Flooding forces evacuations
Heavy flooding triggered by monsoon rains has forced more than 1 million people to flee their homes in the northeast state of Assam, authorities said yesterday, warning that the crisis was becoming more critical by the hour. The Brahmaputra River burst its banks in Assam over the weekend, inundating more than 2,000 villages, and it was still raining yesterday. Torrential rain hit at least 23 of Assam’s 33 districts and the federal water resources body said water levels in the Brahmaputra were expected to rise, with more rain forecast over the next three days. Paramilitary personnel have been deployed across the state for rescue operations. At least two people have died in the flooding.
Sea search continuing
The coast guard yesterday continued its search for 14 people missing since a fishing boat and cargo vessel collided in choppy waters in the early hours of Sunday about 27km off Mamburao town in Mindoro Occidental province. The fishing boat was damaged and overturned, but the search for its occupants was being hampered by strong waves, officials said. The Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel was being escorted by a coast guard vessel to Batangas province, the coast guard said.
Sichuan floods kill 12
Authorities in Sichuan Province said at least 12 people have died and 10 are missing following heavy rains on Friday and Saturday, with flooding especially bad in Mianning County’s Yihai Township. Two vehicles plunged into a river along a flood-damaged highway, and 7,705 people were evacuated in the area. Nationally, flooding since the start of this month has affected nearly 14 million people in 26 provinces, with 744,000 evacuated, 78 people dead or missing, more than 100,000 homes destroyed or damaged and direct economic losses estimated at more than 25 billion yuan (US$3.5 billion), the Ministry of Emergency Management said on Sunday. Torrential rain is set to hit the eastern coastal regions this week, with some areas facing 30 to 50 millimeters of rain per hour by tomorrow, meteorologists said.
Election ‘not about family’
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍) yesterday said the July 10 general election was not about him or a family dispute with his siblings after his estranged younger brother, Lee Hsien Yang (李顯揚), joined the opposition Progress Singapore Party. “He is within his rights as a citizen. This GE is not about me or any family disputes which may involve my brother and me,” the prime minister said when asked about his brother’s decision. “It’s about Singapore’s future at a very grave moment in our history when we are facing the most serious crisis we’ve seen since independence.” He added that “health, jobs and the future” should be the major focus.”
‘Wild West town’ for sale
Anyone who has ever wanted to play sheriff in a cowboy movie — and has NZ$11.6 million (US$7.46 million) to spare — now has the chance, as the Mellonsfolly Ranch on North Island’s Central Plateau is up for sale. Established in 2006, the 360-hectare property is a meticulous reproduction of an 1860s Wyoming frontier town, with a 10-building main street. The “town,” featuring a saloon, courthouse, billiards lounge, sheriff’s office, and accommodation for 22 people, is rented out for accommodation and events, and features a 450-hive manuka honey business.
PM vows to boost spending
Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday promised a “Rooseveltian” boost to public spending to help the country’s economy recover from the COVID-19 shock and said a return to austerity would be a mistake. Johnson told Times Radio that he would double down on his plans to increase investment and said that his government — which has already announced emergency spending and tax measures worth an estimated ￡133 billion (US$164 billion) — would continue to help people and businesses. “This is the moment for a Rooseveltian approach to the UK,” he said. “I do think the investment will pay off, because this is a very, very dynamic, very productive economy.”
President wins first round
President Andrzej Duda came top in the first round of the country’s presidential election, results showed yesterday, but fell short of the overall majority needed to avoid what looks set to be a tight run-off vote on July 12. Duda got 43.67 percent of the vote, according to results based on 99.78 percent of the total number of polling districts. Liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, who is standing for the largest opposition party, the centrist Civic Platform, came second with 30.34 percent. Almost 7 percent of voters voted for far-right Confederation candidate Krzysztof Bosak.
Nornickel owns up spill
A metallurgical company on Sunday said that it improperly pumped wastewater into the Arctic tundra and that it has suspended the responsible employees. The statement from Nornickel is the second time in a month the company has been connected to pollution in the region. The statement came hours after the independent Novaya Gazeta reported that water tainted with heavy metals from the tailings at a nickel-processing plant were being pumped into a river. Nornickel said the water was improperly pumped because of an overflowing sump.
Detainee’s wife speaks out
The wife of one of two Canadians imprisoned in China on Sunday said that she is “disappointed” by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s refusal to consider a swap for detained chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟), who is facing extradition to the US. Trudeau firmly rejected appeals that he intervene in the extradition proceedings against Meng to win the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. Trudeau said such a decision would put other Canadians around the world at risk by showing that Ottawa can be influenced by “random arrests.” In an interview with the CTV network, Kovrig’s wife, Vina Nadjibulla, said that the government should try to gain her husband’s and Spavor’s release and protect other Canadians from arbitrary arrest. “We can do both,” she said.
Two nabbed over killing
Authorities have arrested two people in connection with the murder of a federal judge and his wife in the middle of this month, prosecutors said on Sunday, while in Mexico City 17 of the 19 suspects detained in a failed attack on Police Chief Omar Garcia Harfuch appeared before a judge. Both attacks have been attributed to the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel, and are seen as major challenges to the government and the security strategy of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
French authorities yesterday said that they would close a Paris mosque as part of a clampdown on radical Islam that has yielded over a dozen arrests following the beheading of a teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. The mosque in a densely populated suburb northeast of Paris had disseminated a video on its Facebook page days before Friday’s gruesome murder, railing against teacher Samuel Paty’s choice of material for a class discussion on freedom of expression, a source close to the investigation said. The French Ministry of the Interior said the mosque in Pantin, which has
A US$60 double-dose experimental coronavirus vaccine is being made available to some residents in an eastern Chinese city, health officials have said, the first details of a mass rollout for an as yet unproven vaccine. Officials in Jiaxing on Thursday said that residents aged 18 to 59 with “urgent needs” could seek consultations at clinics for a Sinovac Biotech vaccine that authorities have been giving to groups such as medical workers. The statement from Jiaxing’s center for disease control and prevention did not specify what constituted “urgent needs.” Authorities did not say how many people in the city had been given the vaccine,
LONGSTANDING NEUTRALITY: The US request came as it vied for influence in Southeast Asia with China, but Indonesia has never let foreign militaries operate there Indonesia this year rejected a proposal by the US to allow its P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance planes to land and refuel there, four senior Indonesian officials familiar with the matter have said. US officials made multiple “high-level” approaches in July and August to Indonesia’s defense and foreign ministers before Indonesian President Joko Widodo rebuffed the request, the officials said. Representatives for Indonesia’s president and defense minister, the US Department of State’s Office of Press Relations and the US embassy in Jakarta did not respond to requests for comment. Representatives for the US Department of Defense and Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi
COVID-19 UNDER CONTROL: The two prime ministers agreed to ease entry bans, and allow short-term business visits and reopen flights between Vietnam and Japan Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, in his first overseas summit since taking office last month, yesterday agreed with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to step up defense and security cooperation in the face of China’s expanding influence in the region. In talks in Hanoi, Suga and Phuc set up a basic agreement allowing Japan to export defense equipment and technology to Vietnam. Japan has been pursuing such agreements to bolster ties with Southeast Asian nations and sustain its own defense industry. Suga said that his four-day trip to Vietnam and Indonesia would be key to pursuing the “free and open Indo-Pacific” vision