Connect with us

International

Indonesia's Ile Lewotolok Volcano erupts, forcing flight to cancel landing

Published

on

Jakarta, May 16 (IANS) Ile Lewotolok Volcano in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara erupted on Thursday, causing a flight to cancel its landing at Wunopito Airport.

A plane of Wings Air on the Kupang-Wunopito Lembata route with 40 passengers was supposed to land at Wunopito Airport at 11 a.m. local time, but the pilot decided to return to the departure airport, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The pilot saw indications of volcanic ash near the landing strip, so he took the plane back to Kupang, for security reasons,” said head of Wunopito Airport Muhammad Syaiful Zuhri.

This is the third time that planes have failed to land at Wunopito Airport due to volcanic ash, added Zuhri. Previously, the same incidents occurred on May 7 and May 14.

The mountain released one earthquake eruption and 102 earthquake gusts since 06.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. local time, according to the Ile Lewotolok Volcano Monitoring Post.

–IANS

int/svn

ALSO READ:  Hope for 'divided' Slovakia after Fico attack, says ex-president

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

International

Germany's far-right AfD keeps second place in polls despite scandals

Published

on

By

Berlin, May 26 (IANS/DPA) Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) has maintained its second place in polls ahead of June’s European Parliament elections despite a wave of recent scandals that have threatened to damage the party’s hopes.

An online survey carried out by the INSA polling institute for the Bild am Sonntag newspaper had the AfD at 17 per cent, unchanged from April.

Germany’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance was top at 30 per cent, with the governing Social Democratic Party (SDP) at 14 per cent and its coalition partners The Greens and the Free Democratic Party at 13 per cent and 4 per cent, respectively.

The AfD has been rocked by controversies in recent weeks, with the party’s lead candidate for the European elections, Maximilian Krah, being banned from making public statements after saying that not all members of the Nazi SS paramilitary force were criminals.

The party’s second candidate in the European elections, Petr Bystron, has also withdrawn from the campaign after his Berlin home was searched by police last week. Bystron is under investigation for money laundering and bribery and has links to pro-Russian networks.

ALSO READ:  Indian-origin Harmeet Dhillon rules out replacing McDaniel as RNC Chair

In addition, German police arrested Krah’s former assistant, Jian Guo, on suspicion of espionage last month. Krah fired him following allegations that the parliamentary aide was spying for China.

While the spate of negative headlines is yet to harm the AfD in German polls, it has had consequences for the party on the European level.

In a blow ahead of the European Parliament elections, the AfD was ejected this week from the Identity and Democracy (ID) group, an alliance of populist right-wing parties in the parliament.

–IANS/DPA

sd/svn

Continue Reading

International

No jail for those refusing Tory national service plans: UK Home Secretary

Published

on

By

London, May 26 (IANS/DPA) Teenagers would not be sent to jail for refusing to comply with the Tories’ proposed “mandatory” national service, said James Cleverly, the UK Home Secretary.

The Home Secretary said there would be no criminal sanctions for young people if they defied the plans under a Conservative government.

In the first major policy announcement ahead of the General Election, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is a member of the Conservative Party, also known as Tories, pledged to get 18 year olds to either join the military for 12 months or do “volunteer” work one weekend a month for a year.

The Prime Minister said the policy would help unite society in an “increasingly uncertain world” and give young people a “shared sense of purpose.”

In an apparent pitch to older voters and those who may turn to Reform UK, the Conservatives said volunteering could include helping local fire, police and NHS services, as well as charities, tackling loneliness and supporting elderly people.

Touring broadcast studios on Sunday, Cleverly said the Tories would ensure the scheme “fits with different people’s attitudes and aspirations” after questions arose over whether teenagers would be punished for not taking part.

“There’s going to be no criminal sanction. There’s no one going to jail over this,” he told Sky News’s Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips programme.

“This is about dealing with what we know to be the case, which is social fragmentation.”

“Too many young people live in a bubble within their own communities. They don’t mix with people of different religions, they don’t mix with different viewpoints.”

Opposition critics have dismissed the plans as unserious, with Labour saying the pledge would never come to fruition and amounted to “another unfunded commitment.”

ALSO READ:  50 killed as storms, flash floods lash Afghanistan province

The Prime Minister is seeking to draw a dividing line with Keir Starmer’s party on global security following his pledge to raise defence spending to 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product by 2030.

Heightening his attack on Saturday, Sunak said voters would be left “at risk” with the Labour leader in Number 10 because Britain’s enemies would notice that he “doesn’t have a plan.”

Teenagers who choose to sign up for placement in the forces would “learn and take part in logistics, cyber security, procurement or civil response operations,” the Tories said.

The Conservatives said they would form a royal commission, bringing expertise from across the military and civil society to establish the details of what they described as the “bold” national service programme.

The party said this commission would be tasked with bringing forward a proposal for how to ensure the first pilot is open for applications in September 2025.

After that, it would seek to introduce a new “National Service Act” to make the measures compulsory by the end of the next Parliament, the party said.

It estimates the programme will cost 2.5 billion pounds a year by the end of the decade and plans to fund 1 billion pounds through plans to “crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion.”

The remaining 1.5 billion pounds will be paid for with money previously used for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), a key part of the Levelling Up agenda, which supports local charities and community groups, the Tories said.

The Prime Minister said: “This is a great country, but generations of young people have not had the opportunities or experience they deserve, and there are forces trying to divide our society in this increasingly uncertain world.”

ALSO READ:  Risk of famine still present in Gaza: WHO

“I have a clear plan to address this and secure our future. I will bring in a new model of national service to create a shared sense of purpose among our young people and a renewed sense of pride in our country.”

“This new, mandatory national service will provide life-changing opportunities for our young people, offering them the chance to learn real-world skills, do new things and contribute to their community and our country.”

Earlier on Saturday, the Prime Minister suggested a government led by Keir would be marked by uncertainty and a “more dangerous world.”

“The consequences of uncertainty are clear. No plan means a more dangerous world. You, your family and our country are all at risk if Labour wins,” he said.

Keir’s party pointed out that Lord David Cameron introduced a similar scheme – the National Citizen Service – when he was the Prime Minister.

Cameron’s announcement had no military component to it, instead encouraging youngsters to take part in activities such as outdoor education-style courses as part of his “Big Society” initiative.

A Labour spokesperson said: “This is not a plan – it’s a review which could cost billions and is only needed because the Tories hollowed out the armed forces to their smallest size since Napoleon.”

“Britain has had enough of the Conservatives, who are bankrupt of ideas and have no plans to end 14 years of chaos. It’s time to turn the page and rebuild Britain with Labour.”

ALSO READ:  Two civilians killed in Turkish airstrike in Iraq

Liberal Democrat defence spokesperson MP Richard Foord said: “If the Conservatives were serious about defence, they would reverse their damaging cuts to our world-class professional armed forces, instead of decimating them, with swingeing cuts to the number of our regular service personnel.”

“Our armed forces were once the envy of the world. This Conservative government has cut troop numbers and is planning more cuts to the size of the Army.”

“This would be far better spent reversing Conservative cuts to troop numbers.”

Sunak’s pledge marks the first major policy announcement from either side ahead of the July 4 General Election that he called in a rain-soaked statement outside Downing Street earlier this week.

The Prime Minister has said he is “pumped up” and enjoying himself on the campaign trail despite a difficult start that saw him encounter several hiccups on a whistlestop two-day tour of the four nations.

His trip included a visit to the Titanic Quarter in Belfast, which invited undesirable “sinking ship” comparisons with his party’s fortunes, as well as a brewery in Wales where he made a footballing gaffe about the Euros.

Sunak spent Saturday meeting local veterans in his North Yorkshire constituency of Richmond before joining activists on the doorstep in south-west London.

He is understood to be continuing on the campaign trail in the South East, while Rachel Reeves will give a stump speech to party members in West Yorkshire as she heads out for Labour on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Ed Davey will launch the Liberal Democrats battlebus in a marginal constituency, in the so-called Tory blue wall of southern England.

–IANS/DPA

sd/svn

Continue Reading

International

Yemen: 113 detainees released with support of ICRC

Published

on

By

Geneva/Sanaa, May 26 (IANS) Yemen’s Houthi group has released 113 detainees in Sana, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Sunday.

The ICRC called the unilateral release as a “positive step” towards reviving negotiations under the Stockholm Agreement.

“We are ready to play our role as a neutral intermediary in facilitating the release, transfer, and repatriation of detainees, as we did in 2020 and 2023, whenever the parties to the Stockholm Agreement agree to engage in such efforts once again,” the committee said in a statement.

In line with its established practice, the ICRC conducted private pre-departure interviews with the detainees to confirm their identity and verify if they wished to travel straight to their home or wished to be transferred to a location of their choosing.

“We held confidential conversations with all detainees to listen to any concerns they may have about the release process, ensure they have been in contact with their families, and gather the necessary information to follow up on their condition if needed,” said Alessia Bertelli, the head of the ICRC’s protection department in Yemen.

ALSO READ:  Japanese man, who died after confession, confirmed as 1970s bombing fugitive

The Yemen Red Crescent Society (YRCS) provided two ambulances for the operation.

–IANS

int/as/dan

Continue Reading

International

South Korea, China agree to establish diplomatic security dialogue

Published

on

By

Seoul, May 26 (IANS) Leaders of South Korea and China, on Sunday, agreed to establish a diplomatic security dialogue and resume negotiations to upgrade the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) to boost economic ties between the two countries.

President Yoon Suk Yeol and Chinese Premier Li Qiang reached the agreement during their meeting in Seoul to boost trade, investment and cooperation on the supply chains of key industries, Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo said in a press briefing, reports Yonhap news agency.

Yoon and Li agreed to establish the diplomatic security dialogue, a 2+2 dialogue consultative body between the foreign and defence ministries, and hold the first meeting in mid-June.

The two sides also agreed to resume the second phase of negotiations for the bilateral FTA to boost service trade and investment. The first phase of the FTA, which took effect in December 2015, removed tariffs on major goods.

“The discussions will go beyond market opening in the trade of goods to include sectors such as services, culture, tourism and legal services to expand exchanges and openness between the two countries,” Kim said.

ALSO READ:  9 PIOs slapped with Serious Crime Prevention Orders in UK

In addition, a bilateral investment cooperation committee will resume later this year after a 13-year hiatus, and a senior-level dialogue involving the two countries’ trade ministries will also be launched to discuss ways to stabilise the supply chains of key industries.

China is South Korea’s largest trading partner, but bilateral relations have been strained amid Seoul’s closer alignment with Washington under the Yoon administration.

Their meeting comes at a time when China is facing intensifying competition with the United States in cutting-edge technologies, including semiconductors and artificial intelligence, among others.

Li made his first visit to South Korea since taking office in March 2023 to attend a trilateral summit with Yoon and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida set for Monday.

Yoon and Li held their first meeting in September 2023 in Indonesia on the sidelines of a summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

–IANS

int/sd/svn

Continue Reading

International

13 Indians successfully rescued and repatriated from Laos

Published

on

By

Vientiane, May 26 (IANS) The Embassy of India in Laos said on Sunday that it has successfully rescued and repatriated 13 Indians, including seven Odiya workers from a wood factory in Attapeu province and six Indian youngsters from the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in the Bokeo province of the Southeast Asian country.

“So far, the Embassy has rescued 428 Indians from Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). We thank Lao authorities for their cooperation,” the Embassy said in a post on X.

Stating that ensuring the safety and well-being of Indians remains its top priority, the Embassy also advised Indian workers coming to Laos/Lao PDR, to not get duped by fake or illegal job offers.

Earlier this month, the Embassy had issued an advisory detailing recent instances wherein Indian nationals were lured for employment through Thailand to Laos.

“These fake jobs are for posts such as ‘Digital Sales and Marketing Executives’ or ‘Customer Support Service’ by dubious companies involved in call-centre scams and crypto-currency fraud in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in Laos. Agents in places such as Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore and India associated with these firms are recruiting Indian nationals by taking a simple interview and the typing test, and are offering high salaries, hotel bookings along with return air tickets and visa facilitation,” the advisory stated.

ALSO READ:  Indian-origin Harmeet Dhillon rules out replacing McDaniel as RNC Chair

It added that victims are illegally taken across the border into Laos from Thailand and held captive to work in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in Laos under harsh and restrictive conditions.

“At times, they are taken hostages by criminal syndicates indulging in illegal activities and forced to work in strenuous conditions under constant physical and mental torture. In some other cases, Indian workers have been brought to Laos to work in other regions of Laos in low-cost jobs such as mining, wood factories, etc. In most cases, their handlers exploit them and endanger them in illegal work,” the advisory mentioned.

Advising Indian nationals to not get enticed and entrapped in fraudulent or exploitative job offers, the Embassy requested them to exercise extreme caution and verify the antecedents of recruiting agents as well as any company before taking up any job offer in Laos.

“Visa on Arrival in Thailand or Laos does not permit employment and the Lao authorities do not issue work permits to Indian nationals coming to Laos on such visas. Please note that those convicted of human trafficking crimes have been sentenced up to 18 years in prison in Laos,” the advisory warned.

ALSO READ:  50 killed as storms, flash floods lash Afghanistan province

–IANS

int/as/dan

Continue Reading

Trending