Foreigners escape prison
Police said four foreign inmates have escaped from a prison on Bali. Kuta Utara police station officer Putu Ika Prabawa said prison officers became aware of the escape yesterday while conducting a morning check of inmates at the Kerobokan penitentiary in Denpasar. Prabawa said it is believed the four men escaped through a 50cm-by-70cm hole in a wall that connects to a 15m-long water tunnel that heads toward a main street. He identified the four as 33-year-old Australian Shaun Edward Davidson, 43-year-old Bulgarian Dimitar Nikolov Iliev, 31-year-old Indian Sayed Mohammed Said and 50-year-old Malaysian Tee Koko King bin Tee Kim Sai.
Synthetic opioids banned
China has announced it is banning a deadly synthetic opioid called U-47700 and three other synthetic drugs. U-47700 has until now been a legal alternative to fentanyl and potent derivatives like carfentanil. Its usage has been growing among US opioid addicts. Last year, the US Drug Enforcement Administration listed U-47700 in the category of the most dangerous drugs it regulates, saying it was associated with dozens of fatalities. Some of the pills taken from Prince’s estate after the musician’s overdose death last year contained U-47700. National Narcotics Control Commission deputy director Deng Ming said the drugs would be added to China’s list of controlled substances as of Saturday next week.
Octopus inspires patch
The clinging power of octopus tentacles has inspired a breakthrough new adhesive patch that works on wet and oily surfaces with potentially huge medical and industrial uses, researchers said. Octopuses are among the most intelligent and behaviorally diverse of all invertebrates, but it was their extreme strength that attracted the interest of the research team from Sungkyunkwan University. The team found the octopus’ suction power was due to small balls inside the suction cups that line each of their tentacles. The new “wet-tolerant” adhesive patch has been hailed as a breakthrough by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Neighbors’ blockade rapped
Qatar yesterday hit out at four Arab nations for cutting diplomatic ties and transport links over Doha’s alleged support for terrorism, accusing them of a “publicity stunt” aimed solely at attacking its image and reputation. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar on June 5 in the worst diplomatic crisis in the region in years. “The blockade has been ongoing for two weeks and the blockading nations have offered no formula for resolving the crisis,” Government Communications Office Director Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani said in a statement.”
Boat seized near oilfield
The navy seized a boat carrying weapons as it approached the kingdom’s offshore Marjan oilfield in the Gulf on Friday evening, the official Saudi Press Agency reported yesterday. Two other boats that also approached Marjan managed to escape after the navy fired warning shots, the agency said. The captured boat was carrying weapons “for subversive purposes,” the report said. The report had no word on the registration of the vessels or the nationality of the crew, but added without elaborating that vessels were bearing white and red flags.
Wildfires still blazing
More than 1,500 firefighters in the nation were still battling to control major wildfires in a central region where one blaze killed 62 people. Reinforcements were due to arrive yesterday, including more water-dropping aircraft from Spain, France and Italy as part of a EU cooperation program. Portugal is observing three days of national mourning after 62 people were killed in a wildfire on Saturday night around the town of Pedrogao Grande, which is by far the deadliest on record.
Quake leaves four missing
Four people have been reported missing in the nation after an earthquake off the Arctic island’s west coast triggered a tsunami that flooded a village, authorities said. The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland on Sunday said that a magnitude 4 earthquake struck the northwest near the village of Nuugaatsiaq. It said surging water is reported to have destroyed 11 buildings there. Greenland public broadcaster KNR said police have evacuated 40 people from Nuugaatsiaq. In addition to those missing, it said nine people were injured, two seriously. Experts said the quake likely triggered a landslide into the sea, resulting in the tsunami and flooding.
Trump eyes Israel peace
President Donald Trump is sending two top aides to Jerusalem and Ramallah this week to discuss potential next steps in his bid to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, a White House official said on Sunday. Going on the trip will be White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who is Trump’s son-in-law and husband of his daughter Ivanka Trump, and Trump’s adviser on Israel, Jason Greenblatt. Greenblatt was to arrive in the region today and Kushner tomorrow. Kushner and Greenblatt are to have meetings in Jerusalem and Ramallah to hear directly from the Israeli and Palestinian leadership “about their priorities and potential next steps,” the official said.
Syrian jet shot down
The military on Sunday shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet that bombed local forces aligned with Washington in the fight against Islamic State militants, an action that appeared to mark a new escalation of the conflict. The nation had not shot down a Syrian regime aircraft before Sunday’s confrontation, Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said.
US accused of mugging
North Korea has accused US officials of assaulting a delegation at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport by forcibly seizing a diplomatic package they were carrying. The group was returning from a UN conference on Friday when the incident occurred, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Sunday, citing a foreign ministry spokesman. More than 20 police officers and others “made a violent assault like gangsters to take away the diplomatic package from the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] diplomats who were in possession of a valid diplomatic courier certificate,” KCNA said. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK regards this mugging by the US as an intolerable act of infringement upon the sovereignty of the DPRK and a malicious provocation, and strongly condemns it,” KCNA said in the report. It did not mention what was in the package.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and