Closed track abandons dogs
Macau authorities have taken in more than 500 greyhounds abandoned following the closure of Asia’s only legal dog-racing track. The former Portuguese territory has been the only place in China where dog racing is legal. However, betting on dog races at Macau’s Canidrome — a tradition of more than 50 years — soured after animal rights groups accused the stadium of mistreating the dogs and euthanizing ones that underperformed on the track. It was ordered closed yesterday. The Macau government says Canidrome faces legal measures under the Animal Protection Act for failing to move the dogs from their shuttered premises. Authorities found 533 greyhounds on the company’s property, including a dozen suffering from skin disease and other conditions, and are now making arrangements for their care.
Media constraints decried
An international organization that advocates for the rights of journalists has raised questions about conditions that media face in Pakistan ahead of parliamentary elections. The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based group, yesterday said in a report that it has documented how journalists critical of the military or government authorities were abducted or attacked. The report also documents how the army’s spokesman has accused journalists of sharing anti-state and anti-military propaganda, and how distribution of two of Pakistan’s largest outlets — Geo TV and Dawn — were arbitrarily restricted. Aliya Iftikhar, a CPJ researcher who authored the report, quoted several Pakistani journalists who said the judiciary’s silence adds a “climate of fear and self-censorship.” The report says objective reporting has been skewed because of media constraints.
France, Russia aid Ghouta
An airplane carrying humanitarian aid was dispatched to the ravaged former Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, which was retaken by government forces in April after a five-year siege. A Russian military cargo plane carrying 45 tonnes of medical aid and humanitarian supplies left the airport at the central French city of Chateauroux at 3am, airport head Mark Bottemine said. Undertaken as part of a UN Security Council resolution, “the aim of this project is to enable civilian populations better access to aid,” a joint Franco-Russian statement said. The airplane is heading for Russia’s Hmeimim air base in the west of Syria. It is the first joint humanitarian aid operation between Russia and a Western country. The medical aid is aimed at some 500 people who have been seriously injured and the 15,000 others who have lighter injuries during the fighting in Eastern Ghouta.
Migrant bodies, survivor dock
A Spanish rescue vessel carrying two dead bodies and a survivor from a migrant boat wreck has docked in a Mallorca port after a four-day journey across the Mediterranean Sea. The aid group Proactiva Open Arms had on Tuesday found the bodies of a small boy and a woman and accused Libya’s coast guards of abandoning them after intercepting dozens of Europe-bound migrants. Video posted by the group showing the floating bodies and the rescue of another woman still alive caused outrage across Europe. The rescuers had refused to dock in Italy saying that they did not trust how Italian authorities would handle an investigation into the wreckage. Rome and the EU have trained and financed the Libyan coast guard to halt the flow of migration.