Space agency planned
Canberra yesterday said it would create its own space agency to increase its share of the US$330 billion space economy. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the agency would be part of the development of an innovation and science economy. “It’s a small agency to coordinate and lead,” Turnbull said. “The space sector, of course, is one of enormous potential.” Acting Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Michaelia Cash said the agency’s charter would be developed by the end of March next year.
Police hunt for jailbreakers
Scores of juvenile inmates, including killers and rapists, staged a mass breakout overnight on Sunday from a detention center in Bihar state after cutting through metal windows and gates, police said yesterday. Twelve of the 34 inmates who escaped returned hours later and a manhunt is on for the rest. Centers like the one in Bihar usually do not have armed guards.
CNRP hangs banners
The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) yesterday put up banners nationwide calling for the release of its detained leader, Kem Sokha, in a challenge to the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Kem Sokha was arrested on Sept. 3 and charged treason. Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the opposition party’s banners amounted to pressure on the court and an attempt to interfere with its work. “This is unacceptable,” he said.
Chinese intrusion claimed
Chinese coast guard vessels yesterday sailed near the Senkaku Islands, known in Taiwan as the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) and the Diaoyu Archipelago (釣魚群島) in China, the second such incident in less than a week, the Japanese coast guard said. The islands are claimed by all three nations. The four ships entered the waters surrounding the island chain about 10am and were moving in a southwest direction, according to the Japanese coast guard. A statement from China’s State Oceanic Administration said the four ships were “patrolling in Chinese waters off the Diaoyu Islands.”
Vietnamese fishermen slain
Two Vietnamese fishermen were found dead with gunshot wounds and five others were arrested after the navy chased suspected poachers in the South China Sea on Saturday, officials said yesterday. A patrol ship pursued six Vietnamese fishing boats 56km off the northern coastal town of Bolinao, regional military spokesman Lieutenant Jose Covarrubias said. The bodies of the two men were found after a Vietnamese boat slammed into the navy vessel, he said. The fishermen in custody would face poaching charges, he added. Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Manila would conduct a “fair and thorough” investigation into the deaths of the Vietnamese.
Whale carcass exhumed
A massive humpback whale buried on a beach was exhumed yesterday because local residents feared its rotting carcass was attracting sharks. The body of an 18 tonne whale came ashore last week entangled in fishing ropes at Nobbys Beach in Port Macquarie. Authorities tried to drag it back to sea, but gave up when it became caught on rocks. Mechanical diggers were winched down to the beach to uncover the carcass and rip it apart so the remains could be winched up to the road in skips and trucked to a landfill site.
UN chides Moscow
The government is committing “grave” human rights violations in Crimea, including its imposition of citizenship and deliberately transferring hundreds of prisoners and detainees to prisons in Russia, according to UN human rights report issued in Geneva, Switzerland, yesterday. “Grave human rights violations, such as arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment and torture and at least one extra-judicial execution were documented,” the report said. UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said the imposition of citizenship can be equated to forcing people to “swear allegiance to a power they may consider as hostile.”
One dies in church shooting
A masked assailant on Sunday opened fire at a church near Nashville, Tennessee, killing a woman, wounding six more people and pistol-whipping another, police said. The gunman, who is 26, shot himself after being confronted by an usher at the Church of Christ Burnette Chapel and has been hospitalized. Police said the shooter, an African-American wearing a sort of ski mask, arrived at the church in a blue sports utility vehicle as parishioners were leaving Sunday services and immediately shot a woman in the parking lot. She died later of her wounds. He then entered the rear of the church while about 50 people were still inside and fired multiple rounds, wounding six more people, police spokesman Don Aaron said.
Kushner used private e-mail
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, used his personal e-mail account on dozens of occasions to communicate with colleagues in the White House, his lawyer said on Sunday. Between January and last month, Kushner either received or responded to fewer than 100 e-mails from White House officials from his private account, attorney Abbe Lowell said in a statement that confirmed Kushner’s use of a personal address in the first months of the administration. The use of a private e-mail account to discuss government matters is a politically freighted issue that factored prominently in last year’s presidential election.
Obama faced Zuckerberg
Former president Barack Obama personally urged Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg to counter the rise of fake news on the social network during a meeting held shortly after last year’s election, the Washington Post reported on Sunday. The encounter reportedly took place on the sidelines of a meeting of global leaders in Lima, Peru, on Nov. 19 last year, days after Zuckerberg had dismissed as “crazy” the idea that misleading stories driven by Russian operatives had made a major impact on the outcome of the vote.
Hamdallah to visit Gaza
Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah will travel to the Gaza Strip on Monday next week as part of renewed reconciliation efforts with Hamas, which runs the enclave, his government said yesterday. “Prime minister Rami Hamdallah has decided after consulting with President Mahmud Abbas that the government will hold its weekly meeting in Gaza next week,” government spokesman Yusuf Al Mahmoud said in a statement published on official Palestinian news agency WAFA. “Hamdallah and members of the government will arrive in Gaza next Monday,” it said.
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
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference