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World News
Brazil's Bolsonaro 'indirectly' censors media: RSF

BRASILIA: Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s government threatens press freedom in Brazil by using “indirect censorship,” including virulent attacks against journalists, Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday.The watchdog group said in its quarterly report that Bolsonaro and his inner circle, including his three politician sons, had verbally attacked journalists and the media more than 100 times from July to September.”This stance of open hostility toward the press has become the government’s trademark,” it said.The Bolsonaro administration has also used “disinformation” and restrictions on official statistics to “control public debate and politicize official communications structures,” RSF said.Other examples include lawsuits against journalists by Bolsonaro allies, which the group deemed “judicial harassment;” cases of government officials blocking journalists from following their social media accounts; “opaque” management of official data on the coronavirus pandemic; and 13 new laws that restrict the public’s access to information, it said.Sometimes called the “Tropical Trump” for the hardline policies, vitriolic rhetoric and reliance on social networks he shares with the US leader, Bolsonaro won election in 2018 with a campaign heavy on attacks against the traditional news media.He has regularly bashed the press ever since, at times flashing obscene gestures at journalists or walking out on press conferences altogether.The

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Teacher's beheading: France closes Paris mosque

PARIS: French authorities said Tuesday they would close a Paris mosque as part of a clampdown on radical Islam that has yielded over a dozen arrests following the beheading of a teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.The mosque in a densely-populated suburb northeast of Paris had disseminated a video on its Facebook page days before Friday’s gruesome murder, railing against teacher Samuel Paty’s choice of material for a class discussion on freedom of expression, said a source close to the investigation.The interior ministry said the mosque in Pantin, which has some 1,500 worshippers, would be shut on Wednesday night for six months.Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who vowed Monday there would be “not a minute’s respite for enemies of the Republic”, had asked regional authorities to carry out the mosque closure.And on Monday, police launched a series of raids targeting Islamist networks.Paty, 47, was attacked on his way home from the junior high school where he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 40 kilometres (25 miles) northwest of Paris.A photo of the teacher and a message confessing to his murder was found on the mobile phone of his killer, 18-year-old Chechen Abdullakh Anzorov, who also posted images of

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Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam booked for holding anti-govt rally

LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter and Opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s vice-president Maryam Nawaz was on Tuesday booked along with over 2,000 party members for holding an anti-government rally in Lahore where she called Prime Minister Imran Khan a “coward, selected and puppet” who hides behind the Army.The rally by the 11-member opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) was held here on October 16 before the Gujranwala public meeting.Maryam had openly called Prime Minister Khan a “coward, selected and puppet” in the rally, saying he hid behind the Army to cover up his ‘Nalaaiki’ (bad governance).She dared the “selected” Prime Minister to arrest her as she is not afraid of going to jail.The Pakistan Army, which has ruled the country for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.The First Information Report (FIR) was registered for chanting slogans against the government and the state institutions, causing trouble for citizens, blocking roads, using loudspeakers and microphones, and violating coronavirus standard operating procedures.Maryam’s husband Capt (retd) Mohammad Safdar was also named in the FIR. He was earlier arrested in Karachi for allegedly violating the sanctity of

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Hong Kong eases social-distancing measures after cases decline

HONG KONG: Hong Kong on Tuesday relaxed social distancing measures after recording five new Covid-19 cases. Starting Friday, citizens will be able to join local tours of up to 30 people, and a gathering of no more than 50 guests will be allowed in wedding ceremonies, officials said.Travel agencies taking advantage of the new rules must implement a series of infection-control measures while operating tours, or risk losing out on subsidies or their right to run groups locally, South China Morning Post reported.Earlier, tour groups were only allowed to have four members at a time, whereas wedding ceremonies could have only 20 guests.At a press conference on Tuesday, Health Minister Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee said, “When adjusting social-distancing measures, we hope to avoid an all-or-nothing approach, and enhance cooperation with the sectors to enhance infection-control measures in related premises.”Chan added that the government was adopting targeted measures to reduce coronavirus transmission in the country.Starting Friday, tourists will be required to wear masks throughout their trip and the transport they use can only be 50 percent full.Other rules include increasing the number of people in business meetings from 20 to 50, while sports teams involving more than four people will be

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Japan's PM arrives in Indonesia to affirm deeper ties

JAKARTA, INDONESIA: Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga arrived in Indonesia on Tuesday on the second leg of his first overseas trip as premier to underscore his government’s aims of countering China in the region.Suga arrived from Vietnam in the middle of a four-day visit to the two Southeast Asia nations which he said was key to pursuing the “free and open Indo-Pacific” vision of economic and security cooperation to counter China’s growing power and its assertiveness in disputes with other governments over the South China Sea.Japan is pushing for members of the association of the Southeast Asian nations (Asean) to cooperate in promoting its free and open Indo-Pacific vision. Tokyo wants to convey that its respect for a rules-based international system, in contrast to China, which refuses to recognize tribunal rulings against its vast sea claims, makes Japan the better partner for Southeast Asian countries.Suga is also expected to discuss coronavirus measures and Japan’s possible support for the pandemic-hit Indonesian economy.Japan also hopes to deepen and strengthen its defence ties with Indonesia and promote a defence equipment and technology transfer agreement. It signed such a deal with Vietnam on Monday and has defence equipment transfer deals with a dozen countries,

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Hand signals only: How Thais are marshalling mass protests

BANGKOK: Hands point above head = need umbrella; Hands held over head = need helmet; Hands crossed over chest = enough supplies here.Thai protesters are learning a whole new language, developed within days to coordinate among crowds of thousands of people at demonstrations that have swollen in defiance of a government ban and despite the arrest of many protest leaders.”Everyone has been helping each other out,” said 19-year-old Riam, who like most protesters would only give one name. “At first, we had to work out what people were saying, but with the gestures, it’s pretty easy to guess.”Some of the words in the Thai hand signal vocabulary are the same as those used by protesters in Hong Kong. Some they made up themselves and have now gained common usage.Three months of protests in Thailand have sought to bring down Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta leader, and to curb the powers of the monarchy of King Maha Vajiralongkorn.They gained added momentum last week with a government crackdown that brought the arrest of several of the highest profile protest leaders and saw police using water cannon for the first time on Friday.That has also meant a need to be able

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Spain to receive 31.6 million doses of AstraZeneca Covid vaccine

MADRID: Spain would receive 31.6 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine currently being developed by Britain’s pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca between December and June if it is ready, Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Tuesday.The supply of the potential vaccine makes part of a European Union scheme, Illa told a news conference following the weekly cabinet meeting.Illa also said tough restrictive measures to bring a surge of coronavirus infections under control will be imposed in Madrid for three weeks after the state of emergency in the region expires on Oct. 23.

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Russia offers US one-year freeze on nuclear warhead numbers

MOSCOW: Russia on Tuesday said it was ready to offer the United States a mutual one-year freeze on the number of nuclear warheads held by both countries in order to extend a landmark arms reduction deal due to expire next year.”Russia offers extending the New START by one year and is ready to take on a political commitment with the United States to freeze the number of nuclear warheads both sides have for this period,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.Russian President Vladimir Putin last week proposed extending by one year the New START treaty, which is due to expire in February 2021. The White House described the proposal as a “non-starter” unless accompanied by a freeze on the number of nuclear warheads.

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Shehbaz Sharif sent to jail in money laundering case

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif was sent to jail on Tuesday in a money laundering case.Shehbaz, the younger brother of three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on September 28 after a court here rejected his bail application in the Rs 700 crores money laundering case.Next day, the 69-year-old former chief minister of Punjab province was sent on a physical remand by an accountability court.On Tuesday, an accountability court of Lahore rejected the NAB’s plea seeking further extension to his physical remand.Shehbaz told the court that NAB didn’t ask any questions about money laundering during his three weeks detention.Talking to reporters, Shehbaz criticised the Imran Khan government for arresting Mohammad Safdar, son-in-law of Nawaz Sharif, for raising slogans in giving respect to the ballot.Safdar was on Monday briefly arrested from his hotel room in Karachi, a day after he staged a protest at the tomb of the country’s founder and attended a joint opposition rally.Shehbaz also termed unholy alliance of Imran Khan and NAB behind political victimisation of opposition leaders. He has been shifted to Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.Maryam Nawaz, daughter of

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'No publishing proclamation against Sharif in UK newspapers'

ISLAMABAD: A court in Pakistan on Monday rejected a petition by the federal government seeking the publication of proclamation against deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif in two newspapers in the UK.Additional attorney general Tariq Mehmood Khokhar submitted a compliance report relating to the publication of proclamation issued in Al-Azizia and Avenfield properties cases against Sharif in Dawn and Jang newspapers.He argued that since 70-year-old Sharif is in England, the proclamation may be published in The Guardian and Daily Telegraph.A division bench of the Islamabad high court (IHC) comprising justice Aamer Farooq and justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard the petition on Monday, Dawn news reported.The paper reported that the court turned down the request with an observation that since the legal requirements of issuance of proclamation had been fulfilled, there was no need to publish the same in British newspapers.Meanwhile, the IHC registrar office wrote a letter to the foreign secretary, asking him to execute/display the proclamation in the vicinity of Sharif’s residence in London through the Pakistani high commission in the UK.According to the letter, the proclamation “shall be read out at some conspicuous place of the town in which Nawaz Sharif ordinarily resides in the UK. One copy shall

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