Finnish govt drops plan to cut pension benefits
HELSINKI • Finland's centre-right coalition government yesterday withdrew its plan to cut pensioner benefits in the face of opposition, a fresh challenge to its aim of balancing public finances.
Following uproar from the leftist opposition, the government said it would cancel reductions in pensioners' housing benefits and scale back proposed cuts to medicine compensation.
Turkish air strikes kill 13 Kurdish rebels
ANKARA • Turkish warplanes carried out a new wave of air strikes against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants in the south-east, killing 13 rebels overnight, the army said yesterday.
Meanwhile in Istanbul, police detained at least 13 suspected PKK members yesterday after receiving intelligence that they were planning to attack shops and government buildings in the city with Molotov cocktails, Dogan news agency said.
This year's El Nino the worst in 15 years: UN
GENEVA • The El Nino phenomenon, which sparks global climate extremes, this year is the worst in more than 15 years, the UN weather agency said yesterday, warning it was already causing severe droughts and flooding. The World Meteorological Organisation said El Nino, which occurs every two to seven years, had resurfaced a few months ago, became "mature and strong" and was expected to become even more powerful by the end of the year.
Ignorance fuelling rise of superbugs: WHO
LONDON • People across the world are alarmingly confused about the role of antibiotics and the right way to take them. This ignorance is fuelling the rise of drug-resistant superbugs, the World Health Organisation said yesterday. Director-general Margaret Chan said the problem was "reaching dangerously high levels" in all parts of the world and could lead to "the end of modern medicine as we know it".