Firms bid for MH370 search
Three companies have offered to resume the search for flight MH370, but no decision has been reached on whether to take up any of the proposals, Minister of Transportation Liow Tiong Lai said yesterday. US seabed exploration firm Ocean Infinity, Dutch company Fugro and a Malaysian company have made offers, Liow said. The head of the Department of Civil Aviation was negotiating with the companies and the offers would also be discussed with Australia and China, he said. Ocean Infinity, which has made a “no find, no fee” offer, was said to be the favorite.
Six missing off coast
Fears were growing yesterday for six fishermen missing after their ship capsized in wild seas off the northeast coast, with severe weather hampering rescue efforts. Authorities were alerted to the lost men out of “sheer luck” early yesterday, about 12 hours after the trawler overturned, when crew on a passing yacht heard the screams of a seventh crew member and plucked him out of the water. Air and sea rescue efforts off the Bundaberg coast in Queensland have been hampered by heavy rain and rough seas, with up to 4m swells. The rescued man miraculously survived a night in the “treacherous seas” clinging to the hull of the 17m capsized trawler for hours before it sank.
Revenge porn portal opens
The nation has launched an online portal to report “revenge porn” after research showed that women were having intimate images shared without their permission on a “mass scale.” The “world-first” initiative will offer support and advice, while working with Web sites and search engines to help take down offending posts. Only Victoria and South Australia have laws that criminalize the distribution of intimate or invasive images without consent.
Charges in cannon death
Former Seoul police chief Goo Eun-soo and three other officers were yesterday charged over the death of a protester hit by a water cannon during an anti-government protest two years ago. Baek Nam-ki, a 69-year-old farmer, was knocked over by the jet of water during a huge protest against Seoul’s labor policies in November 2015, and fell into a coma. He died 10 months later. His plight sparked widespread outrage, with police coming under fire for what critics described as excessive force during public rallies.
Congo gets UN rights seat
The US and human rights groups sharply criticized Monday’s UN election for 15 new members of the Human Rights Council, singling out conflict-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DR Congo) victory despite accusations of serious rights abuses and an investigation by the UN’s top human rights body. DR Congo got the lowest number of votes of four African candidates — 151. The low total shows that President Joseph Kabila’s DR Congo “is fast becoming a pariah state. If there had been competition, it probably would have lost,” Human Rights Watch’s UN director Louis Charbonneau said. UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer singled out three of the winners — Congo, Qatar and Pakistan — saying for the UN to elect them “as a world judge on human rights is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief.” The only contested slate was in Asia, where six countries vied for four seats. Nepal topped the vote, followed by Qatar and Pakistan.
Crackdown on hate crimest
Courts are passing increasingly harsh sentences for attacks on gay or transgender people amid a wider crackdown on hate crimes, which have a “corrosive effect” on society, the kingdom’s top prosecutor said yesterday. In hate crime cases, prosecutors are allowed to ask the courts for an increased punishment, known as a sentence uplift, to reflect the aggravating circumstances. Nearly 1,470 homophobic or transphobic cases were prosecuted between April last year and April this year, with more than four-fifths resulting in a conviction, the Crown Prosecution Service said. Courts increased sentences in 579 cases — nearly half of successful prosecutions — up from 461 cases the previous year. Ten years ago, sentences were boosted in just six cases, or less than 1 percent of successful prosecutions.
Bergdahl pleads guilty
Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured and held by the Taliban for five years after walking away from his post in Afghanistan, on Monday pleaded guilty to desertion and endangering his comrades — charges that could put him behind bars for the rest of his life. “I understand that leaving was against the law,” said Bergdahl, who admitted guilt without striking a deal with prosecutors, meaning his punishment is up to a military judge when he is sentenced later this month. At his sentencing, set to begin on Monday next week, his years in captivity could be factored in, but the hearing is also likely to feature damning testimony from fellow service members.
Self-driving cars studied
A new study inspired by Boston’s early experiments with self-driving cars found that the technology could ease congestion, but might also lead to more cars on the road and further encourage urban sprawl. The report, released yesterday by the Boston Consulting Group and the World Economic Forum, is a mostly optimistic take on how autonomous vehicles could change cities. Three companies are now testing self-driving cars in Boston’s Seaport District. One of them, NuTonomy, has also partnered with ride-hailing service Lyft to research how passengers book and route a self-driving car.
State of emergency declared
Citing past clashes and protests, Florida Governor Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency in advance of a speech white nationalist Richard Spencer is scheduled to give at the University of Florida. The governor warned in an executive order that a “threat of a potential emergency is imminent” in Alachua County. Spencer is scheduled to speak at the campus tomorrow and his pending appearance has already sparked protests in the university town.
Horse stays at motel
A Canadian horse has had the opportunity to watch television for the first time at a pet-friendly Kentucky motel. Lindsey Partridge of Ontario told the Lexington Herald-Leader she stopped to check in Oct. 4 at the Super 8 in Georgetown on her way to compete in the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover competition. Partridge said she received approval when she jokingly inquired of the clerk if the motel’s pet-friendly policy would apply to her horse. Partridge made a video of Blizz watching TV. Partridge says she then took Blizz and her two other horses to Kentucky Horse Park, the local equine motel of choice.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year