Gunman kills officer
A gunman holding three people hostage in Riyadh on Sunday shot dead a member of security forces when police tried to free the captives, police said yesterday. The gunman was later arrested and the three hostages were freed, a police statement said. There was no immediate word on the man’s identity or his motivation. “An unknown man carrying an automatic weapon took three laborers hostage near al-Hamoud mosque ... and threatened to shoot passersby,” the Saudi Press Agency quoted a Riyadh police spokesman as saying in a statement. “When police surrounded him and asked him to drop his weapon he opened fire heavily,” the statement said. The security forces member was killed in an exchange of fire and two people, including a civilian, were wounded, the spokesman said. The attacker was wounded and arrested, he said.
Nuts all the rage
Retailers are experiencing an unexpected upside from a Korean Air incident over a bag of nuts: a boom in sales of macadamias. The nut was unfamiliar to many until Cho Hyun-ah, the daughter of Korean Air’s chairman, ordered a flight attendant off a Dec. 5 flight from New York City after she was served them in a bag, instead of on a plate. She resigned from executive roles at the firm last week amid a storm of criticism about the tantrum that forced the flight to return to the gate. However, macadamias are now a household name in the nation and with curiosity about their taste piqued, sales are booming. Auction, a unit of eBay, yesterday said that sales of macadamias surged nearly 12-fold during the previous five days without any promotions. It said macadamias previously made up 5 percent of its nut sales, but were now accounting for almost half. The Web site of e-commerce firm Coupang showed Mauna Loa macadamia nuts were out of stock, with about 100 users asking for the product to be restocked.
S African named Miss World
Miss South Africa, 22-year-old Rolene Strauss, was crowned Miss World 2014 at the contest’s glitzy final in London on Sunday, with an estimated 1 billion viewers watching on television around the globe. Miss Hungary, Edina Kulcsar, was judged the runner-up and Miss United States, Elizabeth Safrit, came third in the 64th annual competition, contested by women from 121 countries. Medical student Strauss clasped her hands together in surprise and was crowned by the outgoing Miss World, Megan Young of the Philippines, to huge cheers in the ExCeL exhibition center. “South Africa this is for you,” Strauss said. “I think I will brace myself for what’s about to happen. It’s a huge responsibility.”
Shark attack claims teen
A teenager was killed in a shark attack off the northeast coast yesterday, with ambulance officials saying he was dead by the time he reached shore. The 17-year-old was bitten on the upper thigh at Rudder Reef off Port Douglas, about 60km north of Cairns. “We received a call about a 17-year-old with a serious upper-thigh injury,” a Queensland Ambulance spokeswoman said, adding that attempts to resuscitate him were made at the scene. “A boat brought him in, but he didn’t survive,” she added. It is not known what type of shark killed him. Veteran diver Col McKenzie, who also heads the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, told reporters that Rudder Reef was not a common spot for dive operators. He said there was a fatal shark attack at nearby Opal Reef almost a decade ago to the day.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up most of the mass of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature. Research published this week revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed. “Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a coauthor of