US upgrades travel warning
Washington yesterday warned US citizens to “exercise increased caution” when traveling to the territory, as protesters announced three days of new demonstrations at Hong Kong International Airport starting this afternoon. The advisory was an upgrade from the US Department of State’s previous advice to “exercise normal precautions” and notes that demonstrations have been mostly peaceful, “but some have turned confrontational or resulted in violent clashes.” A statement on the Hong Kong International Airport Web site said the protests were not expected to disrupt operations. “Airport Authority Hong Kong is aware that there have been calls posted online for a public assembly at the airport on 9-11 August. The airport will operate normally,” it said. It urged passengers to “allow sufficient time for travelling to the airport” and to check flight status information before arriving.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Marape denies debt report
Prime Minister James Marape on Wednesday backtracked on an announcement saying he had asked China to refinance the nation’s US$8 billion debt, saying that the statement was released without his knowledge. Marape’s office in a statement said it was “false” that he was “going one way to China” to tackle public debt. The government was primarily discussing trade with China while examining debt options with undisclosed “non-traditional partners,” it said. “We are in discussion with many of our bilateral partners to access very low-cost concession finance to give us some breathing space,” Marape said in the statement. “This includes our discussions with [the] World Bank, ADB [Asian Development Bank] and some other possible non-traditional partners.”
Cocaine washes ashore
Cocaine worth millions of dollars on Wednesday washed up on a beach, with police urging the public to hand in any more packages that might turn up. Police were called to Bethells Beach in West Auckland after packages of the drug were found along the shoreline. “Police attended and located approximately 19 packages, which testing has confirmed contained cocaine,” detective inspector Colin Parmenter said. He estimated the street value at NZ$3 million (US$1.84 million). Local media reported said that the packages were contained in netting and the presence of shells indicated they had been at sea for some time.
Call for probe cooperation
The government on Wednesday pressed the US to cooperate in helping to identify white supremacists that pose a threat to its citizens after a shooting on Saturday last week in El Paso, Texas, killed eight Mexican nationals. A total of 22 people lost their lives in the shooting at a Walmart store, an event the government has vowed to investigate as an act of terrorism. It said it might also request that the suspected perpetrator be extradited for trial. The government said it wants US authorities to share all information on the case to “determine if there are other individuals and potential organizations of ‘white supremacy’ seeking to put our community in danger in the United States.” The diplomatic note, which was addressed to the US embassy, urged the US to “make happen” the words US President Donald Trump used on Monday, when he called on Americans to “condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.”
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
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
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