VS Naipaul no more
VS Naipaul, the Trinidad-born Nobel laureate whose precise and lyrical writing in such novels as "A Bend in the River" and "A House for Mr. Biswas" and brittle, misanthropic personality made him one of the world's most admired and contentious writers, died on August 11 at his London home, his family said. He was 85. His wife, Nadira Naipaul, said he was "a giant in all that he achieved and he died surrounded by those he loved having lived a life which was full of wonderful creativity and endeavor." Naipaul's fiction and nonfiction reflected his personal journey from Trinidad to London and various stops in developing countries. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001 "for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories."
California blazes threaten populated areas: report
Authorities battling massive wildfires in large swathes of California issued mandatory evacuation orders and health warnings on August 11 over the worsening air quality as the flames grew ever closer to populated areas. After almost a month of wildfires, the National Weather Service warned that satellite images showed "widespread smoke" drifting from the fires into western and central Canada before heading back south in the US Northern Plains. The Kaibab National Forest service in neighboring Arizona warned that "wildfires across the West are creating regional haze." But it was northern California where most air quality alerts were being issued, with warnings of "unhealthy conditions" for vulnerable groups such as the very young and old. The Mendocino Complex, made of two separate blazes, has been declared the most destructive fire in the state's history.
29 kids killed in Yemen air strike
A strike on a bus in rebel-held northern Yemen killed at least 29 children on August 9, the Red Cross said, as the Saudi-led coalition faced a growing outcry over the attack. The coalition said it had carried out what it called "legitimate military action" in the area targeting Huthi rebels responsible for a deadly missile attack on the Saudi city of Jizan on Wednesday. But the International Committee of the Red Cross said the strike hit a bus filled with children in the Huthi stronghold of Saada, causing dozens of casualties. "A hospital supported by our team in Yemen received the bodies of 29 children under the age of 15 and 48 wounded, including 30 children," the ICRC said on Twitter. A spokesman for the Red Cross in Sanaa told AFP the toll was not final as casualties from the attack were taken to several hospitals.
Koreas agree on summit
North and South Korea on August 13 agreed to hold a summit in the North in September, another step towards boosting cooperation between the old rivals, even as doubts grow over efforts to end the North's nuclear weapons programme. Officials from both sides meeting in the truce village of Panmunjom, in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas, reached an agreement on a September summit between the countries' leaders in the North's capital of Pyongyang. No date was announced for what will be the third meeting this year between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.