Australian PM says not to be ‘intimidated’ by FB’s news ban

Front pages of Australian newspapers are displayed featuring stories about Facebook in Sydney on Feb 19, 2021. Facebook blocks Australians from sharing news stories, escalating a fight with the government over whether powerful tech companies should have to pay news organizations for content. (RICK RYCROFT / AP) CANBERRA – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has […]

Blinken, Ghani discuss US approach to Afghanistan

This combo photo shows Afghan President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani (left) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. (PHOTOS / AFP) WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday discussed the US' ongoing review of its strategy in Afghanistan, the State Department said on Thursday. The Secretary reiterated […]

US, European allies urge Iran not to limit IAEA access

This handout satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies on Jan 8, 2020 shows an overview of Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, southeast of the city of Bushehr. (Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies / AFP) WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his counterparts from Britain, Germany, and France (E3) discussed the Iran nuclear […]

UN: Yemen speeding toward world’s worst famine

Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator attends a meeting about the situation in Venezuela at the United Nations in New York on April 10, 2019 in New York City. (JOHANNES EISELE / AFP) UNITED NATIONS – UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affair Mark Lowcock warned Thursday that Yemen is speeding toward the […]

Indonesia makes COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory

A man receives a shot of COVID-19 vaccine during a mass vaccination for traders and workers at Tanah Abang Market in Jakarta, Indonesia, Feb 17, 2021. (PHOTO / AP) ANKARA / JERUSALEM / BEIRUT / KUWAIT CITY – Getting a COVID-19 vaccination in Indonesia will be mandatory for eligible citizens, the government said, with the […]

NZ’s birth rate lowest on record, deaths decrease in 2020

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds her baby daugther Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford outside a hospital in Auckland on June 24, 2018. (PHOTO / AFP) WELLINGTON – New Zealand's total fertility rate in 2020 was down to 1.61 births per woman, its lowest recorded level, and below the population replacement rate of 2.1, […]

Diplomats check India’s easing of Kashmir clampdown

Indian government forces patrol  in Srinagar on Feb 17, 2021 before the arrival of foreign envoys. (TAUSEEF MUSTAFA / AFP) SRINAGAR – India is hosting international diplomats in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir to showcase efforts to restore normalcy over a year after it stripped the region’s special status, officials said. A group of 24 […]

FB unfriends Australia: News sites go dark in content row

In this March 25, 2020 photo illustration, a Facebook App logo is displayed on a smartphone in Arlington, Virginia. (Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) SYDNEY – Australians woke to empty news feeds in their Facebook Inc accounts on Thursday after the social media giant blocked all local media content in a surprise and dramatic escalation of a […]

Australian PM announces review over parliament rape claim

This file photo taken on March 22, 2020 shows Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison reacting during a press conference at Australia's Parliament House in Canberra. A former Australian government staffer has said she was raped in a minister's office in parliament and failed by her bosses after coming forward, prompting an apology from Morrison on […]

Kuwait emir suspends parliament sessions for a month

Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah gestures in greeting upon arrival to attend the opening of the 5th regular session at the country's National Assembly (parliament) in Kuwait City on Oct 20, 2020. (YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP) KUWAIT – Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah issued a decree on Wednesday, suspending parliament’s sessions for […]

Iran ready to talk with IAEA but not renegotiate nuke deal

This undated photo shows Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant. (Anna Kenare / AFP) TEHRAN – Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday that Iran is ready for dialogue with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi but will not renegotiate the 2015 nuclear agreement. "On Feb 23, the IAEA's oversight (of […]

Afghan peace talks under threat as Taliban offensive takes shape

In this photograph taken on Aug 13, 2015, US army soldiers walk as a NATO helicopter flies overhead at coalition force Forward Operating Base (FOB) Connelly in the Khogyani district in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghanistan. (WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/GETTY IMAGES) KABUL/ISLAMABAD – Unusually intense fighting in the winter by Taliban insurgents has spurred Afghan government […]

Indonesia starts 2nd round of massive COVID-19 vaccination

Vendors wait after receiving the vaccine for COVID-19 coronavirus at the Tanah Abang textile market in Jakarta on February 17, 2021. (ADEK BERRY / AFP) JERUSELAM / DUBAI / CARIO / TOKYO / JAKARTA – Indonesia on Wednesday began the second phase of its massive COVID-19 vaccination program. Priority groups in the second round targeting […]

Iran tells IAEA it plans to scale back cooperation in a week

An Iranian flag flys outside the Vienna International Centre hosting the United Nations headquarters and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna on July 3, 2014. (JOE KLAMAR / AFP) VIENNA/DUBAI – Iran has told the United Nations' nuclear watchdog it will dramatically scale back cooperation with it in a week, a report by the […]

Turkish president vows to expand operations against PKK

Turkish President and leader of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during his party's group meeting at the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara on Feb 10, 2021. (ADEM ALTAN / AFP) ANKARA – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Tuesday to expand Turkey's cross-border operations against the outlawed […]

NZ to conclude its deployment to Afghanistan in 2021

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during a press conference at the Parliament House in Wellington on Nov 6, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP) WELLINGTON – New Zealand will conclude its deployment of the New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) to Afghanistan by May 2021, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday. "After 20 years of […]

UN: Houthi offensive on Yemen’s Marib threatens mass displacement

Saudi-backed government troops repel a Huthi rebel offensive on oil-rich Marib, some 120 kilometres east of Yemen's rebel-held capital Sanaa, on Feb 14, 2021. (PHOTO / AFP) DUBAI – An offensive by Yemen’s Houthi group to take Marib city, the last stronghold of the internationally-recognised government, threatens to displace hundreds of thousands and complicate a […]

Australia urged to ‘do the right thing’ in terror suspect’s case

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media in Wellington, New Zealand, on Feb 15, 2021. (NICK PERRY / AP) WELLINGTON/SYDNEY – New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday accused Australia of abdicating its responsibilities by “unilaterally” cancelling the citizenship of a woman detained in Turkey with alleged links to the Islamic […]

Philippines says vaccine orders enough to hit 2021 goal

In this Sept 11, 2020 file photo, a laboratory technicians handles vials as part of filling and packaging tests for the large-scale production and supply of the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222, in Anagni, southeast of Rome. (VINCENZO PINTO / AFP) SEOUL / CARIO / BANGKOK / JERUSALEM / MANILA – The Philippines […]

Indonesians show solidarity with local Chinese

A lion dance performer (Center) looks out from underneath the costume next to stalls selling items for the Lunar New Year in Jakarta’s Chinatown on Feb 11, 2021, on the eve of the start of the Year of the Ox. (GOH CHAI HIN / AFP) Special decorations in the lobby of the building that houses […]

Bangladesh sentences five to death for killing US blogger

In this March 6, 2015 file photo, a Bangladeshi social activist pays his last respects to slain US blogger of Bangladeshi origin and founder of the Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog site Avijit Roy in Dhaka after he was hacked to death by unidentified assailants in the Bangladeshi capital. (MUNIR UZ ZAMAN / AFP) DHAKA – A […]

ROK investigating DPRK man who crossed armed border

This June 14, 2019 file photo shows the Republic of Korea's army soldiers patrolling the DMZ Peace Trail in the Demilitarized Zone in Goseong, ROK. (AHN YOUNG-JOON / AP) SEOUL – The Republic of Korea ’s military said on Tuesday it had captured a Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) man who crossed the heavily […]