Torrential rain across the east coast of Australia has extinguished a third of the fires in the region – and could put more out, officials say. A wide band of rain sweeping New South Wales (NSW) has put out 20 of about 60 fires in the state in the past day. Authorities have welcomed the downpour, but warned of flash flooding in Sydney and other cities along the coast.
A Chinese doctor who was reprimanded for warning against a “SARS-like” coronavirus before it was officially recognized died of the virus on Friday, triggering a wave of mourning in China and rare online expressions of anger towards the government. The death of Li Wenliang, 34, came as Chinese President Xi Jinping assured the United States that China was doing all it could to contain the virus.
Career diplomat Dame Karen Pierce has been named Britain’s new ambassador to the US, becoming the first woman to hold the top overseas posting. She will take over a job vacated prematurely by Sir Kim Darroch, who resigned last summer after confidential messages offering an unflattering view of President Donald Trump were leaked. Dame Karen is already in the US, serving as the UK’s permanent representative to the United Nations in New York.
Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam is stepping down in the wake of a spying scandal, and will be replaced by Thomas Gottstein who currently heads the bank’s Swiss unit. The news follows a drawn-out spying scandal at the bank. An internal investigation by law firm Homburger into the scandal was said to have found “zero evidence” that Thiam was aware of the surveillance.
A Syrian passenger plane was forced to make an emergency landing at a Russian-controlled airbase in Syria during Israeli airstrikes on Damascus earlier this week, the Russian defense ministry said. An Airbus A-320 carrying 172 passengers from Tehran was diverted from Damascus airport in the early hours of Thursday to nearby Khmeimim airbase after Syrian air defenses nearly hit it during an attempt to repulse the alleged Israeli attack.