The Latin American state had agreed to ‘absorb’ 60,000 Palestinian Muslims as a counterweight to Communists.
Analysts say that the French president is trying to take advantage of instability in Lebanon to help advance its own interests in the region.
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Kamala Harris lashes out at Trump in debut appearance as Biden’s running mate, and Microsoft returns to phone business with folding Androids
This is TRT World’s Daily News Brief for Thursday, August 13th.
*) Joe Biden and Kamala Harris vow to rebuild America post-Trump
US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris have launched their White House bid, vowing to end the Trump presidency.
Harris, the first Black or Asian woman on a major ticket, ripped into President Trump’s handling of the pandemic, racial injustice and a ravaged economy.
Trump, who earlier called Harris a “fine choice” for vice president, now says he doesn't think she's right for the role.
*) Mauritius says almost all oil removed from damaged Japanese ship
Nearly all remaining oil from a damaged Japanese ship has been removed from off the coast of Mauritius.
The MV Wakashio began leaking oil after it struck a reef and went aground off the Indian Ocean island’s southeast coast on July 25.
The ship leaked about 1,000 tonnes of oil threatening the island nation's tourism sector that’s already hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.
*) US State Secretary defends Saudi arms sales after watchdog report
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said his department did everything by the book with regards to arms sales to Saudi Arabia in 2019.
His comments follow a US watchdog report that found the Saudi-UAE arms sale failed to assess threats to civilians.
The report concluded that Washington had skirted laws regulating arms sales to evade concerns about civilian casualties in the war in Yemen.
*) Police find 148 migrants in trucks in North Macedonia
North Macedonian police have discovered 148 migrants crammed into trucks in two separate operations in the country’s central and northern parts.
A majority of migrants, including 29 children, are from Pakistan while others are from Afghanistan, India, Egypt, Iran and Syria.
At least two suspected smugglers, men from North Macedonia, have been arrested.
*) Microsoft returns to phone business with folding Android device
Microsoft has announced the Surface Duo, a new Android-powered dual-screen smartphone that will arrive in stores on September 10.
The Surface Duo, retailed at $1,399, folds close like a book and has two traditional screens separated by a hinge but synchronised to work together.
The tech giant has largely abandoned its historic practice of tying all of its products back to its Windows operating system.
*) Joe Biden picks Kamala Harris as running mate
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has picked Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate.
Harris makes history as the first Black woman and first Asian-American to compete on a major US presidential ticket.
Biden’s choice acknowledges the vital role Black voters will play in his bid to defeat President Donald Trump.
*) Putin declares Russia is first to develop Covid-19 vaccine
Russia has become the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine and declare it ready for use.
President Vladimir Putin said one of his daughters had been inoculated with the vaccine which Russia says went through all the necessary tests.
However, scientists have been sounding the alarm over rolling out the vaccine before final-phase trials.
*) At least three killed in violence in India over blasphemous post
At least three people were killed in India's Bengaluru after police opened fire on locals protesting a Facebook post they deemed blasphemous.
The relative of a lawmaker was arrested after he had posted a derogatory statement about Prophet Muhammed.
Police also arrested over 100 people for arson after they set fire to police cars as thousands protested outside the police station.
*) EU threatens sanctions on Belarus over elections
The EU is threatening Belarus with sanctions over Sunday’s presidential election that the bloc declared neither free nor fair.
Belarus went to the polls against a backdrop of large-scale opposition protests against autocratic president Alexander Lukashenko’s rule.
Street protests that broke out after the electoral commission declared Lukashenko the winner were met with a forceful crackdown.
*) Google to turn smartphones into earthquake detectors
Google is adding an earthquake alert system to smartphones in California.
Android phones will receive alerts from an early-warning system that uses signals from hundreds of seismometers across the state.
People living elsewhere with smartphones powered by Google's Android are also invited to join the crowd-sourced network to detect temblors.
*) Lebanon’s government resigns after Beirut blast
Lebanon's government has resigned in the aftermath of public anger over the blast in Beirut that killed at least 200 people and injured some 6,000 others.
Announcing the resignation, Prime Minister Hassan Diab blamed previous governments for the catastrophe.
Since October, protestors have been demanding the departure of the entire leadership over corruption, incompetence and mismanagement.
*) One killed during second night of protests in Belarus
At least one man has been killed during protests in Belarus as demonstrators clashed with police for a second night after a disputed election.
Alexander Lukashenko claimed a sixth term in an election the opposition says was rigged.
Police used rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas as demonstrators fought back with stones and fireworks, building makeshift barricades in chaotic scenes of defiance.
*) Blast in Pakistan kills at least five people
At least five people have been killed and 10 others injured after a motorbike bomb attack on an anti-drug force near the Afghan border in Pakistan.
The attack in Balochistan comes more than a week after Pakistani troops clashed with labourers demanding the reopening of Pak-Afghan border crossing.
So far, no group has claimed responsibility.
*) Egypt holds Senate election
Egyptians head to the polls to elect members of a newly formed Senate, with results expected next Wednesday.
The public will elect two-thirds of the 300-strong Council of Senators, with the rest to be appointed by President Abdel Fattah el Sisi.
The senate election comes more than a year after the restoration of parliament’s lower chamber, which was dissolved in 2014.
*) Alarming data from Brazil’s Amazon fires
Preliminary data indicates that deforestation in Brazil's Amazon could be at a 14-year high.
The Amazon lost 9,205 square kilometres of vegetation in the last 12 months, according to data from Brazil’s space agency.
The 34 percent increase in deforestation was largely due to a surge in fires during August and September last year.
*) Unprecedented public rage in Lebanon grows after blast
Two ministers in Lebanon have resigned over a deadly blast that has unleashed unprecedented public rage against the country's ruling class.
Protesters and police are in running battles in Beirut, the capital, for a second day.
It comes as world leaders pledged $300 million to rebuild the country, but only on the condition that the government commits itself to the political and economic reforms demanded by the people.
*) Hong Kong media tycoon arrested under controversial security law
Hong Kong authorities have arrested media tycoon Jimmy Lai and several other people, under Beijing’s controversial new national security law.
Lai, whose media company publishes local paper Apple Daily, is an outspoken critic of Beijing, which accused him of colluding with foreign forces.
Violators of the law face a jail term of up to 10 years, or life imprisonment for serious offences if found guilty.
*) Clashes after exit polls suggest win for Lukashenko
Protesters in Belarus clashed with the police after polls closed in Sunday's presidential election.
Protests erupted after exit polls suggested incumbent Alexander Lukashenko, who’s seeking a sixth term in office, won about 80 percent of votes.
His main opponent Svetlana Tikhanouskaya apparently only won six percent, in an election the opposition said was rigged.
*) Global Covid-19 cases surpass 20M mark
Over 20 million people around the world are now infected with Covid-19.
The pandemic has also killed almost 740,000 people.
The US is the worst affected country followed by Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa.
*) Saudi Arabia to begin human trials with Chinese Covid-19 vaccine
Saudi Arabia will soon begin human trials coupled with placebo treatment on 5,000 volunteers.
The vaccine is developed by China’s CanSino, which is also in talks with Russia, Brazil and Chile for more human trials.
Researchers who tested the vaccine recently say it appears to be safe and is inducing an immune response in most human subjects.
Police clash with anti-government protestors enraged by Beirut explosion and Mexico bans junk food to combat childhood obesity
*) Police clash with protestors enraged by explosion in Lebanon
Lebanese security forces fired tear gas to disperse dozens of anti-government demonstrators angered by the deadly blast in Beirut.
Already suffering from prolonged political and economic crises, public anger has been mounting after the explosion.
Aid from around the world also began flowing into the country following the blast that killed at least 149 people and injured 5,000 others.
*) Rajapaksa brothers win by landslide in Sri Lanka's election
Sri Lanka’s powerful Rajapaksa brothers secured a landslide victory in the country’s parliamentary elections.
The ruling group won a two-thirds majority enabling it to restore full executive powers to the presidency.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is likely to be sworn in the same position by his younger brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
*) India coronavirus cases pass two million
India’s official coronavirus case tally passed two million after a daily jump of more than 60,000 infections.
The South Asian giant becomes only the third country to reach the figure, after the United States and Brazil.
The rate of infection in the world’s second-most populous country also appears to be increasing.
*) Trump order targets Chinese internet giants TikTok, WeChat
US President Donald Trump ordered sweeping restrictions against Chinese-owned social media giants TikTok and WeChat.
The twin executive orders, which take effect in 45 days, bars anyone under US jurisdiction from doing business with the owners of TikTok or WeChat.
Trump's order cites a threat to "national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States."
*) Southern Mexico state bans junk food sales to children
Legislators in southern Mexico have approved a ban on selling high-calorie snack food to children to combat high rates of childhood obesity.
The UN Children’s Fund considers childhood obesity to be a health emergency in Mexico, as children get 40 percent of their total caloric intake from junk food.
A Mexican government health survey found that 75 percent of Mexican children were overweight or obese in 2018.
*) Port officials under house arrest over deadly Lebanon blast
Several of Beirut’s port officials are under house arrest over Tuesday's deadly explosion.
At least 135 people are dead and thousands injured as Lebanon’s government vows to hold those responsible to account.
Initial investigative findings point to inaction and neglect around the storage of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in a Beirut port warehouse.
*) US to push UN to extend Iran arms embargo
The US says it will push the UN Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Iran.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will table the resolution at the council meeting next week, where it needs nine out 15 votes to make it happen.
The embargo is part of the nuclear deal that Iran signed in 2015, but the US pulled out of it three years later.
*) Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll nears 100,000
The death toll in Brazil from Covid-19 is fast approaching 100,000.
The country reported 1,437 deaths in its daily figures release, bringing the total to 97,256.
Brazil has over 2,8 million infections as it struggles to contain the world's worst outbreak after the US.
*) Japan marks 75th anniversary of Hiroshima atomic bombing
Hiroshima is marking the 75th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing.
On August 6, 1945, the US dropped a bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” above Japan’s Hiroshima, killing around 140,000 people.
It was followed by a second bomb three days later in Nagasaki, killing another 75,000 people.
*) Instagram moves to fill void if TikTok gets banned in US
Instagram is moving quickly to fill the void if TikTok gets banned in the US.
It introduced its new Reels feature which works like TikTok, where users can create 15-second videos using effects and music.
The US is threatening to ban China-based TikTok and is giving the company until mid-September to work out a takeover deal with Microsoft or find another suitor.
*) Death toll expected to rise after explosion in Lebanon
Lebanese rescue workers are digging through rubble looking for survivors of a powerful explosion at a warehouse in the capital, Beirut.
At least 100 people were killed and nearly 4,000 injured, with officials expecting the death toll to rise.
Lebanon’s government has called for an urgent meeting to find out why 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate had been stored for six years at a port warehouse without any safety measures.
*) Kashmir under strict lockdown on anniversary of lost autonomy
Today marks one year since India revoked Kashmir's autonomy.
New Delhi imposed a strict two-day curfew ahead of the one-year anniversary, which locals have called to be marked as a #BlackDay.
Kashmir is technically split between India and Pakistan, but both countries claim the entirety of the Himalayan region as their own.
*) Anti-govt protests continue in Zimbabwe despite crackdown
Anti-government protests in Zimbabwe continue despite a crackdown.
Several high-profile people have been arrested during protests, including a member of the opposition party, an award-winning writer and several prominent journalists.
Tensions have been rising over Zimbabwe's 700 percent inflation rate, which has made it impossible for people to meet their basic needs.
*) Storm Isaias pounds US East Coast
Tropical Storm Isaias continues to bring high-speed winds and torrential rain as it moves up the US East Coast.
The storm has killed at least six people and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands people from New York to North Carolina.
Isaias slammed into the coast of North Carolina on Monday with hurricane strength, before being downgraded to a tropical storm.
*) SpaceX completes test flight of Mars rocket prototype
SpaceX has successfully completed a test flight for its future Mars rocket ship.
The so-called hop test lasted for under a minute and claimed a distance of 150 metres before landing.
Previously, several prototypes had exploded during testing.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk said after the test that journeys to Mars were now looking real.
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