Two passengers missing
An air and marine search was under way off the east coast for two passengers who were discovered missing yesterday morning after the cruise ship Carnival Spirit docked at Sydney Harbour’s Circular Quay, police Sergeant David Rose said. He did not give further details, but Australian Associated Press reports the search for the 30-year-old man and 26-year-old woman extends from Sydney 100m north to the city of Newcastle. Their nationalities have not been released. A spokeswoman for ship operator Carnival Corp was not immediately available for comment. The Miami-based company is the world’s largest cruise operator and has been plagued by high-profile problems in recent years.
Find a loo with new app
For those on the go, finding a clean toilet in the city-state and giving feedback on the best and worst commodes is now in hand with a new app for smartphones and tablets. The Restroom Association of Singapore says the LOO Connect service on its toilet.org.sg Web site allows people to pinpoint and comment on public facilities and to see those given three, four or five stars. The non-profit group said it was “leveraging on the ‘crowdsourcing’ trend and technology to recognize clean toilets and encourage socially responsible behavior.”
Clinton says Xi pragmatic
Former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday hailed Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) as “pragmatic,” saying he was more of a politician than his predecessor. “The new president appears to be a pragmatic leader,” she said in an adddresss to the think tank Pacific Council of International Policy, which focuses on issues with particular impact on the US West Coast, at a dinner event in Beverly Hills. “He’s also much more of a politician than his predecessor Hu Jintao (胡錦濤). I watched him walk a room, I watched him interact, not only with Chinese colleagues and American leaders, but unions from all over the world.” Clinton added that Xi “would do his country and the world a great work by gaining control and being sure that there is no daylight between the Communist Party leadership and the military leadership.”
Vatican abhors Death Saint
The folk Death Saint is a blasphemous symbol that should not be part of any religion, Vatican Culture Minister Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi said on Wednesday, adding that worshiping such an icon is a degeneration of religion. The Santa Muerte is a skeletal figure of a cloaked woman with a scythe in her bony hand. It is worshiped both by drug dealers in Mexico and by the terrified people who live in drug-torn neighborhoods. Ravasi was speaking at a dialogue among believers and nonbelievers in Mexico City as part of the Vatican’s “Courtyard of the Gentiles.”
Berlusconi loses appeal
An appeals court on Wednesday upheld the tax fraud conviction and four-year prison sentence against former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in a case that could see him barred from public office for five years. Berlusconi’s lawyers are expected to appeal the case to the nation’s highest Court of Cassation. In October, a lower court convicted Berlusconi in a scheme that involved inflating the price his Mediaset media empire paid for TV rights to US movies and pocketing the difference. Berlusconi has long denied the charges and says he is a victim of politically motivated prosecutors.