in nonpublic areas, or away from other staff and patients, will receive P3,000 per [...]

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

OCTA: ‘Worst is over’ in most of PH as COVID-19 cases decline

FILE PHOTO   Metro Manila, Philippines  — The COVID-19 situation in most parts of the country is improving, according to OCTA Research. “We believe that the worst is over in most parts of the country,” OCTA Research fellow Guido David said in a forum on Monday, noting that COVID-19 cases in many areas have either peaked or are peaking. “The decrease is happening earlier in Cebu City compared to Mandaue but, nevertheless, we are seeing a decrease in Cebu, also in Davao City,” he added. However, David said there is “a significant increase in new cases” in several areas in Mindanao, including the provinces of Bukidnon, Camiguin, Cotabato, Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental, Maguindanao, Negros Oriental, Sarangani, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat. The government [...]

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

Average asking price for New Zealand houses tops $1 million

The national average asking price for a home in January means house prices have more than doubled over the past 10 years to more than $1 million. The sale of dwellings is slowing and due to tightened lending rules, according to realestate.co.nz. (Source: rnz.co.nz)   The national average asking price rose 1.4 per cent in January over December to just over $1 million on realestate.co.nz. Gisborne's asking prices rose 20 per cent while Central Otago/Lakes District dropped 8.1 per cent. The number of houses available for sale was up 28.5 per cent on the year earlier, with a year-on-year increase of about 4500 homes. However, January listings on realestate.co.nz were down 1.7 per cent year-on-year, reflecting a slowdown in the number of sales. "A significant factor at play is [...]

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

Supply chain issues expected until late 2022 – expert

During Omicron outbreaks, experts say New Zealand’s supply chains will only be as healthy as the people running them. The highly-contagious Covid-19 variant has stifled workforces in Australia, so will we suffer the same fate if the variant takes hold here? Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation president Chris Edwards said empty shelves were not inevitable if New Zealand learnt lessons from in Australia. “If we’re smart we can get through it, if we’re not, we’ll have significant issues.” Omicron's high transmission rate and isolation requirements mean labour shortages could stifle supply chains and workforces. “If businesses can’t test themselves or isolation requirements are too long then the supply chain will be under significant pressure,” Edwards said. He added that retailers could also be severely disrupted by consumers choosing [...]

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

New Zealand Cabinet ministers to finalise dates for reopening borders

Cabinet ministers are expected to discuss their plan for reopening the borders when they meet today. A managed isolation and quarantine facility in Christchurch. File photo. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon   A staged timeline was outlined late last year, but was quickly pushed back because of the risks posed by the Covid-19 Omicron variant. The latest plan states that from the end of February, vaccinated New Zealanders in Australia, and possibly elsewhere, will be allowed to skip managed isolation and isolate at home. The same conditions are set down for most foreigners from the end of April. Ministers have been reviewing those dates, and RNZ News understands Cabinet will finalise, but not announce them, today. 'Betrayal' Former Police Assistant Commissioner David Cliff who has moved to Switzerland for [...]

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

British PM Johnson refuses to resign over lockdown parties

Instead, he said his government was focused on driving economic growth and leading the Western response to the Ukraine crisis. PHOTO: EPA-EFE LONDON - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday (Jan 26) rejected opposition calls to resign for attending lockdown parties but accepted that a rule that ministers should lose their jobs if they had knowingly misled Parliament applied to him. Mr Johnson, who in 2019 won the biggest Conservative majority in more than 30 years, is braced for the publication of an official investigation into claims that there were multiple boozy Downing Street parties during lockdowns. He told Parliament no rules were broken. It was not immediately clear when the results of that investigation by Cabinet Office official Sue Gray would be published, especially as police have [...]

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

Winter Olympics 2022: China eases Covid testing rules amid rise in cases

REUTERS The majority of the Beijing public aren't allowed to attend the Games due to Covid restrictions Organisers of the Beijing Winter Olympics have eased a Covid-19 testing requirement for participants, amid a growing number of cases in the capital. The new change makes it easier for participants arriving at the Games to be considered virus-free. Of more than 3,000 Olympic arrivals, 106 have tested positive for the virus since 4 January. Outside of the tournament's closed-off premises, Beijing locals are facing harsher restrictions and new lockdowns. Around two million residents in Beijing's Fengtai district have been told to undergo testing, as a handful of locally transmitted cases were found earlier this week. Locals who bought over-the-counter treatments for fever or cough symptoms have also been told to do [...]

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

Covid-19 in Australia: At least 59 deaths, 45,000 new cases today

As some Australian states appear to be getting past the biggest peak of Omicron, officials continue to call for people to take up booster vaccinations.   People queuing for Covid-19 testing in Melbourne, early January. Photo: Recep Sakar / Anadolu Agency via AFP Daily updates by state: NSW: 17,316 new cases, 2,722 people in hospital, 181 in ICU, 29 deaths VIC: 13,755 new cases, 1057 people in hospital, 117 in ICU, 15 deaths QLD: 11,600 new cases, 829 people in hospital, 48 in ICU, 15 deaths SA: 1953 new cases, 288 people in hospital, 27 in ICU TAS: 726 new cases, 24 people in hospital NSW NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant called on older residents and those with underlying health issues to get the booster shot. She said [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update: 45 new community cases, 34 Omicron cases added to total

There are 45 new community cases of Covid-19 today, with the number of Omicron cases in the community rising to 90. File image. Photo: 123RF   In a statement, the Ministry of Health said there were 34 new Omicron cases. The ministry said there were active cases being treated as Omicron in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Palmerston North, and Nelson-Tasman. It said many of the new cases have previously been reported and linked retrospectively, so were not included in today's report of new community cases. "The number of cases and contacts are expected to grow given the highly transmissible nature of Omicron and as we learn more from case interviews." The ministry also confirmed that one of the five cases who tested positive in Auckland after going [...]

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

PH May 2022 Elections: Comelec reveals final ballot face for 2022 polls

Metro Manila, PHILIPPINES  — The Commission on Elections on Tuesday released the official ballot face for the May 2022 general elections. Included in the ballot are 10 presidential candidates, nine vice presidential candidates, and 64 senatorial bets. The candidates vying for the highest post in the country are: Ernie Abella, Leody de Guzman, Isko Domagoso, Norberto Gonzales, Ping Lacson, Faisal Mangondato, Bongbong Marcos, Jose Montemayor, Jr., Manny Pacquiao, and Leni Robredo. The Comelec earlier said that Marcos’ name will remain in the ballot until there is a reason to remove him. At least three cases against his candidacy have been junked, while the rest are up for resolution. Meanwhile, the following are the vice-presidential race contenders: Lito Atienza, Walden Bello, Rizalito David, Sara Duterte, Manny Lopez, Willie Ong, Francis [...]

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

Covid-19: 23 new community cases reported in NZ, number of Omicron cases reaches 56

There have been 23 new community cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand today, with the total number of Omicron cases reported in the community now at 56. File image. Photo: 123RF In a statement, the Ministry of Health said there were also 36 new cases at the border There are six people in hospital with the coronavirus in New Zealand. Today's new community cases are in Northland (one), Auckland (12), Waikato (three), Rotorua (five), Capital and Coast (one), Nelson Marlborough (one). The ministry said there had now been 56 community cases confirmed as Omicron through whole genome sequencing, or were suspected Omicron. That included 44 cases linked to a family event and other associated events in Auckland on the weekend of 15 and 16 January. The 15 new [...]

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

Australia Day events held, calls for country to unite as ‘one mob’

Australia Day events have begun around the country, with ceremonies in Sydney celebrating the oldest living culture in the world and acknowledging January 26 is a "sombre" day for many. The Opera House's sails were illuminated with a projection named Goanna Songline by Central Desert artist David Miller, a senior Pitjantjatjara man. The Australian and Aboriginal flags were then raised on top of the Harbour Bridge, where they'll remain for the day as a symbol of harmony. Artwork by Pitjantjatjara man Yadjidta David Miller is projected onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House at dawn.(AAP: Bianca de Marchi) Chris McCrae from Evans Head celebrating Australia Day on the NSW North Coast.(ABC News: Bronwyn Herbert)   The WugulOra Morning Ceremony was held at Gudjyi (Barangaroo Reserve), a place where Eora women once paddled their canoes to catch fish and collect shellfish. Wiradjuri woman and [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 Update: Next phases of government’s Omicron plan revealed

Isolation periods for Covid-19 cases and close contacts will be reduced as the country goes through a new three-step approach to Omicron unveiled by the government this afternoon. Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall has provided more detail on the government's new three-step approach to Omicron. Watch the announcement here: The first phase includes an intensive approach to contact tracing. Under the second phase, the focus will shift to people who are more at risk, and critical workers. "This is ultimately about ensuring the wellbeing of all New Zealanders. This has been the principle of our Covid-19 response right from the beginning." Dr Verrall said the number of cases will determine what phase the country is at. The country could move to Phase Two when numbers are less than 1000 [...]

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

Getting Australians out of Ukraine amid Russia tensions a ‘cautious’ step, government says

Marise Payne says the government's priority is making sure Australians in Ukraine are safe.(ABC News: Adam Kennedy)The federal government has defended its decision to urge Australians to leave Ukraine and begin making arrangements to get the families of diplomats out of the capital. Key points: There are around 1,400 Australians in Ukraine at the moment Ukraine has described the government's move to get diplomat's families out of the country as "premature" Australia has offered more support to Ukraine to bolster its cybersecurity defences against Russia On Monday night, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade updated the travel advice for the country to "do not travel" because of the "increased risk of armed conflict". Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said there were around 1,400 Australians in Ukraine at the moment, who [...]

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

US Navy pilot ejects, 7 hurt in F-35 South China Sea ‘landing mishap’

An F-35C jet prepares to catapult from the deck of the USS Carl Vinson in the Western Pacific, south of Japan, Nov 30, 2021. (File photo: REUTERS/Tim Kelly) WASHINGTON— Seven US Navy sailors were hurt on Monday (Jan 24) when an F-35C warplane had a "landing mishap" on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the South China Sea and the pilot ejected, the US Navy said. A navy statement said the incident happened during "routine flight operations" in the South China Sea. "The pilot safely ejected from the aircraft and was recovered via US military helicopter," it said. "The pilot is in stable condition. There were seven total sailors injured." The statement said three of the sailors required evacuation to a medical facility in Manila and four [...]

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

NZ’s average house asking price reaches high of $956K

The national average asking price for a property jumped by a quarter year-on-year in December to reach a new high of $956,150, according to the latest Trade Me Property Price Index. Houses in Mt Albert, Auckland (file picture). (Source: istock.com)   Last month’s national average asking price increase was the largest on record, Trade Me Property sales director Gavin Lloyd said in a media release. “After entering the $900,000 bracket for the first time in November, the national average asking price continued to break records and show unprecedented growth last month. December marked the third month in a row where we saw property prices increase by more than 20 per cent year-on-year." The average asking price last month increased by “at least 15 per cent year-on-year in December” in [...]

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

US puts 8,500 troops on heightened alert amid fears over Ukraine

Soldiers placed on standby to deploy to Europe as concerns over possible ‘lightning attack’ by Russia grow The USS Harry S Truman aircraft carrier is now under Nato command in the Mediterranean.Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA The US has placed 8,500 troops on heightened alert to deploy to Europe as Nato reinforced its eastern borders with warships and fighter jets, amid growing fears of a possible “lightning” attack by Russia to seize the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the troops, all of them currently stationed in the US, would be on standby to take part in Nato’s Response Force (NRF) if it is activated, but would also be available “if other situations develop”. The alert order issued by the defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, reduces the number of days [...]

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

Global stock markets dive as fears of Ukraine conflict rattle investors

European markets slide to lowest levels since October, with New York also hit A Ukrainian soldier on the frontline in Pisky. Russia has amassed forces and equipment near the Ukrainian border, raising the spectre of a possible invasion. Photograph: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Global stock markets have fallen sharply as fears of military conflict in Ukraine spooked investors, wiping £53bn off the value of the UK’s blue-chip share index. European markets tumbled by 3.8% to their lowest levels since October, their biggest one-day fall in more than 18 months, after Nato said it was reinforcing its eastern borders with land, sea and air forces as a Russian invasion of Ukraine appeared increasingly likely. Volatility soared, as investors also feared the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, would raise interest rates several [...]

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

Auckland’s Lantern Festival cancelled for third year running

Auckland’s much-loved Lantern Festival has been cancelled for the third year running. Auckland Lantern Festival (Source: istock.com)   Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the event can't run under gathering limits required at the Red traffic light setting, and given the uncertainty about how long it will be in place, the decision was made to cancel. “The Auckland Lantern Festival is New Zealand’s largest cultural celebration, and a key component of the Auckland event calendar, especially for the Auckland-Chinese community,” he said. “After the cancellation due to Covid of the 2020 and 2021 festivals and other major Chinese New Year events scheduled for early next month, this year’s event was highly anticipated, and we are disappointed to have to cancel it again. “However, the safety of our communities has to [...]

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

Turnover of P614-M China military aid to PH set February

MANILA – The Chinese government has allocated PHP1 billion worth of military assistance to the Philippines, with the first batch of equipment worth around PHP614 million delivered a week ago. Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said the equipment, mostly vehicles, would be formally turned over in February. "The first batch of the military equipment worth RMB76 million arrived in Manila on January 16, including rescue and relief equipment, which will be formally turned over to the DND (Department of National Defense) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) in February. The second batch worth RMB54 million will be delivered on a later date," he said in a statement on Saturday. The donation was part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's 2019 commitment to assist and support the Philippine government in its [...]

January 23rd, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

‘Such is life’ – PM’s wedding ‘not going ahead’ as NZ moves to Red

The Prime Minister's wedding with Clarke Gayford is not going ahead for now in light of the Omicron outbreak. Clarke Gayford and Jacinda Ardern. (Source: Getty)   The country will go to the Red setting at 11.59pm on Sunday. Jacinda Ardern said Kiwis should plan to be in Red, at least, "for a few weeks, we are right at the start of this outbreak". "My wedding will not be going ahead," she said during Sunday's media conference. "But I just join many other New Zealanders who have had an experience like that as a result of the pandemic and to anyone who’s caught up in that scenario, I am so sorry. "We are all so resilient and I know we understand we are doing this for one another, and [...]

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

NZ to move to Red at 11.59pm tonight, Nelson-Tasman cases confirmed as Omicron

The whole of New Zealand will move to the Red setting of the traffic light system at 11:59pm on Sunday night as the Omicron Covid-19 variant has begun to spread in the community. File photo (Source: rnz.co.nz)   The Prime Minister and Director of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield held a media conference Sunday morning, confirming the cases in Nelson and Tasman are the Omicron variant. The family had attended a wedding in Auckland, where more than 100 people attended. A flight attendant picked up the virus on a flight, and there was another case confirmed of a wedding attendee. "Omicron is now circulating in Auckland and possibly Nelson-Tasman region, if not elsewhere." Ardern said Kiwis should plan to be in Red, at least, "for a few weeks, we are [...]

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

Christchurch City Council considers removing library fines for overdue books

Library fines for overdue books would be abolished under a recommendation to be considered by the Christchurch City Council next week. Photo: Unsplash / Jessica Ruscello   An increasing number of libraries across New Zealand and overseas are scrapping fines, including Auckland, Dunedin, San Francisco and New York. They found return rates increased when fine-free policies were introduced. Fines for overdue items are currently charged at 70 cents per day, up to a maximum of $21 per item at Christchurch public libraries. Memberships are blocked once people have $30 or more in unpaid fines and charges, or owe fines for more than 21 days. Once this happens, they cannot borrow items, put them on hold or access eResources. Council staff have recommended getting rid of library fines and writing [...]

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

Ukraine tension: US ‘lethal aid’ arrives in Kyiv amid border build-up

US EMBASSY KYIV The US embassy in Kyiv released photos of Saturday's shipment as it pledged ongoing support for Ukraine   Some 90 tonnes of US "lethal aid" has arrived in Ukraine, amid tensions over Russia's troop build-up on the border. It was the first shipment of a recently approved package of US military aid for Ukraine, and included ammunition for "front-line defenders". The delivery followed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to Kyiv this week, where he warned of a tough response if Russia was to invade. Moscow has denied any plans to attack or invade Ukraine. US President Joe Biden approved the $200m (£147.5m) security support package in December. The US embassy in Kyiv said the shipment demonstrated its "firm commitment to Ukraine's sovereign right to [...]

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

Australia delivers water, telecommunications aid to Tonga

This combination of this satellite images provided by Maxar Technologies shows an overview of Nomuka in the Tonga island group on Aug. 17, 2020, left, and Jan. 20, 2022, right, showing the damage after the Jan. 15 eruption. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies via AP)   CANBERRA, Australia— Three flights from Australia carrying food, water, medical supplies and telecommunications equipment landed in Tonga on Saturday, as the Pacific nation grapples with the aftermath of an underwater volcanic eruption and tsunami. Planes from other nations, including New Zealand and Japan, have also brought sorely needed aid to the Tongan people, said Zed Seselja, Australian minister for international development and the Pacific. The first such aid arrived Thursday, after the main airport runway was cleared of ash spewed when the nearby [...]

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

23 new Covid cases today, ‘possible’ Auckland Omicron case

There are 23 new Covid-19 cases in the community on Friday, the Ministry of Health has announced. People tested at a pop-up Covid-19 testing station in Auckland (file photo). (Source: Getty)   The cases are in Auckland (11), Waikato (1), Lakes (8), Hawke’s Bay (2) and Nelson Marlborough (1). Eighteen people are in hospital with the virus, including one in an intensive care or high dependency unit. The ministry also said the case in Palmerston North had been confirmed as being infected with the Omicron variant. The case became symptomatic on Wednesday and returned a positive test result that evening. They had been released from MIQ in Christchurch on Sunday, January 16 and had returned five negative tests throughout their stay. Whole genome sequencing confirmed the Omicron variant last [...]

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

PH economy seen growing 7% in ’22

The Philippine economy is likely to expand at a faster pace of 7 percent this year on the back of sustained fiscal and monetary stimulus, reduced mobility restrictions and the attainment of herd immunity against COVID-19, the chief economist of Maybank Investment Bank said. This macroeconomic backdrop is seen supportive of local equities, which will likely propel the main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) to 8,200 by the year’s end, while corporate earnings may rise by an average of 19 percent, Maybank’s analysts said. At a briefing, economist Suhaimi Ilias said sustained economic reopening would be a key theme for gross domestic product (GDP) growth across Southeast Asia this year as opposed to the recurring lockdowns of the past two years. Pace of vaccination One critical factor cited is [...]

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

Coronavirus: Austrian parliament approves mandatory vaccination order

GETTY IMAGES Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein said the mandate was how the country would "escape the cycle of opening and closing, of lockdowns"   Austria has moved closer to introducing a compulsory vaccination order after parliament's lower house voted in favour of new government proposals. The law, which is due to come into effect on 1 February, would make Austria the first European country to introduce a mandatory jab. From mid-March the law will see adults unvaccinated against Covid-19 subjected to fines of up to €3,600 (£2,994). So far, 72% of Austrians have been fully vaccinated against the virus. The bill must now pass the upper house and be signed into law by President Alexander Van der Bellen, steps largely expected to be formalities. The vaccine order is expected [...]

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

Thailand to resume quarantine-free travel for vaccinated arrivals in February

International visitors await instructions from health officials inside the arrival terminal at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Thailand on Nov 1, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Lillian Suwanrumpha) BANGKOK—  Thailand will resume its "Test & Go" quarantine waiver for vaccinated arrivals from Feb 1, its coronavirus task force said on Thursday (Jan 20), in response to slowing COVID-19 infections. The scheme was suspended a month ago after only seven weeks due to the rapid global spread of the Omicron variant and uncertainty about vaccine effectiveness against it. The policy requires visitors to test on arrival and again five days later, while agreeing to have their whereabouts tracked, spokesperson Taweesin Wisanuyothin told a briefing. Authorities also extended the hours restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol to 11pm from 9pm. Bars and nightclubs will remain closed, however. The [...]

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

NZers urged to prepare for potentially thousands of daily Omicron infections

New Zealanders are being urged to prepare for potentially thousands of daily Covid-19 infections once the Omicron variant starts spreading in the community. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, with Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall, said the country would move to the red traffic light setting once Omicron was spreading in the community. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin   Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has set out the way ahead at Labour's annual caucus retreat in New Plymouth. But Opposition parties are accusing the government of making up the plan as it goes along. Omicron is knocking on the door and loudly with dozens of cases picked up in Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) every day. The variant is already slowly seeping through the border and [...]

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

Covid-19 update: Omicron case confirmed in Palmerston North

A case of Covid-19 detected in Palmerston North has been confirmed to be the Omicron variant, the Ministry of Health says.        Photo: 123rf.com   In total, there are 23 Covid-19 cases in the community today and 40 infections at the border. In a statement, the Ministry of Health said "Whole genome sequencing has confirmed that the case who tested positive in Palmerston North has the Omicron variant of Covid-19. "The case became symptomatic on Wednesday and returned a positive COVID-19 test result on Wednesday evening, with WGS confirmed Thursday evening. "Whole genome sequencing has identified similarities to border cases identified in Auckland, but no direct links. It has not identified any links to cases in the Christchurch MIQ facility, suggesting that the source of infection is [...]

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

Tonga eruption sets world record for booming heard so far from volcano

Volcanologists estimate the material ejected in the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai eruption was about twice that of the Mount St Helens eruption in 1980. Hunga Tonga— Hunga Ha'apai erupting on 14 January - the day before an even more violent eruption. Photo: Tonga Geological Services/ EyePress News via AFP   GNS Science says initial assessments indicate that up to one cubic kilometre of material spewed from the Tongan volcano. The eruption and gas plumes on 15 January rose about 30 kilometres into the sky. In a statement, GNS Science Duty Vulcanologist Steve Sherburn said this eruption was the largest in the volcano's current eruptive episode that dates back to 2009. He said it was much more violent than scientists had expected, given the volcano's smaller eruptions in recent decades. The [...]

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

Malaysia government allocates RM680 million to ensure price stability for essential goods: Minister

File photo of workers filling shelves at a supermarket in Bentong, in Malaysia’s Pahang state, on January 14, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan) KOTA KINABALU— The Malaysian government has set aside RM680 million (US$162 million) to ensure price standardisation and price stabilisation for essential goods, said Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi. A total of RM400 million has been set aside for the cooking oil price stabilisation programme and RM40 million for the general use flour subsidy programme, Mr Nanta Linggi told reporters after an event at Pasar Besar Kota Kinabalu on Monday (Jan 17). He said another RM240 million would be allocated for the implementation of the price standardisation programme, which included the distribution of essential goods, liquefied petroleum gas and community drumming programme, Bernama reported. [...]

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

Australia suffers deadliest day of COVID-19 pandemic as Omicron drives up hospital cases

Healthcare workers wait for the next vehicle at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing clinic as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in Sydney, Australia, December 30, 2021. REUTERS/Nikki Short SYDNEY— Australia on Tuesday (Jan 18) suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic as a fast-moving Omicron outbreak continued to push up hospitalisation rates to record levels, even as daily infections eased slightly. Australia is dealing with its worst COVID-19 outbreak, fuelled by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus that has put more people in hospitals and intensive care than at any time during the pandemic. A total of 74 deaths were registered by late morning between New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, Australia's three most populous states, exceeding the previous national high of 57 last Thursday, official data [...]

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

Comelec division denies petition to cancel Marcos’ presidential bid

Metro Manila, PHILIPPINES  — The Commission on Elections second division has denied a petition of civic leaders to cancel the candidacy of presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos for lack of merit. Commissioners Socorro Inting (the presiding commissioner), Antonio Kho Jr, and Rey Bulay dismissed the petition of the group of civic leaders led by priest Christian Buenafe and political prisoners' group KAPATID against late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' son and namesake. "The Second Division ruled that there was no ground to cancel Marcos Jr.'s COC on the ground of material misrepresentation," the group's lead counsel Theodore Te relayed. The petitioners sought the cancellation of Marcos' presidential bid on the ground that his certificate of candidacy contains false material representations, including his assertion that he is eligible to seek the presidency despite [...]

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

PH to tap pharmacies, private clinics to expand booster program

  (FILE PHOTO)   Metro Manila, PHILIPPINES— The government will seek the help of big pharmacies and private clinics to be able to administer more booster doses for COVID-19 vaccination. The government will make booster shots available in select branches of Mercury Drug, Watsons, The Generics Pharmacy, Generika, South Star Drug, QualiMed, and Healthway in Metro Manila towards the end of the week, according to presidential adviser for COVID-19 response Vince Dizon. "They responded immediately to the call of the national government. We will now start with seven pharmacies in Metro Manila which we will launch on Thursday and Friday," he said during a televised briefing that aired on Tuesday. The official said the Resbakuna sa mga Botika program will help ease pressure on vaccination sites manned by local [...]

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

Traffic light system may need strengthening, Bloomfield says

The Ministry of Health is looking at whether to tweak the traffic light system in the face of Omicron, says the Director-General of Health. Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield speaks to reporters. (Source: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone)   The Government is due to share plans of its Omicron preparations in the coming weeks. Dr Ashley Bloomfield says the declining number of cases in the ongoing Delta outbreak shows the traffic light system has worked well. But he told Morning Report the system, based on vaccination certificates, is less suited to Omicron. A person working at an MIQ facility in Auckland tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday. The following day is was confirmed the person had the Omicron variant. The worker, who was infectious from January 10, took two [...]

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

New Zealand sends Navy ships to Tonga after airport ash

New Zealand is sending two naval ships to Tonga, after ash on Nuku’alofa airport's runway prevented the landing of the Hercules flight that was scheduled to bring in aid. (Source: Supplied)   The ships will take over urgent supplies including water and also survey and diving teams to assess the shipping channels and ports. Defence Minister Peeni Henare said the HMNZS Wellington Navy ship would take the survey and diving teams and a Seasprite helicopter, while the HMNZS Aotearoa would take bulk water supplies and other humanitarian and disaster relief supplies. "Water is among the highest priorities for Tonga at this stage and HMNZS Aotearoa can carry 250,000 litres, and produce 70,000 litres per day through a desalination plant," he said. "The survey and diving teams are able to [...]

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

Tonga tsunami death toll rises to three

The acting United Nations co-ordinator in the Pacific understands three people have died following the eruption in Tonga on Saturday. Powerful undersea volcano eruption in Tonga on Friday Jan 14, 2022. Photo: Tonga Geological Services/ EyePress News via AFP   Fiji-based United Nations co-ordinator Jonathan Veitch said two deaths were confirmed but there were still areas that had not been contacted. He said one of those fatalities was British national Angela Glover, who was reported by her family to have been killed by the tsunami. Glover is thought to have died trying to rescue her dogs at the animal charity she ran. Veitch said help was on the way for the people of Tonga. The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano, which erupted on Saturday, was about 65km north of Tonga's [...]

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

NZ Covid-19 update on 18 January: 14 new community cases today, 30 at the border

A household contact of the Omicron-infected MIQ worker in Auckland has today tested positive for Covid-19.        Photo: AFP   The MIQ worker's positive result came as part of routine testing and was reported by the ministry on 15 January. In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the household contact was symptomatic and already isolating. So far, all the other household members have returned negative tests, it said. As of this morning, 86 contacts have been identified in relation to the case - 75 have returned negative test results, and 10 people are yet to be tested. "From the exposure events linked to the initial case, there are 10 people from the two bus journeys who are yet to be tested and are being followed up [...]

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

Kiwis in Tonga urged to register on SafeTravel – MFAT

Kiwis in Tonga continue to be urged to register their details on SafeTravel after underwater volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai erupted on Saturday, causing tsunami waves to hit the Pacific kingdom and other Pacific countries. An eruption at Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai has caused a tsunami, with an evacuation warning in place in Tonga.   The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said 30 Kiwis are currently registered on SafeTravel as being in Tonga. A spokeswoman said its thoughts are with the people of Tonga as they respond to the "very concerning event". "The New Zealand High Commission in Nuku‘alofa is monitoring the situation closely and is in contact with local authorities," she said. The Commission said there are no official reports of injuries or deaths as of yet. "However, communications are limited," the spokeswoman [...]

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

Low delivery of boosters puts NZ at risk from Omicron – expert

With New Zealand still being in the early stages of its booster rollout, it is more vulnerable than other nations to the impact of the Covid-19 variant Omicron, Professor Michael Baker says. This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses (Source: Getty)   The University of Otago epidemiologist said Aotearoa has lower rates of booster shots than some other countries and does not have immunity from prior infections so it will be more at risk. He believes New Zealand is at a disadvantage despite further evidence from the UK that the variant that has spread quickly around the world is less severe. In the UK, the number of Covid cases has been declining this week after breaking daily records [...]

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

PH Gov’t mobilizes AFP, PNP, BJMP, PCG as more health workers fall ill due to COVID-19

Amid the deluge of healthcare workers getting infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the national government has started deploying personnel from the security sector to augment workforce in the hospitals. Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, assured that the government “is taking the necessary steps” to address the increasing number of healthcare workers that are getting sick. Part of their strategy is fielding personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) – particularly those with medical background – to sustain the operations of different healthcare facilities amid the surge of cases. “We mobilize the armed forces, PNP, BJMP, and our Coast [...]

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

Tsunami hits Tonga after underwater volcanic eruption

Streets and buildings flooded in Pacific nation’s main island following latest eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai Tonga underwater volcanic eruption creates tsunami waves – video   People have been forced to flee their homes and streets and buildings have flooded as tsunami waves crashed into Tonga’s main island of Tongatapu, following a huge underwater volcano explosion. A tsunami advisory was in effect for Hawaii, Alaska, the US Pacific coast and Japan, with reports of waves throwing boats up into the docks in Hawaii. The Japan Meteorological Agency said tsunami reached that country’s Pacific coast, too, with waves as high as three metres (11 feet) possible. A 1.2-metre wave reached the remote southern island of Amami Oshima and other areas along Japan’s Pacific coast observed smaller surges, the agency said. [...]

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

First wave of Auckland tourism vouchers being distributed

The first wave of Explore Tāmaki Makaurau vouchers are being released on Saturday. A general nightime view of the Auckland skyline as seen from the new Park Hyatt hotel in the Viaduct Basin. (Source: Getty) The vouchers are aimed at reactivating Auckland tourism after months of Covid-19 lockdown. They range from $50 for individuals to $100 for families and can be put towards activities around Auckland. So far 140,000 people have applied for 100,000 vouchers. Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash said last month the Explore Auckland scheme was part of a $37.5 million package put together with Auckland Council and Auckland Unlimited. Vouchers will be allocated in four rounds from January to March. Successful applicants will be notified via email and will have until the end of April to [...]

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

Cyclone Cody to pass east of NZ on Monday

MetService says Cyclone Cody will now pass east of New Zealand on Monday. Latest track of Cyclone Cody. (Source: MetService)   It has subsequently lifted the heavy rain watch which was in place for Gisborne and the Wairoa District. However, a strong wind watch is in place for the eastern Bay of Plenty and northern Gisborne. The watch is in place from 3am on Monday until midnight. MetService warns south to southeast winds may approach severe gale in exposed places at times. Hazardous conditions are still expected about exposed eastern coastlines of the North Island, where large easterly swells, significant sea surges or rips and coastal inundation are possible. Cyclone Cody is expected to move southwards towards the Chatham Islands on Tuesday. The forecast for the islands is that [...]

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

Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami: No power, communications still down

There has been little contact with Tonga since an underwater volcano, Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai, erupted early yesterday evening. A tsunami hit the Kingdom after the volcano erupted for eight minutes, throwing clouds of ash into the sky. Waves flooded the capital, Nuku'alofa, where video footage has shown water engulfing buildings. Communications with Tonga has been down since 6.30pm yesterday, with reports that power had been cut in the capital. Tongan authorities should have a clearer picture this morning of the scale of the damage from Saturday's volcanic eruption and tsunami. The New Zealand defence force is currently monitoring the situation in Tonga, and said it stands ready to assist if requested by the Tongan Government. Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai on Friday, January 15, 2022 Photo: Tonga Geological Services One-in-1000-year event, according to volcanologist Scientists [...]

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

WHO recommends Eli Lilly, GSK-Vir’s drugs, widening COVID-19 treatment pool

FILE PHOTO: The World Health Organization logo is pictured at the entrance of the WHO building, in Geneva, Switzerland, Dec 20, 2021. (Reuters/Denis Balibouse) A World Health Organization (WHO) panel recommended use of two drugs by Eli Lilly, and GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology for COVID-19 patients, adding treatment options as the fast-spreading Omicron variant renders many ineffective. WHO data shows Omicron, which is evading protection provided by many vaccines and therapies, has been identified in 149 countries. It is quickly replacing Delta as the dominant variant in several nations, forcing governments and scientists to bolster defences with testing, shots and therapies. The panel on Thursday (Jan 13) strongly recommended Lilly's baricitinib, sold under brand name Olumiant, for patients with severe COVID-19 in combination with corticosteroids, while conditionally endorsed GSK-Vir's [...]

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

Robredo says she’d rather beat Marcos in May polls than for him to get disqualified

Vice President Leni Robredo said she would rather defeat her opponent former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in the May elections than for him to get disqualified from running for the presidency. Robredo has once again refused to make a comment on Marcos’ disqualification case but she made the firm stand on the issue during a televised interview on Thursday night, Jan. 13. “Ayokong mag-comment doon sa (I don’t want to comment on the) disqualification case. But if you are– if you were to ask me, mas gusto ko talunin siya sa eleksyon para matapos na ito (I’d rather beat him in the election to finally put an end on this),” Robredo said on a CNN Philippines interview. The aspiring president said she wants to finally put an end [...]

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

Cyclone Cody: Civil Defence warns East Coast communities

Campers and residents along the East Coast are being told to prepare as remnants of Cyclone Cody track towards the North Island. Large surf at beach (file picture). (Source: Supplied)   Forecasters are busy building a picture of just how bad the storm will be. It is expected to move from where it is to south-southeast over the weekend and beginning of next week towards north of Aotearoa, making landfall over the Bay of Plenty. If the forecast is correct, then gale to storm force winds are expected to affect a large portion of northern and eastern North Island and the upper South Island, resulting in large easterly swells of up to 8m, rips, and coastal inundation around exposed eastern coastlines. It is also expected many parts of central [...]

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

UN report projects global economy growth to slow in 2022, 2023

Containers are seen at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port in Shanghai, China, on Oct 19, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Aly Song)     UNITED NATIONS— The global economy is projected to grow by 4 per cent in 2022 - down from 5.5 per cent last year - and expand 3.5 per cent in 2023 amid new waves of COVID-19 infections, labour market challenges, supply-chain constraints and rising inflation, according to a UN report released on Thursday. The World Economic Situation and Prospects 2022 report said 2021 growth momentum - following a contraction of 3.4 per cent in 2020 - began to slow by the end of the year, including in big economies like China, the European Union and the United States, as the effects of fiscal and monetary stimuli faded and major supply-chain [...]

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

China faces omicron test weeks ahead of Beijing Olympics

People wearing face masks to help protect against the coronavirus look at a display of the Winter Paralympic mascot Shuey Rhon Rhon, left, and Winter Olympic mascot Bing Dwen Dwen near the Olympic Green in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. Just weeks before hosting the Beijing Winter Olympics, China is battling multiple coronavirus outbreaks in half a dozen cities, with the one closest to the capital driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)   TAIPEI, Taiwan — Most access to a major city adjacent to Beijing was suspended Thursday as China tried to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious omicron variant, which poses a test to its “zero-tolerance” COVID-19 policy and its ability to successfully host the Winter Olympics. Tianjin, a port and manufacturing center [...]

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

Covid-19 update: 18 new community cases in New Zealand, 43 in MIQ

There have been 18 new community cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand today, with 43 cases in MIQ.            Photo: 123RF     In a statement, the Health Ministry said there were 34 people with the coronavirus in hospital, with two in intensive care. Today's new community cases were in Auckland (11), Waikato (4), Bay of Plenty (1) and Canterbury (2). The seven-day rolling average of border cases is 31, while the rolling average for community cases is 26. The Ministry said there have now been 266 Omicron cases detected at the border since the start of December, with more than 18,000 people being processed through Managed Isolation and Quarantine facilities in that time. There were 41,664 booster doses given yesterday - 45 percent [...]

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

Duterte signs law simplifying adoption process

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a new law that will further simplify adoption in the country. (FILE PHOTO)   PHILIPPINES  — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a new law that will further simplify adoption in the country. Republic Act 11642, or the Domestic Administrative Adoption and Alternative Child Care Act, was signed on Jan. 6 and released to the public on Thursday. The legislation transfers all duties and functions of government agencies related to adoption and alternative child care to a new body, the National Authority for Child Care or NACC, and its regional offices. The law ensures a swift administrative adoption process by setting a specific length of time by which the NACC and its regional offices may decide on petitions for adoption, as well as act on [...]

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

Supreme Court halts COVID-19 vaccine rule for US businesses

FILE - This artist sketch depicts lawyer Scott Keller standing to argue on behalf of more than two dozen business groups seeking an immediate order from the Supreme Court to halt a Biden administration order to impose a vaccine-or-testing requirement on the nation's large employers during the COVID-19 pandemic, at the Supreme Court in Washington, Jan. 7, 2022. The Supreme Court has stopped the Biden administration from enforcing a requirement that employees at large businesses be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing and wear a mask on the job. The court's order Thursday during a spike in coronavirus cases deals a blow to the administration's efforts to boost the vaccination rate among Americans. (Dana Verkouteren via AP, File)   WASHINGTON— The Supreme Court has stopped a major push [...]

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

MI5 warning over ‘Chinese agent’ in Parliament

Image caption, Christine Lee runs a law firm, with offices in London and Birmingham MI5 has issued a rare warning that an alleged Chinese agent has infiltrated Parliament to interfere in UK politics. An alert from the security service said Christine Ching Kui Lee "established links" for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with current and aspiring MPs. She then gave donations to politicians, with funding coming from foreign nationals in China and Hong Kong. It comes after a "significant, long-running" investigation by MI5, Whitehall sources told the BBC. One of the MPs funded by Ms Lee was Labour's Barry Gardiner, who received over £420,000 from her in five years - but he said he had always made the security services aware of the donations. Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed [...]

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

Prince Andrew loses New Zealand military patronage

Prince Andrew has also lost his New Zealand military patronage after the Queen stripped him of his military titles.   Prince Andew. File. (Source: Associated Press)     Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Duke of York was the Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (The Duke of York's Own). "As a result of patronages returning to the Queen, his appointment has now ended," Ardern said in a statement. Ardern said that any further changes to Royal patronages and appointments would be a matter for her "to raise with the Queen of New Zealand in due course".   Jacinda Ardern, file. (Source: Getty)   It comes after more than 150 veterans signed an open letter to the Queen, asking for her to strip Prince Andrew of [...]

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

Ice cream could become big export earner for New Zealand, report suggests

New Zealand is known globally for its fine wine and sweet honey, now new research is trumpeting the country's premium ice cream.           Photo: 123RF   Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash today released a government report outlining the dairy treat's potential as an export earner. The latest report for the Food and Beverage Information Project suggests New Zealand could export to Australia, Asia and the UK. "It suggests premium ice cream could potentially follow the global success of premium wine and honey exports," Nash said in a statement. "Ice cream is produced in almost every region in New Zealand and there are around 48 local manufacturers. The challenge is translating our strong global position in dairy exports into a lucrative global market for our ice cream [...]

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

In first, US doctors transplant pig heart into human

In a medical first, doctors transplanted a pig heart into a patient in a last-ditch effort to save his life and a Maryland hospital said on Tuesday that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. David Bennett and family (Source: Associated Press)   While it’s too soon to know if the operation really will work, it marks a step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for life-saving transplants. Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Centre say the transplant showed that a heart from a genetically modified animal can function in the human body without immediate rejection. The patient, David Bennett, 57, knew there was no guarantee the experiment would work but he was dying, ineligible for a human heart transplant and [...]

January 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

14 new Covid-19 community cases in NZ today

There are 14 new Covid-19 cases in the community on Tuesday, the Ministry of Health has confirmed. Covid-19 test (file photo). (Source: Getty)   The new cases were found in Auckland (9), Northland (2), Waikato (2), Wellington (1). There are also two new cases to announce in the Canterbury region, however the ministry said these cases were notified after the daily cut-off time and will be officially be added to Wednesday's numbers. The new cases are in South Canterbury and Canterbury. "The South Canterbury case remains under investigation but shares a location of interest with a previously reported case," the ministry said. "The Canterbury case remains under investigation for any link to previously reported cases." Meanwhile, one of the Northland cases was reported on Monday, but officially added to [...]

January 11th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

80% of Filipinos hope worst of Covid over

COVID WARD FULL:  A man rides past a sign informing the public that the Covid-19 ward of the San Juan de Dios Hospital is full. PHOTO BY MIKE ALQUINTO     PHILIPPINES— Majority of Filipinos hope the worst of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis is over, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed. The 2021 Fourth Quarter Survey showed that 80 percent of the respondents believe "the worst was behind us," surpassing the previous record of 69 percent in the Fourth Quarter Survey in November. It was also higher by 42 percent than the previous quarter. The percentage of those saying the worst is over was highest in Mindanao at 83 percent, followed by Metro Manila (82 percent), the rest of Luzon (81 percent) and the Visayas (75 [...]

January 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Anti-vaccination doctor Jonie Girouard can no longer practise in New Zealand

A Kaiapoi doctor caught handing out fake vaccine exemptions is no longer registered to practise medicine in New Zealand. A screengrab of Dr Jonie Girouard. ​ Photo: A screengrab from Newshub   Footage of Jonie Girouard​ issuing bogus exemptions and coaching people on how to use them sparked an investigation into the North Canterbury GP in December. Medical Council chairperson Curtis Walker said Dr Girouard​ was now unable to practise medicine in New Zealand, as she was no longer registered. "Council takes these matters very seriously and our concern is demonstrated by the publication of our recent guidance emphasising council's view that there is no place for anti-vaccination messages in professional practice, nor any promotion of anti-vaccination claims, including on social media and advertising by health practitioners," Walker said. [...]

January 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19: Doctors’ union calls for remuneration over ‘demanding’ workload

The union representing senior salaried doctors says there is growing anxiety about Omicron variant among hospital staff in an already burnt out workforce. Photo: 123RF   NEW ZEALAND— The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists said this time of year is already busy with an influx of patients coming in over the Christmas and New Year break. Executive Director Sarah Dalton said there are also major concerns among members about an Omicron outbreak, given that patients needs are already not being met, which is being exacerbated by Covid-19. "Our members are extremely concerned that if Omicron became prevalent in New Zealand what that would mean, not just for people who become sick with Covid, but for people with other conditions who might miss out on care because of the strain [...]

January 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Council fines anti-govt protest organisers more than $14,000

Christchurch City Council has slapped the organisers of anti-government protests with more than $14,000 in fines for costs incurred during its rallies. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon   The invoice of $14,117 covers bylaw breaches and costs of providing traffic management at three protests at the end of last year hosted by the Freedom and Rights Coalition group. Police are also investigating the group's founder Brian Tamaki for speaking at an anti-government rally in Ōtautahi on Saturday, in an apparent breach of his bail conditions. Tamaki has been charged three times after speaking at large protests in breach of Auckland's level three rules. Christchurch City Council spokesperson Jane Davis​ said council staff supported police during the marches. "Council staff were supporting the police to keep people safe, controlling traffic [...]

January 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid makes deadly return in Australia

LETHAL RESURGENCE Staff collect samples at a drive-through Covid-19 testing clinic at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. Australia’s most populous state has reinstated some restrictions and suspended elective surgeries as Covid-19 cases surged to another record. APPHOTO   SYDNEY— Australia's New South Wales state reported 16 deaths on Sunday in its deadliest day of the pandemic, even as it relaxed rules to allow some essential workers in isolation to return to work if they are asymptomatic. Just over 30,000 new cases were reported in Australia's most populous state, forcing those people to join more than 200,000 others in isolation. No statistics are kept to determine how many of those are essential workers in the food and manufacturing sectors. But some employers say up to half [...]

January 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

US tells Putin to choose confrontation or dialogue over Ukraine

Secretary of state Tony Blinken says coming week of talks is moment of truth for Russian president Russian troops taking part in drills in the southern Rostov region of the country. Moscow has amassed 100,000 troops in the Ukrainian border region. Photograph: AP The US has told Vladimir Putin to choose between dialogue and confrontation on the eve of a critical week of diplomacy over Ukraine as Russian troops remained massed along its borders. Senior diplomats and military officers from the US and Russia held a working dinner in Geneva on Sunday evening before Monday’s formal negotiations to discuss Moscow’s demands. Those were set out last month in two draft treaties, one with the US and one with Nato. Much of their content is unacceptable to Washington and the [...]

January 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

NZ Covid-19 update: 27 new community cases, 33 in MIQ

There are 27 new community cases of Covid-19 and 33 in Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facilities today. (File image) Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon   In a statement, the Ministry of Health said there are 16 new community cases in Auckland, five in Waikato, two in Bay of Plenty, one in Rotorua, two in Hawke's Bay (Te Kūiti), and one in Wellington. Of the five new cases in the Waikato today - two in Hamilton, one in Ngāruawāhia, one in Whitianga, one in Coromandel town - three are unlinked. The positive case in Wellington attended the Britomart Block Party in Auckland on New Year's Eve. Anyone who attended the event between 11pm and 2.30am must immediately get tested and isolate, the ministry said. There are 35 cases in [...]

January 10th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Emergency MIQ spots open for Kiwis facing hardship in Aus

New Zealand citizens stranded in Australia can now be allocated emergency spots in MIQ if they’re at risk of facing “significant and severe hardship” if they don’t return to Aotearoa within the next two months. MIQ facility (file photo). (Source: rnz.co.nz)   Acting deputy secretary for MIQ Andrew Milne said the new category was introduced after the Government postponed MIQ facility-free travel in light of Omicron. “We understand how difficult this time has been for New Zealanders who are desperate to return and will face financial or safety issues if they cannot do so in the next couple of months. “This new temporary category will give them another way to get back home,” Milne said. The change in criteria came after would-be travellers from Australia were excluded from being [...]

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

Senators Lacson, Gatchalian positive for COVID-19; Congress sets lockdown

Metro Manila, PHILIPPINES  — Senators Panfilo Lacson and Sherwin Gatchalian, who are both running in the upcoming elections, announced on Friday that they tested positive for COVID-19. Senatorial reelectionist Gatchalian said he has mild symptoms, while presidential aspirant Lacson said he has experienced sore throat, fever, and colds after he was exposed to his COVID-positive son earlier this week. Lacson complained of delays in receiving the result of the swab test he took on Tuesday, prompting his family to undergo another test. Lockdown in Senate, House Aside from the lawmakers, dozens of employees of the Senate have also either contracted COVID-19 or are under quarantine. This prompted Senate President Tito Sotto to order a “total closure” of the upper chamber for a week. “Total closure ang recommendation nila (Their recommendation [...]

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

Kazakhstan president vows to destroy ‘bandits and terrorists’ behind protests

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev tells security forces to ‘use lethal force without warning’ A burnt-out administrative building in central Almaty, after violence erupted following protests.Photograph: Abduaziz Madyarov/AFP/Getty Images The president of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has promised an uncompromising crackdown on demonstrators in the country, telling security forces they should “use lethal force without warning” against protesters he called “bandits and terrorists”. On Friday, relative calm returned to Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city and the centre of recent tumult, and some residents ventured out for the first time in several days. They found looted shops, shattered glass and many burnt-out cars, with the grim atmosphere intensified by the thick mist enveloping the city. Police returned to the central streets for the first time since the clashes turned violent and protesters seized government buildings. [...]

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

Victoria records 51,356 new cases, nine deaths, new restrictions, rapid test changes

  AUSTRALIA— Victoria has recorded a mammoth 51,356 new cases and nine Covid deaths in the past 24 hours. There are now 644 infected people in Victorian hospitals, with 106 active in intensive care and 24 on ventilators. Of the new cases, 26,428 were recorded via a rapid antigen test while 24,928 were recorded via a PCR test.   Health Minister Martin Foley announced new restrictions on Thursday.   Health Minister Martin Foley said recently more than one in fifty people in Victoria were likely infected. It’s the first time rapid tests were included in the daily tally, which also helps to explain the skyrocketing number. Most people who reported a positive rapid antigen test got that result earlier in the week, and reported it when the web form [...]

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

Stress for residents as Kaimaumau fire continues to burn

The Kaimaumau fire is entering its fourth week burning, but residents say the event has brought them closer. A 600-hectre blaze is threaterning the Far North township of Kaimaumau. Photo: Supplied/Mary-Jane Hoult   The blaze that was first reported in the wetlands on 18 December has now burned through more than 2400ha of bush, scrub, swamp and dune vegetation and put homes in the far north village at risk. A team of 63 firefighters worked on the fire yesterday, with another 29 others working in an incident management team. And although all homes have been saved, Kaimaumau residents have had to evacuate twice, the latest on New Year's Day. Amanda McManus said the ordeal had not put her off living in the far north village; "Oh hell no, I [...]

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

Counterfeit banknotes circulating in South Taranaki

NZ POLICE/THE-DOMINION-POST A counterfeit banknote. Businesses in South Taranaki are being asked to keep an eye out for counterfeit notes after police were alerted to their use in the area. (File photo).   Counterfeit banknotes have been presented at South Taranaki businesses, prompting a warning from police. Businesses should be on the lookout for the fake notes, police said, as they continue to try and establish their source. It is a crime to make, use or be in possession of counterfeit banknotes. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has clear guides outlining the security features of New Zealand banknotes and how to spot counterfeit notes. Security features are the same on all denominations and businesses involved in handling money should be aware of security features within New Zealand banknotes, [...]

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

Malaysian ex-leader Mahathir in hospital, second time in weeks

Mahathir Mohamad speaks at Putrajaya on Feb 27, 2020. (File photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan) KUALA LUMPUR— Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad was admitted to hospital on Friday (Jan 7), the medical facility said, weeks after he was discharged following a check-up. The National Heart Institute said the 96-year-old was admitted for an "elective medical procedure" but did not provide further details. The former premier was given a full medical check-up with several investigations at the same specialist heart hospital in mid-December, with doctors discharging him a week later. Mahathir has had heart problems in the past, suffering several heart attacks and undergoing bypass surgery. He has been one of Malaysia's most dominant political figures in recent decades, serving twice as prime minister for a total of 24 years. He [...]

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

Travellers must provide negative Covid-19 tests in shorter timeframe from today

Changes to pre-departure Covid-19 testing requirements to enter New Zealand come into effect today. As well as the PCR tests, there are two other types of tests that will be accepted for travellers from 105 countries and jurisdictions. Photo: 123RF   People coming into the country will have to show a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours of departure, instead of within 72 hours. There are also changes to allow travellers coming from 105 countries and jurisdictions, where obtaining a PCR test may be difficult or impossible. They will have to provide evidence of a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) or loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) test result. This will need to be taken within 24 hours of departure and all tests must be supervised by a health professional, which [...]

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

Covid-19 update: 35 new community cases, 24 in MIQ in New Zealand today

There are 35 new cases of Covid-19 in the community and 24 cases in managed isolation, the Ministry of Health has reported. Photo: 123rf.com     In a statement, the Health Ministry said the 35 new community cases are in Auckland (18), Waikato (1), Bay of Plenty (13), Rotorua (2) and Taupō (1). The Ministry said a Rotorua based MIQ worker who tested positive on Wednesday is currently in isolation. It is currently investigating to find out if this infection came from either the community or the facility, but said the nature of the case's work meant they did not normally have direct contact with returnees. The worker is fully vaccinated and up-to-date with regular testing. Further genome testing results are due later today. There are now 37 people [...]

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

May 2022 PH Elections: 11 presidential bets, 9 VP aspirants make Comelec’s tentative cut

  MANILA, PHILIPPINES — A total of 11 presidential aspirants and nine vice presidential hopefuls made it to the tentative list of candidates in the upcoming polls. In a list released on Thursday, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) trimmed the field of presidential aspirants from 15 to 11. A namesake of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who is also running for president failed to make the list. The Comelec said Maria Aurora Marcos was declared a nuisance candidate. Here is the Comelec’s updated list of candidates for president: Abella, Ernie (independent) Arcega, Gerald (independent) De Guzman, Leody (Partido Lakas ng Masa) Domagoso, Isko Moreno (Aksyon Demokratiko) Gonzales, Norberto (Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas) Lacson, Ping (Partido Para Sa Demokratikong Reporma) Mangondato, Faisal (Katipunan ng Kamalayang Kayumanggi) Marcos, Bongbong [...]

January 6th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Air New Zealand named world’s safest airline

New Zealand's national airline, Air New Zealand, has been named as the world's safest airline. An Air New Zealand plane. (Source: Getty)   The accomplishment comes as AirlineRatings.com, which monitors 385 airlines, has revealed its top safest airlines and top safest low-cost airlines. Taking the top spot, Air New Zealand has been credited for its work. AirlineRatings.com editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas said that during an "extremely difficult" couple of years for airlines, Air New Zealand had been a leader with its comprehensive retraining. "Air New Zealand has also been a lead airline in many major operational safety advancements over the past 40 years," he said. "Air New Zealand also has an extremely young fleet and its pilots fly in some of the most difficult conditions from windy Wellington to the [...]

January 6th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 update: 19 new community cases reported in New Zealand today, 43 cases at the border

There are 19 new community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today and 43 cases in managed isolation, the Ministry of Health has reported. Photo: 123rf.com In a statement, the Health Ministry said the number of new cases in Auckland had dropped to single figures. The 19 new community cases are in Auckland (6), Waikato (5), Bay of Plenty (5), Northland (1) and Taranaki (2). The Emergency Department at Taranaki Base Hospital was identified as an exposure event yesterday, but no staff have been stood down. The Ministry said whole genome sequencing of the 43 new imported cases is expected soon, but the likelihood was that Omicron will continue to be "the most prevalent variant at our borders". The new cases came from USA, UAE, UK, Australia, India, Qatar, [...]

January 6th, 2022|Categories: News|0 Comments

Food shortages in Australia expected during COVID-19 chaos

As COVID-19 wreaks havoc on Australia's critical food supply chain, shoppers have been warned to expect shortages at supermarkets throughout January. Stores on the east coast will be most heavily affected, Coles chief operations officer Matthew Swindells said, particularly New South Wales and Greater Sydney. Mr Swindells expected current food shortages at Coles to last "another couple of difficult weeks", as more and more workers catch coronavirus and are sidelined by the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. The rapidly escalating COVID crisis is having an impact on our supermarket shelves. (9News) NSW hit a new pandemic high of 35,054 cases today, up almost 12,000 from yesterday. 9News understands the empty shelves which are now starting to greet shoppers are related to Delta and Omicron enforced absenteeism, not product shortages [...]

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

Philippine Dec inflation at 3.6per cent y/y, below market forecasts

FILE PHOTO: Vendors wearing face masks for protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tend to their customers behind a plastic shield in a public market in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, January 5, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez MANILA—  Philippine annual inflation came in at 3.6per cent in December, the lowest level since December 2020, due to slower increases in the food and non-alcoholic beverages index, the country's statistics agency said on Wednesday. The headline figure was near the low end of the central bank's projected range of 3.5per cent-4.3per cent for the month, and below the 3.8per cent median forecast in a Reuters poll. Full-year inflation averaged 4.5per cent, outside the 2per cent-4per cent target band of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. (Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Enrico Dela [...]

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

Concern about level of water safety education after spate of drownings

There have been at least 25 water-related and suspected drownings since the start of December, including three yesterday. File photo Photo: 123rf   Four drownings in the same section of the Manawatū River this past week have also prompted a push for better water safety education. Ahimate Reserve, in Palmerston North, used to be a popular place for people to swim but signage now warned people away from the water. A rāhui, which restricts the use of an area, was put in place after 11- year-old Blae Ler Paw and 25-year-old Mu Mu went missing on Wednesday, 29 December 2021. Two other men drowned on Sunday. Palmerston North City mayor Grant Smith said the four deaths were a "tragedy" and he was also disappointed some people were still choosing [...]

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

Covid-19 update: 17 new community cases in New Zealand, 23 in MIQ

There are 17 new community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, and 23 at the border, the Ministry of Health says. Photo: 123rf   In a statement, the Health Ministry said there were 44 people in hospital, including five in intensive care. It said there was no further spread of Omicron in the community after a third-border related case with the variant was reported yesterday. There are still no locations of interest or exposure events and the risk to the community from this case has been determined as "extremely low". The 17 new community cases are in Auckland (5), Waikato (3), Bay of Plenty (9). There were also two new cases in Taranaki which will be officially added to tomorrow's tally. The Emergency Department at Taranaki Base Hospital [...]

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

Australia’s Covid-19 cases pass 500k as infections surge

Australia has passed the grim milestone of more than 500,000 Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began. People arrive to be vaccinated for Covid-19 at the Qudos Bank Arena NSW Health Vaccination Centre in Sydney, Australia. (Source: Getty)   The mark was passed on Tuesday after both NSW and Victoria registered record daily case numbers. NSW had 23,131 new cases, with a further two deaths. The state has 1344 patients in hospital, up by 139 from the day before, with 105 in intensive care, up by 10. There were 14,020 cases in Victoria, the first time the state has recorded a one-day total of above 10,000. There were another two deaths in the state, with 516 patients in hospital - a rise of 25 - while there are four more [...]

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

BBM-Sara campaign headquarters temporarily closed after staff members test positive for COVID-19

Metro Manila, Philippines — The campaign headquarters of the Bongbong Marcos-Sara Duterte tandem has been temporarily closed after more than 20 staff members tested positive for COVID-19, Marcos’ spokesperson said on Monday. According to lawyer Vic Rodriguez, the headquarters in Mandaluyong City was ordered shut down by Marcos from Jan. 3 until further notice to ensure the safety of personnel and supporters. The Bongbong-Sara Uniteam has also postponed all public appearances, sorties, and assemblies until Jan. 15 in light of the infections. However, Rodriguez said campaign preparations and other administrative functions will continue through virtual arrangements. “The UniTeam also advises all its supporters nationwide to exercise self-restraint and avoid holding unilateral campaign/political activities that might result in the further surge of COVID-19 cases in their areas,” he said in a statement. [...]

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

Singapore’s economy grew 7.2% in 2021, rebounding from recession the previous year: MTI advance estimates

People walk across the Jubilee bridge in Singapore on December 28,2021. (File Photo: AFP/Roslan RAHMAN)   SINGAPORE—  Singapore's economy grew 7.2 per cent in 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, rebounding from a recession in 2020, advance estimates released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Monday (Jan 3) showed. Singapore's economy shrank 5.4 per cent in 2020 – its first annual contraction since 2001 and the country's worst recession since independence. Last year, Singapore announced the start of its transition to living with endemic COVID-19 as it saw a wave of new infections driven by the more infectious Delta variant. Its vaccination programme was ramped up to include booster shots and more age groups, and new measures were also introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The estimates announced on [...]

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

Groceries, petrol and rent: The everyday costs keeping Aussies awake at night in 2022

Keeping the car running, a roof over your head and a trolley full of food are the main financial concerns keeping Aussies awake at night as the cost of living threatens to blow out of control in 2022. New data from Canstar's 2021 Consumer Pulse Report found that most Australians are worried about ordinary living expenses rising to an unmanageable level over the next twelve months. According to the report, which surveyed 2000 Australian adults, the biggest financial pain points were the price of groceries (14 per cent), petrol prices (11 per cent) and the rising cost of rent (10 per cent). Ordinary living expenses - such as buying groceries - are stretching household budgets to the absolute limit. (AAP) The proportion of Australians who said they were living [...]

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

Covid-19 update: 31 new community cases in New Zealand

There are 31 new community cases of Covid-19 and 29 new cases of the virus at the border reported in New Zealand today. Photo: 123rf.com   In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the new community cases were in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Lakes. Yesterday, there were 27 new community cases of Covid-19 and 24 new cases reported at the border. The ministry also yesterday revealed that it would not be taking legal action against a UK musician who became the country's first reported community Omicron case last week.

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

Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal to be placed under Alert Level 3 on January 5

VIRUS-FREE? The shoppers are back in Divisoria, Manila, on Sunday, crowding around stalls but apparently forgetting to keep safe physical distancing. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ   MANILA, Philippines — Bulacan, Cavite, and Rizal — three provinces closest to Metro Manila — will be placed under the more stringent Alert Level 3 starting January 5, acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Tuesday, noting the spike in COVID-19 infections. “Due to a sharp increase of COVID-19 cases in the particular localities, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) approved yesterday, January 3, 2022, the recommendation of its sub-Technical Working Group on Data Analytics to escalate Bulacan, Cavite, and Rizal to Alert Level 3,” he said in a statement. The heightened alert status will be imposed until January 15. Aside from these [...]

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

NZ Govt to spend $150m on abandoned Auckland bike bridge, alternative crossing options

The Government has set aside $150 million for an Auckland harbour crossing for cyclists and to also cover sunk costs arising from last year’s abandoned cycling and walking bridge project. In October, the Government scrapped a proposed $785m cycling and walking bridge in Auckland, just three months after unveiling it. As of late September, Waka Kotahi had spent $51m on designs, consultants and engineering plan fees. Now, the Government has agreed to direct $150m of the project’s original $785m budget to cover sunk costs and conduct further work to get a ferry or bus shuttle service up and running. Cabinet papers released on Christmas Eve show the Government re-considered the proposed Northern Pathway investment and agreed that the money set aside for the project should go towards a mix [...]

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

NZ seeing five times more temperature extremes than expected

New Zealand is experiencing temperature extremes four to five times more often than expected, according to NIWA. Summer at the beach (file image). (Source: istock.com)   Researchers analysed 70 years worth of weather data across the country to see how frequently extreme events, such as record-breaking heatwaves, were occurring. The study – published in Weather and Climate, New Zealand – found that they are increasing at a much faster rate than the mean average temperature, NIWA said in a media release. On average, the country saw four to five times more extreme high temperatures in the past decade than would be expected in a climate with no long-term warming. Even when climate change is taken into consideration, New Zealand still experienced two to three times more extreme high temperatures [...]

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

Five of world’s most powerful nations pledge to avoid nuclear war

US, Russia, China, the UK and France who are permanent members of the UN security council agree ‘nuclear war cannot be won’ UN security council meeting on ‘Peace and Security Through Preventive Diplomacy: A Common Objective to All UN Principal Organs,’ at the UN headquarters in New York on 17 November 2021.Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock   Five of the world’s most powerful nations have agreed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” in a rare joint pledge to reduce the risk of such a conflict ever starting. The pledge was signed by the US, Russia, China, the UK and France, the five nuclear weapons states recognised by the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) who are also the five permanent members of the UN security council. They [...]

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

T-cells can fight Omicron when antibodies fail to, Australian researchers say

New study finds the white cells attack new Covid variant, offering protection and helping prevent significant illness T-cells have been found to be effective as a second line of defence against the Omicron coronavirus variant. Photograph: AP Human bodies have a second line of defence against Covid that offers hope in the global fight against the Omicron variant, Australian researchers say. University of Melbourne research, done in conjunction with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, has found T-cells should be able to tackle the virus. Omicron has a higher number of mutations than other variants, which means it can sometimes slip past the antibodies produced by vaccination or infection. But if it does enter the body, the T-cells – white blood cells that originate in the marrow [...]

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

Apple becomes first US company to reach $3tn valuation

New year trading pushed Apple shares to a new high of $182.80 after tripling in value in under four years Apple shares have risen by 38% since the start of 2021. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters Apple became the first US company to be valued at over $3tn on Monday as the tech company continued its phenomenal share price growth, tripling in value in under four years. A pandemic-era surge in tech stocks has driven the major US tech companies to new highs, pulling US stock markets with them. Apple became the world’sfirst trillion dollar company in August 2018, passed $2tn in 2020 and hit its new high as trading began after the holidays and its shares passed $182.80 a piece before dipping lower to end the day valued at over [...]

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

Mass testing pushed as PH logs 4,600 new COVID-19 cases

People visit a park in Quezon City, east of Manila on New Year’s Day on January 1, 2022. (Photo by Jam STA ROSA / AFP)   MANILA, Philippines — The surge in new COVID-19 cases due to the easing of quarantine restrictions during the Christmas holidays picked up pace as the Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday reported 4,600 new infections, or almost double in just the past three days. About one in five of the 26,122 individuals tested on Dec. 31 was infected, raising the country’s positivity rate to a high 19.6 percent, according to the DOH. This was up by nearly twentyfold from only 0.9 percent only 11 days ago and way above the 5-percent threshold of the World Health Organization to indicate that the spread of [...]

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

Thousands of Australians are isolating with Covid. Here’s how some of them are coping

While some have felt ‘lucky’ at their situation, others have ended up in debt or without the care they normally receive Some people with chronic illness or disability have been left with little to no support as carers and friends are forced to isolate while sick or awaiting results. Photograph: golibo/Getty Images/iStockphoto Something about the sticky floors of the dingy nightclub Gemma Moore was at on the New South Wales central coast gave her the sense she was about to get sick. “It was a good night, but I just really didn’t feel comfortable being out,” Moore said. “There weren’t any QR codes and the staff weren’t wearing masks. And I remember thinking: someone in here has Covid.” A few days later, the 28-year-old care worker’s hunch proved correct [...]

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

Covid-19 update: 27 new community cases in New Zealand

There are 27 new community cases of Covid-19 and 24 new cases of the virus at the border reported in New Zealand today. Photo: 123rf.com   In a statement, the Ministry of Health said none of the new cases at the border were the Omicron variant, and there were no new community cases of the variant either. Test reuslts for close contacts of the first reported case of the variant in the community have so far come back negative. Yesterday, there were 33 new cases at the border from the previous two days. The ministry said the growing number was a reflection on the increase in cases globally. Of the community cases, there are 12 in Auckland, seven in Waikato, seven in Bay of Plenty, and one in Lakes. [...]

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

Coronavirus: China struggling to hold back biggest COVID-19 outbreak since the first

A person gets tested in Xian. Photo credit: Getty Images   China ended its final week of 2021 with its biggest tally of local coronavirus cases for any seven-day period since subduing the country's first epidemic nearly two years ago, despite an arsenal of some of the world's toughest COVID-19 measures. The National Health Commission reported on Saturday 175 new community infections with confirmed clinical symptoms for December 31, bringing the total number of local symptomatic cases in mainland China in the past week to 1151. The surge has been driven mostly by an outbreak in the northwestern industrial and tech hub of Xian, a city of 13 million. The deepening outbreak in Xian will likely firm authorities' resolve to curb transmissions quickly as and when cases emerge. The [...]

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

NSW records 18,278 new Covid-19 cases and two deaths as number of people in hospital tops 1000

The number of people being treated for Covid-19 in hospital in NSW has topped 1000 for the first time since 2 October after the state recorded 18,278 new cases. Health workers conduct PCR tests at the St Vincent's Bondi Beach Covid-19 drive through testing clinic in Sydney. Photo: AFP or licensors   Hospitalisations have risen to 1066, up from 901 in the previous reporting period, with 83 patients in intensive care. There are five times as many people being treated for Covid-19 in the state's hospitals as there were in mid-December, although the number of people in intensive care has increased at a slower rate. Premier Dominic Perrottet last week said the health system "remains strong" and the state was in a "very strong position" despite the fast-growing case [...]

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

US airport chaos as more than 2,600 flights cancelled

A man leaves the baggage carrousel area at Ronald Reagan International Airport in Washington in December 2021 (Photo: AFP/ROBERTO SCHMIDT) WASHINGTON— Air travel continued to be severely disrupted in the United States on Saturday, with bad weather in parts of the country adding to the impact of a massive spike in Covid-19 infections fuelled by the Omicron variant. The United States had 2,604 cancelled flights, more than half of the 4,529 cancelled worldwide, shortly after 4:30pm (2130 GMT), according to tracking website FlightAware. In addition, 3,447 domestic flights were delayed on Saturday, out of a total of 7,602 worldwide for the day. The worst affected US airline was Southwest, which had to cancel 13 percent of its flight schedule, according to the site. In the United States, airports in [...]

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

Metro Manila now at high risk for COVID-19 transmission – OCTA Research

Metro Manila skyline by night (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / JILSON SECKLER TIU)     MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila is now at high-risk for COVID-19 transmission as its positivity rate has further increased to 28.03 percent, Dr. Guido David, a fellow at independent monitoring group OCTA Research said in a Twitter post on Saturday. The seven-day average positivity rate in Metro Manila increased from 1.15 percent recorded in the previous week to 12.94 percent, David said. David explained that the expected decrease in testing due to the holidays was “offset by the increase in positivity rate, which was at 21% just a day prior.” “This means the number of new cases will be in the same range of January 1, 2500 to 3000 in NCR and 3500 to 4000 [...]

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

Man dies following motorcycle crash in Northland

A man has died after a motorcycle went off the road in Kaipara, Northland, overnight. A file image of a police car. (Source: 1News)   The incident occurred on State Highway 12 in Kaihū around 12.20am, police said. The motorcyclist died at the scene. His passenger received moderate injuries in the crash and was transported to Whangārei Hospital for treatment. The Serious Crash Unit is investigating.

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

NZ Covid-19 update: 105 new community cases, two further deaths in past two days

There have been 105 new community cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand over the past two days, with two further deaths also reported, the Ministry of Health says. Photo: 123RF   There was no statement from the Ministry yesterday because it was New Year's Day. In today's statement it said there were 43 people in hospital, including five in intensive care. Two deaths of patients with Covid-19 in Auckland City Hospital have also been reported in the past 48 hours. "The Ministry would like to pass on its sympathies to the friends and whanau of the two patients." The new community cases reported over the past two days were in Auckland (71), Waikato (7), Bay of Plenty (22), Rotorua (4), Hawke's Bay (1). The Ministry said the Auckland [...]

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

Looking forward to 2022, China vows never to rest on what it has achieved, ready for a long way ahead

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a New Year address in Beijing, China, December 31, 2021. /Xinhua   As China strides toward the second centenary goal of building a great modern socialist country in all respects, 2022 will be another important year. "To ensure that everyone leads a better life, we must never rest on what we have achieved, and there is still a long way to go," said Chinese President Xi Jinping on the last day of 2021. Since the year 2014, Xi has delivered New Year addresses for nine consecutive years, leading the Chinese people to look back at achievements and looking to the journey ahead. China fulfills responsibility to history After sending greetings to the Chinese people, the president continued his address with describing the year 2021 [...]

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

2021 in review: Young Kiwis doing amazing things

As New Zealand looks back at an eventful year, one beacon of hope for 2022 and beyond is this country’s young people, as these Kiwis show. Student Volunteer Army's grocery delivery service. (Source: Supplied)   Student Volunteer Army Even before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, the Student Volunteer Army has stepped up time and time again whenever they’re needed. Soon after the virus made its way to New Zealand, the SVA mobilised to shop for those who couldn’t make a supermarket trip themselves. And as the impacts of Covid-19 continued into 2021, the SVA didn’t stop helping. In December, they hit a milestone: 3000 grocery deliveries over nearly two years. “Two years ago, we did not expect to become a grocery delivery organisation, but that’s [...]

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

Covid-19: WHO chief optimistic disease will be beaten in 2022

  http:// What went wrong with vaccinating the world? Three experts explain   The World Health Organization (WHO) chief says he is optimistic that the coronavirus pandemic will be defeated in 2022, provided countries work together to contain its spread. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu warned against "narrow nationalism and vaccine hoarding" in a new year statement. His comments come two years since the WHO was first notified of cases of an unknown pneumonia strain in China. Global Covid cases now stand at 287m, while nearly 5.5m people have died. Across the world people are marking the new year but celebrations are muted, with many countries wanting to discourage crowds gathering. Coronavirus remains part of daily life: a disease that has shut borders, split families and in some places made [...]

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

Covid-19: Health Ministry prepares for booster dose demand

Auckland's biggest vaccination centre is reopening today, as thousands of New Zealanders become eligible for their booster dose this week. Photo: Screengrab   The gap between the second dose and the time New Zealanders will be eligible for their booster dose will fall from six months to four months on Wednesday, meaning anyone aged 18 and over who had their second vaccination at least four months ago can have their booster dose. With two cases of Omicron in the community this week, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the good news was that there was "clear evidence" that the Pfizer vaccine provides protection against Omicron. "We also know that a booster dose with Pfizer provides better protection against the Omicron variant than the two-dose course. "While two doses [...]

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

Small quake near Wellington this morning

A weak 3.2 magnitude earthquake hit near the Wellington region this morning. The quake was located 10km south-west of Wellington. Photo: Screenshot / GeoNet   GeoNet says the quake struck at 10.21am and was at a depth of 15km. It was centred 10km south-west of Wellington and more than 700 people reported having felt it.

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

NCR placed under Alert Level 3 from Jan. 3 to 15, 2022

PHILIPPINES— The government's COVID-19 task force has placed the National Capital Region (NCR) under Alert Level 3 from January 3 to 15, 2022 following the sharp increase in new coronavirus infections in the country. At a press briefing in Davao City, acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) made the decision as they projected cases to further increase in the coming days. He also cited the high possibility of the local transmission of the Omicron variant. Under Alert Level 3, several establishments will be allowed to operate at 30% indoor venue capacity only for fully vaccinated individuals and 50% outdoor venue capacity, provided that all employees are fully vaccinated. After a whole month of reporting less than 1,000 [...]

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

Restored Big Ben to bong again at midnight to bring in new year

  Clock face will be revealed for first time since 2017 to show conservation work and restoration of original colour scheme Conservationists have reinstated a Prussian blue and gold colour scheme for Big Ben’s dials and clock hands. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters London’s public fireworks display may be cancelled, but Westminster’s new year revellers will be treated to Big Ben’s newly painted dials as the clock bongs 12 times to mark the end of 2021. The 96-metre clock tower above the Houses of Parliament, which houses the Great Bell known as Big Ben, has been mostly hidden from view since a £79.7m conservation projection began four years ago. For the first time since 2017, the clock face will be revealed to show the conservation work that has taken place, including [...]

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

Subdued celebrations ring in 2022 around the world

Australia seemed to buck the worldwide trend despite the omicron surge, with its prime minister telling people to “enjoy the evening.” Fireworks light up the sky over Sydney Harbour during New Year's Eve celebrations. Mark Evans / Getty Images   HONK KONG — Another year, another variant. Much like delta last year, 2021 is ending with the emergence of a new form of the coronavirus, dashing hopes that the end of the pandemic might be in sight. And although so far the new variant, omicron, seems to have milder symptoms and lower rates of hospitalization and death, many countries around the world are erring on the side of caution and scaling back plans to ring in the New Year. A notable exception is Australia, where the annual fireworks show [...]

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

New Zealand rings in 2022 as New Year celebrations kick off around the planet

New Year celebrations have started to kick off around the planet after a rollercoaster 12 months. People are preparing to bid farewell – and perhaps good riddance – to 2021, but the pandemic hangs heavy over festivities. The Omicron variant is casting a shadow on New Year around the world, with populations hoping to get together with friends and family contending with varying levels of restrictions. Millions of Europeans will have to make do with scaled back events after restrictions were reintroduced across the continent. But the party is already well under way in New Zealand and the goons are on ice in Australia with a couple of hours to go until their countdown. Auckland has been lit up after the government gave the go ahead to celebrations in [...]

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

Ukraine tensions: Biden and Putin phone call seeks ‘diplomatic path’

EPA/The two presidents will speak over the phone amid ongoing tensions over Ukraine   US President Joe Biden is set to hold talks with Russia's Vladimir Putin for the second time this month, in a bid to de-escalate tensions over Ukraine. The two leaders will speak by phone on Thursday. They will discuss forthcoming security talks between the countries and the situation in Europe, a White House official said. Russia, which has built up forces on the border with Ukraine, denies planning to invade the country. It says its troops are there for exercises, and that Russia is entitled to move its troops freely on its own soil. The US consulted European leaders ahead of the call to co-ordinate a common response to the issue, a White House statement [...]

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

All of NZ excluding Northland to move to Orange from 11.59pm

All of New Zealand, apart from Northland, will be moving to the Orange traffic light setting from 11.59pm on Thursday. Orange traffic light. (Source: istock.com)     It means regions currently in Red — Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatane, Ōpōtiki Districts, Gisborne District, Wairoa District, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts — will move to Orange. Northland is set to stay at Red due to its comparatively lower Covid-19 vaccination rate, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said earlier this month. She noted that the Green setting allowed people to gather in high-risk areas no matter their vaccination status, and said it was “important to maintain confidence” with people through the transition. On not moving any area to Green, Ardern said that was “only for now through the transition [...]

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

Singapore, China reiterate commitment to free and open trade

Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat was joined by 13 other political office holders at a virtual press conference held after the 17th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting. (Photo: Ministry of Communications and Information) SINGAPORE— Singapore and China on Wednesday (Dec 29) reiterated their commitment to free and open trade at an annual top-level bilateral meeting. The 17th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting is the highest-level annual forum between China and Singapore. Held virtually for the second year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it was co-chaired by Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat and Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng. A substantial number of 14 pacts ranging from finance to trade, sustainability and nature conservation were signed this year. A statement from the Prime Minister’s [...]

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

Hipkins ‘very disappointed’ Omicron-infected DJ didn’t follow rules

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says he's very disappointed the British DJ at the centre of an Omicron community scare didn't follow isolation rules properly. The Ministry of Health confirmed yesterday the recent international arrival completed 10 days of isolation, but did not wait for the final test result before going out into the community, and subsequently tested positive for the Omicron variant. Last night, DJ Dimension outed himself in a social media post as New Zealand's first community Omicron case. The DJ, Robert Etheridge, had been scheduled to perform at the Rhythm and Alps festival in Wanaka. He had visited a number of Auckland CBD locations on 26 and 27 December, including the Impala nightclub on Shortland Street, the Sunny town restaurant, Partridge jewellers, Ahi Restaurant and Soul [...]

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

PH President Duterte OKs P5K gratuity pay for JO, COS workers in gov’t for 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks to the crowd in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Screenshot from PCOO / Facebook   MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the granting of a one-time P5,000 gratuity pay to contract of service (COS) and job order (JO) government workers for 2021. Under Administrative Order No. 46, which Duterte signed on Wednesday, workers who have rendered a total or aggregate of at least four months of service as of Dec. 15 can avail of the P5,000 gratuity pay. Those who have rendered less than four months of service, meanwhile, may receive their gratuity pay on a pro-rata basis. Actual service refers to services rendered on-site, the order read. All workers in national agencies, state universities and colleges, government-owned or -controlled corporations, and local water districts [...]

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

PH Vice President Robredo in quarantine after COVID-19 exposure

Vice President Leni Robredo said Wednesday that she is in quarantine following exposure to a COVID-19 case. "I received a call last night that one of my close in security tested positive for COVID-19. So ngayon, naka-quarantine ako [I am now in quarantine]," Robredo said in a Facebook live video. "Our protocol in the office is to go on quarantine for seven days, kaya hanggang after New Year pa [My quarantine period will end after New Year]," Robredo added. Robredo is fully vaccinated with the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca and received her Moderna COVID-19 booster shot this month. Robredo said this marks the second time she has been exposed to a COVID-19 case, with the first incident also involving another member of her close in security testing positive for [...]

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

PH population growth lowest in 75 years

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine population is projected to increase by merely 0.3 percent or 324,000 in 2021, according to the Commission on Population and Development (Popcom). Popcom, in a statement, said that this annual “natural increase” is the lowest since the period between 1946 and 1947, when the population grew by 254,000. “As such, Filipinos will number 109,991,095 at the end of 2021—lower by 2 million than earlier projections based on a 1.63-percent population growth rate or PGR.” Popcom executive director Dr. Juan Perez III explained that Filipinos remain prudent by continuing to delay having children or forming families during the combined economic crisis and COVID-19 health emergency. “Couples in growing numbers continue to avail of family planning commodities and services in all regions of the country, with [...]

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

Matamata crash: Three children still in critical condition in Waikato, Starship hospitals

Three of five children involved in a car crash on a country road between Matamata and Morrinsville are still fighting for their lives in hospital. The crash happened shortly before midnight on Monday on Morrinsville-Walton Rd. The single vehicle crash happened after a Nissan Tiida veered off the road and flipped into a ditch. Five youngsters aged between 10 and 13 were in the car. At least three were thrown from the vehicle in the impact. All were helicoptered or taken by ambulance to Waikato Hospital. Two remain in a critical condition in that hospital, while a third, also in a critical condition, was transferred to Auckland’s Starship Hospital on Monday. It is not known if anyone will be charged in relation to the crash, and how the children [...]

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

Hong Kong police arrest six from online media outlet

Hong Kong said they arrested three men and three women on Dec 29, 2021. PHOTO: AFP HONG KONG— Hong Kong's Police National Security Department said early on Wednesday (Dec 29) it had arrested six current or former senior staff from an online media firm "for conspiracy to publish seditious publication". Hong Kong broadcaster TVB said the six are from pro-democracy news website Stand News. A Reuters witness saw at least four police vans outside the media firm's office. Police said in a statement that they had arrested three men and three women, aged 34 to 73, and that searches of their homes were underway. Stand News said one of those arrested was Mr Ronson Chan, its deputy assignment editor who is also the head of the Hong Kong Journalists [...]

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

Cities around the world pare back New Year celebrations again due to Covid-19

A number of Dec 31 events have been cancelled in countries where caseloads are rising swiftly. PHOTO: REUTERS   As the Omicron variant drives coronavirus infection rates to their highest levels of the pandemic in many parts of the world, major cities have scaled down or cancelled New Year's Eve events for a second consecutive year. Only months ago, expanding Covid-19 vaccinations and loosening travel rules had promised a return of raucous New Year gatherings amid hopes that the pandemic might finally be waning. But the emergence of Omicron - the highly transmissible variant that is now fuelling record surges in many nations - has prompted governments to reinstate travel restrictions, mask mandates and bans on large gatherings. Even as early studies suggest that Omicron produces less severe illness, [...]

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

Support for legalising marijuana in Australia nearly doubles over six years

More than 40% of Australians back legalisation of cannabis for personal use, National Drug Strategy Household Survey finds   A marijuana plant. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey found 41.1% support for legalising cannabis in 2019, up from 25.5% in 2013. Photograph: Richard Vogel/AP Over 40% of Australians believe marijuana should be legalised, a figure that has nearly doubled since 2013, according to new analysis. Australian researchers have looked into changes in public attitudes towards drug use over time, as measured by responses to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey. The nationally representative surveys, last conducted in 2019, have been collating data on drug use and attitudes every two to three years since 1985. A review of the survey data showed that 41.1% of respondents supported the legalisation of [...]

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

CDC: people who test positive for Covid with no symptoms should isolate just five days

Authorities change guidelines based on ‘what we know about the spread’ and protection from vaccination, as expert warns US ‘being hit by a viral hurricane’ A middle school principal walks the empty halls of his school on 20 August 2021 in Wrightsville, Georgia. Photograph: Stephen B Morton/AP   US health authorities have halved, to five days, the recommended isolation time for people with asymptomatic Covid. The US is facing a huge surge in Covid cases, driven by the Omicron variant, which contributed to travel chaos over Christmas and stoked worries about damage to the economy and education. One expert told the New York Times: “All 50 states are in the soup at the same time. It’s like every state is being hit by a viral hurricane.” But in a [...]

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

46 new community Covid-19 cases, 17 Omicron cases in MIQ

There are 46 new Covid-19 cases in the community on Wednesday, and 17 Omicron cases have been recorded at the border, the Ministry of Health has announced. Covid-19 testing clinic sign. (Source: istock.com)   The community cases are in Northland (3), Auckland (30), Waikato (6), Lakes (4), Tairāwhiti (2) and Canterbury (1). The total number of Omicron cases detected at the border is now 71. The ministry said the Tairāwhiti cases were reported on Sunday, December 26, but were unable to be added to official numbers until Wednesday due to "data reporting issues". Forty-eight people are in hospital with the virus, including seven in an intensive care or high dependency unit. Northland's three new cases are located in Hokianga. They are all from the same household and are linked [...]

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

UK reports record new Covid-19 cases after Johnson rules out restrictions

Britain has reported a record 129,471 new cases of Covid-19, one day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would not bring in new restrictions to limit the spread of the virus this year. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he will not introduce new restrictions in England. Photo: AFP   The data did not include figures for Scotland and Northern Ireland due to differences in reporting practices over the Christmas holidays. The 12,378 cases reported for Wales included data that would normally have been reported in previous days. The previous record high of daily infections was 122,186 on December 24. Yesterday, Johnson said he would not introduce new restrictions in England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all tightening their rules, as have other European countries facing a [...]

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

Keri Hulme, titan of NZ literature and the country’s first Booker Prize winner, has died

Keri Hulme, photographed whitebaiting on the beach at Ōkārito on the West Coast in 1987, two years after she won the Booker Prize, has died at the age of 74.   Novelist Keri Hulme, an icon of New Zealand literature and the first Kiwi to win the Booker Prize, has died. The West Coast writer and poet died just before noon on Monday at her home in Waimate, South Canterbury, at the age of 74. Hulme’s nephew, Matthew Salmons, said that despite her success, she never sought fame or adoration. “There were stories of her being this literary giant,” he told Stuff. “It wasn't really something that she discussed. “It was never about fame for her, she’s always been a storyteller. It was never about the glitz and glam, [...]

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

Elon Musk criticised after China space complaint to UN

IMAGE SOURCE, GETTY IMAGES   Elon Musk is facing a social media backlash after China complained that its space station was forced to avoid collisions with satellites launched by his Starlink Internet Services project. The country's space station had two "close encounters" with Starlink satellites, Beijing claimed. China's complaints, lodged with the UN's space agency, have not yet been independently verified. Starlink is a satellite internet network operated by Mr Musk's SpaceX. Mr Musk is well known in China even as his electric carmaker Tesla comes under growing scrutiny from regulators. The incidents occurred on 1 July and 21 October, according to a document submitted by China this month to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. "For safety reasons, the China Space Station implemented preventive collision avoidance [...]

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

Palma to limit cruise ships after environmental concerns

Spanish officials hail ‘historic’ deal to limit arrivals to maximum of three vessels a day at Mallorca port Palma port in Mallorca, Spain, is among the busiest cruise ports in the Mediterranean.Photograph: Enrique Calvo/Reuters Officials in the Balearic Islands will seek to limit cruise ships to a maximum of three vessels a day at its largest port, in a deal described as the first of its kind in Spain. The regional government said in a statement that arrivals at Palma in Mallorca would be limited when possible to three cruise ships a day, one of the vessels allowed to be a mega-cruise liner carrying more than 5,000 people, starting in 2022. Calling the deal historic, officials estimated it would result in a 13% drop in arrivals at one of [...]

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

Covid-19: Sydney lab confirms hundreds in testing bungle tested positive

The Australian state of New South Wales has recorded another 6062 Covid-19 cases and one death, as a Sydney lab confirms hundreds of people who it sent premature negative results have tested positive. Health workers conduct PCR tests at the St Vincent's Bondi Beach Covid-19 drive through testing clinic. Photo: AFP   Hospitalizations in the state have risen to 557, up from 521 in the previous reporting period. There are now 60 patients in intensive care. The latest figures were taken from more than 93,581 tests in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday. Meanwhile, St Vincent's Hospital, which operates pathology unit SydPath, has confirmed about half of the 950 people who received premature texts advising they had tested negative for Covid-19 have actually tested positive. "SydPath can confirm [...]

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

Covid-19 update: 18 new community cases, 1 death, 5 cases of Omicron in MIQ

One person has died from the coronavirus and there are 18 new community cases of Covid-19 today. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver   A woman in her 70s has died from Covid-19 last night at Middlemore Hospital. It is the 51st death in New Zealand of someone with the coronavirus since the pandemic began. Of today's 18 cases, 13 are in Auckland, three in Waikato, one in Bay of Plenty, and one in Lakes. There are 54 people with Covid-19 in hospital, including eight in ICU or HDU. The average age of current hospitalisations is 51. Of the hospitalisations, 19 are in Auckland City Hospital, seven in North Shore, 22 in Middlemore, three in Tauranga, two in Rotorua and one in Waikato. In MIQ, there are 16 new cases, [...]

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

PH neutral on China-Taiwan row

PHILIPPINES— President Rodrigo Duterte said his administration will remain neutral amid the escalating conflict between China and Taiwan. Duterte said he was relieved that there is no tension in the West Philippine Sea as it allowed the military and police to provide necessary assistance to victims affected by Typhoon "Odette". "Mabuti na lang wala pang gulo dito sa (It's good that there is no trouble yet at the) South China Sea," he said in a command conference with local officials and military officials in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu on Thursday and aired on state-run PTV-4 on Saturday. Should tensions arise, he said he will not go to war with China.  "Kung sabihin nila na mag-gulo sila tapos gamitin, eh (If they start to cause trouble here), I would never allow [...]

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

Australia records first Omicron COVID-19 death, authorities stick to reopening plan

Travellers receive tests for COVID-19 at a pre-departure testing facility outside the international terminal at Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, Nov 29, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Loren Elliott) SYDNEY— Australia on Monday (Dec 27) reported its first confirmed death from the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 amid another surge in daily infections, but the authorities refrained from imposing new restrictions saying hospitalisation rates remained low. The death, a man in his 80s with underlying health conditions, marked a grim milestone for the country which has had to pause some parts of a staged reopening after nearly two years of stop-start lockdowns, due to the fresh outbreak. Omicron, which health experts say appears more contagious but less virulent than previous strains, began to spread in the country just as it lifted restrictions [...]

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

Asia stocks, oil struggle as Omicron worries weigh

A man looks at stock market monitors in Taipei, Jan 22, 2008. (File photo: Reuters/Nicky Loh) TOKYO— Asian stock markets were generally weaker with US crude in holiday-thinned trading on Monday (Dec 27), as uncertainty over the economic impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant weighed on investor sentiment. US airlines have cancelled or delayed thousands of flights over the past three days due to COVID-19-related staff shortages, while several cruise ships had to cancel stops after outbreaks on board. In Asia, China reported its highest daily rise in local COVID-19 cases in 21 months over the weekend as infections more than doubled in the northwestern city of Xian, the country's latest COVID-19 hot spot. Japan's Nikkei lost 0.20 per cent while South Korea's Kospi fell 0.11 per cent. Mainland [...]

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

House prices in Auckland’s Papakura rocket by 41% in 2021

House prices in south Auckland’s Papakura rose more than any other district in or near a main centre this year, says the latest QV Quartile Index. The rising costs are the latest in a string of headline-making figures that demonstrate the relentless rise of house prices the country has been subject to in 2021. According to the QV Quartile Index, over the 11 months from January 1 to November 30, Papakura experienced a 41 per cent increase in “first home” values – properties at the lower end of the market, more likely to be sought out by first home buyers. QV QUARTILE INDEX/SUPPLIED QV Quartile Index showing percentage house price increases Jan-Nov 2021 in or around main centres.   Christchurch followed closely behind with a 37.7 per cent increase, [...]

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

2021 in review: Another busy year in space

Blood moons, billionaires, and boisterous debates about orbital debris — a lot has happened in space in 2021. Jeff Bezos in July 2021, after taking a ride on the Blue Origin New Shephard flight.   1News spoke to Stardome Observatory and Planetarium astronomy educator Josh Kirkley about some of the most memorable moments in space this year. Billionaires blast off After a promising 2020, the shift toward the privatisation of space flights continued into 2021. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX were among the companies leading the year’s most high-profile manned suborbital space flights. While the missions were hailed as another leap toward space tourism and travel by amateurs, they also attracted criticism. Kirkley said that the notion of the ultra-rich blasting off [...]

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

PH still needs 7M fully vaxxed to achieve population protection

          (File photo)   MANILA – The Philippines still needs to fully vaccinate seven million Filipinos by the end of the month to meet its target of 54 million and achieve population protection this year. Based on the data from the national Covid-19 vaccination dashboard, the Philippines, as of Saturday, has administered a total of 105,329,784 doses of vaccines nationwide, with 47,109,449 Filipinos now fully protected and 1,365,827 others have received their booster shots. Due to the onslaught of Typhoon Odette, the country's average daily vaccination rate has decreased to 675,567 doses. Despite a few setbacks on the vaccination program, Presidential Adviser on Covid-19 response Vivencio Dizon earlier said the government remains optimistic that the targeted 54 million fully vaccinated is still achievable with more [...]

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

Covid-19 update: 126 new community cases over past two days

There have been 126 community cases reported in New Zealand over the past two days, the Ministry of Health has confirmed. Photo: 123RF There was no Covid-19 information released yesterday. In a statement this afternoon, the Ministry said there were 47 people in hospital, with seven people in ICU. There are two people in Waikato Hospital and four in Tauranga, with the rest in Auckland. The new community cases reported today were in Auckland (88), Waikato (17), Bay of Plenty (6), Lakes (13), Taranaki (1) and Northland (1). There are also two cases reported in Gisborne, which were announced by Tairāwhiti DHB on Thursday afternoon and will be formally added to the official tally tomorrow due to "Tairāwhiti data reporting issues". The cases are linked to a case in [...]

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

Ex-South Korean president Park Geun-hye, serving time for corruption, granted pardon

A file photo of former South Korean leader Park Geun-hye at a court in Seoul in 2017. She is set to be released at the end of the year. PHOTO: REUTERS    SEOUL - Disgraced former South Korean president Park Geun-hye, now serving a 22-year jail term for corruption and power abuse, is set to walk free on the last day of the year. The Justice Ministry, in what experts deem as a surprise but calculated move, announced on Friday (Dec 23) that she was granted a presidential pardon, partly due to her deteriorating health. Park, 69, is now warded at Samsung Medical Centre in southern Seoul due to chronic shoulder and back pain, poor mental health and even dental issues. She is expected to be released directly from there. [...]

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

Western states need united front against divisive China: Trudeau

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Dec 15, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Blair Gable) TORONTO— Western countries should have a united front against China to prevent the Asian state from using commercial interests to play them against each other, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an interview aired on Saturday (Dec 25). Trudeau said China has been "playing" Western countries against one another as they compete for access to economic opportunities in the country. "We've been competing and China has been, from time to time, very cleverly playing us off each other in an open market, competitive way," he said in an interview with Global television. "We need to do a better job of working [...]

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

Body found in South Auckland home at end of tense standof

A homicide investigation is underway after a man was found dead in a South Auckland home at the conclusion of a dramatic standoff where police climbed through a window to rescue people.   Police said in a statement the serious incident in Bezar Place, Flat Bush, had been resolved. (Source: 1News)   At about 1.15am on Boxing Day, police said they received an emergency call from a resident on Bezar Place in Flat Bush who heard gunshots. Armed Offender Squad members were among officers to respond, climbing through a window in the home before safely taking out several occupants from, including a child. Negotiators then made contact with a 38-year-old man inside the home and continued to engage with him as the morning continued, Detective Inspector Fa'amanuia Va'aelua of [...]

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

Christmas Day around the world: In pictures

Around the world Christmas celebrations are being held, some date back to a historical figure born 2000 years ago, some involve fun with family and friends, and some incorporate elephants and tractors. Snow sculptors building the main snow sculpture on Christmas Eve at the Harbin Sun Island Snow Sculpture Exposition in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. Photo: AFP/ Xinhua News Agency.   Church services and ceremonies are being held throughout the world to mark the birth of Jesus Christ, the historical figure whose life and teachings Christianity was founded on. Christians light candles, sing carols, and retell the nativity story of Jesus' untimely birth as his parents were taking shelter in stables in Bethlehem during a cross country trek because of a census. The Bishop of Arras, Olivier Leborgne (centre), [...]

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

Filipino family to be deported on Christmas for mistake made in ‘desperation’

When Jeffrey Santos is asked how he’s going to make Christmas Day special for his 8-year-old son James, he wells up with tears. Santos, his wife Marjorie, and their son will be deported on December 25 back to Pampanga, in the Philippines, for what he says was a crime of “desperation to feed his family”. Santos used a false address to claim $1600 worth of food vouchers during 2020’s Covid-19 lockdown because he was out of work and out of money, he said. He was ineligible for help like the income relief payment, which was not available to migrant workers. Despite numerous appeals to stay and prove his character, and eight flight cancellations, the Santos family had to leave New Zealand. Christmas Day would be a struggle, he said. [...]

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

Covid-19 update: 56 new community cases in New Zealand today

There are 56 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today, the Ministry of Health has confirmed. Photo: 123rf.com   In a statement, the Ministry said the new cases were in Auckland (42), Waikato (4), Bay of Plenty (6), Rotorua (2), Taranaki (1), and Tairāwhiti (1). The one new case in Taranaki is linked to the Eltham cluster and is understood to have been self-isolating during their infectious period. The two Rotorua cases are household contacts, and three of the six new cases in the Bay of Plenty today have also been linked to earlier cases. There are 48 people with the coronavirus in hospital, including seven in ICU. There were also four cases reported at the border today. There have now been 10,432 cases in the current community [...]

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

Covid-19 numbers continue to skyrocket in NSW with 5715 new cases

New South Wales has once again reported skyrocketing daily case numbers as the seven-day average for hospitalisations continues rise in Victoria. Health workers conduct PCR tests at the St Vincent's Bondi Beach Covid-19 drive through testing clinic on 22 December. Photo: AFP or licensors   NSW has recorded 5,715 new Covid-19 cases as the number of people being admitted to hospital with the virus continues to rise. It is the highest number of daily Covid-19 infections recorded in any Australian jurisdiction, and a rise of 1,952 from yesterday when the state recorded 3,763 cases. Hospitalisations for Covid have risen to 347, up from 302 in the previous reporting day, with 45 patients in ICU. Premier Dominic Perrottet yesterday announced he would reintroduce QR code check-ins and also appears set [...]

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

Pillar of Shame: Hong Kong’s Tiananmen Square statue removed

REUTERS Construction workers worked overnight to remove the statue   A famous statue at the University of Hong Kong commemorating the Tiananmen Square massacre has been removed. Construction workers worked overnight behind plastic barriers to dismantle the 8m (26ft) copper statue. The statue, called the Pillar of Shame, shows piled-up corpses to commemorate pro-democracy protesters killed by Chinese authorities in 1989. The university ordered its removal in October, and said officials had decided on Wednesday to take it down. "The decision on the aged statue was based on external legal advice and risk assessment for the best interest of the university," it said in a statement. It added: "The university is also very concerned about the potential safety issues resulting from the fragile statue." The artwork - which features [...]

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

China offers more assistance to Philippine typhoon victims

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian (1st R) attends the handover ceremony for China-donated rice in Pasay City, the Philippines, Dec. 22, 2021. China offered 1 million U.S. dollars in cash and another 4,725 tons of rice on Wednesday to help the victims of Typhoon Rai in the Philippines. (Xinhua/Liu Kai) MANILA, PH-- China offered 1 million U.S. dollars in cash and another 4,725 tons of rice on Wednesday to help the victims of Typhoon Rai in the Philippines. Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian announced the assistance at the handover ceremony of the rice, the last batch of the 10,000 tons that China donated to the Philippines. The emergency cash assistance is to support the relief and recovery efforts of the Philippine government and people against [...]

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

Marcos-Duterte tandem leads latest Pulse Asia voter preference survey

Metro Manila, PH — The tandem of presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos and vice presidential hopeful Sara Duterte emerged as the top choice in the latest election survey conducted by Pulse Asia. Results released Wednesday showed 53% of survey respondents expressed support for Marcos, who faces a string of petitions against his 2022 bid. This is a big lead from Vice President Leni Robredo, who came in second with a rating of 20%. Placing third in the survey was Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Senator Manny Pacquiao with 8% each. Senator Ping Lacson, meanwhile, completed the top five as the presidential bet of 6% of the respondents. Based on the breakdown of votes, Marcos got the majority of support in all of the country's major island groups, but he secured the [...]

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

Omicron threat: Border delays a blow to New Zealanders stuck overseas

The decision to delay re-opening the borders has dealt another blow to New Zealanders stuck overseas and desperate to return home. Kiwis overseas poised to move back to New Zealand have been left disappointed by the government announcement of border opening dates being pushed back. Photo: 123RF   The threat of Omicron has prompted the government to push back the start of its staged shift from managed isolation in a hotel to self-isolation at home from mid-January to the end of February, and the period in MIQ has increased from seven days to 10. It's the latest roadblock for Kiwis abroad and the Christmas news no one wanted to hear. New Zealand citizens Susan Thomas and her husband have their bags packed, a beachside home to move into and [...]

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

Covid-19 update: 56 new community cases, 51 people in hospital

There are 56 new community cases of Covid-19 today and 51 people are in hospital. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone   In a statement, the Health Ministry also confirmed there was a new case in the Wellington region, after several locations of interest in Hutt Valley were identified. The ministry said six new cases of Omicron have now been detected in recent returnees, bringing the total number of international arrivals in MIQ with the Omicron variant to 28. It said of the 45 Covid-19 cases that have been detected at the New Zealand border since the start of the month, 28 were the Omicron variant. The 51 cases in hospital include two in Waikato and one in Tauranga, with the rest in Auckland hospitals. Today's new community cases were [...]

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

Hong Kong election: China rejects democracy concerns from West

  China has hit back at criticism from Western nations over the Hong Kong election, accusing them of interfering in its affairs. Hong Kong's legislature vote on Sunday saw more than 90% of the seats available go to pro-Beijing candidates. Prior to the vote China had made sweeping changes to Hong Kong's electoral system, including a rule that allowed Beijing to vet candidates. Several nations said the poll had eroded democracy in Hong Kong. On Monday, following the results of the poorly-attended election, the foreign ministers of the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand said China's new rules had "eliminated any meaningful political opposition". "Since the handover, candidates with diverse political views have contested elections in Hong Kong. This election has reversed the trend," said the group, also [...]

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

Japan hangs three in first use of capital punishment in two years

Japan hanged three death-row inmates on Tuesday, its first executions in two years, amid growing criticism by human rights groups of the country's use of the death penalty. One of the three, Yasutaka Fujishiro, was convicted of killing seven people and setting fire to their house in 2004, while the other two, Tomoaki Takanezawa and Mitsunori Onogawa, were convicted in the 2003 killings of two pinball parlour employees. Executions are carried out in high secrecy in Japan, where prisoners are not informed of their fate until the morning they are hanged. Since 2007, Japan has begun disclosing the names of those executed and some details of their crimes, but information is still limited. Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa said the three inmates had committed 'extremely ghastly' crimes. (AP) Justice Minister [...]

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

State of calamity declared in six regions in PH due to typhoon ‘Rai’

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a state of calamity in Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga - regions that suffered the wrath of Typhoon Odette. (FILE PHOTO)   METRO MANILA, PH — President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a state of calamity in Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga - regions that suffered the wrath of Typhoon Rai (PH name: Odette). In his weekly address aired Tuesday night, Duterte signed the declaration recommended by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). A state of calamity would allow local governments to tap their respective calamity funds to help typhoon-hit communities. Duterte said the declaration would also allow price controls on commodities in devastated areas, as well as hasten rescue [...]

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

Investor warns of share buying risk amid US-China tensions

A local retail investor is warning about the risks of buying shares in Chinese companies listed on US stock exchanges following the delisting of a major firm. A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on 20 December 2021. Photo: AFP / 2021 Getty Images   Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi recently announced it was delisting from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), with some analysts saying it was bending to Chinese regulators angered by its share float in the US earlier this year. Growing political tensions between China and the US had also seen American authorities ban US entities from trading shares in companies that are believed to be controlled by the Chinese military. The decision by Didi to delist prompted concerns other Chinese [...]

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

France to introduce vaccination pass in early January as Omicron spreads

A demonstrator holds a placard that reads "No to the health passport" as people attend a demonstration called by French political party "Les Patriotes" against COVID-19 health pass as France sees an increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and hospitalisations, in Paris, France, December 18, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier PARIS— France will pass a law transforming its health pass needed to exercise some professions and to go to cinemas and bars into a "vaccination" pass in the first half of January, the government said on Tuesday (Dec 21). "The wave awaiting us will be high," government spokesman Gabriel Attal told journalists, adding that the Omicron variant accounts for 20 per cent of new COVID-19 infections in France and is spreading rapidly, particularly in the Paris region. He added that in [...]

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

Malls, NZ Post keeping up with busy Christmas period in Covid-19 restrictions

It's the home stretch to Christmas and shoppers are flocking to malls eager to snag last-minute deals while others are keeping NZ Post extremely busy with deliveries. Photo: 123RF At Sylvia Park, one of Aotearoa's largest shopping hubs, centre manager Helen Roland told Morning Report it had been getting busier with Christmas around the corner. "We've been in lockdown for months, but it's been picking up every week that we've been coming back since the 9th of November. So it's getting busier and busier." She said things were different this year. There were no queues for the Santa Centre, instead people needed to book a spot online. "It's a different set up and everyone's got masks on and everybody's being very sensitive. "They seem to be very shopping very [...]

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

Boy, 12, charged with murder in Northland

A 12-year-old boy has been charged with murder in Northland. Police. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson   The victim, Ōkaihau local Michael John Biggins, 62, was found in a car crashed into a paddock and died at the scene. Detective senior sergeant Mark Dalzell said the child is the second person charged. A 15-year-old has also been charged with murder over Biggins' death.

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

Covid-19: 69 new community cases, nine new cases of Omicron variant in MIQ

There are 69 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today, and nine further cases of the Omicron variant in international arrivals. (File photo). Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers   In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the total number of cases with the Omicron variant in the country is now at 22. All remain in managed isolation with the exception of one case who has recovered. Today's community cases include 59 in Auckland, seven in Waikato, two in Bay of Plenty, and one in Taranaki. There are 62 cases in hospital today, including 11 in North Shore, 31 in Auckland, 15 in Middlemore, two in Waikato, and three in Tauranga. Seven cases are in ICU or HDU across the country. Of Waikato's cases, five are in Te [...]

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

Philippines’ election agency rejects bid to disqualify Marcos Jr

FILE PHOTO: Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son of late Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos, poses for pictures after filing his certificate of candidacy for president in the 2022 national election, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, October 6, 2021. Rouelle Umali/Pool via Reuters/File Photo MANILA— Electoral authorities in the Philippines have rejected the first of a series of complaints seeking to disqualify presidential contender Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the early frontrunner ahead of next year's election. Marcos Jr, the son of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, still faces six other complaints - all of them linked to accusations that he failed to pay income tax or file tax returns, which carry a lifetime ban from running for election. Marcos Jr, a career politician, has denied the tax allegations and said elections [...]

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

Australia well prepared for mounting COVID-19 cases: Health minister

Travellers receive tests for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a pre-departure testing facility, as countries react to the new coronavirus Omicron variant, outside the international terminal at Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, November 29, 2021. REUTERS/Loren Elliott MELBOURNE— Australian officials on Sunday (Dec 19) said there was no need to clamp down on Christmas festivities even as new COVID-19 infections climbed in Sydney, with the country's high vaccination rate helping keep people out of hospital. Health Minister Greg Hunt said he was confident Australia would not need to follow the Netherlands, which has reimposed a strict lockdown over the Christmas and New Year period to curb the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant. "We're going into summer, we have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world [...]

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

Covid-19 update: 55 new community cases in NZ; five more Omicron cases in MIQ

There are 55 new community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today and five more cases of the Omicron variant in recent international arrivals, the Health Ministry says. Photo: AFP The new Omicron cases in MIQ take New Zealand's total to 13. Four of these cases remain in managed isolation. One has now recovered and has been released. The recovered case arrived from London via Singapore on 7 December. This case tested positive on day one and was closely managed in MIQ, the Ministry said in a statement. The person was never in the community while infectious. Of the new community cases, 41 are in Auckland, with the remainder spread between Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki. In Waikato, four new cases were reported overnight; three are in Te [...]

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

Typhoon Rai continues to intensify over West PH Sea – PAGASA

Typhoon Rai (PH name: “Odette”) continues to intensify over the West Philippine Sea, said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on Sunday, Dec. 19. (PAGASA)   As of 4 a.m., the center of the eye of typhoon Rai was located 320 kilometers (km) northwest of Pag-asa Island, Kalayaan, Palawan outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR). It has maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour (kph) with gustiness of up to 240 kph. It is moving west northwestward at 25 kph. Tropical cyclone wind signal number 1 remained hoisted in Kalayaan Islands, where strong winds may prevail within 36 hours. “Typhoon Odette may still intensify within the next 12 hours. Afterwards, the gradual exposure of the typhoon to cooler sea surface temperatures in the northwestern [...]

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

UK Brexit boss resigns in another blow for Boris Johnson

Brexit minister Lord Frost has resigned from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government. David Frost looks on as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson signs a trade deal with the EU on 30 December, 2020, at 10 Downing Street in London. Photo: AFP   Lord Frost led the UK's negotiations over the EU Withdrawal Agreement and Northern Ireland Protocol. In a letter to Johnson, Lord Frost said that while "Brexit is now secure" he had "concerns about the current direction of travel". The Mail on Sunday, which first reported the news, said he handed in his resignation a week ago, partly in disagreement with Covid-19 curbs. In his letter, Lord Frost, who attended Cabinet, said his resignation would take "immediate effect" and spoke of his desire to see a "low-tax" [...]

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

PH logs lowest number of Covid-19 active cases in 2021

The Philippines logged 291 new cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) on Saturday and the lowest number of those active in 2021 at 9,924, according to the Department of Health (DoH). The last time that the lowest number of active cases was recorded was on May 24, 2020 at 9,918. Of the active cases, 3,854 are mild, 501 are asymptomatic, 3,388 are moderate, 1,799 are severe and 382 are critical. Of the 35,527 samples that were tested on December 16, only 350 or 0.9 percent were found positive. Total recoveries are at 2.777 million, or 97.9 percent of the 2.8 million overall cases. The death toll is at 50,675, including 106 new fatalities. Occupancy rate for beds for Covid-19 patients in the intensive care units (ICUs) is at [...]

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

Name released of baby who died of ‘non-accidental’ injuries

Police have today released the name of the baby who died in Auckland’s Starship hospital on Friday. Auckland City Hospital and Starship children's hospital. (Source: istock.com)   He was 10-month-old Chance Kamanaka O Ke Akura Aipolani-Nielson. In a statement on Sunday Detective Inspector Aaron Proctor said police "believe the baby's injuries were non-accidental, and investigations are ongoing into the circumstances". A homicide investigation is underway into Chance's death. Anyone with information that may assist police with their inquiries are asked to call 105 and reference Operation Angora.

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

Firefighters battle Far North vegetation blaze

A fire which started in the Far North on Saturday is still burning today, but is largely contained. Fire and Emergency NZ received calls about 1.30pm on Saturday about a huge blaze in Kaimaumau, a remote part of the Far North.   The Kaimaumau fire at night. (Source: Mary Parrish)   In a statement just before 11am on Sunday FENZ Controller Mitchell Brown says, "the fire is now 80 per cent contained as of 9:30am today, and it is expected to be 100 per cent contained by tonight. Crews will continue to mop up the residual fires over the next two days." It had initially engulfed five hectares, but by 5pm on Saturday had grown to around 300 hectares and a further 50 hectares by Sunday morning. Large bushfire [...]

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

Covid-19 update: 39 community cases in New Zealand today, 4 new cases of Omicron

New Zealand has recorded another 39 community cases of Covid-19, the Ministry of Health says. Photo: 123rf.com A boy under the age of 10 became the youngest person with Covid-19 to die in New Zealand, data on the Ministry of Health website revealed yesterday. The data said the child was a Māori boy, registered to the Counties Manukau DHB. Three new cases of the Omicron Covid-19 variant were also reported in New Zealand's managed isolation system, with none of them connected to the first case that was announced on Thursday. The cases are now isolating at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland while the first case has been transferred to an MIQ facility in Christchurch. The Ministry said the detection of further Omicron cases was not surprising given [...]

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

Reports of shots being fired in eastern area of Christchurch

A road in the Christchurch suburb of New Brighton has been closed after reports of shots being fired. Police have cordoned off Bowhill Road between Marine Parade and Keyes Road roundabout. A police spokesperson said as of yet, there are no reported injuries and inquiries are ongoing. The first calls to police came in just after 10am today.

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

Homicide investigation launched after Auckland baby dies

A homicide investigation is underway after a baby boy admitted to Starship Children’s Hospital on Wednesday with critical “non-accidental” injuries died. Auckland City Hospital and Starship children's hospital. (Source: istock.com)   The 10-month-old died in hospital on Friday evening, Detective Inspector Aaron Proctor of Waitematā Police said. A post-mortem is underway and as a result the investigation has been upgraded to a homicide inquiry, he said.

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

US FDA approves AstraZeneca-Amgen drug for severe asthma

The logo for AstraZeneca is seen outside its North America headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, US on Mar 22, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Rachel Wisniewski) The US Food and Drug Administration approved AstraZeneca and Amgen's drug, Tezspire, to treat severe asthma for those aged 12 years and older, the companies said on Friday (Dec 17). The approval is based on late-stage trial data that showed the drug cut the rate of asthma attacks by 56 per cent among patients when compared with placebo. Amgen, which leads the manufacturing of the drug developed by AstraZeneca, told Reuters it was working to make Tezspire available to patients in January. Tezspire works by blocking a type of immune protein called TSLP, found in the linings of the lungs. TSLP belongs to the cytokine group responsible for [...]

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

NSW records highest daily Covid-19 case numbers with 2,482 infections, one death

New South Wales has recorded 2,482 new cases of Covid-19 and one death. Health officials collect COVID-19 swab tests at a drive-through testing site on Bondi beach in Sydney. Photo: AFP or licensors The case numbers are the highest recorded in any Australian jurisdiction in a 24-hour reporting period. There are 206 people in hospital with the virus in the state, 26 are in intensive care. Two weeks ago, the daily infection figure was 325 and then 560 cases were recorded a week after that on 11 December. The latest case numbers have surpassed Victoria's daily Covid-19 infection peak of 2,297 on 14 October. The latest figures have come from more than 137,149 tests taken in the reporting period. The surge in cases in NSW has also triggered a [...]

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

Russia issues list of demands it says must be met to lower tensions in Europe

Contentious security guarantees Moscow is seeking include a ban on Ukraine from entering Nato Russian truck-mounted rocket launchers during military drills near Orenburg. Photograph: Russian Defence Ministry Press Service/EPA Russia has put forward a highly contentious list of security guarantees it says it wants the west to agree to in order to lower tensions in Europe and defuse the crisis over Ukraine, including many elements that have already been ruled out. The demands include a ban on Ukraine entering Nato and a limit to the deployment of troops and weapons to Nato’s eastern flank, in effect returning Nato forces to where they were stationed in 1997, before an eastward expansion. The eight-point draft treaty was released by Russia’s foreign ministry as its forces massed within striking distance of Ukraine’s [...]

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

PH Presidential aspirants join relief efforts for Typhoon Odette victims

PHILIPPINES — Several 2022 hopefuls have launched their own initiatives to help in the relief efforts for communities hit by Typhoon Odette. The tandem of Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Kiko Pangilinan called for relief goods and cash donations alike. Donations can be dropped off at their volunteer center in Quezon City. Robredo also personally flew to Bohol on Friday. Those who would want to donate through Manila Mayor Isko Moreno's drive can also head to Quezon City. Senator Manny Pacquiao also launched a fundraiser for the typhoon victims. Volunteer-supporters have also started packing relief goods for his drive.   The camp of former Senator Bongbong Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte also prepared relief packs for the calamity-struck areas.   Progressive coalition Laban ng Masa — which fielded [...]

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

Typhoon ‘Odette’ slashes across 7 regions in PH

AFTER THE STORM Infrastructure in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte has sustained heavy damage from the onslaught of Typhoon ‘Odette’ (‘Rai’) on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. The island was among the hardest hit by the storm that left its mark in other areas in 7 regions in the country. PHOTO FROM THE PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD   Updated at 12:49 am AS many as 12 people may have died and thousands were evacuated as Typhoon "Odette" slashed across seven regions Friday, the government's disaster management agency reported. Packing 195-kilometer-per-hour winds, the giant storm, with international name "Rai", made eight landfalls as it barreled its way through Mimaropa (Mindoro Oriental, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan); Eastern, Central and Western Visayas; Northern Mindanao; and Caraga. National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) [...]

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

Biden picks Caroline Kennedy to be ambassador to Australia

US President Joe Biden has announced his intention to nominate Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of former president John F. Kennedy to serve as ambassador to Australia. Ms Kennedy is a longtime friend, ally and donor to Mr Biden and endorsed the president's candidacy early in the 2020 campaign, speaking at the Democratic convention. She previously served as US ambassador to Japan in the Obama administration. Caroline Kennedy will be nominated as the next US ambassador to Australia by the Biden Administration.. (Getty) In a statement, Ms Kennedy called Australia "a country that is as vital to our future security and prosperity as Australia". "I am always grateful to the courageous Solomon Islanders and Australian coast watchers who rescued my father during World War II, and if confirmed, I will [...]

December 16th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Signal No. 3 up in Visayas, Mindanao areas as ‘Odette’ intensifies in PH

PHILIPPINES— Signal No. 3 is up in parts of Visayas and Mindanao as Typhoon "Odette" continues to intensify and may make its first landfall on Thursday afternoon over Dinagat Islands-Surigao provinces, according to the state-run weather agency. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said in its 5 a.m. advisory that affected areas in Visayas include Southern Leyte, the southern portion of Leyte (Abuyog, Mahaplag, City of Baybay, Inopacan, Hindang, Hilongos, Bato, Matalom and Javier), Bohol, and the eastern portion of Cebu (Lapu-Lapu City, Cordova, Carmen, Danao City, Compostela, Liloan, Consolacion, Mandaue City, Cebu City, City of Talisay, Minglanilla, City of Naga and San Fernando) including Camotes Islands. In Mindanao, Signal No. 3 is up over: Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, the northern portion of Agusan del [...]

December 16th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

PH detects first 2 imported cases of Omicron variant

(FILE PHOTO) Metro Manila, Philippines — The country has detected its first two cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Wednesday. In a statement, the DOH said the two cases — both international travelers — are currently isolated in a facility under the Bureau of Quarantine. The report came following the latest genome sequencing of 48 samples on Tuesday. The first Omicron case is a returning overseas Filipino who arrived from Japan on Dec. 1 via a Philippine Airlines flight. The patient had coughs and colds upon arrival but is now asymptomatic, the Health department said. The second case is a Nigerian national who arrived on Nov. 30 via an Oman Air flight, it also said, adding that the patient is also currently asymptomatic. The government [...]

December 16th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

GDP down 3.7%, second largest quarterly fall since 1986

The economy took a big hit thanks to the long lockdown, as widely predicted. New Zealand money. (Source: istock.com)   The most widespread measure of economic activity – Gross Domestic Product – shows a 3.7 fall in the September quarter, Statistics NZ revealed today. That’s the second largest fall since records began in 1986. It's the first comprehensive look at the knock the economy has taken thanks to the 2021 lockdown. Retail, accommodation, restaurants, manufacturing, construction and arts and recreation were the hardest hit. And the economy saw big falls in spending over that time. But, the fall is less pronounced than in June 2020 following the first nationwide lockdown. “The September quarter had fewer days in higher alert levels, and border restrictions were already in place," Statistics NZ's [...]

December 16th, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Covid-19 milestone: 90pc of eligible New Zealanders are now fully vaccinated

Ninety percent of eligible New Zealanders are now fully vaccinated, with the official count through overnight, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon   The milestone means nearly 3,800,000 people have rolled up their sleeves for two Pfizer doses. It comes hot on the heels of the three DHBs in Auckland's metropolitan area reaching the target. Seven of the country's 20 DHBs have now reached 90 percent double-vaccination, and a handful of others are on track to reach the target in the next few days. Ninety-four percent of the eligible population nationwide have had their first dose. Auckland's Counties Manukau District Health Board hit the vaccination target of having 90 percent of its eligible population fully vaccinated yesterday. That means all three DHBs in the [...]