U.S. imposes Venezuela-related sanctions targeting Chinese firm

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on Chinese firm China National Electronics Import & Export Corporation (CEIEC), accusing it of supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduroโ€™s efforts to undermine democracy.

The U.S. Treasury Department in a statement said the Chinese company supported the leftist government of Maduro in its โ€œefforts to restrict internet service and conduct digital surveillance and cyber operations against political opponents.โ€

Mexico government unveils second investment plan worth $11.4 billion

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexicoโ€™s Finance Minister Arturo Hererra on Monday announced a second package of 29 infrastructure investments assembled between the government and the private sector worth some 228 billion Mexican pesos ($11.4 billion).

The package follows an initial 297-billion-peso raft of investments set out last month, and heralds a further thawing in what have often been frosty relations between Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and business groups.

Boy Finds Mysterious 3,000-Year-Old Artefact From Time of Ancient Judah

A nine-year-old boy taking part in a volunteer archeological dig project has discovered what appears to be an incredibly well-preserved gold bead from the First Temple period that could be close to 3,000 years old.

Volunteer grade school student Binyamin Milt discovered the tiny, 6mm x 4mm artefact while working on the Temple Mount Sifting Project (TMSP), a Bar-Ilan University initiative created in 2004 and dedicated to recover and study ancient relics from debris removed from the Temple Mount/Haram esh-Sharif in Jerusalem without proper care.

How the COVID-19 recession will forever impact Gen Z

The coronavirus pandemic has brought much of the worldโ€™s economies into a recession, affecting every sector of the global population. But one demographic โ€“ Generation Z, those born between 1997 and 2012 โ€“ may never recover. From a lack of socialisation to not being able to start their careers, we are examining how Gen Zโ€™ers from ages eight to 23 will have to manage these unprecedented challenges.

100 Whales Die In Unexplained Mass Stranding Near New Zealand

Researchers say that about 100 pilot whales were stranded on a beach on the Chatham Islands, in New Zealand. The island is located 800km east of New Zealandโ€™s South Island. The final tally was 97 whales and three dolphins.

Sadly, the Department of Conservation (DOC) was unable to reach them for three hours due to a power outage.

DOC Biodiversity Ranger, Jemma Welch, said that a few whales were still alive when they were found, but none of them ended up making it.

โ€œOnly 26 of the whales were still alive at this point, the majority of them appearing very weak, and were euthanized due to the rough sea conditions and almost certainty of there being great white sharks in the water which are brought in by a stranding like this,โ€Welch said in a statement.

Residents stunned as fireball lights up the skies over Japan

A slew of fireball reports flooded in from across Japan over the weekend, with sightings of bright green lights in cities like Osaka, Nagoya, and Gifu.

The fireball appeared to rain down over Japan’s southwestern Wakayama prefecture, illuminating the night sky with a brilliant but short-lived flash of light in the early hours of November 29. 

The celestial spectacle was captured on dozens of dash cams, doorbell cams and cctv footage across the southern islands of Japan.

French govt DROPS controversial bill curbing filming of police in major u-turn, new version to be written

The speaker of French President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party has said the government is dropping part of a controversial bill curbing the right to film on-duty police โ€“ which drew huge public anger โ€“ and will re-draft it.

Christophe Castaner, president of La Rรฉpublique en Marche in the National Assembly, told the press on Monday that the government recognized “misunderstandings” around Article 24 of the Global Security bill.  

Castaner said that Article 24, which prohibits the filming of on-duty police officers,  of the law on comprehensive security would be removed and rewritten for future submission. 

Giant Japanese robot spurs hopes for tourism after virus hit

TOKYO (Reuters) – An 18-metre (60-foot) โ€œGundamโ€ robot that can walk and move its arms was unveiled in Japan on Monday amid hopes that it will help invigorate tourism hit by COVID-19.

The robot is modelled after a figure in โ€œMobile Suit Gundamโ€, a Japanese cartoon first launched in the late 1970s about enormous battle robots piloted by humans. The series spawned multiple spin-offs and toys and gained a worldwide following.

It will be the centrepiece of the Gundam Factory Yokohama, a tourist attraction that opens on Dec. 19 in the port city.