Laughing gas to be banned
Dozens of giggling demonstrators have inhaled laughing gas outside Britain’s Parliament to protest government plans to ban it and other “legal highs.” The Conservative government has announced a crackdown on psychoactive substances, drafting a bill to outlaw the sale for non-medical purposes of mood-altering drugs, excluding alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. The ban would include nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, which is used as a dental anesthetic and a recreational drug. Protesters on Saturday filled balloons with the gas and breathed in, many erupting into giggles on the Parliament Square lawn. Protest organizer Stephen Reid of the Psychedelic Society said psychoactive substances “can be risky, but it should be for individuals to decide whether or not to take the risk.”
Woman arrested over photos
A Frenchwoman on holiday on the Greek island of Rhodes was arrested on Saturday for allegedly taking pictures of one of the island’s military installations, the state ANA agency said. The 49-year-old, who is believed to have arrived on Rhodes on Wednesday last week with her husband and two children, told police she was unaware that the area was off-bounds, the agency reported. A local prosecutor was to yesterday decide whether she is to be formally charged over the incident. Greece rigorously maintains a no-photography rule at its military installations, especially on Aegean Sea islands bordering traditional rival Turkey. Three years ago, two Czech computer game developers spent several months in police detention after being caught on the Aegean island of Lemnos with cameras containing video footage of various military sites. Their detention on suspicion of espionage sparked protests in Prague, where more than 20,000 people signed a petition urging their release. The two men told police they had been working on a futuristic combat game for award-winning developers Bohemia Interactive.
Secret Service detain woman
The Secret Service said a woman was arrested after jumping over a low barricade in front of the White House. The barricades have been placed in front of the White House fence. They are about waist-high and described as “bike racks” by the Secret Service. According to a statement by the agency, a woman jumped over the barricade at about 7pm on Friday. She was immediately detained by uniformed Secret Service officers and charged with unlawful entry. Her name has not been released. Earlier this summer, metal spikes were installed atop the White House fence after a series of intruders made it over the fence and onto the lawn.
Trump to sue celebrity chef
Donald Trump’s organization is suing celebrity chef Jose Andres for backing out of a hotel project in Washington. Andres had planned to open a restaurant at the Trump International Hotel. Trump’s organization was selected by the federal government to renovate the historic Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue and turn it into a luxury hotel. Andres last month announced that he was canceling plans to open the restaurant, citing what he called Trump’s disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants. Andres is an immigrant from Spain. The lawsuit filed on Friday last week in a federal court in Washington said Andres’ decision has already cost Trump’s organization millions of US dollars. It said Andres signed a lease that obligated him to build a restaurant in the space and pay rent for 10 years.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big