US announces $1.5b arms package for Taiwan
The United States on Friday announced a new US$1.1 billion (S$1.5 billion) package of arms to Taiwan, in a new bid to boost the island's defences amid soaring tensions with Beijing.
The latest US sale comes a month after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defiantly visited the self-governing democracy, prompting mainland China to launch a show of force that could be a trial run for a future invasion.
The package includes US$665 million for an early radar warning system to help Taiwan in tracking incoming missiles and US$355 for up to 60 advanced Harpoon missiles, which are capable of sinking incoming ships.
A spokesman for the State Department, which approved the sale, said the package was "essential for Taiwan's security."
Shock, anger after assassination attempt on Argentina V-P
Messages of shock and solidarity poured in from around the world on Friday after a man tried to shoot Argentine Vice-President Cristina Kirchner at point-blank range.
As tens of thousands of Argentines took to the streets in a mass denouncement of political violence, the Pope, the UN, United States and Latin American leaders sent messages of support.
Kirchner, 69, survived the attack outside her Buenos Aires home Thursday after a loaded handgun aimed directly at her face at close range apparently failed to go off.
UN inspectors to stay in Ukraine nuclear plant for safety
UN inspectors spent a second day on Friday at a Russian-held nuclear plant and at least two will remain on a permanent basis to ensure safety after the United Nations atomic agency said the site had been "violated" by the fighting in Ukraine.
A 14-strong team from the International Atomic Energy Agency visited the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine on Thursday as global concern grew over its safety in a war raging ever-closer to its six reactors.
Russian troops seized control of the site - Europe's biggest atomic facility - in early March.
Russia scraps deadline to resume gas flows to Europe
Russia has scrapped a Saturday deadline to resume flows via a major gas supply route to Germany, deepening Europe’s difficulties in securing winter fuel, after saying it had found faults in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline during maintenance.
Nord Stream 1, which runs under the Baltic Sea, had been due to resume operating at 0100 GMT on Saturday (9am Singapore time) after a three-day halt for maintenance.
But Gazprom, the state-controlled firm with a monopoly on Russian gas exports via pipeline, said on Friday it could not safely restart deliveries until it had fixed an oil leak found in a vital turbine. It did not give a new time frame.
Jane Fonda starts chemo for a 'treatable' cancer
Academy Award-winning actress Jane Fonda on Friday said she had been diagnosed with a "very treatable" form of lymphoma and started a six-month regimen of chemotherapy.
The 84-year-old, who starred this year in the final season of Netflix comedy Grace And Frankie, disclosed her diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in an Instagram post.
"This is a very treatable cancer. 80 per cent of people survive, so I feel very lucky," Fonda wrote.