Indian student in China found dead

Wednesday 04th August 2021 06:44 EDT

A 20-year-old Indian student studying in a university in the Chinese city of Tianjin has been found dead in his room and the cause of his death is not yet known, officials said. Aman Nagsen, who hailed from Gaya in Bihar, was a student of Business Administration in the Tianjin Foreign Studies University. He was found dead on July 29. The cause of death is under investigation, officials said. He was one of the few Indians who remained in China throughout the pandemic while most of the around 23,000 Indian students who returned are stuck in India due to Beijing’s reluctance to lift visa curbs. The Indian embassy and his family have been informed and officials said preparations are being made to send his body home.

Pak not Taliban spokesperson: Imran

The Pakistan government is not a spokesperson for the Taliban and Islamabad cannot be held responsible for the actions of the insurgent group in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of soldiers from the US and its allies, PM Imran Khan has said. In his comments to Afghan media representatives that were aired last week, Khan also said that Pakistan will have good relations with whoever the Afghans choose. “What the Taliban are doing or aren’t doing has nothing to do with us. We are not responsible, neither are we spokespersons for the Taliban,” he was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper. his remarks were a continuation of Pakistan’s repeated warnings that it would not accept the responsibility if it was blamed for any setbacks in the Afghan peace process.

Gunmen injure Chinese worker in Pak

Unknown gunmen last week fired at a vehicle carrying two Chinese factory workers, injuring one of them in Pakistan’s city of Karachi with China downplaying the incident as an “isolated case.” The attackers, who were riding on a motorcycle, fled the crime scene, police said. One of the Chinese nationals was injured due to the gunshot, while the other was unhurt in the incident, police said. No one has taken responsibility for the attack and the motive behind it is unknown. The shooting incident comes days after an explosion on a bus carrying Chinese engineers in Dasu area of upper Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province killed nine Chinese and injured 27 others. A total of 13 people were killed in the incident. Reacting to the attack, China termed it as an “isolated case”. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing in Beijing that “China is following this matter closely, and the relevant case is under investigation”.

Flooding kills 150 in NE Afghanistan

Flash flooding killed 150 people in a remote area in Afghanistan’s mountainous northeastern Nuristan province controlled by the Taliban, a spokesman for the insurgents said. The provincial government appealed to the Taliban to allow rescue teams into the area to help. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said heavy rains caused the flash flooding. In a statement, Mujahid said the insurgents ordered their own rescue crews to the affected area. He also said the Taliban have also ordered that 5 million Afghanis - or about $62,000 - be spent aiding the clean up and the villagers hit by the flooding. However, it is unclear how equipped the Taliban are to deal with emergencies in areas under their control, which are mostly rural areas.

Bhutan fully vaccinates 90% of adults in 7 days

The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has fully vaccinated 90% of its eligible adult population within just seven days, its health ministry said. The tiny country, wedged between India and China and home to nearly 8,00,000 people, began giving out second doses on July 20 in a mass drive that has been hailed by Unicef as “arguably the fastest vaccination campaign to be executed during a pandemic.” In April, Bhutan grabbed headlines when its government said it had inoculated around the same percentage of eligible adults with the first dose in under two weeks after India donated 5,50,000 shots of AstraZeneca vaccine. But the country faced a shortage for months after India halted exports as infections surged at home. Bhutan was able to restart its drive last week after half a million doses of Moderna vaccine arrived from the US as a donation under the UN-backed COVAX programme.

Myanmar army ruler says polls in 2023

Myanmar’s military ruler Min Aung Hlaing has taken on the role of prime minister in a newly formed caretaker government, state media reported. In a speech, Hlaing repeated a pledge to hold elections by 2023 and said his administration was ready to work with a future regional envoy on Myanmar. The announcement and speech came exactly six months after the coup on February 1. Hlaing has chaired the state administration council (SAC) was formed after the coup and that has run Myanmar since then. “The SAC has been re-formed as caretaker government of Myanmar,” state Myawaddy TV said. In his speech, Hlaing repeated a pledge to restore democracy, saying, “We will accomplish the provisions of the state of emergency by August 2023”. He added: “I guarantee the establishment of a union based on democracy and federalism.”

Chinese-Canadian pop star detained

Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu has been detained by Beijing police on suspicion of rape following an accusation that the former member of the Korean boy band EXO lured young women into sexual relationships, police said. Wu, 30, earlier was accused by a teenager of having sex with her while she was drunk. Wu denied the accusation. The teen said seven other women contacted her to say Wu seduced them with promises of jobs and other opportunities. She said some were under 18 but gave no indication whether they were younger than China’s age of consent of 14. Wu has been “criminally detained” on suspicion of rape “in response to information reported on the Internet” including that he “lured women to have sexual relations,” police said. It gave no other details.

Virus flares in Wuhan as Delta challenges China defences

Millions of people were confined to their homes in China as the country tried to contain its largest coronavirus outbreak in months including seven positive tests found in Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in late 2019. China reported 55 new locally transmitted cases on Monday as an outbreak of the Delta variant reached over 20 cities in over a dozen provinces. The Wuhan cluster came after the official daily tally was released, but it was confirmed by state media which said the infections had been traced to a train station. “The seven were identified as migrant workers,” Xinhua reported, citing health officials. Cities including Beijing have now tested millions of residents while cordoning off residential compounds and placing contacts under quarantine. Authorities in the capital agreed on the need to “raise vigilance, take precautions and defend (the city) to the death”, the Beijing government said.

More than 300 killed in China floods

More than 300 people died in recent flooding in central China, authorities said, three times the previously announced toll. The Henan provincial government said 302 people died and 50 remain missing. The vast majority of the victims were in Zhengzhou, the provincial capital, where 292 died and 47 are missing. Ten others died in three other cities, officials said. Record rainfall inundated Zhengzhou on July 20, turning streets into rushing rivers and flooding at least part of a subway line. Video posted online showed vehicles being washed away and desperate people trapped in subway cars as the waters rose. Fourteen people died in the subway flooding. The previous toll, announced on Friday, was 99.

Tunisia prez declares crackdown on graft

Tunisia’s President Kais Saied accused 460 businessmen of embezzlement as he declared a crackdown on corruption, days after grabbing power in what his opponents have labelled a “coup”. Saied, who suspended parliament for 30 days and seized all executive powers last week, slammed the “bad economic choices” made in recent years, during a meeting with a leader of the employers’ federation UTICA. In his comments, the president singled out for criticism “those who plunder public money”. Saied accused the 460 businessmen of owing 13.5 billion dinars ($4.9 billion) to the state, citing the findings of a commission of inquiry into graft under former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. “This money must be returned to the Tunisian people,” he said, adding that he intends to offer the businessmen “judicial arbitration”. In exchange for dropping proceedings, the reimbursed money would be injected into less developed parts of Tunisia.

Nasa finds evidence of water vapour on Jupiter moon

In a significant finding about the presence of water outside the earth and its moon, astronomers have for the first time found evidence of water vapour in the atmosphere of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, opening up the possibility that there could be presence of life on the largest moon of our solar system. According to a study in journal Nature Astronomy, the water vapour forms when ice from the moon’s surface turns directly into gas from solid, a process called sublimation. Scientists used new and archival data sets from Nasa’s Hubble telescope to make the discovery. According to the study, Ganymede’s temperature may become sufficiently warm near the equator around noon, which in turn leads to its ice surface to release (or sublimate) some small amounts of water molecules. The findings will give a heads-up to European Space Agency’s upcoming mission, JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer), which is planned for launch in 2022 and arrival at Jupiter in 2029. JUICE will spend three years making detailed observations about Jupiter and three of its largest moons.

USCIS gets 1st woman head

The US Senate has confirmed the nomination of Ur Mendoza Jaddou as Director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). She is the first woman to head the immigration agency of the US government. In April, US President Joe Biden had announced his intention to nominate her for the post. The Senate, last week confirmed her appointment by a vote of 47-34. According to the White House, she is a daughter of immigrants, a mother from Mexico and a father from Iraq. She was born and raised in California and holds a masters’ degree from Stanford and a law degree from UCLA. She has two decades of experience in immigration law and policy, which includes an earlier stint at USCIS

Zimbabwe President named in US fraud case

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa's name was allegedly used in a botched deal which resulted in a Harare man losing US$488,000. According to a Zimbabwean news daily, a suspected fraudster, Eustine Charambira (33) appeared in court accused of duping a Harare man Erasmus Chimbumu of US$488,000 in a mining chemical deal. The accused is alleged to have told Chimbumu that she could only deliver after he gave her a deposit of US$1 million since the deal included the head of state Mnangagwa and some unnamed army generals who needed their part of the share. This is not the first time the accused has faced such allegations. The prosecutors initially consented to $50 000 but made a U-turn on its decision after establishing that Charambira had previous convictions for similar offences, according to the Zimbabwean news daily.

Nigeria acquits Shia leader of murder charges

Behind bars for more than five years, the leader of Nigeria's Shiite minority, Ibrahim Zakzaky, and his wife, accused of murder, were released by the court of Kaduna (North). Zakzaky, founder of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), was detained with his wife Zeenah Ibrahim since December 2015, after violence broke out during a religious procession in Zaria (North). The army had fired, killing more than 350 people, mostly unarmed Shiites, according to human rights organizations. "The court acquitted Zakzaky and his wife of all charges against them. They were released today," one of his lawyers, Sadau Garba, said. Zakzaky and his wife were accused of killing a soldier during the protests. "The court ruled that none of the witnesses we presented to the court provided convincing evidence of their guilt," he said.

US to hold rare second lottery for H-1B applicants

In what can be good news for hundreds of Indian IT professionals seeking the H-1B work visa, the US' immigration agency has decided to conduct a rare second lottery for the most sought-after visas to decide on the successful applicants who could not make it in the first random selection. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that a decision was taken after determining that the computerised draw of lots for H-1B visas conducted early this year did not give them enough numbers of the Congressional mandated H-1B visas. The H-1B visa, the most sought-after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year as mandated by Congress. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a US master's degree or higher are exempt from the cap.

Man jailed in first national security case in HK

The first person convicted under Hong Kong’s national security law was jailed for nine years for terrorist activities and inciting secession, judges said, in a watershed ruling with long-term implications for the city’s judicial landscape. Former waiter Tong Ying-kit, 24, was accused of driving his motorcycle into three riot police last year while carrying a flag with the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our times.” Tong’s lawyer, Clive Grossman, told reporters outside the court the defence would appeal both the verdict and the sentence. He made no further comment. Judges Esther Toh, Anthea Pang and Wilson Chan - picked by city leader Carrie Lam to hear national security cases - ruled that the slogan was “capable of inciting others to commit secession.” The judges sentenced Tong to 6.5 years for inciting secession and 8 years for terrorist activities. Of these, 2.5 years will run consecutively, resulting in a total term of 9 years.

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