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International News

Report: Foreign aid lost in Syria exchange rate distortions

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad's government benefited from variations in foreign currency exchange rates, boosting state coffers with at least $100 million in international aid money over the last two years, according to new research. The currency manipulation deprives Syrians, ...

Violence erupts at Islamists rally in Pakistan, killing 4

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Violent clashes erupted between Pakistan's security forces and Islamists in the eastern city of Lahore on Friday, killing at least two policemen and two demonstrators, a police spokesman and witnesses said. The incident happened after thousands of Islamists launched ...

Romania revives restrictions as hospitals struggle, jabs lag

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Doctor Petruta Filip is working 100-hour weeks at a Bucharest hospital which, like hospitals throughout Romania, is struggling under an onslaught of COVID-19 patients in a country with worryingly low vaccination rates. The European Union country of around 19 million ...

Israel outlaws Palestinian rights groups, alleging terrorism

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel on Friday effectively outlawed six prominent Palestinian human rights groups by declaring them terrorist organizations, a major escalation of its decades-long crackdown on political activism in the occupied territories. The declaration appeared to pave the way for ...

NKorea slams US for supporting Taiwan in nod to ally China

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Saturday accused the Biden administration of raising military tensions with China through its "reckless" backing of Taiwan, and said that the growing U.S. military presence in the region constitutes a potential threat to the North. In comments carried ...

Bangladesh to share ‘climate prosperity plan’ at COP26

NEW DELHI (AP) — Bangladesh plans to present its "climate prosperity plan" aimed at mitigating the effects of global warming on economic development at the forthcoming U.N. climate talks in Glasgow, a Bangladeshi climate official says. The plan envisions boosting renewable energy, making ...

Russian COVID spike persists, setting new death record

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia is reporting a record high number of coronavirus infections and COVID-19 deaths as the country approaches a week of nonworking days aimed at stemming the sharp surge in cases. The national coronavirus task force said Saturday that 1,075 people had died from the virus in ...

Orthodox Church’s top patriarch to visit US, meet with Biden

The spiritual leader of the world's 200 million Eastern Orthodox Christians brings an agenda spanning religious, political and environmental issues to a 12-day U.S. visit beginning Saturday that includes a meeting with President Joe Biden and various ceremonial and interfaith ...

New Zealand sets 90% vaccination target to end lockdowns

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand's government on Friday set an ambitious target of fully vaccinating 90% of all eligible people to end coronavirus lockdowns. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had been under pressure to provide a pathway to freedom for people living in Auckland, who ...

Japan OKs plan to push clean energy, nuclear to cut carbon

TOKYO (AP) — Japan adopted a new energy policy on Friday that promotes nuclear and renewables as sources of clean energy to achieve the country's pledge of reaching carbon neutrality in 2050. The new basic energy plan, adopted by the Cabinet just in time for the climate summit in early ...

Beijing offering COVID-19 boosters, 4 months before Olympics

BEIJING (AP) — China's capital Beijing has begun offering booster shots against COVID-19, four months before the city and surrounding regions are to host the Winter Olympics. Anyone 18 or older who have received two-dose Chinese vaccines and belong to at-risk groups, including those ...

First female head of Japan labor lobby vows to empower women

TOKYO (AP) — The first female president of Japan's powerful labor union federation said Friday she will work to correct the gender gap in wages and working conditions to help empower women. "Progress is extremely slow," said Tomoko Yoshino, who was elected this month as head of the 7 ...

Turkish lira continues to slide after interest rate cut

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Turkish lira continued to slide and reached a record low against the U.S. dollar Friday, a day after the Central Bank sharply cut interest rates. It was another hit after a global financial watchdog placed Turkey on a list of countries to monitor for money laundering ...

Thailand easing tourist quarantine rules in November

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand is accelerating plans to reopen the country to foreign tourists, slashing mandatory quarantines beginning Nov. 1 for fully vaccinated visitors arriving by air from 46 countries and territories, officials announced Friday. The Center for COVID-19 Situation ...

Malaysia reopens cautiously to foreign workers, tourists

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia said Friday it will reopen to foreign workers to address a labor crunch, and allow fully vaccinated tourists at the northern resort island of Langkawi next month without quarantine. Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government will use the ...

Saudi Arabia pledges 2060 target of net-zero emissions

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — One of the world's largest oil producers, Saudi Arabia, announced Saturday it aims to reach "net zero" greenhouse gas emissions by 2060, joining more than 100 countries in a global effort to try and curb man-made climate change. The announcement, made by ...

Russia hosts Afghan talks, calls for an inclusive government

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia hosted talks on Afghanistan on Wednesday involving senior representatives of the Taliban and neighboring nations, a round of diplomacy that underlined Moscow's clout in Central Asia. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov opened the talks and emphasized that "forming a ...

Australian town overwhelmed by response to free land offer

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian Outback town of Quilpie hoped its offer of free residential land to anyone who would make it their home might attract five new families to the remote community of 800. But authorities have been overwhelmed by more than 250 inquires in less than two ...

UK, New Zealand approve trade deal; hope it opens more doors

LONDON (AP) — Britain agreed to a trade deal with New Zealand on Wednesday, eliminating tariffs on a wide range of goods as the U.K. seeks to expand economic links around the world following its exit from the European Union. The deal was cemented in a conference call between U.K. Prime ...

For sleepy Hong Kong residents, 5-hour bus tour is a snooze

HONG KONG (AP) — Travel-starved, sleep-deprived residents might find a new Hong Kong bus tour to be a snooze. The 76-kilometer (47-mile), five-hour ride on a regular double-decker bus around the territory is meant to appeal to people who are easily lulled asleep by long rides. It was ...