General denies reports
Defense Force chief Lieutenant General David Hurley yesterday denied reports that bodies of soldiers killed in Afghanistan were mishandled during repatriation, or that the corpse of an Afghan insurgent was mistreated. Hurley’s comments came after the Sydney Daily Telegraph said soldiers’ bodies were wrongly placed in coffin lids, with the main section of the casket set on top upside-down. The paper also highlighted an incident in which an insurgent’s corpse was put in a taxi with its legs hanging out of the window, which had become known to troops as the Weekend at Bernie’s episode.
WWII wreck opens to divers
The wreck of a Japanese mini submarine that famously attacked Sydney Harbor during World War II will be opened to divers, authorities said yesterday, after getting approval from Tokyo To mark the 70th anniversary of the event, New South Wales Environment Minister Robyn Parker said controlled diving would be allowed. The assault came in 1942 after Japanese pilots reported Allied warships in Sydney Harbor. The commanding officer of a flotilla of five large submarines attacked the harbor with three midget submarines. One of the submarines sank the converted ferry HMAS Kuttabul, killing 21 sailors. The submarine’s fate was unknown until 2006 when scuba divers discovered it off Sydney’s northern beaches.
PM promotes female politics
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her Thai counterpart have announced that lawmakers will begin an exchange program between the two countries to promote women in politics. Gillard told a Parliament House lunch in honor of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday that: “As the first, we want many other women to feel the same sense of possibility that we have felt.” Three young women from Thailand will travel to Canberra next month to start a young leaders political exchange program. The Global Ambassador for Women and Girls, Penny Williams, will visit Thailand within a year to promote political and economic empowerment of women and girls.
Fugitive penguin treated
A plucky penguin that was recaptured last week after nearly three months at large in the polluted waters of Tokyo Bay has conjunctivitis, an aquarium official said yesterday. The Humboldt penguin was taken back into captivity after 82 days of freedom following a breakout that made global headlines. “I don’t know the exact reason for its eye disease, but in this aquarium the sea water pumped up for penguins is filtered and disinfected,” aquarium official Takashi Sugino said. A government official said water quality in Tokyo Bay has improved in recent years, but pollution by organic substances sometimes breaches national environmental standards.
Briton caught with drugs
A British woman was arrested for allegedly smuggling cocaine into Bali, an official said yesterday, and may face the death penalty. Customs officials detained the woman, identified as Lindsay June Sandiford, 56, on May 19 with almost 5kg of cocaine after arriving at the airport in Denpasar from Bangkok. “We arrested the suspect after we found 4,791 grams of cocaine in her suitcase,” Denpasar airport customs chief I Made Wijaya said. The cocaine has a street value of more than 23 billion rupiah (US$2.5 million).
Student talks to restart