■ Indonesia Megawati mulling appeal \n \nDespite securing a landslide win in Indonesia's presidential polls, future leader Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono yesterday continued to avoid declarations of victory pending a possible challenge to the result. The campaign team of President Megawati Sukarnoputri, who on Tuesday urged her nation to accept the election outcome but stopped short of conceding defeat, said they may appeal the Sept. 20 vote outcome. \n \n■ China \nSARS monkeys get respect \n \nThirty-eight Chinese rhesus monkeys that died in SARS research have had a monument erected in their honor, state media said yesterday. The monument, which is in granite and weighs 16 tonnes, has been set up at the lab animals center of Wuhan University in central Hubei province, Xinhua news agency reported. "For lab animals that have died for the health of humans," the monument reads, while on the back the inscription goes, "In special memory of the 38 rhesus monkeys that devoted their lives to SARS research." The text was written by Professor Sun Lihua, a researcher who last year tried to work out a vaccine to fight SARS. \n \n■ Australia \nPilot ditches plane in Pacific \n \nAn Australian pilot forced to ditch his small plane in the Pacific Ocean says he spent more than a dozen hours at the mercy of the open sea -- and that he may give up trans-Pacific flights because of the ordeal. Ray Clamback, 67, treaded water with only a lifejacket for up to seven hours after being forced down Monday when his Cessna 182 suffered engine trouble while he was alone on a flight from Hawaii to Australia, he said. A US Coast Guard plane then dropped him a lifeboat, and he was rescued more than nine hours later by a passing container ship, Clamback said yesterday. It was the second time he had to ditch a plane in the Pacific, and maybe it's time to give up flying over the ocean, he said. \n \n■ Hong Kong \nBank crushes heirlooms \n \nThe valuable contents of some of the 83 safety deposit boxes trashed in a Hong Kong bank's embarrassing renovation blunder have been recovered, a media report said yesterday. However, many of the salvaged articles were badly damaged after the boxes were crushed in a scrapyard's industrial compressor. Bank officials fear that millions of dollars of cash, jewellery, heirlooms and other valuables were lost when the shoe-carton sized boxes were mixed up with some 900 unused and empty lockers earmarked for scrapping by a branch of DBS Bank. Company officials said they only discovered the bungle after the boxes had been destroyed at the scrapyard on Sunday. \n \n■ Malaysia \nRetiree marries 53rd wife \n \nA Malaysian septugenarian tied the knot in 1957, and tied it again and again -- 53 times. This week, he's gone back to where he started, remarrying wife No. 1. "I am not a playboy. I just love seeing beautiful women," Kamaruddin Mohammed, 72, was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times newspaper. Kamaruddin's latest bride, now 74, also was the first woman he married and divorced. In between marrying Khadijah Udin, in 1957 and again on Monday, the "easy going charmer" married 51 times, including to an Englishwoman and a Thai. He stayed with the Thai the longest, for 20 years. All his previous marriages ended in divorce except with the Thai woman, who died of cancer. \n \n■ Cyprus Israeli jets in airline mix-up \n \nIsraeli fighter jets mistakenly buzzed a Swiss aircraft close to Cyprus on Tuesday before intercepting a German airliner and forcing it to land on the island because of a bomb threat, a senior official said yesterday. Cyprus is furious that Israeli fighters scrambled to intercept the aircraft, a potential security risk, without clearance within Cyprus-administered airspace and "forced" it to land at a Cypriot airport. Communications Minister Haris Thrassou said that before the Lufthansa jet was approached a Swiss plane had to switch altitude because it was approached by two Israeli F-16s. "It appears they then realized their mistake and moved on to the Lufthansa plane," he said. \n \n■ Belgium \nProviso set in Turkey EU bid \n \nThe EU's head office opened a meeting in Brussels yesterday where it was likely to recommend that Turkey begin EU membership talks with one key proviso: that negotiations be halted if Ankara backtracks on sweeping democratic and human rights reforms. If the European Commission's expected recommendation is formally approved by the 25 EU leaders at a December summit, entry talks could begin early next year, capping years of lobbying by Turkish officials who say their country could form a bridge between Muslim countries and Europe. "I hope there will be a consensus today," EU Commission President Romano Prodi said as he entered the meeting. \n \n■ United Kingdom \nBrain surgery nothing new \n \nThe history of brain surgery is being rewritten after the discovery of a skull which shows that complex operations were performed in Anglo-Saxon England. A century before the Norman invasion of 1066, a doctor or itinerant healer was delicately removing scraps of skull from a 40-year-old peasant from Yorkshire in northern England who had been whacked on the head. The unknown surgeon, working around the year 960, remodelled healthy bone as well as removing broken splinters. According to English Heritage archaeologists, the patient lived for many years after the operation, finally dying of unrelated causes. \n \n■ France \nLethal virus recreated \n \nScientists working in top-security labs say they have recreated pathogens from the 1918 flu pandemic, the greatest plague of the 20th century, in a bid to find out why this strain was so extraordinarily lethal. Using reverse genetic engineering, the US team took two key genes from the 1918 virus and slotted them into human flu viruses to which lab mice were known to be immune. The mice were injected in the nose with the recombinant viruses. Within three days, mice that had been exposed were mortally ill. The virus produced inflammation and hemorrhaging characteristic of the symptoms induced by the 1918 outbreak. \n \n■ Kenya \n`Place of Ghosts' claims 17 \n \nAt least 17 people died and 34 were injured when a bus plunged into a dry riverbed east of the capital, Nairobi, Kenyan media reported yesterday. Police suspected the bus had been speeding before swerving off the road on Tuesday and crashing into the riverbed at a spot locals call the "Place of Ghosts" due to the frequency of accidents there. The bus was reportedly carrying at least 61 passengers. It had a 48-passenger capacity. Among the dead were women and several children. \n■ United States Rodney Dangerfield dies \n \nUS comedian Rodney Dangerfield, who was known for his self-deprecating jokes and the phrase "I get no respect," died Tuesday in a Los Angeles hospital, his publicist said. He was 82. The cause of death was complications since surgery in August to replace a heart valve, a spokesman said. Among those complications were a stroke and coma. Along with numerous TV appearances, the bug-eyed, rumpled Dangerfield also appeared in 21 movies, including Caddyshack and Back to School. He also won critical nods for his first dramatic role in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers in 1994. His claim to fame was portraying a loveable loser and the aggravations of the average man. \n \n■ United states \nLennon killer denied parole \n \nMark Chapman, the man who shot and killed John Lennon in 1980, was denied parole on Tuesday for the third time, the New York State Parole Board said. The panel of three Parole Board members at Attica state prison wrote that a release of Chapman, 49, would "significantly undermine respect for the law," because he had demonstrated "extreme malicious intent" when he fired a revolver at Lennon outside his Manhattan apartment building on Dec. 8, 1980. Chapman first requested parole in October 2000. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in 1981 for the shooting, which devastated music fans throughout the world. \n \n■ United States \nNo bail for `regretful' Gotti \n \nRejecting a lawyer's argument that his client now prefers writing children's books to extortion and racketeering, a federal judge on Tuesday denied bail for John Gotti, prince of the Gambino crime family, who is accused of trying to murder Curtis Sliwa, the New York radio talk show host, 12 years ago. "He's done with organized crime, and he's made it impossible to go back to it," said Gotti's lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, citing jailhouse conversations secretly recorded by the government. On the tapes, Gotti is heard cursing the violent life he said his family had imposed on him, according to an affidavit describing the conversations. "I am ashamed of who I am; I'd rather be a Latin King," he said, referring to the notorious Hispanic street gang. \n \n■ Mexico \nLeftists storm Congress \n \nMexican leftists defending the embattled mayor of Mexico City stormed the nation's lower house of Congress on Tuesday to protest a plan to cut federal education funding for the city. Dozens of Mexican leftists, mostly Mexico City legislators from the Party of the Democratic Revolution, seized the dais to protest a proposal by the two biggest parties to cut federal funding to capital city schools. Demonstrators, many of whom got into shoving matches with federal legislators trying to remove them from the podium, still held their positions late into the night on Tuesday. \n \n■ Brazil \nPowell woos president \n \nUS Secretary of State Colin Powell, stepping up courtship of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, said on Tuesday that the US had no concerns that Brazil was planning to develop nuclear weapons, despite the country's resistance to allowing international inspectors greater access to one of its nuclear reactors. Powell also said that Brazil's contributions to peacekeeping in Haiti and other actions made it worthy of permanent membership on the UN Security Council.
MORE RESOURCES: The prime minister announced an extra A$1.1bn in health-related spending, of which A$150m would be spent on domestic violence support services Australia yesterday announced a nearly US$100 million boost in funding to tackle domestic violence after support services reported a spike in coronavirus-related family abuse. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there had been a 75 percent surge in Google searches for help during the ongoing nationwide shutdown of non-essential services to curb the spread of COVID-19. Women’s Safety, a domestic violence charity in Australia’s most populous New South Wales state, has reported that more than 40 percent of workers had seen an increase in client numbers, with more than one-third of cases directly linked to the virus outbreak. In neighboring Victoria, women’s support
BOMA ARMY BASE: An official said military vehicles were destroyed and captured munitions were carried off in speedboats in the surprise early-morning attack Boko Haram has killed 92 troops in a seven-hour attack on an island army base, the group’s deadliest assault yet on Chad’s armed forces. Chadian President Idriss Deby told local television that he traveled to the scene of the attack on Tuesday to pay tribute to the 92 dead troops, saying it was the first time so many troops had been lost. The attack early on Monday in Boma is part of an expanding militant campaign in the vast, marshy Lake Chad area, where the borders of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria converge. Boko Haram launched an insurgency in Nigeria in 2009, before
The Great Barrier Reef has experienced a third mass coral bleaching event in five years, according to Terry Hughes, the scientist carrying out aerial surveys over hundreds of individual reefs. With three days of a nine-day survey to go, “we know this is a mass bleaching event and it’s a severe one,” Hughes told reporters. It follows the worst outbreaks of mass bleaching on record killing about half the shallow water corals on the world’s biggest reef system in 2016 and 2017. Hughes, director of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University and one of
WAITING FOR JUSTICE: Robert Levinson’s family said that those responsible would face justice, including those in the US government who had ‘left him behind’ The US government has concluded that retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished more than a decade ago, died while in the custody of Iran, his family and administration officials said on Wednesday. The circumstances and timing of Levinson’s death was unclear, but US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said that the US believes Levinson “may have passed away some time ago.” Hours earlier, his family said information that US officials had received had led them to conclude that he was dead, though it did not describe the nature of the information. The family said in a statement announcing Levinson’s death that it