Police arrest 72 protesters in Russia
MOSCOW • Russian police detained 72 people yesterday over opposition protests staged in several cities, the OVD-Info protest monitor said on social media.
Tens of thousands of Muscovites staged Russia's biggest political protest in years yesterday, rallying to demand free city elections. The monitor said 55 people had been detained in St Petersburg, 10 in Moscow and seven in Roston-on-Don.
Taiwan warns of media infiltration by Beijing
TAIPEI • Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen urged citizens to stay on the alert for Chinese-financed media "infiltration", after a Reuters report of a Beijing-backed media campaign on the self-ruled island.
Ms Tsai said yesterday that the Reuters report confirmed growing concerns over Chinese attempts to influence press coverage on Taiwan. The report cited evidence that the Chinese authorities had paid at least five Taiwan media groups for coverage in various publications and on a television channel in a campaign to sway popular sentiment on the island.
Charity ship rescues 80 African refugees
ON BOARD THE OCEAN VIKING • More than 80 migrants were rescued in the Mediterranean yesterday as Hollywood star Richard Gere highlighted the plight of those stranded after he boarded a charity ship.
The migrants, mainly Sudanese men and adolescents, were picked up by the Ocean Viking ship from a rubber dinghy off the coast of Libya, according to Doctors Without Borders, which operates the vessel along with the French charity SOS Mediterranee. The rescue operation comes as a dispute escalates over who will take in migrants rescued by another charity ship, with mild Mediterranean weather increasing the number of people trying to make their way to Europe from Africa.
Gere told a press conference yesterday that the refugees "are getting closer and closer to breaking point".
Fuel tanker blast kills at least 60 in Tanzania
DAR ES SALAAM • A fuel tanker exploded in eastern Tanzania yesterday, killing at least 60 people, the authorities said, as flames ripped through a crowd that had gathered to siphon petrol from it.
Residents are routinely killed by explosions while stealing fuel from incapacitated tankers in East Africa. Those who steal the fuel usually hope to be able to sell it cheaply to motorists.