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World News
Hong Kong media tycoon denied bail on fraud charge

HONG KONG: Outspoken Hong Kong pro-democracy advocate and media tycoon Jimmy Lai was refused bail on Thursday on a fraud charge amid a growing crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous city.Jimmy Lai of Next Digital, which publishes the Apple Daily newspaper, was among 10 people arrested Aug. 10 on what police said was suspicion of violating a national security law and collusion with a foreign country.Lai, 73, was later released on bail but police raided his company’s offices in October and took away documents.On Wednesday, Lai and two Next Digital executives were charged with fraud over accusations that they violated lease terms for Next Digital office space.Lai appeared in court Thursday and was denied bail. His case has been adjourned till April 16.

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US states plan to sue Facebook next week

WASHINGTON: A group of US states led by New York is investigating Facebook Inc for possible antitrust violations and plans to file a lawsuit against the social media giant next week, four sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.The complaint would be the second major lawsuit filed against a Big Tech company this year. The Justice Department sued Alphabet Inc’s Google in October.More than 40 states plan to sign on to the lawsuit, one source said, without naming them.Facebook declined to comment.The Federal Trade Commission, whose commissioners met on Wednesday, could file a related complaint with an administrative law judge or in district court.It is not known what the states plan to include in their complaint. One allegation often made against Facebook is that it has strategically sought to buy small potential rivals, often at a big premium. These include Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014.

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Ivanka Trump deposed as part of inauguration fund lawsuit

WASHINGTON: Ivanka Trump has been deposed by attorneys alleging that President Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration committee misused donor funds, a new court filing reveals.The document, first reported by CNN Wednesday, notes that Ivanka Trump, the president’s oldest daughter and a senior White House adviser, was interviewed Tuesday by attorneys from the Washington, DC, attorney general’s office.The office has filed a lawsuit alleging waste of the nonprofit’s funds, accusing the committee of making more than $1 million in improper payments to the president’s Washington, DC, hotel during the week of the inauguration in 2017.As part of the suit, they have subpoenaed records from Ivanka Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Thomas Barrack Jr., a close friend of the president who chaired the inaugural committee, and others. Barrack was also deposed last month.Trump’s inaugural committee spent more than $1 million to book a ballroom at the Trump International Hotel in the nation’s capital as part of a scheme to “grossly overpay” for party space and enrich the president’s own family in the process, the District of Columbia’s attorney general, Karl Racine, alleges.He has accused the committee of misusing nonprofit funds and coordinating with the hotel’s management and members of the Trump family to

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‘For Covid recovery, keep climate goals in mind’

India must be part of aglobal coalition for net zero emissions by mid-century, said UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres in an exclusive interview to TOI’s Sunil Warrier and Manka Behl , just before his ‘State of the Planet’ virtual speech on the Paris Climate Agreement’s fifth anniversary. Excerpts:India is opening more coal mines despite the increase in air pollution. What is your message to India?By adopting the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) in line with 2-degree increase in temperature at the end of the century, leading the solar alliance and innovation in renewables, India has made remarkable efforts to tackle climate change. My appeal to India now is to join what we are building — a global coalition for net zero emissions by mid-century. Europe, Japan and Korea have announced net zero by 2050, China before 2060 and soon the new American administration will join the coalition. I am hopeful India will soon join the net zero coalition too. I would ask India to increase efforts to promote renewables. Nobody will benefit more in the drastic reduction of pollution — coal a part of it — than the Indian population.Do you think India’s NDC is sufficient and compatible to move to the

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Iran passes law to boost uranium enrichment

Iran’s Guardian Council watchdog body approved a law on Wednesday that obliges the government to halt UN inspections of its nuclear sites and step up uranium enrichment beyond the limit set under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal if sanctions are not eased in two months.

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PIO MP tables motion calling for justice for Bhopal gas tragedy victims

LONDON: An Indian-origin MP has tabled an early day motion in the UK Parliament on the 36th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy calling on those responsible for the world’s biggest industrial disaster to be brought to justice so that the victims and their families receive closure.Stockport Labour MP Navendu Mishra, who was born in Kanpur and was first elected a Labour MP in December 2019, has sponsored the parliamentary motion, which has attracted 29 MP signatures.The motion “remembers the terrible disaster that took place on 2 December 1984 in Bhopal when a major poisonous gas leak from the Union Carbide pesticide plant resulted in more than 600,000 people being exposed to the highly toxic methyl isocyanate gas, thousands of people dying and many more suffering serious and life-changing injuries”.It notes that more than 100,000 people still live with contaminated water supplies and exposure to the chemicals as well as a range of chronic illnesses, and that “the current owners, Dow Chemicals, need to rectify the environmental damage and properly compensate the victims and their families”.It commends the work of the Trades Union Congress and UK’s largest union, Unison, for campaigning on this issue.Mishra said: “While I don’t have any

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Ossoff, Whose Father Took $1 Mil from Gov’t Relief Fund, Slams Greedy Business Owners for Raiding PPP

DECATUR, Ga.—Georgia Democratic Senate hopeful Jon Ossoff said Paycheck Protection Program funds were “raided by larger companies” without mentioning that his wealthy father’s company received as much as $1 million through the program. “[Republicans] don’t care about small businesses. And as we saw, the PPP funds were raided by larger companies,” Ossoff said during a Wednesday-morning campaign event in Decatur. The Democrat said nothing about his father Richard Ossoff’s involvement in the program. The elder Ossoff’s Atlanta-based company, Strafford Publications, received between $350,000 and $1 million from the PPP on June 9. The company—which collects an estimated $28 million in annual revenue—has amassed Ossoff’s father a sizable fortune that allowed him to purchase a private plane in 2014. Recent Stories in 2020 Election Ossoff, Whose Father Took $1 Mil from Gov’t Relief Fund, Slams Greedy Business Owners for Raiding PPP Ossoff Campaigns on TikTok Ahead of Runoff Biden-Linked Firm WestExec Scrubs China Work From Website Ossoff’s father has been a major driver of the Georgia Democrat’s political career, contributing more than $17,000 to his son’s campaigns since 2017 and nearly $150,000 to other federal Democrats since 2002. Ossoff’s father also footed

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Putin orders 'large-scale' vaccinations in Russia from next week

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin told health officials Wednesday to start widespread vaccinations next week, adding that the country had produced close to 2 million doses of its Sputnik V vaccine.The announcement came the same day Britain approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for a rollout starting next week.Last week Russia announced that interim test results showed the Sputnik V vaccine was 95 percent effective, a higher efficacy than its international competitors.Sputnik V – named after the Soviet-era satellite – is in its third and final stage of clinical trials involving some 40,000 volunteers.”I would ask you to organise the work so that by the end of next week we will have started this large-scale vaccination,” Putin said, speaking in a video conference call with Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, who is leading the coronavirus task force.The president noted that teachers and medics will be the first to receive the jab.”More than 2 million doses have been produced or will be produced in the next few days,” Putin added.The Sputnik V vaccine uses two different human adenovirus vectors and is administered in two doses with a 21-day gap.The vaccine will be free to all Russian citizens and inoculation will be voluntary.Last week

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Cyclone Burevi slams into eastern Sri Lanka

COLOMBO: Tropical cyclone Burevi slammed into Sri Lanka’s eastern coast on Wednesday night and was expected to damage coastal buildings and power lines, as well as unleash flash floods, officials at the meteorological department said.During the day Sri Lankan authorities evacuated over 75,000 people from homes on the east coast where cyclone Burevi, packing winds of up to 90 kph (56 mph) was set to hit.The island’s disaster management centre advised those living near its path to stay indoors.Earlier in the day Athula Karunanayake, the chief of the meteorology department said the wind speeds could reach 80 to 90 kph (50 to 56 mph).”Some areas will get more than 200 mm (8 inches) of rain.”Those evacuated, from the Trincomalee district expected to be hit the hardest, have been moved into 237 relief centres until the cyclone passes, disaster officials said.But Anuradha Yahampath, governor of the eastern province which includes Trincomalee, said some people were still resisting the evacuation effort.”I am appealing to people to go to these camps as soon as possible,” he told local media.”I met some of the fishermen earlier. They are aware of the situation but they are still not ready to leave their homes.”Authorities in the

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Pakistan court declares Nawaz Sharif proclaimed offender

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani court on Wednesday declared Nawaz Sharif a proclaimed offender after the former premier failed to appear before it despite repeated summons served in connection with two corruption cases.The two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard the case about Sharif’s appeals against convictions in the Al-Azizia and Avenfield cases.The court said that notices would also be issued to the sureties of Sharif to show the cause for their failure to produce him as per the orders of the court.The court was informed by officials of the Foreign Office and Interior Ministry that Sharif was duly informed about the summons of the court both in London, where he was living, and his residence in Lahore.After failing to appear despite clear orders by the court, the bench decided to declare Sharif a proclaimed offender.Sharif, 70, has been in London since November last year after the Lahore High Court granted him permission to go abroad for four weeks for treating a heart ailment and an immune system disorder.In October, the court had ordered Sharif to appear before it by November 24 to avoid being declared a proclaimed offender after he

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