Category تورنتو استار

At UN, Africa urges fiscal help against virus ‘apocalypse’

JOHANNESBURG – African nations came out swinging on the third day of the United Nations annual gathering of world leaders Thursday, calling for dramatic fiscal measures to help economies survive the coronavirus pandemic — which one leader called the “fifth horseman of the apocalypse.”

African countries estimate they need $100 billion in support annually for the next three years, pointing out it’s a fraction of the trillions of dollars some richer countries are using to revive their economies.

Debt cancellation is needed to free up more resources to tackle the virus and its effects, including the fight against other deadly diseases like malaria and HIV, heads of state said.

“We need to purely and simply cancel this debt,” said Niger’s president, Issoufou Mahamadou.

The presi...

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Kenosha shooter’s defence portrays him as ‘American patriot’

The way lawyers for Kyle Rittenhouse tell it, he wasn’t just a scared teenager acting in self-defence when he shot to death two Kenosha, Wisconsin, protesters. He was a courageous defender of liberty, a patriot exercising his right to bear arms amid rioting in the streets.

“A 17-year-old citizen is being sacrificed by politicians, but it’s not Kyle Rittenhouse they are after. Their end game is to strip away the constitutional right of all citizens to defend our communities,” says the voice-over at the end of a video released this week by a group tied to Rittenhouse’s legal team.

“Kyle Rittenhouse will go down in American history alongside that brave unknown patriot … who fired ‘The Shot Heard Round the World,’’’ lead attorney John Pierce wrote this month in a tweet he later del...

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The Latest: Police make 127 arrests in Louisville, Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Latest on a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officers on criminal charges directly related to Breonna Taylor’s death: (all times EDT)

7:30 a.m.

Police say they’ve made 127 arrests in Louisville, Kentucky, after protests over the grand jury’s decision to not indict officers in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.

A police statement early Thursday says some were arrested after damaging businesses and more were detained after jumping on city vehicles being used as barricades. Later, protesters who refused orders to disperse were arrested for curfew and unlawful assembly violations.

Police also said some businesses were looted early Thursday including two City Gear stores and a pawn shop...

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Drug companies work jointly to boost vaccine confidence

LONDON – Two firms developing COVID-19 vaccines say pharmaceutical companies are trying to give the public as much information as possible about their testing regimes as drugmakers and public health officials seek to boost confidence that any approved vaccine will be safe.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot and Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer of Johnson & Johnson, said Thursday that they recognize the coronavirus emergency demands increased transparency from vaccine developers to ensure the public has faith in the end product. They stressed however that there are limits to the information they can release because they must protect patient confidentiality and the integrity of their scientific research.

Ultimately, the public will have to trust regulators around the world and the indepe...

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Hidden History Weekend starts Friday in West Virginia

GLEN JEAN, W.Va. – Southern West Virginia’s hidden history will be highlighted during an event this weekend.

The 12th annual Hidden History Weekend runs Friday through Sunday. The National Park Service says the free event is at New River Gorge National River, the National Coal Heritage Area, Hinton Historic District, Tamarack and the West Virginia State Parks of Babcock, Carnifex Ferry Battlefield, Hawks Nest, Pipestem Resort and Twin Falls Resort.

There will only be a few in-person site programs, and field activities will include additional safety measures due to the coronavirus pandemic. Face masks are required, and safe social distancing will be practiced, the National Park Service said.

Advance reservations are requested for some programs...

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Japan PM tells South Korea it’s time to fix strained ties

TOKYO – Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Thursday held his first telephone call with his South Korean counterpart since taking office, telling President Moon Jae-in that the neighbours should work to resolve their strained relations.

The talks, proposed by South Korea, were the first contact in nine months between leaders of the two countries. Relations between Japan and South Korea deteriorated to their worst levels in years under Suga’s predecessor, Shinzo Abe, a military hawk viewed by some as not apologetic enough over Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-1945.

“I told President Moon that relations between the two countries are in a very severe condition right now and we should not leave this unresolved,(asterisk) Suga told reporters...

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The Latest: India adds 86K cases, junior minister among dead

BEIJING — Chinese officials say foreigners holding certain types of visas and residence permits will be permitted to return to China as the threat of the new coronavirus continues to recede.

The decision lifts a months-long blanket suspension covering most foreigners apart from diplomats and those in special circumstances.

Beginning Monday, foreign nationals holding valid Chinese visas and residence permits for work, personal matters and family reunions will be permitted to enter China. Returnees will be required to undergo two weeks of quarantine and follow other pandemic measures.

Officials announced seven new coronavirus cases Thursday, all of them imported, marking 39 days since China has reported a case of domestic transmission.



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Palm oil labour abuses linked to world’s top brands, banks


Jum’s words tumble out over the phone, his voice growing ever more frantic.

Between sobs, he says he’s trapped on a Malaysian plantation run by government-owned Felda, one of the world’s largest palm oil companies. His boss confiscated and then lost his Indonesian passport, he says, leaving him vulnerable to arrest. Night after night, he has been forced to hide from authorities, sleeping on the jungle floor, exposed to the wind and the rain. His biggest fear: the roaming tigers.

All the while, Jum says his supervisor demanded he keep working, tending the heavy reddish-orange palm oil fruit that has made its way into the supply chains of the planet’s most iconic food and cosmetics companies like Unilever, L’Oreal, Nestl...

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The Latest: 2 officers shot, wounded amid Taylor protests

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville police say two officers have been shot amid protests in Louisville, Kentucky, over a lack of charges in the Breonna Taylor case. Police say a suspect is in custody. Police Chief Robert Schroeder said Wednesday night that one officer is alert and stable and the other officer is in surgery and stable. He said the officers had gone to an area in the city to investigate reports of shots fired when they were hit by gunfire. The shootings came hours after a grand jury on Wednesday brought no charges directly against Louisville police for the killing of a Black woman, Breonna Taylor, in a police raid gone wrong.

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GOP Senate report on Biden son alleges conflict of interest

WASHINGTON – Two Republican-led Senate committees issued a politically charged report Wednesday alleging that the work Joe Biden’s son did in Ukraine constituted a conflict of interest for the Obama administration at a time when Biden was engaged in Ukraine policy as vice-president. But the report also offered no support for President Donald Trump’s claim that the Democratic presidential nominee had improperly pressed for the firing of the country’s top prosecutor to protect his son.

The report did not implicate Biden in wrongdoing, focusing instead on his son Hunter, who it said “cashed in” on his father’s position by joining the board of a Ukrainian gas company...

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