The Philippines has stopped issuing visas on the spot to reduce Chinese tourist delegations, due to concerns about the virus causing pneumonia. However, it did not ban tourists from the country. “We are now temporarily suspending the issuance of VUA for Chinese nationals to slow down the influx of group tours,” Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement today.
A helicopter carrying former basketball superstar Kobe Bryant crashed and disintegrated on the hillside in Calabasas, outside Los Angeles, killing all nine people onboard. Witnesses said there was heavy fog and poor visibility in the area at the time of the accident. Resident Paula Dolan “heard one bang when it was in the air and then a second bang as it was descending and then I heard a huge crash.”
At least 20 Malian soldiers have been killed in an attack on a military post in Mali on Sunday. Mali’s government said that there was significant material damage in the attack. “Reinforcements have been dispatched to the scene and aerial reconnaissance is underway in the area to track down the attackers,” it said in a statement that condemned the incident.
The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in China rose to 81 on Monday. The Chinese government, in a bid to contain the spread of the virus, has extended the national Lunar New Year holiday by three days, to Sunday. Also, large Chinese companies have closed, albeit temporarily. Some have instructed their employees to work from home in an attempt to contain the virus.
Three rockets hit the United States embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, on Sunday, leaving at least one person injured. A security source told the AFP news agency on Sunday that one rocket hit an embassy cafeteria during dinner time, while two other rockets landed nearby.
At least 45 people have been saved as the death toll rose to 36 in Turkey’s 6.8 magnitude earthquake. A toddler was among those saved on Sunday, a footage emerged showing a two-year-old girl being rescued. The toddler who was covered in dust was seen smiling in the arms of a rescue worker. Turkish rescue teams who are working against the clock against freezing temperatures, pulled out more survivors from collapsed buildings on Sunday. More than 1,550 people were injured, including 34 who are in the Intensive Care Unit.
José Sánchez Villalobos, alias “The Lord of the Tunnels,” has been extradited to the United States. This is according to a statement released by Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office. He was one of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman’s main tunnel builders and financial operators. Villalobos’ transfer took place on January 10 at Toluca International Airport, where U.S. agents were waiting to take him into custody.
At least 31 people have been killed by floods and landslides after a week of heavy rains in the north-west side of Madagascar. According to the country’s National Disaster Management office, twenty people are missing on the popular tourist island as flooding intensified in the Districts of Mitsinjo and Maevatanana.
Rescuers continued operations on Sunday to search for survivors under the rubble of buildings in the Turkish city of Elazig, in the east of the country, after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake shook the region on Friday night, leaving at least 35 people dead. A total of 45 people were removed alive from the rubble, government officials said.
The spread of the Corona virus is accelerating in China and is spreading to other countries, which will cast a shadow on the financial markets and global economies in general, and the Chinese in particular. Economies are expected to be strongly affected by the spread of Coronavirus, which restricts the movement and freedom of travel and trade between countries, and raises spending on the precautionary process to limit its spread, and in the event that it worsens strongly, it may affect economic growth and global demand for oil.
Indians celebrated Republic Day “with a grand display of military prowess, vibrant cultural diversity and socio-economic progress” on Sunday. Thousands of military personnel and spectators gathered for the annual military parade, and to greet President Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi. India also demonstrated its military strength with missiles, tanks, rifle jets, Chinook and Apache helicopters. Apart from this, the parade also featured traditional dances from Indian areas, attended by hundreds of men, women, and children.
After three days of Democrats presenting their case against President Trump in the impeachment trial, Donald Trump’s lawyers began their defense on Saturday, warning against the temptation to overturn the result of the 2016 election “without the slightest evidence.” Pat Cipollone, a lawyer for the White House, argued, “we believe when you hear the facts, and that’s what we intend to cover today, the facts, you will find the president did absolutely nothing wrong.”
DARPA signed a contract with Northrop Grumman valued at $13 million to develop Hypersonic weapons interceptors for American air defense. Currently, the only weapon that is capable of shooting down the Hypersonic systems is a laser gun. With the speed of the light pulse, the gun fires at the current location of the target and the light pulse with a 99.9% probability hits the target, since compared to the speed of light the hypersonic missile is standing still. However, there are not enough powerful lasers that are capable of delivering such results. It is in the development phase and clearly it seems Northrop Grumman is involved in the testing of such lasers.
The Congolese capital, Brazzaville, will host a mini-African summit on the Libyan crisis on January 30, before the AU summit scheduled for February 9th. It comes at a time when the Libyan capital is witnessing a state of security chaos, after the expansion of the presence of militias and foreign mercenaries in its various parts that are still under the authority of the government.
Bolivia’s interim president, Jeanine Añez, announced her candidacy for the presidency on Friday, in a move that has since provoked criticism from the country’s opposition. Presidential elections in Bolivia are scheduled for May 3. “It was not in my plans,” said Añez at an event in La Paz where her coalition, Together, was launched.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged higher international pressure on the military forces in eastern Libya to accept a provisional truce, and said that Turkey remains committed to supporting the Libyan government recognized by the UN. Erdogan made the comments after a meeting in Istanbul with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who last Sunday hosted a peace conference on Libya in Berlin. The conference resulted in a provisional ceasefire.
OPEC is considering extending its oil production cuts until the end of the year, as the markets are still looking downward, but discussions remain at an early stage. Russia’s TASS news agency quoted a source within the organization on Friday. The source said the group, which includes two oil exporters, was due to meet in March, but it might also meet in June to decide on the policy.
Tunisian Prime Minister-designate Elyes Fakhfakh said during a press conference yesterday that he will work to form a mini-cabinet and harmonious government that brings together the parties that supported President Kais Saied in the second round of the presidential elections. Fakhfakh also announced the exclusion of the Heart of Tunisia and Free Destourian parties from government consultations.
The Houthi militia’s losses were exacerbated in confrontations with the joint forces in al-Dhale governorate, while the National Army affirmed that the battle to liberate Sanaa was an irreversible option. Military sources said to reporters that the Houthi militia suffered great human and material losses when the joint forces responded to a major attack launched by the Houthi militia in the western al-Dhale governorate.
The French Ministry of Health confirmed three cases of people infected by the Coronavirus Friday that generated an outbreak of a mysterious respiratory disease in China’s Hubei province. France’s Health Minister, Agnes Buzyn, warned that, in addition to these two cases— the first ones to be recorded in Europe— new infections were still likely to arise in the country.
The United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis, announced that he had seen Prime Minister-designate Hassan Diab‘s seriousness in working on implementing reforms and fighting corruption. After a meeting yesterday, the United Nations stressed that Lebanon’s first step to take reforms, break past corruption practices, and adopt transparency and trust.
Thousands of people responded to a call by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to protest on Friday against the presence of the United States troops on Iraqi soil. A spokesperson read al-Sadr’s statement during the demonstration, in which he called for the cancellation of all security agreements between Iraq and the United States.
Chinese state TV network CGTN confirmed Friday morning that the death toll due to the new coronavirus in the country rose to 26. This is in addition to the confirmation of 881 cases of people affected by the virus. In Japan, the Minister of Health confirmed a second case, a man who is from Wuhan, the city where the virus first appeared, and who had travelled to Tokyo.
The Sudanese government and a major rebel movement signed a preliminary agreement on Friday, on political and security arrangements, paving the way for a comprehensive reconciliation agreement through ongoing talks between the two sides. The Sudanese government resumed peace talks with rebel movements last October to end years of conflict that has persisted.
On Friday, the French cabinet discussed and passed the controversial pension reform project proposed by President Emmanuel Macron. Opponents of the reform have chosen this date to organize strikes and demonstrations. The head of the General Confederation of Labor, Philippe Martinez pledged to “withstand the withdrawal” of the reform project. Once it is adopted, however, the cabinet will refer the bill to Parliament for decision.
Barely one month since its outbreak, the new Wuhan coronavirus has already caused 644 confirmed infected patients, 422 suspicious cases, and 18 deaths in China. However, with the arrival of the Chinese New Year and all the inevitable celebration gatherings, these numbers will just get higher day by day.
To avoid further expansion of the epidemic, finally, Wuhan has been officially locked down. All buses, metros, trains and planes have been stopped pending further notice. Across China, many sites have been closed and lots of popular celebration activities have been canceled. In Beijing, the Forbidden City will stop receiving visitors from January 25, the first day of the year in Chinese New Year 2020. The premier of several long-expected movies has also been rescheduled.
Martin Griffiths, the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, arrived today in Sana’a to discuss halting the military escalation and ways to hold a round of Yemeni political consultations. A news source at Sanaa International Airport said that Griffiths arrived with his assistant, Muin Shreim. Political sources confirmed that Griffiths will meet with the leaders of the Houthi militia to discuss reducing the military escalation, as part of his attempts to persuade the parties to the conflict to move towards a new round of consultations, without conditions to discuss arrangements for a political solution to the crisis in Yemen.
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived Thursday for the commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day, and sat next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Before this, he met with the mother of Naama Issachar, the woman imprisoned in Russia for drug smuggling, whom Netanyahu has tried to free. Considering that she only possessed nine grams of cannabis, many have pleaded that the sentence of 7.5 years is unjust. Putin listened to her, and hinted that everything will be fine.
UN experts on Wednesday called for an investigation into the hacking and subsequent theft of private and confidential information from the cell phone of Amazon founder and president, Jeff Bezos. The phone was reportedly hacked after he received a WhatsApp video message from an account linked to Saudi crown Prince, Mohamed bin Salman.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that his country will withdraw from the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) if the Europeans present its violations of the Iran Nuclear Deal to the UN Security Council. “If the Europeans continue their improper behavior or send Iran’s file to the Security Council, we will withdraw from the NPT,” he said.
On Wednesday, Democrats began presenting their initial allegations at the Senate trial of Donald Trump, a day after a contentious session to set the rules for the process. The Republicans are the majority in the US Senate, and going by their vivid unity and loyalty to their party and president, it is clear that President Trump will likely be acquitted.
The new, not so new, Russian government appointments were announced. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech was followed by the resignation of the Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev and his cabinet. Putin desires to amend the Russian constitution that was created in 1993, two years after the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1991. The vote about the newly proposed amendments is expected to occur before May 1, 2020.
Russia is planning to create its own alternative to the Microsoft owned GitHub, a global company that provides hosting for software development, version control using Git. Microsoft acquired the company in 2018 for $7.5 billion. It offers all of the distributed version control and source code management functionality of Git as well as adding its own features.
It has been proven that misinformation on social media networks had a significant impact on the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Some social networks responded by banning potentially misleading political advertisements. Facebook has, however, changed its censorship strategy, and is no longer looking to filter such promotions.
The United States Senate early Wednesday morning, after 13 hours of debate, set the rules for the impeachment trial of American President Donald Trump. The Republican majority rejected all attempts by Democrats to call new witnesses against the president. The trial resumed this afternoon, local time.
One person in the U.S. state of Washington is the first in the country to be diagnosed with the mysterious coronavirus. The case was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China, where hundreds of people were hospitalized, in addition to the record of at least six deaths.
Roscosmos found a way to hide classified activity within Russia and prevent foreign spy satellites from obtaining information within the region. Furthermore, Roscosmos researchers developed a system to hide classified activities in Russia from the operational surveillance being used by foreign spy satellites. The method of implementation is by completely silencing the data transmission during the use of ground-based radio stations. This information became available via Roscosmos’ website.
The World Economic Forum’s 50th edition kicked off on Tuesday in Davos, Switzerland, dominated by debates on matters touching on climate change. For the second year in a row, young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg was invited to attend the conference. Early in the event, she criticized the world economic elite, who did practically nothing to combat climate change.
Discussions will begin next week in the Knesset on whether to grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity from prosecution. Netanyahu has been indicted for fraud, bribery and breach of trust, which he feels are not severe to interfere with his ability to be Prime Minister. Blue and White, his opponents in the next elections, have pushed for hearings on immunity to be held before the elections in March.
Iran confirmed on Tuesday that it fired two missiles on January 8 at Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752, a catastrophic error that caused the deaths of the 176 people that were on board. As per the contents of a preliminary report by the Civil Aviation Organisation of Iran (CAOI) released today, investigators who had access to military information “found that two Tor-M1 missiles were fired from the north at the plane.”
Macao for China is what Las Vegas is for the United States. In 2018, over 250 million mainland Chinese citizens visited Macao to have a go at the casinos there, which makes it easy to understand that Macao has produced several consistent occupants on the Forbes’ World Billionaire List and will replace Qatar to become the richest place in the world by 2020 according to the IMF.
The outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus is spreading to more Chinese cities, with 139 new cases confirmed this weekend. The virus, which causes pneumonia, has infected more than 200, health officials said on Monday. Authorities in Wuhan, China’s central metropolis where the disease was first identified in December, confirmed the new cases, including a third death.
International allies of the Libyan government, supported by the United Nations, and rebel forces led by General Khalifa Haftar agreed on Sunday to respect a ceasefire initiated a week ago, and an arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council. World leaders are hoping for a way out of the civil war that has plagued the country for five years.
About six thousand families from the western countryside of Aleppo have been displaced, amid intense Russian and Syrian bombing of the area during the past three days, since the ceasefire collapsed within the de-escalation zone. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in a report, stated that the wave of displacement from the towns and villages of the west of Aleppo escalated against the backdrop of the intense bombing. The area is mainly exposed to Russian planes since the ceasefire collapsed in the region subject to Russian-Turkish misunderstandings.
Chief financial officer of the German automobile group Volkswagen, Frank Witter, called on the economic and labor circles not to be complacent in the process of integrating refugees. “We have a lot of people fleeing their homeland, and the integration process is long,” Witter, who is sponsoring refugee assistance projects in Volkswagen, said. “The situation today is calm. There are still a large number of people fleeing their countries all over the world, and it would be naive to think that this will not happen again.
The Institute of Computing Technology (belonging to the Chinese Academy of Science) released on January 15 a 100% self-dependent Chinese programming language, Module Unit Language (download here), also known as “Mulan,” the namesake of the upcoming Hollywood movie based on the Chinese folkelore The Ballad of Mulan.
Attorneys for US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that the impeachment case opened against him by the Democratic opposition is a “brazen and unlawful” attempt to try to overturn the 2016 election and interfere in this year’s November elections. The president’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow and Pat Cipollone issued the warning in a seven-page document to respond to the Senate notification that the trial of Trump’s impeachment process will begin on Tuesday.
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Hong Kong this Sunday to participate in a demonstration in demand of universal suffrage in legislative elections, scheduled for September this year. The protest was eventually canceled at the request of the police, which led to more clashes between security agents and the radical protesters.