New fires in Tianjin
Emergency workers raced to put out four new fires that had broken out close to the site where two massive explosions in a warehouse storing dangerous chemicals killed 114 people last week, Xinhua news agency said yesterday. Xinhua said one of the “ignition points” came from within an automobile distribution area near the blast site and the other three were within the central blast area.
Qantas deal approved
The country’s competition watchdog yesterday reversed a draft decision against a joint venture between Qantas and China Eastern, giving the carriers the green light to coordinate pricing and scheduling. The Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in March said the original proposal between the airlines would harm competition. However, the regulator yesterday said that China Eastern had since agreed to increase the frequencies of its services between the country and China and introduce a new route if the deal was allowed. Qantas and China Eastern will also expand the destinations covered by their existing codeshare agreement as they seek to establish a gateway through China Eastern’s Shanghai hub for connecting services between the countries.
Troops kill 771 PKK: media
Troops have killed 771 militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey over the past four weeks, the state news agency Anatolia said yesterday. The agency, whose figures could not be confirmed independently, said among those killed were 430 rebels who died in air raids on PKK camps in Iraq. Another 260 were killed in ground operations in the southeast, Anatolia said, quoting what it said were sources in military intelligence. The offensive was launched after 33 pro-Kurdish activists were killed on July 20 in a suicide bombing on the Syrian border blamed on Islamic State (IS) militants. The attack prompted a violent reaction against police and troops from Kurdish militants, who accuse Ankara’s Islamic-rooted government of complicity with IS. On July 24, Ankara launched its first air strikes against IS in Syria and then also began attacking targets of the PKK in northern Iraq, in a dual “war on terror.” Dozens of air strikes have been carried out, but only three have officially been targeted at IS. The PKK has been blamed for attacks that have killed about 50 Turkish soldiers.
Foreigners learn kung fu
In the countryside outside the birthplace of the sage Confucius (孔子), 35 students — the vast majority of them foreigners — battle the elements, as well as exhaustion at a remote kung fu training academy. The students in Qufu, from as far afield as Brazil, Ukraine, Spain and France, vary in age from six — a young boy who accompanied his mother on a summer holiday — to 50. It is a disciplined, regimented regime, with activities beginning at 6am every day and featuring several hours of practice. This includes runs up and down thousands of steps through the steep hills of a neighboring national park, interspersed with meals. The students are divided into three groups based on their ability, with each group assigned a kung fu master who blows a whistle at the start of every activity. They line up to pay their respects to him each time. The learners can choose how long to stay, from those taking short breaks to one Dutch man who has been training for a year to become a kung fu master and open his own academy in the Netherlands.
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