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International aid reaches Tonga with clean water, supplies

International aid reaches Tonga with clean water, suppliesBy The Associated Press CANBERRA, Australia -- Aid flights from Australia, Japan and New Zealand carrying food, water, medical supplies and telecommunications equipment landed in Tonga over the weekend, as the Pacific nation grapples with the aftermath of an underwater volcanic eruption and tsunami. The main airport runway has been cleared of ash spewed when the nearby Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted a week ago. The explosion also set off a Pacific-wide tsunami that smashed boats in New Zealand and caused an oil spill as far as Peru. “Obviously it’s a very, very difficult time for the people of Tonga. The feedback on the ground again I got today is many people displaced,” Australian Minister for International Development and   ... Read More

Heavy gunfire reported at Burkina Faso military base

Heavy gunfire reported at Burkina Faso military baseBy SAM MEDNICK Associated Press OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso -- Heavy gunfire rang out at a military base in Burkina Faso's capital early Sunday, prompting fears that a coup attempt was underway after weeks of growing frustration with the government's handling of the Islamic insurgency wracking the country. The government put out a statement acknowledging gunfire in army barracks but denying an army takeover of the country. President Roch Marc Christian Kabore has not been detained, according to Defense Minister Aime Barthelemy Simpore. State broadcaster RTB carried a news headline describing the gunfire as “acts of discontent by soldiers.” “The military hierarchy is working to restore calm and serenity in the barracks,” it read. “Contrary to some information, no institution of   ... Read More

Russia rejects UK claim of trying to replace Ukraine leader

Russia rejects UK claim of trying to replace Ukraine leaderBy JIM HEINTZ Associated Press MOSCOW -- Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday rejected a British claim that Russia was seeking to replace Ukraine’s government with a pro-Moscow administration, and that former Ukrainian lawmaker Yevheniy Murayev was being considered as a potential candidate. Britain’s Foreign Office on Saturday also named several other Ukrainian politicians it said had links with Russian intelligence services, along with Murayev who is the leader of a small pro-Russia party that has no seats in the parliament. The U.K. government made the claim based on an intelligence assessment, without providing evidence to back it up. It comes amid high tensions between Moscow and the West over Russia’s designs on Ukraine. “The disinformation spread by the British Foreign   ... Read More

Burkina Faso forces fire tear gas at anti-govt protests

Burkina Faso forces fire tear gas at anti-govt protestsBy SAM MEDNICK Associated Press OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso -- Security forces fired tear gas at protesters barricading the streets and throwing rocks in Burkina Faso’s capital on Saturday, as anger grows at the government’s inability to stop jihadist attacks spreading across the country. Several hundred people marched through downtown Ouagadougou chanting for President Roch Marc Christian Kabore to resign. “The jihadists are hitting (the country), people are dying, others are fleeing their homes. … We want Roch and his government to resign because their handling of the country is not good. We will never support them,” said protester Amidou Tiemtore. Some people were also protesting in solidarity with neighboring Mali, whose citizens are angry at the West African economic regional   ... Read More

First flights leave Chinese city Xi’an as travel curbs ease

First flights leave Chinese city Xi’an as travel curbs easeBy The Associated Press BEIJING -- The first commercial airline flights in one month took off Saturday from Xi’an in western China as the government eased travel curbs imposed after a coronavirus outbreak ahead of next month’s Winter Olympics in Beijing. Seven planes took off, according to the website of Xi’an Xianyang International Airport. It said four were due to arrive Sunday. Access to Xi’an, a city of 13 million people about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) southwest of Beijing, was suspended Dec. 22 following an outbreak attributed to the coronavirus’s delta variant. The ruling Communist Party has stepped up enforcement of its “zero tolerance” strategy that aims to keep the virus out of China by finding and isolating every infected   ... Read More

Russia toughens its posture amid Ukraine tensions

Russia toughens its posture amid Ukraine tensionsBy VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV Associated Press MOSCOW -- With tens of thousands of Russian troops positioned near Ukraine, the Kremlin has kept the U.S. and its allies guessing about its next moves in the worst security crisis to emerge between Moscow and the West since the Cold War. Amid fears of an imminent attack on Ukraine, Russia has further upped the ante by announcing more military drills in the region. It also has refused to rule out the possibility of military deployments to the Caribbean, and President Vladimir Putin has reached out to leaders opposed to the West. The military muscle-flexing reflects a bold attempt by the Kremlin to halt decades of NATO expansion after the end of the Cold War.   ... Read More

Biden, Putin might meet to resolve standoff over Ukraine, Blinken says

DENIS BALIBOUSE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin might meet in an effort to resolve the standoff over Ukraine and the threat of a Russian invasion. "If it proves useful and productive for the two presidents to meet, to talk, to engage, to try to carry things forward, I think we're fully prepared to do that," Blinken said in Geneva, Switzerland, after holding talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. There were no breakthroughs in their meeting, he said, but the two sides have agreed to return to their capitals and hold consultations before meeting again -- keeping the door to diplomacy open after weeks of   ... Read More

Massive explosion in Ghana mining region leaves dozens dead or injured

File photo - Ato Kwamena Dadzie/AFP via Getty Images(LONDON) -- More than a dozen people were killed and many more were injured by a massive explosion that rocked southwestern Ghana on Thursday, authorities said. A vehicle transporting mining explosives between the gold mines of Tarkwa and Chirano in Ghana's Western Region collided with a motorcycle in the small town of Apiate on Thursday afternoon. The truck caught fire from the collision and exploded about 15 minutes later, as residents were gathered around the scene of the crash, according to a spokesperson for the Ghana Police Service. Police officers, firefighters, soldiers and medics rushed to the scene to rescue victims. At least 179 people were affected by the "huge" explosion, including   ... Read More

Massive explosion rocks town in Ghana

Sergio Amiti/Getty Images(APPIATSE, Ghana) -- A town in Ghana was rocked by a huge explosion Thursday that sent several people to the hospital, the authorities said. The Ghana Police Service announced that the explosion took place around 3 p.m. local time in the town of Appiatse, between Bogoso and Bawdie. Buildings and structures were gutted, and debris was scattered in the streets. A preliminary investigation has determined that the explosion appears to have been caused by a mining vehicle carrying explosives, traveling from Tarkwa to the Chirano mines, colliding with a motorcycle, police said. "The public has been advised to move out of the area to nearby towns for their safety while recovery efforts are underway," police said in a   ... Read More

British police arrest two men in probe of hostage-taking incident at Texas synagogue

Malik Faisal Akram - Obtained by ABC News(LONDON) -- Two men were arrested in England on Thursday morning as part of an ongoing investigation into a hostage-taking incident at a synagogue in the United States, British authorities said. Counterterrorism officers detained one of the men in Birmingham and the other in Manchester, about 85 miles north of Birmingham. The pair "remain in custody for questioning," according to a statement from the Greater Manchester Police. Assistant Chief Constable Dominic Scally of the Greater Manchester Police has said that counterterrorism officers are assisting their U.S. counterparts in the probe of Saturday's hourslong standoff between American authorities and a hostage-taker at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, about 27 miles northwest of   ... Read More

Nineteen-year-old breaks record of youngest woman to fly solo around the world

NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images(LONDON) -- From flying over an active volcano to surviving in minus 31 degrees Fahrenheit, British-Belgium teen Zara Rutherford has experienced a lot in her five-month journey flying over 40 countries and five continents. When the 19-year-old landed in Belgium on Thursday, she made history by breaking the record of the youngest woman to ever fly solo around the world. The pilot who previously held the record, Shaesta Waiz, was 30 years old when she completed the journey. "It's been ... challenging, but so amazing at the same time," Rutherford told ABC News. "I think there're some experiences that I'll just never forget and others that I would wish to forget." Rutherford embarked on her   ... Read More

Tonga’s undersea cable may take ‘weeks’ to repair after volcanic eruption

Dana Stephenson//Getty Images(LONDON) -- It may take weeks to repair an undersea fiber-optic cable connecting Tonga to the rest of the world, which was severed during Saturday's massive eruption of a submarine volcano near the South Pacific archipelago nation. New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement Wednesday that U.S.-based company SubCom, which builds underwater cable networks across the globe and is the repair contractor for more than 31,000 miles of cable in the South Pacific Ocean, "advises it will take at least four weeks for Tonga's cable connection to be repaired." The ministry added that Caribbean-based mobile network provider Digicel has set up an interim system on Tonga's main island, Tongatapu, using the University of   ... Read More

New baguette price sparks ire of some in France

MirageC/Getty Images(PARIS) -- The new price of baguettes at a leading French supermarket is sparking outrage from some. As of last week, customers in Leclerc stores were greeted with the new baguette price -- 29 cents (in Euros). The president of the Leclerc supermarket chain, Michel-Édouard Leclerc, announced Jan. 11 that baguettes would remain at that price in Leclerc stores across France for a minimum of four months. "Yes, blocking the price of the baguette at 29 cents is quite a symbol!" Leclerc tweeted Wednesday, officially launching the initiative, adding that: "The baguette is a benchmark for the evolution of prices and purchasing power for consumers." That is 10 cents cheaper than Leclerc competitors Intermarché and Super U, and 16   ... Read More

Huge asteroid safely passes close to Earth

NASA(NEW YORK) -- A comet more than three times the size of the Empire State Building got up close to Earth's orbit Tuesday afternoon but was far enough to avoid turning into a sci-fi disaster movie, according to astronomers. Asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1) flew by Earth around 4:51 p.m., according to NASA, which has been tracking the object for decades through its planetary defense systems. Researchers say the asteroid, which measures 1 kilometer in diameter, came around .01325 Astronomical Units, or 1.2 million miles, away from Earth's atmosphere. That distance didn't pose any threat to the Earth, according to researchers. The last time the asteroid was this close to Earth's orbit was 89 years ago when it flew 0.00752 AU,   ... Read More

Tonga government releases 1st statement since volcanic blast, described huge mushroom plume

Handout/New Zealand Defense Force via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For the first time since a massive undersea volcano erupted and caused widespread damage, the government of Tonga released its first statement on Tuesday morning, describing a huge mushroom plume that covered the entire South Pacific island kingdom and nearly 50-foot tsunami waves that crashed ashore and devastated villages. International and domestic communication, including the Internet, had been severed since the blast of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Saturday. According to the government's statement, the volcanic eruption damaged an underwater fiber optic cable, cutting off communication to the outside world. "As a result of the eruption, a volcanic mushroom plume was released reaching the stratosphere and extending radially covering   ... Read More

Teens arrested in England are children of alleged hostage-taker in Texas, sources say

PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images(LONDON) -- Two teenagers have been arrested in England as part of an ongoing investigation into Saturday's hostage-taking incident at a synagogue in the United States, British authorities said. The pair were detained in southern Manchester on Sunday evening and "remain in custody for questioning," according to a statement from the Greater Manchester Police. Multiple law enforcement sources in the U.S. told ABC News that the teens are the children of the alleged hostage-taker. The arrests were made in connection with a 10-hour standoff between American authorities and a hostage-taker at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, about 27 miles northwest of Dallas. An armed man claiming to have planted bombs in the synagogue interrupted   ... Read More

North Korea launches fourth missile test in two weeks

JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea Monday morning, its fourth test in less than a month. “South Korea’s military detected two projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles launched into the East Sea to the northeast from the Sunan Airfield in Pyongyang, North Korea, around 08:50 a.m. and 08:54 a.m.,” South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff told reporters Monday. The missiles traveled about 236 miles and reached an altitude of about 26 miles, said South Korea’s military, which was analyzing details of the launch. It was the fourth missile launch this year, following two self-claimed hypersonic missile tests on Jan. 5 and Jan. 11 and last Friday’s   ... Read More

Senior citizens go digital as Korea moves toward contact-free culture

ABC News(SEOUL, South Korea) -- Jae-Yeol Tae recalls the time he broke into a cold sweat after noticing a long line behind him as he struggled to order a hamburger on a local fast-food restaurant's self-order kiosk. “I kept reading the instructions on the kiosk, but they were difficult to follow. I asked for help from an employee, but she flat-out rejected me and told me to use the machine,” Tae, 78, said. “But now that I’ve practiced how to use a kiosk many times, I have no problem ordering a burger or fries on my own.” The South Korean senior is not the only one who has felt powerless and at the mercy of such self-serve digital kiosk machines.   ... Read More

US accuses Russia of ‘fabricating a pretext’ to invade Ukraine

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After a week of high-stakes diplomacy, the U.S. on Friday accused Russia of "fabricating a pretext" to invade its neighbor Ukraine. It's another sign that the "drumbeats of war" are getting louder, in the words of one U.S. ambassador, after three key meetings this week to defuse tensions raised by Russia massing approximately 100,000 troops on its borders with Ukraine. But whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will act on a long-held desire to consume Ukraine, or whether his posturing is a bluff to strengthen Moscow's hand and therefore its influence, is still an open question, according to senior U.S. officials. A "massive" cyberattack against Ukrainian government sites on Friday sparked new fears that the very kind   ... Read More

Ukraine says ‘massive cyberattack’ hits government websites

omersukrugoksu/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Ukraine said Friday a “massive cyber attack” has knocked offline the websites of most of its government ministries. The websites of the government’s cabinet office, the foreign ministry, emergency services minister, as well as the ministries of energy, education, agriculture and several others, were down on Friday, according to Ukrainian media. The country’s public services platform Diia, which holds Ukrainians’ tax numbers and COVID-19 vaccination certificates, was also hit. A message was posted on the targeted websites reading, “Ukrainians! All your personal data will be uploaded onto the general web. All data on your computer will be destroyed, it will be impossible to restore them. All your information will become public, be afraid and expect the worse.   ... Read More

North Korea test-fires missile for third time in 2022 alone

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea Friday afternoon, three days after the regime claimed a successful launch of a newly developed hypersonic missile. “South Korean military detected two projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles fired northeast towards the East Sea from Uiju, North Pyonganbuk-do,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters Friday. Pyongyang has tested its missile capabilities three times this month. On Wednesday, North Korea’s state media, Korean Central News Agency, hyped the test-fire of the claimed hypersonic missile by reporting that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspected the launch himself. North Korea’s show of force took place on the same day the regime expressed discontent   ... Read More

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