Hundreds buy trip to space
More than 300 space enthusiasts have booked tickets costing nearly US$100,000 for a five-minute trip to outer space, the state-run China Daily reported yesterday. The 305 buyers snapped up tickets for a trip with Dutch firm Space Expedition Corp (SXC) when they went on sale on the online retail Web site Taobao, the report said. The trips will take place in a two-man craft that remains in space for five to six minutes, giving the tourist a rarely seen view and the experience of weightlessness, the report said. The tickets were sold for 599,999 yuan (US$96,000) it said, adding that four entrepreneurs from Chengdu and two from Shanghai were among those who signed up. The Taobao page selling the tickets was only available yesterday, a spokesman for the Web site said. No date for the trip was given.
Ferry crash injures 58
A high-speed ferry heading to Macau yesterday crashed into a breakwater in the Asian gambling hub’s harbor, leaving 58 people with minor injuries. The hydrofoil was carrying 220 passengers and 13 crew members when it hit the seawall at about 9:30am after departing from Hong Kong about an hour earlier, ferry operator Shun Tak Holdings said in a statement. It said 57 passengers were injured, including eight Thais, four Koreans and one Japanese, and that one crew member suffered a “waist injury.” All were taken to a hospital and 50 have been released, the company said. The boat, steered by a captain with 34 years of experience, was traveling at 35 knots (65km) per hour in fine weather at the time of the accident, it added. The accident is the third in a year on the Macau-Hong Kong ferry route.
Baby killer gets life
An “utterly evil” man who killed a 10-month-old boy by bludgeoning him with a homemade baton during a burglary was yesterday jailed for life. Harley Hicks, 21, was sentenced to a minimum of 32 years for murdering Zayden Veal-Whitting in 2012 by beating him more than 30 times about the face, head and body. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kaye said Hicks, who denied the killing, had shown no remorse for the ferocious attack on the infant as he lay in his cot. “He was utterly harmless, defenseless and helpless,” Kaye said in sentencing. “What you did was totally and utterly evil,” Kaye added.
Flowers mistaken for wreck
Firefighters called to a report that a plane had smashed into a cliff in the north found the wreckage to be nothing more than a clump of flowers in full bloom. Police in Akita raised the alarm after a call from a member of the public saying that a Cessna appeared to have crashed. “We sent six fire trucks as well as three medical rescue vehicles,” a spokesman for Akita City fire brigade said. “But it turned out to be a cluster of white flowers. We have pulled out of the area now.”
Politician quits in sex scandal
The local political head of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the capital has resigned following reports that his office hired women to have sex with him, party officials announced on Thursday. MVS radio station in April aired a story by an undercover reporter who recorded recruiters telling potential hires they would have to have sex with Cuauhtemoc Gutierrez if given jobs as secretaries or receptionists. The report alleged he recruited women for the positions through newspaper advertisements for “women to work in government offices.”
Rare diamond unearthed
Petra Diamonds Ltd said it has recovered an “exceptional” 122.52 carat blue diamond at its Cullinan mine, just months after it sold a 29.6 carat blue diamond from the same mine for more than US$25 million. Petra, which acquired the famed diamond mine in 2008, said it would evaluate the optimal route to market for the stone after a further analysis to assess its potential value. “So far, the highest price on record paid for a rough diamond was US$35.3 million, paid in February 2010 for a 507 carat white stone, also recovered from Cullinan. We think that this stone may break that record,” finnCap analyst Martin Potts said.
Actress Ruby Dee, 91, dies
Legendary stage and screen actress Ruby Dee, who won acclaim on stage, film and television, and became a notable figure in the civil rights movement, died peacefully at home, a friend of the family said on Thursday. The actress, who was 91 years old, died on Wednesday night in New Rochelle, New York, surrounded by her family. The petite actress won an Oscar nomination in 2008 for her role in American Gangster. After being nominated for six Emmys, she won the award in 1991 for her role in the TV movie Decoration Day. The actress broke free from the racially stereotypical roles often given to black actresses when she began her career in the 1940s and continued to act into her 90s.
Vigilante law in spotlight
Bail was set at US$2 million on Thursday for a 73-year-old former school teacher charged with murder in the shooting of two unarmed trespassers that is bringing attention to Nevada’s “stand your ground” law. Wayne Burgarello insists he was acting in self-defense in February when he killed a 34-year-old man and seriously wounded a woman he found in a vacant house he owns in Sparks. Sparks Justice of the Peace Chris Wilson said the seriousness of the charges and concern about the safety of the community outweighed any presumption of innocence at a bail hearing.
Man freed in jury error killed
A burglary defendant who won his freedom because of a jury’s mistake lost his life a few hours later when he was stabbed to death in a fight. The jury in the trial of Bobby Lee Pearson, 37, mistakenly signed a not-guilty form on Wednesday, and the judge said Pearson must be released from jail because the verdict had already been put on the record. Fresno police chief Jerry Dyer said Pearson apparently got into a fight with his sister’s boyfriend, 35-year-old Willie Gray, and was found dead in the street with a chest wound from a knife or gun and a cut on his stomach. Dyer said that Pearson might still be alive if it were not for the jury’s “mishap.”
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
PLAYING THE VICTIM? A Chinese spokesman sent a statement to Australian media saying that Beijing had ‘irrefutable’ evidence of Canberra’s widescale espionage Australia yesterday unveiled the “largest-ever” boost in cybersecurity spending, days after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke out about a wave of state-sponsored attacks suspected to have been carried out by China. Morrison and government officials said the country would spend an additional A$1.35 billion (US$928 million) on cybersecurity, about a 10 percent hike, taking the budget for the next decade to A$15 billion. The largest chunk of the new money would help create 500 jobs within the Australian Signals Directorate, the government’s communications intelligence agency. Morrison on June 19 said that a “state-based actor” was targeting a host of
The Philippine army chief yesterday expressed outrage over the fatal police shooting of four soldiers, including two officers, and demanded justice, as both sides provided contrasting accounts of the killings. Philippine Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Ano, a retired military chief of staff who now oversees the national police, ordered that the police involved in Monday’s violence in Jolo in Sulu Province be disarmed and restricted for investigation. Police said the soldiers were killed in a “misencounter” with a group of police officers. The army said that the two officers and two enlisted men were on a mission against