Monday, October 18

Asia

UK in talks with Taliban to ensure Brits get safe passage out of Afghanistan
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UK in talks with Taliban to ensure Brits get safe passage out of Afghanistan

The UK is in talks with the Taliban to ensure Britons can safely leave Afghanistan, the government has said. Its special representative for Afghan transition, Sir Simon Gass, has met senior members of the hardline Islamist group in Doha, Qatar. They also discussed safe passage for Afghans who have worked with the UK over the last 20 years. The newly appointed Afghan resettlement minister, Victoria Atkins, told Sky News the UK would look to ensure the Taliban abide by the terms of a recent UN Security Council resolution. This includes allowing safe passage for those attempting to cross Afghanistan's borders as they seek sanctuary elsewhere, with the Foreign Office in "intense discussions" with other countries in the region over how to process those fleeing Afghanistan. The international...
Johnson and Biden hold Afghanistan evacuation talks ahead of G7 meeting
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Johnson and Biden hold Afghanistan evacuation talks ahead of G7 meeting

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has agreed on evacuation efforts in Afghanistan with President Biden. They spoke ahead of an emergency G7 leaders meeting to discuss the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan. It comes after the Taliban’s warning to Mr Johnson and Mr Biden. The two leaders made an agreement to continue to work together to ensure people could leave Afghanistan, Downing Street said. This includes after August 31 when the initial phase of the evacuation is due to end in line with America’s planned withdrawal. The meeting underscored the importance of close coordination with allies and partners in managing the current situation and forging a common approach to Afghanistan policy. A spokesperson said in No 10’s readout: The leaders agreed to continue working together to ensure those ...
Striking image appears to show 640 people fleeing Kabul in packed US military plane
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Striking image appears to show 640 people fleeing Kabul in packed US military plane

The ongoing deteriorating situation in Afghanistan has left everyone devastated. The Internet is flooded with heart-wrenching pictures and videos depicting the sad state of the Afghans who are desperate to leave the war-torn country since the Taliban took control of the presidential palace Arg in Kabul. Midst of all despair, a heart-wrenching image has emerged which showed hundreds of Afghans crammed into massive US military cargo plane that left Kabul’s Hamid Karzai Airport on Sunday night. More than 600 people (640 to be specific) including women and children were safely evacuated from Kabul to Qatar by US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III. Speaking to US defense and security news site Defense One, an official said that the aircraft was not intended to take on such a large load, but pan...
Taliban says ‘war is over’ as thousands flee Kabul
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Taliban says ‘war is over’ as thousands flee Kabul

As the Taliban took control of the presidential palace in Kabul and assumed control of the Afghan capital, 26 countries led by the US urged the Islamic group to let Afghans leave the country, warning of accountability for human rights abuse. President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday as Taliban entered the city, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed. He did not disclose his location but reports claimed that Mr Ghani had flown to Tajikistan along with national security adviser Hamdullah Mohib and other close associates. American diplomats were evacuated from their embassy by helicopter to the airport while thousands of people rushed to the airport, desperate to leave the country. It comes as Boris Johnson will hold a third emergency Cobra meeting on the deteriorating situation in ...
Japan’s PM resigns due to ill health
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Japan’s PM resigns due to ill health

    Mr Abe has had ulcerative colitis for years - a long-term condition where the bowel becomes inflamed - and said his health had declined around the middle of last month. Two recent hospital visits within a week fanned questions on whether he could stay in the job until the end of his term as ruling party leader, and hence, premier, in September 2021. In a news conference the 65-year-old PM said: I cannot be prime minister if I cannot make the best decisions for the people. I have decided to step down from my post. It is gut-wrenching to have to leave my job before accomplishing my goals. His departure marks the end of an unusual era of stability that saw the Japanese leader strike up strong ties with President Donald Trump even as Mr Abe's ultra-nationalism riled th...
Survivors of deadly India crash say plane swayed violently
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Survivors of deadly India crash say plane swayed violently

    The plane swayed violently as it approached a hilltop runway soaked by monsoon rain, and moments later the special return flight for Indians stranded abroad by the pandemic skidded off, nosedived and cracked in two, leaving 18 dead and more than 120 injured. Among the injured on Friday night, at least 15 were in critical condition, said Abdul Karim, a senior police officer in southern Kerala state. The dead included both pilots of the Air India Express flight, the airline said in a statement, adding that the four cabin crew were safe. The 2-year-old Boeing 737-800 flew from Dubai to Kozhikode, also called Calicut, in Kerala. There were 174 adult passengers, 10 infants, two pilots and four cabin crew on board. In a telephone interview from his hospital bed, Renjith ...
New swine flu found in China
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New swine flu found in China

    A new strain of swine flu which has the potential to spread to humans and cause another pandemic has been identified by researchers in China. Named G4 EA H1N1, the virus is similar to the swine flu that caused a pandemic in 2009 and possesses all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus, according to the authors of the study. Scientists at Chinese universities and China's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) detected the new virus after analysing 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs in slaughterhouses in 10 Chinese provinces between 2011 and 2018. They found the new strain has been predominant among pigs since 2016. One in 10 pig farm workers tested also showed elevated levels of the virus in their blood, particularly those aged 18 to 35 years old. ...
Baby twins named Covid and Corona
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Baby twins named Covid and Corona

    A couple in India have named their twins born amid the global coronavirus pandemic Corona and Covid. The siblings a girl and a boy were born to Preeti and Vinay Verma in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh on 27 March during the ongoing nationwide lockdown, according to NDTV. The delivery happened after facing several difficulties and therefore, my husband and I wanted to make the day memorable, the twins 27-year-old mother told news agency Press Trust of India. She said the coronavirus was dangerous and life-threatening, but the COVID-19 outbreak had also made people focus on sanitation, hygiene and instil other good habits. When the hospital staff also started calling the babies Corona and Covid, we finally decided to name them after the pandemic, she added. The t...
Virus reveals shocking scale of China’s secretive wildlife farms
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Virus reveals shocking scale of China’s secretive wildlife farms

    Nearly 20,000 wildlife farmsraising species including peacocks, civet cats, porcupines, ostriches, wild geese and boar have been shut down across China in the wake of the coronavirus, in a move that has exposed the hitherto unknown size of the industry. Until a few weeks ago wildlife farming was still being promoted by government agencies as an easy way for rural Chinese people to get rich. But the Covid-19 outbreak, which has now led to over 1,800 deaths and more than 72,000 known infections, is thought to have originated in wildlife sold at a market in Wuhan in early December, prompting a massive rethink by authorities on how to manage the trade. China issued a temporary ban on wildlife trade to curb the spread of the virus at the end of January and began a wides...
China is using 3,000-year-old medicine on patients
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China is using 3,000-year-old medicine on patients

    China is administering its centuries-old traditional medicine on patients affected by the coronavirus disease, a top health official said. Treatment in Wuhan hospitals combine Traditional Chinese Medicine, popularly known as TCM, and western medicines, said Wang Hesheng, the new health commission head in Hubei, the province at the center of the virus outbreak. He said TCM was applied on more than half of confirmed cases in Hubei. “Our efforts have shown some good result,” Wang said at a press conference on Saturday, without elaborating. Top TCM experts have been sent to Hubei for “research and treatment,” he said. No drugs or preventives have yet been approved against the virus, which has already claimed the lives of 1,523 people in China and affected about 66,500 ...