Arab countries ban film
Three Arab countries have banned the biblical epic movie Noah because the depiction of Noah is forbidden by Islam, while three more are expected to follow suit, a Paramount spokesman said on Wednesday. Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) told Paramount last week that the film, starring Russell Crowe, will not be released in their countries. Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait are expected to follow suit. The movie was due to open in Egypt on March 26 and the UAE on March 27, just before it comes out in the US and a swath of other countries. Egypt’s top Islamic body, the al-Azhar institute, said last week that the film violated Islam by portraying a prophet. Having an actor play a prophet “contradicts the stature of prophets and messengers ... and antagonizes the faithful,” it said.
Drones to patrol borders
The nation announced plans yesterday for a fleet of giant high-tech unmanned drones to help patrol the nation’s borders, monitoring energy infrastructure and attempts to enter the country illegally. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the Triton Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, which can remain airborne for 33 hours, would be based in Adelaide. A report last month said seven of the US-made drones would be purchased for A$3 billion (US$2.7 billion). “They will provide the Australian Defence Force with unprecedented maritime surveillance capabilities, operating at altitudes of up to 16,800m over extremely long ranges, while remaining airborne for up to 33 hours,” Abbott said.
Mother kills baby
A woman has been arrested on a charge of first-degree murder after police say she injected alcohol-based hand sanitizer into the feeding tube of her 17-month-old son, who had Down syndrome. Twenty-year-old Erika Wigstrom was being held without bond after her arrest on Tuesday. Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Commander Eric Becnel said she told police she wanted to end Lucas Ruiz’s suffering. Lucas died on Jan. 24.
Biggest yellow star spotted
Astronomers have spotted the largest yellow star ever observed in our galaxy and 1,300 times larger than the sun. The yellow hypergiant star HR 5171 A is also in the top 10 of the largest stars known and about 1 million times brighter than the sun, Olivier Chesneau, whose team made the discovery, said on Wednesday. Despite its great distance of nearly 12,000 light-years from Earth, the object can just about be seen with the naked eye. “The new observations also showed that this star has a very close binary partner,” Chesneau of the Observatoire de la Cote d’Azur in Nice said. “The two stars are so close that they touch and the whole system resembles a gigantic peanut.”
Dinosaur footprint stolen
A man has been indicted on federal charges of stealing a fossilized Jurassic-period. dinosaur footprint. The attorney’s office in Utah announced on Wednesday that a grand jury returned the indictment against Jared Ehlers of Moab for 20 years in prison on the most serious of four counts. Authorities say the three-toed footprint was pried last month from the sandstone on the Hell’s Revenge Trail in the Sand Flats Recreation Area. Utah Bureau of Land Management District paleontologist Rebecca Hunt-Foster says the dinosaur tracks are 190 million years old.