Turkish authorities have intercepted a boat carrying more than 200 Afghan migrants in the Aegean sea heading for Europe, Turkey’s coastguard said on Wednesday. The interception near Turkey’s western shores came as hundreds of Afghans cross into eastern Turkey from Iran, after a rise in violence in their own country as the United States and its NATO allies withdraw and Taliban fighters seize territory.
According to reporters, Afghans have for years been crossing from Iran into Turkey, many of them en route to Europe, but the number of detentions this month has raised concerns about a new influx. Officials said last week they had detained 1,500 irregular migrants, most of them Afghans, near the Iranian border in the previous 10 days.
The migrants intercepted in the Aegean were believed to be en route to Italy, the coastguard official said. Of the 231 migrants on the boat, 208 were Afghans and others were from Syria, Iran, Eritrea and Pakistan, the official added. The coastguard detained two Turkish nationals steering the boat and escorted migrants to a deportation centre in the western Turkish town of Ayvacik.
President Tayyip Erdogan’s government, already hosting 3.7 million Syrian refugees, wants to avoid another refugee wave, and Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said two weeks ago that Turkey was closely monitoring any influx of Afghan migrants. Turkey is building a wall along a 64-km (40-mile) stretch of the Iranian border in the eastern province of Van, where many of the migrants cross. The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR says there were over 100,000 Afghan asylum seekers in Turkey last year.
China’s Ministry of Education said on Wednesday that it had begun implementing a campaign to stop paid after school tutoring services provided by teachers working for public primary and middle schools. China issued sweeping rules last week that bar for-profit after-school tutoring in core school subjects, in an effort to boost the birth rate by lowering family living costs.
The policy also restricts foreign investment in the sector. The ministry said in a statement on its website that it would also tackle teachers illegally receiving bribes, and show “zero tolerance” towards teachers who “teach only after classes but not during classes”.
The new rules threaten to decimate China’s $120 billion private tutoring industry and triggered a heavy sell off in shares of tutoring companies traded in Hong Kong and New York, including New Oriental Education & Technology Group and Koolearn Technology Holding Ltd. Under the new rules, all institutions offering tutoring on the school curriculum will be registered as non-profit organisations.
A prominent New York spinal surgeon’s storybook marriage to a beauty queen has turned ugly after he found out about her secret life as a high-end hooker/call girl.
Dr. Han Jo Kim wants to divorce former Miss USA contestant Regina Turner, alleging the beautiful model earned nearly $700,000 in cash from her paying clients while leading a lucrative double life before and after their Nov. 27, 2015, wedding, court documents reveals.
Divorce papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court detail how Kim found out shocking details about his darling wife in December 2020, nine years after she served as Miss Connecticut in the annual MISS USA pageant
While using a computer in one of their million-dollar homes, Kim discovered a raunchy Message meant for Turner that revealed her sexual encounter with another man, the documents alleged.
That was not all.
Kim found out other wealthy men were paying Turner for sexual services, including a prominent businessman, , a New Jersey-based real estate executive and an award-winning lighting designer, Kim says in court papers.
“Not to belabor the obvious but … defendant clearly committed material fraud upon Dr. Kim by concealing her sale of sexual services in exchange for money prior to the marriage,” Kim charges in court papers.
“As is further obvious, plaintiff would have never married defendant absent her lies and concealment.”
The court documents include financial records allegedly indicating payments from some men to Turner, and a hearing in the contentious case is scheduled for Monday, July 26.
The New Jersey real estate executive wrote checks, many for $2,000 each, made out to cash that were deposited in Turner’s account, according to records. Documents filed by Kim show a total of $185,500 in deposits from an account in the executive’s name. The lighting designer’s company wired Turner a total of $116,000 over six years, according to bank records included in the court filing. Many of the individual payments were $10,000.
Yet Turner claimed in January that her income was $0 and that she was “totally dependent on (Kim) for support,” papers read.
“On many of the occasions that defendant represented that she was out with girlfriends, she was, in fact, providing sexual services in exchange for money to men,” the complaint states.
The explosive allegations are included in a proposed amended complaint that seeks to void the marriage on the grounds that Kim was a victim of fraud.
The documents say Turner’s alleged deception began on the couple’s earliest dates back in 2013, when she told Kim that she had attended the University of Connecticut for three years to study science before taking a leave of absence to compete in Miss USA. In reality, according to Kim’s papers, Turner never graduated high school.
Turner also allegedly claimed that she needed to frequently visit China for weeks at a time in connection with an app she was developing to let users snap a photo of clothes and find out where the garments are sold.
“In fact such travel was in connection with defendant’s provision of sexual services in exchange for money,” Kim’s papers read.
A subpoena for Turner’s bank records allegedly showed $675,030 in cash deposits from 2015 to 2021.
Australia’s biggest city, Sydney, extended a lockdown by four weeks on Wednesday after an already protracted stay-at home order failed to douse a COVID-19 outbreak, with authorities warning of tougher policing to stamp out non-compliance says reporters.
Far from a planned exit from lockdown in three days, the city of 5 million were told to stay home until 28 of Aug following persistently high case numbers since a flare-up of the virulent Delta variant began last month. The state of New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital, reported 177 new cases for Tuesday, from 172 on Monday.
That is the biggest increase since an unmasked, unvaccinated airport driver was said to have sparked the current outbreak. The state also reported the death of a woman in her 90s, the 11th death of the outbreak. Of particular concern, at least 46 of the new cases were people active in the community before being diagnosed, raising the likelihood of transmission, said authorities.
The extension turns what was initially intended to be a “snap” lockdown of Australia’s most populous city into one of the country’s longest since the start of the pandemic, and may spark the second recession of the A$2 trillion ($1.47 trillion) national economy in two years, according to economists.
According to State Premier Gladys Berejiklian statement, they have cautioned that active community transmission must be near zero before rules are relaxed.
Read what she said below…
“I am as upset and frustrated as all of you that we were not able to get the case numbers we would have liked at this point in time but that is the reality.
She also added that police would boost enforcement of wide-ranging social distancing rules and urged people to report suspected wrong doing, saying “we cannot put up with people continuing to do the wrong thing because it is setting us all back”. In one case, a mourning ceremony attended by 50 people in violation of lockdown rules resulted in 45 infections.
It was later reported that Australia has kept its COVID-19 numbers relatively low, with just over 33,200 cases and 921 deaths, out of a population of about 25 million, since the pandemic began.
To minimise the economic impact, the NSW government said it would lift a ban on non- occupied construction in most of Sydney. However, it expanded a list of local government areas within the city where the ban would stay because of the prevalence of COVID-19 cases there.
“It’s getting really difficult, day in and out, day by day, for us to continue running the same business,” said Raihan Ahmed, a convenience store owner at Bankstown, one of the main affected suburbs. “Somehow we have to survive, and we are trying our best.
Opinion polls have showed slipping support for Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government amid criticism of a slow vaccination roll-out that has been blamed on changing regulatory advice and supply shortages
“There is no other shortcut, there is no other way through, we have to just hunker down and push through,’ Morrison said during a televised news conference in the national capital Canberra. All Australians who wanted to vaccination would receive it by the end of the year, and “l would expect by Christmas that we would be seeing a very different Australia to what we are seeing now’ he added.
Government said it was redirecting Pfizer Inc vaccine doses, which have so far been restricted to people aged 40-60, from relatively unaffected regional areas to final-year school students in the worst-affected Sydney neighbourhoods.
The state and federal governments also said they were expanding relief funding to enable affected companies to keep paying wages through the closure. In contrast to New South Wales, the states of Victoria and South Australia began their first day out of shorter lockdowns that halted outbreaks there.
Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has asked Senator Ciro Nogueira to be his chief of staff to shore up supporting Congress in the face of falling popularity and growing outrage over his handling of the world’s second-deadliest COVID-19 outbreak.
Nogueira, a leader of the center-right Progressives Party(PP), tweeted on Tuesday that he has accepted the job and is expected to be sworn in this week as Bolsonaro’s closest minister, replacing a retired general.
He will be the first heavyweight politician to enter Bolsonaro’s inner cabinet as the embattled president seeks allies to shield himself from calls in Congress for his impeachment and a Senate investigation of irregularities in the government’s purchase of COVID-19 vaccines.
Nogueira belongs to the same PP party as House Speaker Arthur Lira, who has refused to take up any of the dozens of impeachment requests filed against Bolsonaro. “The appointment solidifies the presence of this key party in the government and gives Bolsonaro Some peace of mind, said LUcas de Aragao, a partner at Brasilia consultancy Arko Advice.
Bolsonaro has yet to decide which party he will join to seek re-election next year and the PP wil likely become the main component of any coalition he will try to build, Aragao said. Recent opinion polls show Bolsonaro’s popularity plummeting over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as he has minimized the gravity of the situation despite the deaths of 550,000 Brazilians.
The polls also show him being defeated handily by former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva if the election were held today. To make matters worse, the Senate probe has implicated the government’s chief whip in the lower house of Congress, Ricardo Barros, also of the PP party, in a scandal surrounding a purchase contract for 20 million doses of the Covaxin vaccine made by India’s Bharat Biotech.
A health ministry whistle-blower accused the president of ignoring warnings about the 1.6 billion-real ($316 million) deal. Bolsonaro and Barros have denied all wrongdoing, and the government has since canceled the contract.
Nogueira is a leader of the “centrao” or big center coalition that Bolsonaro has embraced to survive politically, even though dozens of their lawmakers have faced graft investigations.Critics say Bolsonaro has joined corrupt politicians he vowed to bring down when he campaigned for office in 2018. In an interview on Monday, Bolsonaro said he Would lose the support of “almost half of Congress” if he did not deal with lawmakers under investigation. “For now, this is what I have to work with, he told Radio Arapua.
The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to meet his Indian counterpart and other officials on Wednesday before heading to see Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as the China rivals seek to deepen their cooperation and iron out differences.
Blinken, in his first visit to the country since joining U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration, is expected to discuss supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, the security situation in Afghanistan as well as India’s human rights record. Speaking to a group of civil society leaders at a New Delhi hotel, Blinken said that the relationship between the United States and India was “one of the most important in the world”.
“The Indian people and the American people believe in human dignity and equality of opportunity, the rule of law, fundamental freedoms including freedom of religion and belief… these are the fundamental tenets of democracies like ours”‘ he said. “And of course, both of our democracies are works in progress. As friends we talk about that.”
Attendees included religious leaders such as Geshe Dorji Damdul of New Delhis Tibet House, a cultural centre of the Dalai Lama. Indian foreign ministry sources said ahead of Blinken’s visit that the country was proud of its pluralistic traditions and happy to discuss the issue with him.
Modi’s government has faced allegations it has suppressed dissent, pursued divisive policies to appeal to its Hindu nationalist base and alienated Muslims, the country’s biggest minority. Blinken arrived in India on Tuesday night and leaves for Kuwait later on Wednesday.
South Korea on Wednesday reported 1,896 new COVID-19 cases for Tuesday, its highest-ever daily increase, as the country struggles to subdue a fourth wave of outbreaks fanned by the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
The daily tally broke a previous record set on July 22 as infections are spreading beyond the capital Seoul and its neighbouring regions where the toughest social distancing rules are in place.
There were 1,823 domestically transmitted cases on Tuesday and 33.5%, or 611, of the were from areas outside the capital regions, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). This is the first time the number of cases outside the Seoul metropolitan region has exceeded the 600 mark since the first COVID-19 wave emerged from a church in the southeastern city of Daegu.
Tighter social distancing curbs took effect across most of the country on Tuesday and will last for two weeks. Those areas will be under Level 3 curbs on a four-level scale, which will mean a 10 p.m. (1300 GMT) dining curfew and ban on gatherings of more than four people. The tighter curbs were enacted to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus during South Korea’s peak summer holiday season.
The great Seoul area region remains under Level 4 curbs that include a ban on gatherings of more than two people after 6 p.m.
Mexico’s president on Tuesday asserted his country’s right to send fuel to Cuba and said U.S. sanctions on the island were “inhumane” after a diesel cargo shipped by Mexico’s state-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos arrived in Cuba’s Havana port.
Mexico’s left-leaning President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has criticized the U.S. embargo against Cuba and pledged support for the Communist-run island, which has been hit by a surge in coronavirus infections and an economic slump that triggered rare protests this month.
A shipment of humanitarian aid departed from the Mexican port of Veracruz on Tuesday destined for Cuba, and another is scheduled to set sail on Wednesday, carrying food, oxygen tanks and other medical supplies, Mexicos foreign ministry said in a release. “We are an independent nation,” Lopez Obrador said at a news conference in response to a question about whether deliveries risked contravening the U.S. embargo on the Communist-run island.
Lopez Obrador criticized policies he said made it difficult for ships that delivered goods to Cuba to then dock in U.S. ports, which constitutes one of the main aspects of the embargo. Mexico’s foreign ministry said the aid is part of a cooperation agreement between Mexico and Cuba.
Authorities in Havana have long said the decades-old U.S. embargo on Cuba has caused widespread hardship on the island, where thousands took to the streets this month in the protests.
Cuban Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca welcomed on Monday Mexico’s pledge of two shipments of aid: “We are not alone,” he said on Twitter. The U.S. Treasury Department declined to comment and the State Department did not immediately reply to a request for comment. John S. Kavulich, president of New-York based U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, said here were no specific U.S. sanctions preventing the sale- or donation – of Mexican fuel to Cuba.
“The U.S. embargo on Cuba is not focused on Cuba’s imports but on U.S exports to Cuba” Kavulich said, adding that the Caribbean island did not appear to be a foreign policy priority for U.S. President Joe Biden. Lopez Obrador, who on Monday called on Biden to ‘make a decision” about the “inhumane” embargo on Cuba, last week had anticipated that Mexico would send fuel to generate electricity for the island’s hospitals.
The Jose Maria Morelos I, a tanker owned and managed by a Pemex unit, departed last week from the Mexican port of Coatzacoalcos bound for the Caribbean, according to Refinitiv Eikon tanker monitoring data.
The vessel, which is carrying some 100,000 barrels of diesel according to the foreign ministry’s release, has not updated its port of destination, but it docked at the Havana port late on Monday, the Eikon data showed.
It is yet unclear which Cuban entity will receive the fuel. Cuba’s dependence on diesel has increased in recent years as power plants using fuel oil and crude have been in urgent need of investment and maintenance. The island is also struggling to supply power plants with natural gas, said Jorge Pinon from the University of Texas at Austin.
An oil-for-services arrangement between Venezuela and Cuba ran afoul of U.S. sanctions Detail on the South American oil producer when in 2019 the U.S. Department of Treasury blacklisted a group of tanker owners and vessels involved in the shipments, at the Venezuelan opposition’s request. Cuba’s economy has been damaged by Venezuela’s collapse, along with a slump in tourism following the global coronavirus pandemic.
Unidentified attackers killed five Cameroonian soldiers and one civilian during a raid on a military outpost in the far north of the country, local authorities said on Tuesday, the second deadly raid in the area in the past week. An army post in the village of Zigue was attacked at around 9 p.m. (2000 GMT) On Monday, according to two officials who asked not to be identified.
The attack follows a raid that took place around 50 km (30 miles) north of Zigue on Saturday, which was claimed by Islamic State. Eight soldiers were killed in that raid, according to the defence ministry. Cameroon, alongside neighbouring Nigeria and Chad, has been battling the Boko Haram militant group for years, but more recently has clashed with fighters who identify themselves as Islamic State West African Province (1SWAP).
In the aftermath of the death of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in May, ISWAP has sought to absorb Boko Haram fighters and unify the groups which had hitherto fought one another for control of territory.
Britain reported its highest number of deaths and people in hospital with coronavirus since March on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging caution despite a week of lower reported numbers of infection.
Britain reported 131 new deaths from COVID-19, the highest daily total since March 17, though it came after just 14 deaths were reported on Monday, suggesting the weekend might have impacted when deaths were reported. The number of COVID-19 patients in British hospitals has also steadily risen to 5,918, also the highest since March, following a spike in cases earlier this month.
The number of new infections has fallen each day for the last seven days, though Johnson stressed the pandemic was not over. “It is very, very important that we don’t allow ourselves to run away with premature conclusions about (lower case numbers),” Johnson told broadcasters, noting it would take a while for the lifting of restrictions in England to feed through to the data.
“People have got to remain very cautious and that remains the approach of the government.” Johnson has lifted restrictions in England and is betting he can get one of Europe’s largest economies firing again because so many people are now vaccinated, a decision which marks a new chapter in the response to the novel coronavirus.
Imperial College epidemiologist Neil Ferguson said the effective end of Britain’s pandemic could be just months away as vaccines have so dramatically reduced the risk of hospitalisation and death.
“We’re not completely out of the woods but the equation has fundamentally changed” Ferguson, whose modelling of the virus’s likely spread at the outset of the pandemic in early 2020 alarmed governments across the world said.
“Im positive that by late September, October time we will be looking back at most of the pandemic.” ON THE WAY DOWN
Johnson lifted COVID-19 restrictions in England on July 19. New daily cases in the current wave peaked two days earlier at 54,674 and have since fallen dramatically, to 23,511 new cases on Tuesday. The closure of schools for summer, the end of the Euro 2020 soccer championships and warmer weather are among factors epidemiologists say might have reduced social mixing indoors and therefore cases, even as England’s economy has fully reopened.
Case numbers have been falling for longer in Scotland, where the recent peak in new infections was on July 1, than in England corresponding to an earlier elimination from the Euros. “Both of them seem to coincide in some ways with the end of activity in the Euro 2020 tournament,’ Rowland Kao, an epidemiologist at the University of Edinburgh, told reporters, adding that changes in testing patterns might mean that the sharpness of the drop is overstated in daily testing figures.
Cases may go up again, because we’re only Just going to be starting to see the effect of the complete release of restrictions associated with July 19 in England. So there may still be rises yet to come. Britain has one of the highest official fatality rates from COVID-19 in the world, with 129,303 deaths, but vaccinations and lockdowns have greatly slowed the rate since March.
Scotland’s National Clinical Director Jason Leitch said a gradual return to usual social activity would help smooth the end of the current wave, but that the next few weeks would be unpredictable. “On the way down is always bumpier than the exponential rise on the way up, he said.