Wednesday morning news – September 30, 2020

State television: Kuwaiti ruler Sheikh Sabah has died at 91 » The ruler of Kuwait died on Tuesday. WORLD’s Anna Johansen reports. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: State television in Kuwait reports that Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah died Tuesday at the age of 91. The ruler drew on his decades as the oil-rich nation’s top diplomat to push for closer ties to Iraq after the 1990 Gulf War and solutions to other regional crises.

Sheikh Sabah assumed office as Kuwait’s ruling emir in 2006 and became known for his diplomacy in the Middle East. He advocated for a peaceful resolution to a dispute between Qatar and other Arab nations that continues to this day.

Kuwait has remained a staunch U.S. ally since the American-led war that ousted Iraqi troops from the country 30 years ago. 

Sheikh Sabah is expected to be succeeded by his half brother … the crown prince Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen. 

Worldwide death toll from coronavirus eclipses 1 million » Nine months into the global pandemic, the official worldwide death toll from COVID-19 eclipsed 1 million this week. That according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. 

And that figure is almost certainly a vast undercount because of inadequate testing and reporting and concealment by some countries.

Still, nearly 5,000 people die each day of COVID-19. New outbreaks are hitting parts of Europe, and experts fear a second wave in the United States, which accounts for more than 200,000 deaths.

U.S. man faces prison time in Thailand for critical hotel review » An American is facing possible prison time in Thailand for leaving negative hotel reviews online. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Thailand has extremely tough—and critics charge unjust—defamation laws. 

Prosecutors have targeted labor activists, journalists, and whistleblowers for allegedly violating criminal defamation laws.

And now American expat Wesley Barnes, who teaches English in Thailand, faces several years in prison. That after he posted critical reviews online of the Sea View Koh Chang hotel. 

The incident started with a dispute over a beverage fee. But Barnes claimed he also saw a manager treat a Thai employee abusively, and that’s why he decided to post his critical reviews.

The review he posted to TripAdvisor said “Do not sleep here! Don’t support modern day slavery of Thai people!” Later postings were similar in tone.

Police arrested Barnes earlier this month. He spent two nights in jail before being freed on $3,000 bond. His next court date is Oct. 6th.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

NBA Finals tips off » One day after Tampa Bay won its first NHL championship since 2004..

NHL GAME: Time ticks down. The Lightning win the Stanley Cup! 

The NBA Finals tip off tonight. LeBron James will lead the Lakers against the team he helped win a pair of championships, the Miami Heat. 

The Lakers are favored to win their 17th championship behind two first team ALL-NBA superstars, James and power forward Anthony Davis. 

But the Heat aren’t intimidated. Rookie Tyler Herro and second-year players Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson will lead a youth movement into the best-of-seven series. 

The teams will play the entire series inside the NBA bubble at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando. Game one tips off at 9 p.m. Eastern Time on ABC.

(AP Photo/Jon Gambrell, File) In this Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 file photo, Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, presides over the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Kuwait City. 

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