‘Vogue’ goes transgender
Vogue is to become the first local magazine to feature a transgender model on its cover, according the honor to Valentina Sampaio of Brazil in next month’s edition. Calling Sampaio the “glam standard-bearer of a cause that is on the march,” the magazine describes the 22-year-old as a “femme fatale,” who happened to be born a boy. “Beyond her evident physical qualities and her sparkling personality, [Sampaio] embodies ... a long and painful fight against being perceived as a ‘gender exile,’” editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt writes in her editor’s letter. A sultry Sampaio, bathed in dark purple and blue light, appears over the words “Transgender Beauty,” with a subtitle reading: “How they are shaking up the world.”
Minister left immobile
A minister arrived by bike to a news conference to promote cycling on Tuesday, only to find it had been stolen when he left a half an hour later. Ben Weyts, minister of mobility for the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders, unveiled a plan to invest 300 million euros (US$320 million) in cycle lanes as part of a wider program to promote alternative modes of transport. “We left the bike in racks at the station and locked it,” a spokesman for the minister said. “When we got back half an hour later, it was gone.” While the nation is obsessed with cycling as a sport, cars are the main method of commuting to work, leading to some of the worst road congestion in Europe. The minister had to call his driver to pick him up from the station in Halle, just south of Brussels, the spokesman said, and hoped police would discover the bicycle thief with the help of security-camera footage.
Cat found 950km from home
Six months after her cat ran away, a woman in the Netherlands is looking forward to a reunion — in a village 950km away. State broadcaster ORF reported that Pepper turned up in Aschbach-Markt, west of Vienna. She looked to be just another stray to the person who took her to a veterinarian, but an examination revealed that the well-traveled feline was microchipped, allowing veterinarian Katharina Zoechling to trace the owner and through photographs, establish that the cat was indeed hers. ORF said on Tuesday that the unnamed owner is planning a trip to the village to claim Pepper and while how the cat got there might never be known, one guess is she hitch-hiked — on the back of a truck.
Roach named Tom Brady
More than a week after the Falcons fell victim to the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, an Atlanta zoo has named a cockroach after New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Zoo Atlanta said on Facebook that it had a bet with Rhode Island’s Roger Williams Park Zoo that called for the loser to name a baby animal after the winning team’s star quarterback. Both zoos figured the loser would be pretty bitter about the game, so they agreed the animal in question would be a Madagascar hissing cockroach. The zoo introduced a whole family of cockroaches in a video on Monday, including a tiny Tom Brady. Qaurterback Brady and the New England Patriots came back from a 25-point deficit to defeat Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime to win the team’s fifth Super Bowl title earlier this month.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big