Ex-Peru president Fujimori faces trial over ‘forced sterilizations’

A judge in Peru opened proceedings on Monday against disgraced former president Alberto Fujimori and other officials accused of the “forced sterilizations” of thousands of poor, mostly indigenous, women. An estimated 270,000 Peruvians were subjected to surgery to have their fallopian tubes tied as part of a family planning program instigated during Fujimori’s final four […]

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Thousands protest over Argentina ‘VIP vaccinations’ scandal

Thousands of people demonstrated in cities across Argentina on Saturday to protest the “VIP vaccinations” scandal that forced the health minister to resign. Gines Gonzalez Garcia quit a week ago at the president’s request after it emerged that his friends had been able to skip the line for coronavirus inoculation. Protesters carrying signs reading “Give […]

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Turkmen leader recognizes dog breed with state holiday

Turkmenistan’s authoritarian ruler has recognised a national dog breed with a state holiday, government media reported Friday, elevating the canine to the same status as the gas-rich country’s beloved horses. The alabai shepherd dog has inspired presidential poetry and an ostentatious gold statue under the leadership of strongman Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who gave Russian President Vladimir […]

Coronavirus-sceptic former Czech president catches COVID

Former Czech president Vaclav Klaus, who has recently made a splash by publicly defying government restrictions to stem the Covid-19 spread, has caught the disease, his spokesman said Tuesday. “He wasn’t feeling well and he tested positive for Covid this afternoon,” Petr Macinka, spokesman for the Vaclav Klaus Institute think tank, told AFP. “He underwent […]

French actor Gerard Depardieu charged with rape

French actor Gerard Depardieu has been charged with rape and sexual assault allegedly committed in 2018 against an actress in her 20s, a judicial source told AFP on Tuesday. An initial investigation into the rape accusations against Depardieu, 72, was dropped in 2019 for lack of evidence but reopened last summer, leading to criminal charges […]

Variants with the potential to be more transmissible raise COVID-19 questions, concern

Several coronavirus variants with the potential to be more transmissible have caused global concern over whether existing vaccines will still protect the world from a virus that is constantly mutating. Here is what we know. – How many variants? Viruses continually mutate as tiny errors are introduced each time they replicate. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is […]

Indonesia volcano erupts, spews red-hot lava

Indonesia’s Mount Merapi, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, erupted on Friday, belching out fiery red lava. The volcano, close to Indonesia’s cultural capital Yogyakarta on Java island, had already spewed lava almost two dozen times over the two last days and caused hundreds of minor volcanic quakes, according to a report by Indonesia’s […]

‘7 minutes of terror’: Perserverance rover’s nail-biting landing phase

Seven months after blast-off, NASA’s Mars 2020 mission will have to negotiate its shortest and most intense phase on Thursday: the “seven minutes of terror” it takes to slam the brakes and land the Perseverance rover on a narrow target on the planet’s surface. Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) begins when the spacecraft carrying Perseverance […]

Year of COVID plunges Vatican deeper into the red

With donations down 25 percent, revenues from the Vatican Museums slashed 85 percent and millions of euros spent to support struggling tenants, the coronavirus pandemic has left a big hole in Pope Francis’ finances. “It’s a difficult period for the Vatican, as elsewhere in the world,” a senior official with knowledge of the Vatican’s 2020 […]

UK’s Prince Philip taken to hospital as ‘precaution’

Britain’s Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, was admitted overnight to a London hospital as a “precautionary measure”, Buckingham Palace said Wednesday. The 99-year-old was taken to the private King Edward VII Hospital on Tuesday evening, the palace said, adding that it was “a precautionary measure, on the advice of His Royal Highness’s […]

North Korea ‘tried to hack’ Pfizer for vaccine info – South’s spies: reports

North Korean hackers tried to break into the computer systems of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in a search for information on a coronavirus vaccine and treatment technology, South Korea’s spy agency said Tuesday, according to reports. The impoverished, nuclear-armed North has been under self-imposed isolation since closing its borders in January last year to try to […]

Four arrested as Israeli police, ultra-Orthodox Jews clash

Four people were arrested in Jerusalem after clashes between Israeli security forces and ultra-orthodox Jews opposed to coronavirus restrictions, the police said Wednesday. Such protests have taken place repeatedly in recent weeks, sometimes leading to violence. In late January a bus was torched and its driver hospitalised in the ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood of Bnei Brak, near […]