Missile test conducted
Tehran on Sunday carried out a test launch of a medium-range ballistic missile that exploded after 1,010km, a US official said on Monday. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the test was carried out from a site near Semnan. The official said the last time this type of missile was tested was in July last year. It was not immediately clear whether the test launch violated a UN Security Council resolution calling upon Tehran not to carry out activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. News of the test came as French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault arrived in Tehran for a two-day visit. He said that France would act as defender of the nuclear deal, saying it was in the “common interest” that the accord was obeyed.
Auschwitz staff list online
Historians have put online what they say is the most complete list of Nazi SS commanders and guards at Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp in hopes some of them can still be brought to justice. The state-run Institute of National Remembrance yesterday said that the SS KL Auschwitz Garrison list is based on data from archives in Poland, Germany, Austria, the US and Russia. It has more than 8,500 entries. The online list is written in Polish, English and German. In related news, two Belgians risk up to a decade behind bars if found guilty of stealing parts of an electric fence from Auschwitz, prosecutors in Oswiecim said yesterday. The two 50-year-olds, identified only as Yann P-B and William H, were detained in July last year as they tried to remove three porcelain electrical isolators. Their trial is set to open in Krakow on Feb. 28.
Face veil court ban set
The governing coalition of Social Democrats and the Austrian People’s Party yesterday agreed to prohibit full-face veils in courts, schools and other “public places” as part of a package of reforms drawn up after more than a week of negotiations. The coalition also agreed to ban police officers, judges and magistrates and public prosecutors from wearing head scarves in the interest of appearing “ideologically and religiously neutral” while serving the state.
Tycoon Batista arrested
Tycoon Eike Batista was arrested yesterday at Rio de Janeiro’s airport after returning to face corruption charges. Batista flew in from New York City and walked immediately to a waiting police vehicle. The 60-year-old former oil and mining magnate is alleged to have paid a US$16.5 million bribe to ex-Rio de Janeiro state governor Sergio Cabral, who is already behind bars for allegedly taking bribes over World Cup and Olympics infrastructure projects. Batista was sent to the Ary Franco prison in Rio, but after protests from his lawyer, he was moved to the much bigger Bangu complex.
Scouts open to trans boys
The Boy Scouts of America yesterday said it would begin accepting members based on the gender listed on their application, paving the way for transgender boys to join the organization. “For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information on an individual’s birth certificate to determine eligibility for our ... programs,” the group said on its Web site. “However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently.”
US denies arms accusation
The US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim yesterday rebuffed accusations by President Rodrigo Duterte that US troops were building arms depots in five Philippine bases, in breach of a security deal. “We are not building a weapons depot anywhere in the Philippines,” Kim told a forum at the Makati Business Club, adding that facilities due to be built were to store equipment for disaster response. He said that the US could not build anything on Philippine bases against the consent of the Philippine government and its facilities are “not related to weapons.” Philippine military officials on Monday contradicted Duterte and said his concern had been looked into, but there was nothing to back it up. Sung said that he had several lengthy discussions with top security officials, including the minister of defence, and promised to address some concerns.
Navy carrier ‘taking shape’
The nation’s second aircraft carrier is “taking shape” after two years and nine months of construction, local media reported yesterday. Construction of the Shandong began in 2014, the APP of Shandong television and radio said in a report. The Shandong, China’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, is “taking shape,” the report said. It did not give a date for completion or further details. It was being built in Dalian, the Ministry of Defense has said.
Military shipment arrives
Nine armored vehicles held in Hong Kong after arriving in transit from Taiwan in November last year have been returned the city-state, the Ministry of Defense said on Monday. The Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles arrived on Monday and were to be transported to a military camp for post-training administration, which includes serviceability checks and routine maintenance for the vehicles and related equipment, the ministry said in a statement.
ANC facing ‘severe strain’
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) is “under severe strain” and is being undermined by disunity, mistrust and organizational weakness, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said. In power since Nelson Mandela led the party to victory in the nation’s first multiracial elections 23 years ago, the party has been mired in a series of controversies, including the alleged attempts to manipulate government appointments by the Gupta family, who President Jacob Zuma says are his friends. “There are instances where internal ANC processes have been infiltrated by individuals and companies seeking preferential access to state business,” Ramaphosa said, according to an e-mailed copy of a speech he delivered on Monday in George in the Western Cape province. “Building the unity of the ANC and the alliance is therefore the most important and urgent task of the moment.”
Tourism revenue rises
The kingdon received a record 32.59 million foreign visitors last year, with revenue beating expectations and likely to exceed previous forecasts this year by growing 10 percent or more, officials said on Monday. The Tourism Authority said that the tourist industry earned 2.52 trillion baht (US$71.4 billion) last year, up 11 percent from 2015. It said the nation’s tourism industry is projected to bring in 733 billion baht in the first quarter of this year, up 8 percent from the first quarter of last year.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year