Airplane crash kills 10
A small paramilitary airplane carrying 10 people — eight engineers and two pilots — yesterday crashed just outside the main airport in the nation’s capital, New Dehli, killing all on board, an official said. The airplane, belonging to the Indian Border Security Force, crashed into the boundary wall at the airport and landed in a small body of water, Delhi Fire Services director A.K. Sharma said. Part of the plane was submerged under water, he said. The cause of the crash of the Super King aircraft was not immediately known. At least 15 fire engines and scores of police officials were at the crash site, Sharma said. The plane was heading from New Delhi to the eastern city of Ranchi.
Wild bees in decline
Wild bees, crucial pollinators for many crops, are on the decline in some of the main agricultural regions of the nation, according to scientists who produced the first national map of bee populations and identified numerous trouble spots. The researchers on Monday cited 139 counties as especially worrisome, with wild bee numbers decreasing, while farmland for crops dependent on such pollinators is increasing. The counties include agricultural regions of California, such as the Central Valley, the Pacific Northwest, the upper Midwest and Great Plains, west Texas and the southern Mississippi River valley. The counties grow crops such as almonds, pumpkins, squashes, blueberries, watermelons, peaches and apples that are highly dependent on pollinators, or have large amounts of less-pollinator-dependent crops, including soybeans, canola and cotton. Taylor Ricketts, director of the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, said the 139 counties represent 39 percent of the pollinator-dependent crop area of the nation and would most likely face inadequate pollination in the future.
Sea snakes discovered
Scientists yesterday hailed the discovery of two sea snake species feared to have become extinct years ago off the nation’s west coast. The short-nose sea snake and the leaf-scaled sea snake had not been seen since disappearing from their only known habitat on Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea more than 15 years ago, James Cook University researchers wrote in the Biological Conservation journal. However, they have since been “spotted alive and healthy” at Ningaloo Reef and Shark Bay respectively, thousands of kilometers south. “This discovery is really exciting. We get another chance to protect these two endemic western Australian sea snake species,” the study’s lead author Blanche d’Anastasi said in a statement about the two species, listed by authorities as critically endangered.
Fire destroys museum
A large fire tore through the Museum of the Portuguese Language in Sao Paulo on Monday, partly destroying the historic building, but apparently claiming no victims, authorities said. Flames engulfed the third floor of the museum, which is closed on Mondays, as clouds of smoke poured from the building. Firefighters said there were no immediate reports of victims. The building, built in 1901 in the style of a British railway station, was in 2006 turned into a museum dedicated to this former Portuguese colony’s rich language, which has integrated elements of indigenous and African languages. It features interactive multimedia exhibits and is one of the most popular museums in Brazil. “It is a real tragedy,” museum director Isa Ferraz said.
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
CHANGING PERCEPTIONS: In its tender, the Hong Kong administration said that it had failed to ‘mobilise the community to support law enforcement actions’ The Hong Kong government has agreed to pay millions of pounds to a discreet London-based PR firm to counter coverage of the territory in the international media. Consulum, which has also represented Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was on Monday awarded the ￡5 million (US$6.2 million) one-year contract to improve Hong Kong’s reputation — the same day that China passed national security legislation targeting the territory. The Mayfair-based PR business was founded by Tim Ryan and Matthew Gunther Bushell, two former employees of Bell Pottinger, an agency that has been criticized for representing some governments and leaders that other businesses