The Iranian government is weighing a plot to assassinate the US ambassador to South Africa, Lana Marks, after the United States carried out the sensational January killing of Qassem Soleimani – Iran’s top general – in Iraq, according to a media report. However, reacting to the story that appeared in Politico, Tehran said the US is using ’worn-out’ methods to defame it on the world stage.
A court in central Vietnam has jailed seven people for their roles in the death of 39 migrants during an attempt to smuggle them in UK. The court found the six men and one woman guilty of ’organizing and brokering’ illegal immigration, local media reported. In October 2019, bodies of 29 men, 2 boys, and 8 women were found in the trailer of an articulated refrigerator lorry in UK’s Essex.
Police in Pakistan said they have arrested one of the two suspects in the gang rape of a woman on a deserted highway. This comes a day after the police wrongfully detained another person in the case. The woman was attacked last week near the city of Lahore, which prompted a nationwide outrage. Thousands of protesters came out in the streets of several cities, including Islamabad and Karachi.
Nearly 800 of the thousands of asylum seekers who fled a fire that destroyed a migrant camp have been housed at a temporary site on the island of Lesbos. In an update, the Greek ministry said 21 of the migrants have tested positive for coronavirus. Separately, Greece has called on the EU to jointly run new refugee camps being built on its eastern islands.
Russia has announced that it has recruited sufficient number of volunteers for its Covid-19 vaccine’s ’Phase III’ trial. Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, said 55,000 volunteers have already been recruited in Moscow for the trial of the vaccine, which is named as ’Sputnik-V.’ Initial results are expected in next month or in November.
China’s Defense Ministry has labeled the US as the biggest threat to the international order and world peace. The statement follows the Sept. 2 assessment by the US where China’s military goals were identified as having ’serious implications for U.S. national interests’. Pointing to US actions in Iraq, Syria, Libya, among others, China called the US a destroyer of world peace.
Venezuela’s chief prosecutor said Matthew John Heath, the US citizen recently arrested in the country, had been charged in an alleged terrorist plot to sabotage oil refineries and electrical grids in an attempt to stir unrest. The prosecutor said Heath have had help from three Venezuelans in the plot. Heath and the others were arrested near two oil refineries Venezuela’s northern Caribbean coast.
Hurricane Sally, a newly formed slow-moving storm, is closing in on the US Gulf Coast, threatening several southern US states. It grew to a grew to a Category 2 storm on Monday and was expected to make landfall early on Wednesday. Several southern US states, including Florida, Mississippi and Alabama, have been put on alert. Besides Sally, four more storms are brewing in the Atlantic basin now.
U.S. prosecutors have indicted the 49-year-old Australian on 17 espionage charges, and one of computer misuse, over WikiLeaks’ publication of secret U.S. military documents a decade ago. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.
A court in Israel handed three life sentences to Amiram Ben-Uliel, Jewish extremist who has been convicted in an arson attack which took place in 2015 and which claimed the life of Palestinian toddler and his parents. Ben-Uliel has been found guilty of murder for the killing of 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh by firebombing his home in Duma, a village in West Bank.
Chinese investment in Australia reduced 47% in 2019, new data released showed. Researchers from the Australian National University said China’s investment reduced from A$4.8B to just A$2.5B last year. This was the third consecutive year that Chinese investment in Australia dropped. The steep fall reflects the bilateral political tensions.
Two independent labs in France and Sweden have confirmed German findings that Alexei Navalny was poisoned with novichok. Navaly, a critic of Vladimir Putin, is being treated at a Berlin hospital after falling ill last month during a domestic flight in Russia. The German government added that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is also testing samples.
Australian officials are attempting to guide a humpback whale out of a crocodile-infested river in the Northern Territory after it got lost. Two whales were later able to swim out of the river, but at least one remains, after they, along with others on an annual sea migration, ’took a wrong turn’. An option to persuade the whale to leave includes using recorded whale calls.
A Rwandan court charged Paul Rusesabagina, the inspiration for the film ’Hotel Rwanda’, with terrorism, complicity in murder, and forming an armed rebel group. Rusesabagina pleaded not guilty to all 12 charges and asked to be released on bail, citing poor health. Amnesty International has called on the authorities to guarantee Rusesabagina his right to a fair trial.
Greece said it will rehouse the thousands of asylum seekers who were displaced by fires at Europe’s largest migrant camp in Lesbos. About 12,000 migrants, including children and the old, fled the overcrowded Moria camp after it was attacked by arsonists on Wednesday. Since then, they have been sleeping out in the open. Officials are also working on ways to prevent outbreak of Covid-19 among them.
A huge portion of Greenland’s ice cap, anticipated to be some 42.3 square miles, has fallen off in the far north east Arctic which as per scientists is a indication of brisk climate change. The glacier section broke off the fjord known as Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, which is ~50 miles long and 12 miles wide, as per National Geological Survey of Denmark & Greenland.
Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, is poised to win the ruling party’s leadership vote to replace Shinzo Abe on Monday. The win will virtually guarantee Suga as the country’s next Prime Minister. The son of a farmer, 71-year-old Suga is known as a pragmatic, behind-the-scenes deal maker, in contrast to a charismatic political dynast that Abe was.
Belarus’s embattled President, Alexander Lukashenko, is flying to Russia to meet Vladimir Putin, for talks that could be crucial in determining whether or not he survives an ongoing protest movement against him. Lukashenko is banking on economic and military support from Moscow that could help tip the balance in his favor as his security forces crack down hard on the opposition.
According to a report on international epidemic preparedness, a collective failure by world leaders to heed warnings and prepare for an infectious disease pandemic has transformed ’a world at risk’ to a ’world in disorder’. ’Financial and political investments in preparedness have been insufficient’, the report by GPMB noted. A lack of leadership is exacerbating the current pandemic, it said.