Sabotage led to boat blast
Three Afghan asylum seekers set fire to their boat in a deliberate act of sabotage last year, causing an explosion that killed five people, a coroner ruled yesterday. Northern Territory Coroner Greg Cavanaugh said he would refer his findings to police and they would decide whether criminal charges should be brought against the three men. Cavanaugh found that Ghulam Mohammadi, Arman Ali Brahimi and Sabzali Salman were probably trying to cripple the boat to prevent it from possibly being returned to Indonesia.
Cyclone threatens resorts
Hundreds of people started evacuating resort islands off the east coast yesterday as officials braced for a powerful cyclone packing winds of up to 168kph. About 300 people were being ferried from the Great Barrier Reef islands of Heron and Lady Elliott, north of Brisbane, with Tropical Cyclone Ului about 1,200km offshore and likely to make landfall on Saturday or Sunday. Cyclone Ului, which has already brought strong winds and rough seas to the Queensland coast, was moving slowly but heading towards the mainland and was likely to hit between the towns of Bowen and Gladstone. Conditions would worsen as the cyclone, currently at the second highest level of Category Four, approaches.
Tibetans go on hunger strike
Nearly two dozen Tibetan exiles jailed for protesting against Chinese rule in their homeland began a hunger strike yesterday demanding their immediate release. Police have been put on alert to rush the exiles to hospitals if their health deteriorates, Katmandu police Chief Ganesh Chettri said. The 23 Tibetans were arrested on March 10 and on Sunday for defying the government’s ban on anti-China protests by trying to storm the Chinese embassy’s visa office. They were ordered held for 90 days under the public security act, which allows authorities to take action against those determined to be a threat to the public.
Suicide attackers shot dead
Two suicide attackers were shot dead yesterday as they attempted to enter the compound of a US-linked international aid organization, an official said. The bombers were wearing explosives-packed vests and were killed at the gates of International Relief and Development in Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand Province, provincial spokesman Daud Ahmadi said. Lashkar Gah is 20km away from a major US-led offensive in Helmand.
Ministry closes zoo
A zoo in the northeast has been shut after a spate of Siberian tiger deaths as reports yesterday said dozens of the dead animals may have been used to make a virility tonic. The forestry ministry has ordered the Shenyang Forest Wildlife Zoo in Liaoning Province to suspend operations and urged the local government to step up a probe into the deaths of 13 of the endangered tigers, the state-run Global Times reported. Authorities are investigating whether the Shenyang zoo was harvesting tiger parts to produce ingredients for the lucrative traditional Chinese medicine market, the Beijing News said. The newspaper quoted an unnamed zoo official saying between 40 and 50 tigers may have died at the privately operated zoo since 2000 and that it was an “open secret” that the zoo was producing tiger-bone liquor.
Ancient statues unearthed
A team of archeologists unearthed two large red granite statues in the south at the mortuary temple of one of the most powerful pharaohs, who ruled nearly 3,400 years ago, the culture ministry said on Tuesday. A ministry statement said the team discovered a 4m statue of Thoth, the ancient god of wisdom and the top part of a statue of Pharaoh Amenhotep III standing next to another god. Both were found buried in the pharaoh’s mortuary temple on the west bank of the Nile in the southern temple city of Luxor.
Butterflies under threat
Hundreds of butterflies, beetles and dragonflies are at risk of extinction across Europe, with almost one-third of 435 butterfly species in decline, scientists have warned. The loss of habitat caused by intensive farming, climate change, forest fires and the expansion of tourism is threatening with extinction 14 percent of dragonflies, 11 percent of saproxylic beetles and 9 percent of butterflies within Europe, the International Union for Conservation of Nature report said.
Naked man escapes fire
The daily Blick reported that a fire in an apartment used for transsexual prostitution forced a naked man onto a window ledge. Firefighters rushed to the scene and put out the flames, but not before the man was photographed in all his glory against the modern building. Blick printed the photograph on Tuesday and quoted Markus Melzl from the Basel prosecutor’s office as saying the apartment was used for the sex business.
Officer dies in shootout
A policeman died on Tuesday in a shootout southeast of Paris with Basque-speaking gunmen linked by the media to the Basque armed separatist group ETA. “Several leads were being explored” yesterday, said sources close to the inquiry, with the “most serious” implicating ETA after one of the men involved in the shootout was arrested and gave a Basque identity. The firefight broke out near Dammarie-les-Lys, 50km southeast of the French capital, after a police patrol checked the identities of a group that had stolen cars from a garage.
Climate change ads banned
The nation’s advertising watchdog has banned two government advertisements for overstating the threat from climate change, it said yesterday. The adverts used nursery rhymes including Jack and Jill to highlight the impact of global warming, but the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said they exaggerated the risk. “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. There was none as extreme weather due to climate change had caused a drought,” read the copyline on one of the ads. “Extreme weather conditions such as flooding, heat waves and storms will become more frequent and intense,” warned the advert, commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The adverts were part of a DECC campaign last year that attracted 939 complaints. Upholding the complaints, the ASA said that forecasts by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “involved uncertainties” that the adverts failed to reflect. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: “The science tells us that it is more than 90 percent likely that there will be more extreme weather events if we don’t act. In any future campaign, as requested by the ASA, we will make clear the nature of this prediction.”
HISTORIC FLIGHT: The astronauts named their capsule ‘Endeavour,’ after the space shuttle on which they both flew, while Elon Musk said he was overcome with emotion Two veteran NASA astronauts headed for the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday after Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Saturday became the first commercial company to launch a rocket carrying humans into orbit, ushering in a new era in space travel. SpaceX’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard blasted off flawlessly in a cloud of bright orange flames and smoke from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a 19-hour voyage to the space station. “Let’s light this candle,” Hurley, the mission commander, told SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California, before liftoff at 3:22pm from NASA’s
POINT-BLANK RANGE: Reporters and camera people from several outlets say police officers in Minneapolis had fired tear gas and rubber bullets directly at them Multiple journalists on the ground in Minnesota said they were teargassed and subject to other attacks by police on Saturday evening, a day after the widely condemned arrest of a CNN reporter live on air. Los Angeles Times journalist Molly Hennessy-Fiske, who was reporting outside the Fifth Precinct in Minneapolis, said she was with a group of about a dozen journalists when the Minnesota State Patrol “fired tear gas canisters on us at point blank range.” “I was saying: ‘Where do we go?’ They did not tell us where to go. They didn’t direct us. They just fired on us,” she said
For nearly a decade, the UN Security Council has been frequently paralyzed by Russia’s obstinacy over the Syrian crisis. Today, however, it is the US-China rivalry that has infected a growing array of issues, according to officials and diplomats. As recently as 2017, an understanding between Washington and Beijing allowed the UN on three occasions — involving separate sets of economic sanctions — to project international unity in the face of the North Korean nuclear threat. Three years later, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a ferocious competition erupt between the UN’s two main contributors, prompting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May
INDIA Pride to be preserved The nation would not let its “pride be hurt” in its latest border flare-ups with China, but is determined to settle the dispute through talks, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh said in a television interview late on Saturday. “Situations arise with China. It has happened before,” Singh said, adding that the government was striving to make sure “tension does not escalate.” The government has turned down US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate, he said. IRAN Speaker says talks futile Newly elected Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf yesterday said that any negotiations with the US would be “futile.” The nation’s