Helicopter crash kills 13
A military helicopter crashed on Wednesday near the border with Iraq, killing all 13 personnel on board, the military said. The crash occurred in the border province of Sirnak, where government troops are engaged in operations against Kurdish militants. A military statement said the crash appeared to be accidental, with initial information indicating that helicopter had hit a high-voltage transmission line shortly after taking off from a base in Sirnak’s Senoba region. The private DHA news agency said a delegation led by a major-general was on board.
Navy rescues fishermen
The navy yesterday said that it has rescued 23 fishermen from the Bay of Bengal and is searching for scores more missing since Cyclone Mora hit two days ago. Most of those rescued were plucked from a sinking boat which had broken down, stranding them at sea. “At least 15 ships have been deployed to search for survivors in the Bay of Bengal after the storm,” a senior navy official said. Mushtaq Ahmed, a local fishing industry representative, said that eight boats carrying about 150 fishermen have so far failed to return.
Palestinian stabs soldier
A Palestinian woman was shot and critically wounded yesterday after stabbing a soldier outside a Jewish settlement in the northern West Bank, the army and medics said. The soldier was taken to hospital with a stab wound to his upper body, medics from Magen David Adom emergency service said. The attack took place at the entrance to Mevo Dotan, a Jewish settlement southwest of Jenin.
Chinese envoys investigated
President Yoweri Museveni has ordered an investigation into possible collusion between the Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA) and two Chinese diplomats in the trafficking of ivory. The Chinese embassy officials are suspected of colluding in the movement of ivory from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan, a government official said. Ali Munira, spokeswoman for the Inspectorate General of Government ombudsman, did not name the Chinese diplomats, but said the UWA was under suspicion. Museveni has also ordered a new probe into the theft of ivory worth more than US$1 million in November 2014.
A rocket carrying a satellite with a local version of the US global positioning system (GPS) was launched yesterday, part of a government bid to increase the precision of location information used in smartphones and car navigation systems. The rocket that carried the satellite called “Michibiki No. 2” was launched from Tanegashima.
Warning over pangolins
A conservation group said the seizure of 6.35 tonnes of pangolin scales in Hong Kong this week indicates that the heavily poached creature “could soon vanish for good” if urgent steps are not taken to protect it. The International Fund for Animal Welfare on Wednesday said that the size of the seized shipment from Nigeria was 10 times bigger than a confiscation of pangolin scales in Malaysia three weeks earlier. The fund wants China and other countries to take steps to curb the demand for pangolins, whose scales are used in traditional medicine in parts of Asia.
Arrested man released
Manchester police on Wednesday released without charge one of the men arrested in connection with the terrorist attack on Monday last week at a pop concert in the city. Ten men remained in custody following the suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena, where US singer Ariana Grande was performing. Twenty-two people, including seven children, were killed in the attack. The 21-year-old man released had been arrested on Wednesday last week in the town of Nuneaton in central England, more than 180km from Manchester. “As it stands 16 people in total have been arrested in connection with the investigation, of which six people have since been released without charge,” police said in a statement.
Jerry Garcia guitar sold
A guitar that Jerry Garcia played everywhere from San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom to Egypt’s Great Pyramids fetched more than US$1.9 million at an auction on Wednesday. The Grateful Dead frontman’s guitar — named Wolf — was sold at the Brooklyn Bowl, a bowling alley, restaurant and music venue. The proceeds are earmarked for the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center. The guitar was owned by devoted Deadhead Daniel Pritzker, a philanthropist, musician and film director who bought the instrument in 2002 for US$790,000. “I’ve been a fan of The Dead since I was a kid, and playing this iconic guitar over the past 15 years has been a privilege, but the time is right for Wolf to do some good,” Pritzker said.
Property deal probed
Prosecutors yesterday said that they were opening a preliminary investigation into a property deal involving one of President Emmanuel Macron’s ministers. Macron on Wednesday defended Richard Ferrand, a close ally of the president, over allegations that Ferrand favored his wife in a lucrative deal with a public health insurance fund when he headed the company. The timing of the announcement by prosecutors in the western port of Brest is embarrassing for Macron because the government was to unveil a draft law on cleaning up politics. The pledge to rejuvenate the corruption-plagued political class was one of the central planks of the campaign that swept 39-year-old Macron to the presidency on May 7. Ferrand, one of Macron’s first prominent backers and formerly secretary general of the president’s Republique En Marche party, has denied any wrongdoing. He told France Inter radio: “I am an honest man.” The Canard Enchaine investigative newspaper reported last week that an insurance fund that Ferrand headed in his native Brittany — where he is a lawmaker — agreed in 2011 to rent a building from his wife and carry out renovations that boosted its value. Ferrand, 54-year-old minister for territorial cohesion, has dismissed the report as a “welcome present” from the media for the new government. He says his wife made the fund the best offer and that he had no say in the matter.
Gillnet ban extended
The Agriculture and Fisheries Department said it is extending a ban on gillnets in much of the upper Gulf of California as part of an effort to save the endangered vaquita porpoise. A statement on Wednesday by the department said it would continue to provide monetary and other support for fishermen affected by the measure.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread
RISKY BUSINESS: The Chinese firm has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of 5G equipment not covered by US sanctions, but fears a wider ban could be announced in the UK Huawei Technologies Co believes it can supply 5G hardware unaffected by US sanctions to the UK for the next five years, sidestepping the expected conclusion of British emergency review on Tuesday. The company has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of kit, but fears a wider ban on its equipment is to be unveiled to placate rebel British Conservative Party lawmakers, who say that the Chinese supplier represents a national security risk. The British government on Friday said that it was “very likely” that British Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden would make a statement to parliament on Tuesday