Malaysian Police: 'No Sign' Quoirin Was Kidnapped

Malaysian police insisted Monday there was no indication a French-Irish teenager was kidnapped from a jungle resort, as an inquest began into the girl's death following her disappearance while on holiday.The body of Nora Quoirin, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, was discovered unclothed last year after a massive hunt through the rainforest but authorities said there was no sign of foul play.However, her parents - who believe there was a criminal element to her death, as they say

25 August 2020

One Dead As Strong Quake Hits Central Philippines

At least one person was killed and dozens injured when a 6.6-magnitude earthquake shook the central Philippines on Tuesday, sending residents fleeing their homes and damaging buildings and roads.The shallow quake struck southeast of Masbate Island in the Bicol region at 8:03 am (0003 GMT), the United States (US) Geological Survey said."There are a lot of damaged houses," said Staff Sergeant Antonio Clemente in Cataingan, a town of about 50,000 people on the impoverished island sever

19 August 2020

Apocalyptic Scenes As Blasts Ravage Beirut

An entire port engulfed in fire, ships ablaze at sea and crumbling buildings: the site of the massive blast in Beirut's harbour area resembled a post-nuclear landscape.Soldiers cordoned off the area, littered with glass and debris from the explosion which officials said was the result of fire catching in a warehouse where hundreds of tonnes of ammonium nitrate were stored.A woman in her twenties stood screaming at security forces, asking about the fate of her brother, a port employee.&qu

5 August 2020

Indonesia Floods Death Toll Rises To 21

The death toll from floods on Indonesia's Sulawesi island has risen to at least 21, authorities said Wednesday as residents tried to salvage a few belongings from their inundated homes.The flash floods in North Luwu regency left hundreds of houses buried in mud after three rivers burst their banks due to torrential rains which started on Monday.Nearly 1,600 people were taking refuge in temporary shelters, the Search and Rescue Agency said Wednesday.The death toll rose to 21 with the disc

16 July 2020

Dreams Of Myanmar's Jade Miners Buried By Disaster

Five Yay Ma Hsay - or 'unwashed' as the jade miners of northern Myanmar are known - arrived early Thursday at the pit to scrape out a living on a scraggy hillside, lured by the prospect of finding a stone that could transform their lives. But only three would return, the others victims of Myanmar's worst-ever mine disaster after a landslide in heavy rains entombed at least 174 people, with scores more feared missing. Sai Ko, 22, survived the spin-dryer of rock

6 July 2020

Bali's Open-Air Burials Endure Despite Pandemic

For centuries Bali's Trunyanese people have left their dead to decompose in the open, the bodies placed in bamboo cages until only the skeletons remain. It is a ritual they haven't given up - even as the COVID-19 pandemic upends burial practices worldwide with religious leaders in protective gear, cemetery workers in hazmat suits, and mourners banned or unable to comfort each other because of social-distancing rules.Across Indonesia funeral workers are now required to wear

17 June 2020

Coronavirus Infections Top 5 Million Worldwide

Global infections from the novel coronavirus passed five million on Thursday as the pandemic played out unevenly across the planet, with China eager to declare a victory, Europe tentatively emerging from its shell and deaths still rising in hotspots in Latin America. The grim milestone comes after known cases of COVID-19 doubled in just one month, according to data collected from official sources, with the death toll now topping 328,000 worldwide.

22 May 2020

Indonesia's Gravediggers Battle Virus Fears

Gravedigger Junaidi Hakim shouts "hurry up" as he summons his weary colleagues in a never-ending race to bury novel coronavirus victims at a Jakarta cemetery.The team switches quickly from digging fresh graves to burying the bodies - aiming to get the task done in under 10 minutes to lessen the chance of getting infected themselves."The most worrying part is when we're unloading a coffin because we have to touch it," said 42-year-old Hakim, a father of four."We f

20 May 2020

Cremation Traumatises In Virus-Hit Philippines

Families of coronavirus victims in the Philippines are being denied traditional death rites in favour of hurried, impersonal cremations, with virus restrictions often meaning they are forbidden a last look at their loved ones.It is a painful and disorienting process for both the families and crematory workers that has upended the Philippines' intimate rituals of laying the dead to rest.Burial is the norm in the Catholic-majority nation, and it usually follows a days-long display of the e

4 May 2020

COVID-19 Could Trigger 'Secondary' Health Crisis

Diverting the scarce healthcare resources of developing countries to the rapidly expanding COVID-19 pandemic could see a 45 percent jump in child and maternal mortality before the end of the year, an international health consortium warned Thursday (23 April).Unless poorer nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America get a rapid infusion of drugs, medical oxygen, protective equipment and on-the-ground assistance, the global South is likely see 1.2 million children and 57,000 mothers die over the

24 April 2020

Indonesia declares state of emergency

Indonesian leader Joko Widodo declared a state of emergency Tuesday as coronavirus deaths in the world's fourth most populous country jumped again, but he resisted calls for a nationwide lockdown.Widodo's administration has been heavily criticised for not imposing lockdowns in major cities, including the capital Jakarta, a vast megalopolis home to about 30 million people where most of the country's virus deaths have been reported.Indonesia's leader offered few details of t

1 April 2020

Coronavirus: The first death outside China

The Philippines has reported the first death outside China in the virus epidemic that has killed more than 300 people and spread to 24 nations.The 44-year-old Chinese man who died in the Philippines was from Wuhan, the city that has been ground-zero for the epidemic.Here is what we know - and don't know - about him:Where he visitedThe man and a 38-year-old Chinese woman also from Wuhan, who authorities called his companion, flew from Hong Kong to the Philippines on 21 January.Health depa

3 February 2020