Stuffed tortoise sent home
The embalmed body of the giant tortoise known as Lonesome George — the last known survivor of a species that died out in 2012 — returned home to the Ecuadoran Galapagos Islands on Friday. The body arrived in Puerto Ayora, the capital of the archipelago’s Santa Cruz Island, on an Ecuadoran military plane after undergoing taxidermy work at New York’s American Museum of Natural History, the Galapagos National Park said. The giant tortoise — thought to be about 100 years old when he died in June 2012 — was the last known member of the subspecies Geochelone nigra abingdoni. He failed to reproduce, despite a decades-long conservation effort that earned him the moniker Lonesome George. His body is to go on display at the park starting on Thursday next week.
Migrants returned to island
About 680 Cubans have been returned to the nation from various countries since then-US president Barack Obama ended a longstanding immigration policy that allowed any Cuban who made it to US soil to stay and become a legal resident, state television reported on Friday. The government had long sought the repeal of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, which it said encouraged people to risk dangerous voyages and drained the nation of professionals. The Jan. 12 decision by Washington to end it followed months of negotiations focused in part on getting Havana to agree to take back people who had arrived in the US. Cuban state television late on Friday said that the returnees came from countries including the US, Mexico and the Bahamas, and were sent back to the island between Jan. 12 and Friday. Florida’s El Nuevo Herald reported that the two women were deemed “inadmissible” for entry to the US and placed on a morning flight to Havana. Wilfredo Allen, an attorney for one of the women, said they had arrived at Miami International Airport, Florida, with European passports.
Penguins flock for fish
More than 1 million penguins have traveled to Punta Tombo peninsula during this year’s breeding season, drawn by an unusual abundance of small fish. Local officials said that it is a record number in recent years for the world’s largest colony of Magellanic penguins, offering an especially stunning spectacle for the tens of thousands of people who visit the reserve annually. The peninsula’s tiny islets are well-suited to nesting and have sardines and anchovies close to the shoreline. The birds come on shore in September and October and stay while the males and females take turns caring for their eggs and hunting for food. The warm-weather birds breed in large colonies in southern Argentina and Chile and migrate north as far as southwestern Brazil between March and September.
Jolie film debuts
Angelina Jolie yesterday unveiled her new film on the Khmer Rouge era at the Angkor Wat complex. The king and survivors of the communist regime were among about 1,500 people invited to the debut screening of First They Killed My Father, directed by Jolie and based on the memoirs of Loung Ung, who was five years old when the Khmer Rouge swept into Phnom Penh, plunging her family into a harrowing ordeal in labor camps before she escaped to the US. “The movie reflects the brutality of the Khmer Rouge regime,” Cinema and Cultural Diffusion Department director Sin Chanchhaya said.
‘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
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,
China is poised to enshrine individuals’ rights to privacy and personal data for the first time, a symbolic first step as more of the country of 1.4 billion people becomes digitized — and more vulnerable to leaks and hacks. The legislation is part of China’s first civil code, a sweeping package of laws that is being deliberated during the annual meeting of China’s National People’s Congress, which began on Friday after a delay of more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent draft, an individual has a right to privacy and to have their personal information protected. Data
India has moved additional troops along its northern border as it prepares for an extended conflict with China, after several rounds of talks failed to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region, an Indian government official said, asking not to be identified, citing rules. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by the Chinese army, the official said. The standoff began on May 5, when troops clashed