James Bond volcano erupts
A volcano that figured in a 1960s James Bond movie erupted explosively yesterday for the first time since April, sending smoke thousands of meters into the air, less than a week after a strong earthquake shook the west of the country. Shinmoedake, in a mainly rural area about 985km from Tokyo on the southernmost main island of Kyushu, had quietened down since the earlier eruption, although admission to the 1,421m-high peak remained restricted. Television images showed smoke and ash billowing into the air above the peak, which featured in the 1967 spy film You Only Live Twice. Rock was thrown as far as 1,100m from the mountain, TBS television said. The country has 110 active volcanoes and monitors 47 constantly.
Charity workers gang-raped
Five women working for a charity in the remote east were abducted and gang-raped at gunpoint, police said yesterday, in the latest horrific sex assault in the country. They were performing a play to raise awareness about human trafficking in the largely tribal Khunti district of Jharkhand state on Tuesday when they were abducted, the women said in their complaint. The assailants shot videos of the attack and threatened the women if they went to the police. The women worked for the non-governmental organization Asha Kiran, police officer Rajesh Prasad said. “We have been questioning several people,” Prasad said. Police have also rounded up some supporters of Pathalgadi, an anti-establishment self-rule movement. Pathalgadi supporters resent outsiders and do not allow them to enter or settle in their area. The women had undergone medical tests and that police are awaiting the results, Prasad said.
Rat shreds ATM rupees
When bank technicians were finally summoned to investigate why an automated teller machine (ATM) had not been working for days, they began to smell a rat. What they found inside the ATM was almost US$18,000 worth of shredded Indian rupee notes and one dead rodent that had somehow eluded the machine’s security camera for its next, and last, meal, a State Bank of India (SBI) official said on Thursday. “The ATM was out of order for a few days and when our technicians opened the kiosk we were shocked to find shredded notes and a dead rat,” SBI branch manager Chandan Sharma said in Tinsukia in the state of Assam. Of the 2.9 million rupees (US$42,788) in the ATM, 1.7 million rupees were recovered intact, but banknotes worth 1.2 million rupees were destroyed.
Dog in custody battle
Every dog has his day, but one dog is to have the equivalent of parental visiting days after a court ruled that a separated couple must share their pooch. The Sao Paulo couple got their Yorkshire terrier in 2008, but the dog became a bone of contention when they split up in 2011. The woman not only held on to the animal but, according to her former partner, “prevented him from entering into contact,” the Superior Justice Tribunal said in a statement from Brasilia. Taking his former companion to court, initially in Sao Paulo and then all the way to the Superior Justice Tribunal appeals court, the man claimed “intense anguish” over the separation. The tribunal on Tuesday ruled to uphold the Sao Paulo court’s earlier decision in favor of the dog-loving man. He is now entitled to visit the lucky dog “at times such as weekends, holidays and end-of-year celebrations,” the tribunal said.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up most of the mass of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature. Research published this week revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed. “Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a coauthor of