BRASILIA: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff postponed a long-planned state visit to Washington on Tuesday, the most serious diplomatic fall-out yet from Edward Snowden’s leak of US secrets.
While both sides couched the cancellation in diplomatic terms, it marks an embarrassment for President Barack Obama and a blow to his efforts to improve ties with the key Latin American power.
The visit had been scheduled for October 23 but was called into question after documents leaked by Snowden, a former US intelligence technician, revealed the extent of American spying on its Brazilian ally.
Obama has been trying to defuse the row, most recently during talks with Rousseff on the sidelines of this month’s G20 summit, and he spoke with her again on Monday by telephone.
Somali-owned shops looted in South Africa
PORT ELIZABETH: More than 150 Somali-owned shops have been looted in four days of xenophobic violence in South Africa’s coastal city of Port Elizabeth, police said yesterday.
The ransacking of the small grocery shops was sparked by the killing of a 19-year-old South African boy by a Somali shop owner following an argument over cellphone airtime on Sunday.
“Since Sunday, when all the trouble started, 150 shops have been looted and it is spreading to other townships. The situation is still tense,” police spokeswoman Sibongile Soci said.
Unmanned rocket launched to ISS
WASHINGTON: Orbital Sciences Corp launched the first flight of its unmanned Antares rocket yesterday to the International Space Station, as NASA forges ahead with its plan to privatise US space missions.
The Cygnus capsule, hitched to Orbital Science’s Antares rocket, blasted off at 10:58am (1458 GMT) from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility off Virginia’s eastern coast, for a Sunday rendezvous with the ISS.
The first stage functioned a little more than four minutes before separating, after which the second-stage motors functioned for about two minutes and a half.
Tourists seek exit from Acapulco
ACAPULCO: Mexican authorities scrambled yesterday to clear landslides blocking the only roads out of Acapulco while tourists lined up to be airlifted out as the rain-drenched country braced for new storms.
At least 57 people have died in Mexico since major storms hit opposite coasts this week, the first double onslaught in 50 years, unleashing floods and mudslides that still affect much of the country.
New threats emerged as the US National Hurricane Center warned that a tropical cyclone could form on the east coast.