Pieces fall from US jet
The US Navy was investigating yesterday how several chunks of one of its aircraft — including one about 2.2m by 1m — fell off as it flew back to its base in Kanagawa Prefecture. Six pieces from an EA-6B Prowler, including a part of the engine cover, plunged to earth as the plane flew over Yamato, near Tokyo, causing “minor damage to a privately owned vehicle,” the US Navy said. The aircraft, from the US Navy’s Yokosuka base, “was returning from a routine training flight when the parts ... fell off and the plane landed safely.” An official from Yamato City said aircraft regularly dropped debris, adding that a house was damaged in 2010 by a piece of falling metal.
Taichi proves beneficial
People with Parkinson’s disease who practiced the Chinese martial art of taichi for six months showed better balance than counterparts who did other forms of exercise, a US study said on Wednesday. A total of 195 people took part in the randomized study in four different cities in Oregon, according to the results published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “These results are clinically significant because they suggest that taichi, a low-to-moderate impact exercise, may be used, as an add-on to current physical therapies, to address some of the key clinical problems in Parkinson’s disease,” lead author Fuzhong Li of the Oregon Research Institute said.
CTV building not up to code
An office block that collapsed, killing 115 people, including 65 foreign students, in last year’s Christchurch earthquake did not meet building standards, an official report found yesterday. The six-floor Canterbury Television (CTV) building crumpled then burst into flames when a magnitude 6.3 quake hit the nation’s second-largest city on Feb. 22 last year. The structure’s failure accounted for almost two-thirds of the 185 fatalities in the nation’s deadliest earthquake in 80 years.
Syria row downlplayed
Beijing says that US outrage over its veto of a UN resolution aiming to end Syria’s bloodshed will not affect cooperation on other international issues. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cui Tiankai (崔天凱) told reporters yesterday that the two countries would continue to work together on issues such as Iran and North Korea’s nuclear program. He said it was natural for the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to disagree on certain issues. Last week’s double veto of the resolution by China and Russia deeply angered the US, Europe and the Arab League.
Officials fired in Tibet
Chinese Communist Party head of Tibet Chen Quanguo (陳全國) has fired three officials for failing to crack down on unrest in the region, state press said yesterday, a day after another Tibetan set himself on fire. The sackings were announced at a Wednesday meeting where Chen also called for increased pressure on Tibetan separatists led by what he called the “Dalai clique,” the Tibet Daily reported. The paper said the three officials were fired for leaving their posts during last month’s Lunar New Year celebrations, in violation of orders. The sackings come after an official in Tibetan areas in Sichuan Province pledged this week to fire any official found lacking in efforts to “safeguard stability,” a term that routinely refers to stamping down on unrest.