North Korea fires two ballistic missiles into Sea of Japan

North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, says the US and Japan – the first such test since Joe Biden became US president. Pyongyang is banned from testing ballistic missiles, considered threatening weapons, under UN Security Council resolutions. Both Japan and South Korea have both condemned the test. It comes just days after North Korea reportedly fired two non-ballistic missiles into the Yellow Sea. Japan said no debris had fallen within its territorial waters. The US Pacific Command, which oversees military forces in the Asia-Pacific region, said on Thursday that the test highlighted “the threat … Continue reading North Korea fires two ballistic missiles into Sea of Japan

Audio cassette tape inventor Lou Ottens dies aged 94

Lou Ottens, the Dutch engineer credited with inventing the audio cassette tape, has died aged 94. An estimated 100 billion cassette tapes have been sold around the world since they were introduced in the 1960s. Ottens’ invention transformed the way people listened to music, and there has even been a resurgence of the cassette in recent years. The engineer died in his hometown of Duizel last weekend, his family announced on Tuesday. Ottens became head of Philips’ product development department in 1960, where he and his team developed the cassette tape. In 1963, it was presented at the Berlin Radio … Continue reading Audio cassette tape inventor Lou Ottens dies aged 94

US father and son extradited to Japan over Carlos Ghosn escape

An American father and son have been handed over to Japanese authorities for allegedly helping former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn flee the country. The two were charged last year with helping Mr Ghosn flee Japan, hidden in a box and on a private jet. Mr Ghosn escaped to his childhood home, Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan. Michael Taylor and his son Peter Taylor have fought a months-long battle to avoid extradition over the case. The US Supreme Court last month cleared the way for the extradition of the Taylors, who have been in US custody since their … Continue reading US father and son extradited to Japan over Carlos Ghosn escape

Russian fugitive nabbed in Bali after dramatic escape

A Russian fugitive whose dramatic sprint out of an Indonesian immigration office was captured on CCTV has been caught again after two weeks on the run, authorities said Wednesday. Andrey Kovalenko and Ekaterina Trubkina (centre in yellow) were arrested in Bali Andrey Kovalenko fled the office on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali to avoid deportation, with the surveillance footage showing him keeping pace on foot with a motorcycle as he escaped. Authorities fanned out across the island in the hunt for Kovalenko, who was nabbed early Wednesday at a villa in tourist hub Kuta along with girlfriend Ekaterina Trubkina, who was … Continue reading Russian fugitive nabbed in Bali after dramatic escape

US agrees to join Iran nuclear deal talks ‘at critical moment’

The US has agreed to take part in talks involving Iran and world powers with a view to reviving a landmark nuclear deal. Iran vowed to limit its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of economic sanctions under the 2015 deal. But former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the deal in 2018, leading Iran to roll back commitments. Now the US has expressed intent to rejoin the deal under President Joe Biden. On Thursday, the Biden administration made its firmest pledge yet to re-engage with Iran over the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action … Continue reading US agrees to join Iran nuclear deal talks ‘at critical moment’

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman denies sending hit squad to Canada

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has rejected allegations that he sent a hit squad to kill an exiled Saudi former intelligence officer. In a lawsuit filed in a US court, Saad al-Jabri has claimed that the assassination attempt took place in Canada, where he fled three years ago. He says Mohammed bin Salman wanted him dead because he knew too much. The crown prince – regarded as Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler said Mr Jabri was trying to conceal his own crimes, he pointed out that he is immune from prosecution as a head of state, serving foreign leaders are … Continue reading Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman denies sending hit squad to Canada

Nasa SpaceX launch: Astronaut crew heads to orbit

Four astronauts, three from the US and one from Japan have launched from Florida on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the crew rode to orbit in a rocket and capsule provided by the SpaceX company. It’s only the second time the firm has supplied the service. The US space agency Nasa has said it is now entering a new era in which routine astronaut journeys to low-Earth orbit are being conducted by commercial providers. The four individuals making their way up to the ISS are the Americans Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and the highly … Continue reading Nasa SpaceX launch: Astronaut crew heads to orbit

Veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk dies, aged 74

Veteran journalist Robert Fisk, who for decades covered events in the Middle East and elsewhere as a foreign correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent, has died after suffering a suspected stroke at his Dublin home, Fisk became unwell on Friday and was admitted to St Vincent’s hospital where he died a short time later, the Irish Times reported on Sunday, he was 74. The Independent paid tribute to a journalist who was “renowned for his courage in questioning official narratives” and publishing “frequently brilliant prose”. “Fearless, uncompromising, determined and utterly committed to uncovering the truth and reality at all … Continue reading Veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk dies, aged 74

Australia now require proficiency in English language for ‘partner visas’

Australia will require foreign partners of existing residents to pass an English language test before gaining a permanent visa, its government says, the controversial immigration requirement, if approved by parliament, would apply from mid-2021, it would also force the partners of applicants to prove a level of English proficiency. Critics have called the change “discriminatory”, but the government says it will build “social cohesion”. We will require an applicant and a sponsor to have met functional level English or to have at least made reasonable efforts to learn English, Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said. In recent years, Australia’s conservative government … Continue reading Australia now require proficiency in English language for ‘partner visas’

Qatar loosens restrictions on foreign property ownership

Qatar is renewing efforts to make real estate more attractive to expatriate residents, foreign investors and real estate funds, a new law will add to the limited number of locations where non-Qataris can buy real estate outright, according to a statement on Tuesday. The country will also implement a two-tiered residency program that rewards large investors with government-provided services. Qatar has been grappling with excess supply following a construction boom tied to the 2022 soccer World Cup, and property prices have slumped 26% since the start of 2016. Consulting firm ValuStrat estimates an oversupply of residential property reached 80,000 units … Continue reading Qatar loosens restrictions on foreign property ownership

Huawei CFO Meng back in Canadian court fighting U.S. extradition

Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou will be back in a Canadian courtroom on Monday as her lawyers resume their fight to block the United States’ efforts to extradite her. Meng, 48, was arrested in December 2018 on a warrant from the United States charging her with bank fraud for misleading HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran and causing the bank to break U.S. sanction law. Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to attend a court hearing in Vancouver Huawei lawyers will argue that the U.S. extradition request was flawed because it omitted key evidence … Continue reading Huawei CFO Meng back in Canadian court fighting U.S. extradition

Sir Harold Evans: Crusading editor who exposed Thalidomide impact dies aged 92

Former Sunday Times editor Sir Harold Evans has died at the age of 92. The British-American journalist, who led an investigation into the drug Thalidomide, died of heart failure in New York, his wife Tina Brown said. His 70-year career also saw him work as a magazine founder, book publisher, author and – at the time of his death – Reuters’ editor-at-large. Sir Harold was editor of the Sunday Times for 14 years and oversaw many campaigns in that time. He then went on to become the founding editor of Conde Nast Traveller magazine and later president of the publishing … Continue reading Sir Harold Evans: Crusading editor who exposed Thalidomide impact dies aged 92