Second arson victim dies
The father of a Palestinian toddler killed in an arson attack on his home a week ago died yesterday of wounds sustained in the fire. Suspected Jewish attackers torched the home of Saad Dawabsheh in the West Bank village of Duma on Friday last week, killing his 18-month-old child and seriously injuring his wife and a second son, an act that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as terrorism. A spokeswoman for Soroka Hospital, where Dawabsheh had been receiving treatment, said he died early yesterday. The mayor of Duma told reporters that preparations were being made for his funeral. Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet has come under growing pressure to crack down on violent far-right Jewish groups since the attack, and the government decided to allow harsher interrogations of suspected Jewish militants with methods once reserved for Palestinian detainees. It also said it would start detaining citizens suspected of political violence against Palestinians without a trial, another practice previously used only on Palestinian suspects.
Limits on Canal shipping
The Panama Canal is to temporarily limit the size of ships using the waterway due to a drought caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon, authorities said on Friday. The Panama Canal Authority said the maximum ship draft would be cut to 11.89m from Sept. 8, affecting 18.5 percent of vessels that normally transit the link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. A ship’s draft is its depth in the water, and changes as the vessel becomes heavier or lighter. The canal authority said further restrictions could be imposed on Sept. 16 if weather conditions do not change. The maximum draft of vessels would be cut to 11.73m. Canal administrator Jorge Quijano said June and the first half of last month was the driest period in 102 years.
Gangs kill fifth policeman
Suspected street gang members have killed a policeman, the fifth officer to die in attacks this week. The National Civil Police communications Office on Friday said that an officer was shot by two men at a police post in the township of San Ignacio in the department Chalatenango, which borders Honduras. Four officers were slain in three earlier attacks this week. Since January, gangs have killed 40 police officers, a police mechanic, 15 soldiers, six prison guards and a prosecutor. In the whole of last year, 39 police officers were killed.
Pinochet spy boss dies
The former director of the nation’s spy agency who was responsible for the kidnapping and torture of thousands of people during former president Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship has died. The government said General Manuel Contreras died on Friday in Santiago’s military hospital. He was 86. The 1973 military coup led by Pinochet ousted the socialist government of former president Salvador Allende. Soon after, Contreras formed and commanded the DINA spy agency and went on to become the second-most powerful and feared figure of the regime after Pinochet himself. Contreras was a career military man who also helped organize Operation Condor, a coordinated effort formed in the mid-1970s by South America’s dictatorships to eliminate dissidents who sought refuge in neighboring countries. Contreras was among Pinochet’s closest confidants, but the pair exchanged accusations in their final 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