USB returned minus seal poo
The owner of a USB stick that was found in the frozen feces of a rare leopard seal in New Zealand has been tracked down and revealed to be a seal enthusiast who had helped collect the sample 12 months earlier. Last week, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) put out a call for the owner of a functional USB stick that they had recovered from the scat of a leopard seal. That person was Amanda Nally, the only sea lion volunteer on the south coast, who spotted the announcement on the news. “NIWA are convinced that a bird ate my USB stick and the leopard seal then ate the bird, because he had a lot of feathers in the scat. And then, bizarrely, I came along and said: ‘Oh there’s a sample — we should send to NIWA,’” Nally said. A NIWA spokesperson confirmed the theory.
Uighurs’ kin seek video proof
Ethnic Uighurs have launched a global campaign to press authorities for video proof that their missing relatives are alive, turning the tables on Beijing’s use of video to counter claims that a renowned Uighur had died in custody. The social media campaign was launched on Tuesday under #MeTooUyghur after the government released a video showing a man who identified himself as Uighur poet and musician Abdurehim Heyit, and saying he was alive and well. The video was made public after Turkey claimed that Heyit had died in a prison in a statement in which Ankara condemned the country for herding vast numbers of Muslim minority Uighurs into “re-education” camps in the remote Xinjiang region. “Chinese authorities showed video as proof Mr Heyit is still alive. Now, we want to know, where are millions of Uyghurs?” said advocate Murat Harri Uyghur, who created the hashtag.
Convicts escape prison
All 78 detainees at the prison in Aquin, a city of about 100,000 on the south coast of the country’s Tiburon Peninsula, escaped at about noon on Tuesday, a national police spokesman said. The exact circumstances of the prison break are unclear, but witnesses said it took place during a demonstration against President Jovenel Moise in front of the police station adjoining the penitentiary.
Penguins mark Valentine’s
In what has become an annual Valentine’s Day tradition, biologists on Tuesday handed out red felt hearts to African penguins at the California Academy of Sciences. The birds grabbed the hearts in their beaks and waddled around their rocky enclosure toward their nests. It is often the male penguin who retrieves the heart and carries it back to his mate, spokeswoman Kelly Mendez said. The penguins use the felt for material in their nests, which helps reinforce the couples’ bond.
Snow hits Hawaiian peak
There is snow in Hawaii, on the highest peak of the island of Maui, but visitors have to enjoy it from down below as the summit area of Haleakala National Park is closed because of “extreme winter conditions.” Snow, ice, fallen trees and rocks are making the area dangerous, park officials said on Tuesday, adding that people are encouraged to view the snowcapped mountain from afar. Snowfall lower down at a Maui park caused a traffic jam over the weekend from people wanting to see the unusual weather.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
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
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big