BANGKOK – A monkey trainer in the southern Thailand said very few monkeys are involved in harvesting coconuts for export and there was no abuse at his centre, disputing an activist report following which Thai products were banned by some British supermarkets. Earlier this month, some British retailers pulled Thai coconut products after a report by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) alleged that coconuts in Thailand were picked by abused monkeys with Prime…"Thai monkey trainer rejects PETA claims on coconut harvesting"
MOSCOW – Russia on Saturday reported 6,611 new coronavirus cases, taking its nationwide tally of infections to 720,547. The country’s coronavirus crisis response centre said 188 people had died from the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 11,205. Russia said 497,446 people have recovered from the virus."Russia reports 6,611 new coronavirus infections"
ANKARA – Turkey’s parliament passed a law on Saturday on changing the structure of bar associations, a move that lawyers argue will further undermine judicial independence in a country where they say the judiciary is already in disarray. Thousands of lawyers have protested in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities against the plan, saying it aims to silence some of the few institutions still speaking out against the government’s record on rule of law and human…"Turkish parliament passes disputed bar associations law"
– Healthcare systems worldwide need to upgrade to control disease transmission and cope with large numbers of sick people during the coronavirus pandemic as well as future outbreaks, the head of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program warned on Friday. Dr. Michael Ryan of WHO, speaking during a video panel session organized by the International AIDS Society, said world leaders grappling with the current pandemic “need to take a leaf out of the HIV/AIDS activist…"WHO official cites AIDS as guide to addressing coronavirus pandemic"
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is considering commuting Roger Stone’s sentence just days before his longtime friend and adviser is due to report to prison, a source familiar with the situation said on Friday. Stone, 67, is scheduled to report by Tuesday to a federal prison in Jesup, Georgia to begin serving a sentence of three years and four months for lying under oath to U.S. lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.…"Trump mulls commuting longtime adviser Roger Stone’s sentence, source says"
RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian insurer Sul America SA has concluded its 3.18 billion reais ($597 million) sale of its auto unit and other businesses to Germany’s Allianz SE , it said in a securities filing on Friday. The deal was originally announced in August 2019. The sale will appear in the company’s second quarter results."Brazilian insurer Sul America concludes $600 million sale of some units to Allianz"
GENEVA – Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic at the WHO, said on Friday that airborne transmission of the new coronavirus had always been a concern but that droplets appeared to be the most common infection route. “Aerosol transmission is one of the modes of transmission that we have been concerned about since the beginning, particularly in healthcare settings … where we know these droplets can be aerosolised – which means can…"WHO says airborne COVID transmission a concern but droplets appear dominant"
LONDON – The British government is expected to set a deadline of 2025 for removing equipment made by China’s Huawei from the country’s 5G telecoms networks, the Telegraph newspaper said on Friday. The Telegraph reported that British culture minister Oliver Dowden will make a statement in Parliament on Tuesday about Huawei, and that ministers wanted Huawei’s removal within five years. Adding to strains in ties between London and Beijing, Britain in January capped Huawei’s role…"UK expected to order removal of Huawei 5G equipment by 2025: Telegraph"
– World champion Dutch speed skater Lara van Ruijven has died aged 27 after battling with an autoimmune disorder, the Royal Dutch Skating Federation (KNSB) said on Friday. The 27-year-old short track skater, who won a bronze medal at the 2018 Olympics, was admitted to hospital in Perpignan, France last month after falling ill during a training camp. She was placed in intensive care and kept in an artificial coma but despite undergoing surgery, her…"Speed skating: World champion Van Ruijven dies aged 27"
ATHENS – Greece condemned a decision by Turkey on Friday to convert Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque, saying it would have repercussions not only on relations between the two countries, but on Turkey’s ties with the European Union. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that the first prayers would be held in Hagia Sophia on July 24, after declaring the ancient monument was once again a mosque following a court ruling revoking…"Greece condemns Turkey’s decision to convert Hagia Sophia into mosque"