Unlocked safe robbed
Up to US$10 million in diamonds have been reported stolen from a New York jeweler who left them in an unlocked safe, police said on Friday. The jeweler, Jonathan Birnbaum, on Thursday reported the diamonds missing from his Manhattan business, police said. Birnbaum kept the safe unlocked to allow easier access to other gems. The diamonds are worth between US$5 million and US$10 million. The diamonds could have been taken any time between Nov. 24, when he put the precious stones inside the safe, and Tuesday, when he first noticed them missing, police said. Investigators were interviewing five employees with access to the safe, as well as contractors who were working in the office at the time.
‘Donald, it was a movie.’
Footage of actor Harrison Ford reacting to praise by US presidential candidate hopeful Donald Trump for his patriotic performance in the film Air Force One has gone viral. In the 1997 movie, Ford plays a US president who stands up to terrorists after they hijack his flight. “I love Harrison Ford — and not just because he rents my properties. He stood up for America,” the billionaire real-estate mogul told the New York Times of Ford’s character. In an interview on Wednesday with Australian Studio 10 morning show, a semiserious Ford said: “It’s a movie. Donald, it was a movie! It’s not like this in real life. But how would you know?” The snippet of Ford’s interview was among the topics on Friday trending on social media and has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube. It came amid national and international furor over Trump’s controversial plan to ban Muslims from entering the US.
Lightsaber sells for US$25k
Just in time for the latest installment of the Star Wars movie, fans bid thousands of dollars on hundreds of rare and original collectibles associated with the space odyssey series at a New York City auction. Sotheby’s on Friday held an online-only sale that brought in more than US$500,000. The 175 lots included over 600 action figures from the collection of Japanese fashion designer and entrepreneur Nigo. A set of seven mini action figures from The Empire Strikes Back fetched US$32,500. Two Power of the Force coin sets that were only available on special request from the manufacturer drew US$27,500. A Luke Skywalker figurine with double telescoping lightsaber sold for US$25,000, exceeding a pre-sale estimate of US$12,000 to US$18,000. Star Wars: The Force Awakens premieres next week.
California mosque burns
A southern California mosque has been damaged by fire and its leader says people there at the time believe it was intentionally lit. Flames were reported just after noon on Friday at the Islamic Center of Palm Springs. The Riverside County Fire Department said that the fire was contained to the building’s front lobby and no one was injured. The mosque’s acting imam, Reymundo Nour, said people there described hearing a “loud boom” and seeing flames. He said the mosque had been “fire-bombed.” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the agency is to assist local law enforcement in determining the cause of the fire. The mosque is about 120km from San Bernardino, where last week a couple that federal officials said was inspired by Islamist extremists killed 14 people.
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for
SPACE RACE: The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp mission aims to land a robotic rover and put a probe into orbit around the planet China is targeting a July launch for its ambitious Mars mission, which includes landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the Red Planet, the company in charge of the project has said. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space program in an effort to catch up with its rival, the US, and affirm its status as a major world power. The Mars mission is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a space station by 2022. Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for some time this year,
Former US vice president Joe Biden on Friday said he “should not have been so cavalier” after he told a radio host that African Americans who back US President Donald Trump “ain’t black.” In a call with the US Black Chamber of Commerce that was added to his public schedule, Biden said he would never “take the African American community for granted.” “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” Biden said. “No one should have to vote for any party based on their race or religion or background.” Biden faced criticism after his comments earlier on Friday on The Breakfast Club, a