World

Afghanistan to release 600 Taliban prisoners in bid to push for peace talks

KABUL: Afghan authorities on Thursday said it will release 600 prisoners it had deemed "too dangerous" in the hope of getting peace talks going, a day after they had refused to release the captives. Disagreement over about 600 prisoners from a total of 5,000 the Taliban want released has prevented the launch of US-brokered peace talks aimed at ending nearly...

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With 32,000 deaths, Britain’s coronavirus toll highest in Europe

LONDON: Britain has overtaken Italy to report the highest official death toll from coronavirus in Europe with more than 32,000 deaths, figures released on Tuesday showed. The high death toll could increase political pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who waited longer than other European leaders to order a lockdown to curb the spread of the virus in March. Weekly...

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Venezuela arrests two US citizens among 13 people involved in failed incursion

Venezuelan security forces have arrested 13 people including two Americans involved in a failed armed incursion into the country, President Nicolas Maduro said on Monday. In a state television address, Maduro said authorities arrested 13 "terrorists" on Monday allegedly involved in a plot he said was coordinated with Washington to enter the South American country via the Caribbean coast and...

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Vajda to be sworn in as top US diplomat for South Asia as Wells retires

WASHINGTON: United States Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas L Vajda will take over charge of South Asian affairs at the US State Department after Alice Wells, the current top diplomat for South Asia, retires on May 22, the department confirmed on Monday. “I will miss Alice’s wise counsel and dedicated efforts to build relationships and address challenges across South and Central...

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Global coronavirus tally passes another grim landmark as cases exceed 3.5 million

Global coronavirus cases surpassed 3.5 million on Monday and deaths neared a quarter of a million concerning experts who fear substantial under-reporting even as the rate of fatalities and new cases slows. North America and European countries, where growth rates are easing, still accounted for most of the new infections reported in recent days. But case numbers were rising from smaller...

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North and South Korea exchange gunfire at border

North Korean troops fired multiple gunshots towards the South in the Demilitarised Zone dividing the peninsula on Sunday, prompting South Korean forces to fire back, Seoul said. The rare exchange of gunfire comes a day after North Korean state media reported that leader Kim Jong Un had made his first public appearance in nearly three weeks following an absence that...

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Trump says evidence suggests coronavirus originated from China lab

WASHINGTON: A day after blaming China for working against his re-election bid in November, US President Donald Trump on Thursday said that he was confident that the coronavirus may have been originated in a Wuhan virology lab. The diatribe from the Republican incumbent came as data showed the United States shed more than 30 million jobs in six weeks, as...

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More than 1 million recovered from COVID-19 so far: Johns Hopkins University

WASHINGTON: The number of recovered coronavirus patients surged past one million on Thursday, according to the latest data released by Johns Hopkins University. At least 1,014,524 people have recovered from the pneumonia illness that has infected 3,218,415 people and killed over 230,309 globally. Europe is the worst hit continent with 137,714 deaths, while the United States has registered the most...

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Trump accuses China for working against his re-election bid

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump says he believes China’s handling of the coronavirus is proof that Beijing “will do anything they can” to make him lose his re-election bid in November. In an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office, Trump talked tough on China and said he was looking at different options in terms of consequences for Beijing over the virus....

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Worshipers will soon return to Two Holy Mosques, assures Imam-e-Kaaba

Imam-e-Kaaba Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais assured Muslims that worshipers will soon return to the two holy sites in Saudi Arabia, reported the Saudi Gazette. “Days (will come) when the sorrow will be driven away from the Islamic Ummah and we return to the Two Holy Mosques for tawaf (circumambulation around the Holy Ka'ba), sa'i (the ritual of hastening between the hills...

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US commission recommends re-designating India on list of countries violating religious freedom

WASHINGTON: The US Commission on International Religious Freedom has recommended that India be re-designated as a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ because of the Modi government's policies and treatment towards the Muslim population. "Perhaps the steepest, and most alarming deterioration in religious freedom conditions is in India," the vice chair of the USCIRF vice said after the release of the Commission's...

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Virus lockdowns begin to ease, cases top three million

WASHINGTON: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide soared past three million on Monday as several European nations and a handful of US states began taking steps to reopen their shuttered economies. But as schools and shops reopened in some parts of Europe, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson emerged after his own battle with the virus to call for patience...

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Trump enrages China by warning US may seek damages over coronavirus

US President Donald Trump suggested he may seek damages from China over the coronavirus pandemic which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan and spread around the world, prompting a furious response from Beijing on Tuesday. Beijing and Washington have clashed repeatedly over the outbreak as tensions have soared between the world's two biggest economic powers. "We are not happy...

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North Korea’s leader Kim ‘alive and well’, maintains Seoul

SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is “alive and well”, a top security adviser to the South's President Moon Jae-in said, downplaying rumours over Kim's health following his absence from a key anniversary. “Our government position is firm,” said Moon's special adviser on national security Moon Chung-in, in an interview with CNN on Sunday. “Kim Jong Un is alive and well.”...

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Pompeo advises against WHO funding ban for seven countries including Pakistan

Secretary of States Mike Pompeo has recommended not to halt World Health Organisation (WHO) funding for programmes to fight coronavirus and polio in seven countries including Pakistan despite US President Donald Trump’s criticism of the UN health body, according to a Bloomberg news report. President Trump had earlier announced that he was directing his administration to halt WHO funding pending a review into...

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Lockdowns ease globally amid promising drops in coronavirus deaths

MADRID: Spanish children ventured outside for the first time in weeks on Sunday, and Italy and New York laid out partial reopening plans as marked decreases in deaths from the global coronavirus pandemic stirred hopes. Even as confirmed virus infections around the world approached three million, governments were increasingly itching to revive shuttered economies - although there was intense debate...

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Rumours intensify about Kim Jong-un’s seriously ill health as Chinese doctors are sent to treat him

Kim Jong-un is in “a vegetative state” in a coma following a botched heart operation, according to disputed reports overnight. The unverified claims – which follow online rumours of his death – emerged as a team of Chinese medical experts reportedly flew in to treat the North Korean despot, who has not been seen in public for two weeks, reports The...

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