New Cabinet sworn in
Prime Minister Julia Gillard swore in her new Cabinet yesterday, as two major opinion polls showed her government faced likely defeat at elections in September. A poll by Sydney-based market researcher Newspoll published in the Australian newspaper yesterday found support for Labor was trailing opposition leader Tony Abbott’s conservative coalition 44 percent to 56 percent. A poll by Sydney-based Galaxy Research published in News Corp newspapers yesterday found the coalition was leading Labor 54 percent to 46 percent.
‘Shackleton’ team ashore
An exhausted British-Australian expedition recreating Ernest Shackleton’s 1916 crossing of the Southern Ocean in a small boat made landfall yesterday after a perilous 12-day journey. Led by renowned adventurer Tim Jarvis, the team of six reached Peggotty Bluff on rugged South Georgia, where they landed their vessel in the same place Shackleton and his men beached the James Caird nearly 100 years ago. The next leg will see three of the team tackle a two-day climb to 900m over the mountainous, crevassed interior of South Georgia. Jarvis said the boat trip, using only the equipment, navigational instruments and food available to Shackleton, was extremely tough, describing it as “truly about endurance — mental as much as physical. There was just no way to keep dry. The waterproofing with wax didn’t work,” he said.
‘Crazy English’ Li divorced
A Beijing court has granted a divorce to a US woman and her celebrity-entrepreneur husband in a high-profile case that highlighted the often-hidden problem of domestic violence. The case began when Kim Lee posted graphic photographs of the injuries she said came from her husband, Li Yang (李陽) on her microblog in 2011. Li Yang’s chain of English language schools, “Crazy English,” is a household name in the country. The photographs went viral. Xinhua news agency said the divorce was granted on Sunday on the grounds of domestic abuse and the court approved Lee’s request for a three-month restraining order against Li. Reports said the court ordered Li to pay his former wife 50,000 yuan (US$8,000) compensation for mental anguish, as well as child support. She will also have custody of their three daughters and receive properties worth more than 12 million yuan.
Chinese fishermen released
The coast guard has released the captain and crew of a Chinese boat who was arrested for illegal fishing southwest of islands claimed by both countries. Coast guard official Yasuhiko Oku said the captain and 12 crewmembers of the 100 tonne boat were released on Sunday after the Chinese consulate in Fukuoka guaranteed payment of a ￥4 million (US$44,000) bail.
Joint naval drill starts
The country launched a joint naval exercise with the US involving a US nuclear submarine yesterday. A defense ministry spokesman confirmed the three-day drill was underway in the Sea of Japan (known as the “East Sea” in the country), off Pohang. Although military officials said the drill was scheduled before the North threatened to detonate its third nuclear device, the presence of the submarine has been seen as a warning to Pyongyang. The USS San Francisco, armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, is joined in the drill by a 9,800 tonnes Aegis destroyer, the USS Shiloh.