Reunion search called off
The nation on Monday said it was calling off the hunt for wreckage from missing flight MH370 after 10 days of air and sea searches off its Indian Ocean territory of Reunion yielded no results. A wing part washed up on the island on July 29 and was confirmed by the Malaysian prime minister to be part of the Boeing 777 that went missing on March 8 last year with 239 people onboard. The find raised hopes of finally solving the mystery of what happened to the plane, prompting investigators to search a maritime surface of 10,000km2 and scour the island’s eastern coastline.
‘Space elevator’ patented
A company wants to build a tower that would allow astronauts to take an elevator partway into orbit. The tower would be 20 times taller than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building at 830m. The Pembroke, Ontario-based firm envisions building a 20km-high tower with a platform at the top “for launching payloads, tourism, observation, scientific research and communications.” The tower would be constructed of pressurized, stacked cells, the patent said.
Fossil flower discovered
An aquatic plant is believed by scientists to be the oldest flowering plant on Earth. New analysis of the fossilized remains from the Pyrenees indicate that the plant is about 130 million years old. The plant, Montsechia vidalii, is like the coontail — which is commonly used to populate aquariums — and is thought to have grown underwater in shallow lakes. The plant snatches the title of world’s oldest flower from the hands of Archaefructus sinensis, said to be 125 million years old, found in fossils in Liaoning Province, China.
Actor jailed for assault
Hollywood star Emile Hirsch was sentenced to two weeks in jail after pleading guilty to assaulting a Paramount movie executive at the Sundance Film Festival, US media reported on Monday. At a hearing in Park City, which hosts the famous festival, the Into the Wild star was also fined US$4,750 and sentenced to 50 hours of community service for attacking executive Daniele Bernfeld at a disco in the city in January.
Mandela grandson in court
Former president Nelson Mandela’s 24-year-old grandson appeared in court on Monday on charges of raping a 15-year-old, police said, in a new scandal to tarnish the family of the anti-apartheid icon. Mbuso Mandela remained in police custody and is to return to the Johannesburg magistrate court on Friday for a bail hearing, police spokeswoman Mashadi Selepe told reporters. He is alleged to have raped the girl at a Johannesburg restaurant more than a week ago.
DNA to help fight dog poop
The northeastern city of Tarragona plans to use DNA analysis of dog droppings to track down errant owners who fail to clear up their pet’s mess, officials said on Monday. The coastal Mediterranean city is to work with a local university to create a DNA database of registered dogs that could be used to identify owners, Tarragona City Councilor for public spaces Ivana Martinez told news radio Cadena Ser. Droppings found on the street or in parks can then be matched through the DNA database to a registered pet and its owner issued with a fine, she said.
Hundreds of flights at one of China’s busiest airports were canceled yesterday as Shanghai raced to bring a local COVID-19 outbreak under control. Health officials have tested thousands of staff at Pudong International Airport since a small cluster of COVID-19 cases in the city was linked to several cargo handlers. China — where the virus first emerged late last year — has largely brought the COVID-19 pandemic under control through travel restrictions and lockdowns, but it is now battling a number of domestic outbreaks in different cities. Shanghai has reported seven local infections linked to the airport this month, with most cases found
For thousands of years, the dainty Fritillaria delavayi has grown slowly on the rocky slopes of the Hengduan mountains in China, producing a bright green flower after its fifth year. The conspicuous small plant has one deadly enemy: people, who harvest the flower for traditional Chinese medicine. As commercial harvesting has intensified, Fritillaria delavayi has vanished — by rapidly evolving to produce gray and brown leaves and flowers that cannot be so easily seen by pickers. Scientists have discovered that the color of the plant’s leaves has become more camouflaged — matching the background rocks on which they grow — in areas where
On the morning of Oct. 23, a 56-year-old employee at West Japan Railway was inspecting trains when he encountered an Asian black bear just outside Tsuruga Station in Japan’s northwestern Fukui Prefecture. He escaped with just a scratch, but about 10 minutes later, the same bear fractured the leg of a worker at a nearby construction site. Four days before the incident, a male bear entered a four-story shopping center in neighboring Ishikawa Prefecture. The 1.3m-tall bear holed up in a storage room for 13 hours, until it was shot by a local hunting group. Between April and September, wild bears were spotted 13,670
‘OCEAN OF STORMS’: The Chang’e 5 seeks to collect about 5kg of samples from a previously unvisited area in a massive lava plain, known as Oceanus Procellarum China plans to launch an uncrewed spacecraft to the moon this week to bring back lunar rocks in the first attempt by any nation to retrieve samples from Earth’s natural satellite since the 1970s. The Chang’e 5 probe, named after the ancient Chinese goddess of the moon, would seek to collect material that could help scientists understand the moon’s origins and formation. The mission would test China’s ability to remotely acquire samples from space, ahead of more complex missions. If successful, the mission will make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples, following the US and the Soviet Union decades