Animals killed in zoo fire
A large fire at London Zoo on Saturday killed an aardvark and four meerkats, while several staff were treated for smoke inhalation. It took 72 firefighters more than three hours to bring the fire under control, after it broke out in the Animal Adventure cafe and spread quickly to an adjacent shop. “Sadly our vets have confirmed the death of our nine-year-old aardvark, Misha. There are also four meerkats still unaccounted for, but we are now presuming these have also died,” a statement from the zoo said.
Snowden releases app
The former National Security Agency contractor who exposed government surveillance programs by disclosing classified material in 2013 has a new job: app developer. Edward Snowden in a video message on Friday unveiled a new smartphone app he helped create, called Haven, that aims to protect laptops from physical tampering. Snowden has said it is an open-source tool designed for human rights advocates and other people at risk, and it uses an Android smartphone’s sensors to detect changes in a room. The software was developed with the Freedom of Press Foundation and the Guardian Project.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Christmas flights delayed
Thick fog yesterday disrupted flights at major airports in the country as thousands of foreign residents rushed to travel home for Christmas and the New Year. Dozens of flights were canceled, diverted or delayed at the three main airports in the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. At the Dubai airport, one of the busiest in the world, at least 17 flights were canceled, as visibility dropped to just 100m in some areas of the emirate. At least another 100 incoming flights were either diverted to nearby airports or delayed, according to the flight schedule at the airport. Dubai airport is a major transit hub and thousands of tourists are expected to visit the emirates for the end-of-year festivities.
Pageant leadership resigns
The top leadership of the Miss America Organization, implicated in an e-mail scandal that targeted past pageant winners for abuse based on their appearance, intellect and sex lives, resigned on Saturday, with the outgoing president apologizing to a winner whose weight he ridiculed. Josh Randle told reporters that his comment responding to an e-mail to his private account about the physical appearance of 2013 winner Mallory Hagan came months before he started working for the organization in 2015. However, he said it was wrong. “I apologize to Mallory for my lapse in judgment,” Randle said on Saturday. “It does not reflect my values or the values I worked to promote at the Miss America Organization.”
Thousands more sacked
The government has sacked 2,756 more people from its public service sector for alleged links to terror groups as it presses ahead with purges launched following last year’s failed military coup. According to two government decrees published yesterday in the Official Gazette, those dismissed in the new wave of purges include 637 military personnel, 360 gendarmerie force members and 150 academics or other university personnel. Turkey blames the July last year coup attempt on US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. About 50,000 people have been arrested and more than 110,000 civil servants have been dismissed for alleged links to Gulen or militant groups since then.
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
CLOSELY TRACKED: A US officer said that the warplanes were watched as they flew from Russia by way of Iran and Syria to Libya and were photographed multiple times The US Africa Command flatly rejected Russian claims that Moscow did not deploy fighter jets to Libya, saying on Friday that the 14 aircraft flown in reflect Russia’s long-term goal to establish a foothold in the region that could threaten NATO allies. US Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, deputy director of intelligence, said that the US tracked the MiG-29s and Su-24 fighter bombers flown in by Russian military, passing through Iran and Syria before landing at Libya’s al-Jufra air base. The base is the main forward airfield for Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army, which has been waging an
Singapore’s otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the COVID-19 lockdown, but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. With the streets empty, the creatures have been spotted hanging out by a shopping center, scampering through the lobby of a hospital and even feasting on pricey fish stolen from a pond. While many think of tiny Singapore as a densely populated concrete jungle, it is also relatively green for a busy Asian city, and has patches of rainforest, fairly clean waterways and abundant wildlife. There are estimated to be about
Indonesian officials are forcing people who break social distancing rules to recite Koran verses, stay in “haunted” houses and submit to public shaming on social media as the country battles to contain surging novel coronavirus infections. The Southeast Asian archipelago began deploying about 340,000 troops across two dozen cities to oversee enforcement of measures aimed at halting transmission of the disease, such as wearing masks in public. However, provincial leaders are buttressing these efforts with their own zealous campaigns to fight the coronavirus. Police in western Bengkulu Province have assembled a 40-person squad to find lockdown scofflaws and force them to wear