US blacklists a dozen more Chinese tech firms citing national security

The US government has added a dozen more Chinese companies to its trade blacklist, citing national security and foreign policy concerns. Washington says that some of the firms are helping develop the Chinese military’s quantum computing programme. This latest move comes as tensions grow between the US and China over the status of Taiwan and other issues. Trade was among the items discussed at a virtual summit between the leaders of both countries earlier this month. Eight Chinese-based technology firms were added to the so-called “Entity List” for their alleged role in assisting the Chinese military’s quantum computing efforts and … Continue reading US blacklists a dozen more Chinese tech firms citing national security

French footballer Karim Benzema guilty in sex tape blackmail case

France and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has been found guilty of conspiring to blackmail a fellow French footballer with a sex tape. A judge handed Benzema a one-year suspended jail term and ordered him to pay a €75,000 (£63,000; $84,000) fine. Benzema, 33, was one of five people put on trial last month over an attempt to extort Frenchman Mathieu Valbuena. The scandal has stunned the football community in France and both players lost their national team places. The case dates back to June 2015, when the two footballers were at a French training camp. At the camp, Benzema … Continue reading French footballer Karim Benzema guilty in sex tape blackmail case

Sweden’s first female PM resigns hours after appointment

Sweden’s first ever female prime minister has resigned just hours after she was appointed. Magdalena Andersson, was announced as leader on Wednesday but resigned after her coalition partner quit the government and her budget failed to pass. Instead, parliament voted for a budget drawn-up by the opposition which includes the anti-immigrant far right. “I have told the speaker that I wish to resign,” Ms Andersson told reporters. Her coalition partner, the Greens Party said it could not accept a budget “drafted for the first time with the far-right”. Ms Andersson said that she hoped to try to become prime minister … Continue reading Sweden’s first female PM resigns hours after appointment

Reckless: JPMorgan boss ‘regrets’ saying bank will outlast Chinese Communist Party

JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon has apologised after saying his Wall Street bank would outlast China’s Communist Party. The comments, made at a US event, sparked anger in China, with experts warning they could jeopardise the bank’s ambitions in the country. Mr Dimon said: “I regret and should not have made that comment,” in a statement issued on Wednesday. He added he was only to trying to “emphasise the strength” of the bank. Academics suggested the quick apology was aimed at containing the fallout. In August, JP Morgan won approval to become the first full foreign owner of a securities … Continue reading Reckless: JPMorgan boss ‘regrets’ saying bank will outlast Chinese Communist Party

Mexican nursery’s lottery win turns into nightmare

Parents in southern Mexico say they are being threatened by a gang after their children’s nursery won 20m pesos ($950,000; £710,0000) in a lottery. The nursery has just over two dozen pupils and their parents were put in charge of administering the prize. Soon after their win was made public, they received threats from an armed group, which demanded that they use the money to buy weapons for the gang. The families say they had to flee their village and have been living rough. Gang violence is rife in Mexico and armed groups often try to recruit locals in their … Continue reading Mexican nursery’s lottery win turns into nightmare

Albert Einstein relativity document sells for record €11m

A manuscript with calculations made by Albert Einstein as he attempted to formulate his theory of relativity has sold at auction for €11m (£9.7m, $13m). The sale at Christie’s auction house in Paris broke the record for an autographed scientific document. It is one of just two papers that show the theoretical physicist’s workings on his great scientific breakthrough. The theory, published in 1915, transformed humankind’s understanding of space, time and gravity. The manuscript of calculations was penned between 1913 and 1914 by Einstein and his Swiss colleague Michele Besso, who kept hold of the document. Christie’s auction house praised … Continue reading Albert Einstein relativity document sells for record €11m

America Oh America: Kevin Strickland exonerated after 42 years in Missouri prison

A Missouri man wrongfully convicted of a triple murder in 1978 and imprisoned for more than 42 years has been exonerated and released. Kevin Strickland, 62, has maintained his innocence since his arrest at age 18. He was sentenced in June 1979. Mr Strickland said outside court: “I didn’t think this day would come.” It was the longest wrongful incarceration in state history, but under Missouri law he is unlikely to receive any financial compensation. According to data from the National Registry of Exonerations, which has logged exonerations since 1989, it would also be the seventh longest wrongful sentence acknowledged … Continue reading America Oh America: Kevin Strickland exonerated after 42 years in Missouri prison

Europe region faces 700,000 more deaths by March – WHO

A further 700,000 people could die of Covid-19 by March in Europe and parts of Asia, the World Health Organization has warned. The death toll already exceeds 1.5 million in the 53 countries of what the WHO terms as its Europe region. The WHO warned of “high or extreme stress” in intensive care units in 49 of the nations by March 2022. Europe is facing a surge in cases, prompting Austria to return to lockdown and others to consider fresh measures. A number of countries – including France, Germany and Greece – could also soon make booster jabs a requirement … Continue reading Europe region faces 700,000 more deaths by March – WHO

Samsung chooses Texas as site of new $17bn chip plant

Samsung has chosen a site close to the city of Taylor in Texas for its new $17bn (£12.7bn) computer chip plant, amid a global shortage of semiconductors. It is the South Korean electronics giant’s biggest-ever US investment. The plant is expected to create 2,000 technology industry jobs, with construction starting early next year. Samsung, like several of its rivals, is racing to expand chip making in the US to tackle supply chain issues. “With greater manufacturing capacity, we will be able to better serve the needs of our customers and contribute to the stability of the global semiconductor supply chain,” … Continue reading Samsung chooses Texas as site of new $17bn chip plant

New Zealand to re-open to vaccinated visitors

New Zealand has unveiled its plans to reopen borders and will allow foreigners to enter next year. Fully vaccinated visitors can enter from 30 April, and will have to self-isolate for seven days upon arrival. More New Zealanders will be allowed to travel home from early next year as well, under similar rules. The move eases strict curbs that have locked out many citizens and tourists since borders were slammed shut at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins outlined the staged re-opening plans on Monday, calling it “the safest approach to ensure risk is carefully … Continue reading New Zealand to re-open to vaccinated visitors

Racism: Photographer sorry for ‘small eyes’ Dior picture

A Chinese fashion photographer has apologised for her “ignorance” after a picture she shot for French luxury brand Dior sparked outrage. Chen Man’s photo showed a woman who some Chinese netizens said perpetuated Western stereotypes of Asian faces. “I blame myself for my immaturity and ignorance [in my past works],” Ms Chen, 41, wrote on social platform Weibo. Dior said the photo, which was recently displayed at a Shanghai exhibition, has since been removed. “Dior, as always, respects the sentiments of the Chinese people… If any errors happen, [Dior] must be open to receiving feedback and correct them in time,” … Continue reading Racism: Photographer sorry for ‘small eyes’ Dior picture

Update: At least 45 people killed in bus crash in Bulgaria

At least 45 people were killed when a bus with North Macedonian plates caught fire on a highway in western Bulgaria on Tuesday, officials said. There were children among the victims, and seven people with burns were rushed to hospital in the capital Sofia, the head of the fire safety department at the interior ministry, Nikolai Nikolov, told private BTV television. “At least 45 people were killed after a bus caught fire and crashed, or crashed and then caught fire,” Nikolov said. The accident happened around 2:00 a.m (0000 GMT), he said. The site of the accident is cut off. … Continue reading Update: At least 45 people killed in bus crash in Bulgaria