Attack on Bachelet’s past
President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday criticized UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, a former Chilean president, by praising the 1973 military coup that led to her father’s death. Bolsonaro mentioned Bachelet’s father Alberto, an air force officer who opposed General Augusto Pinochet’s coup, and was imprisoned and tortured. He died in captivity in 1974. “If Pinochet’s people had not defeated the left in 1973 — among them, your father — today Chile would be a Cuba,” Bolsonaro told reporters. Among those arrested were Michelle Bachelet, who said she was tortured, and her mother, although they were later released and went into exile. Bolsonaro spoke after Michelle Bachelet raised concerns about an increasing rate of killings by police in Brazil, as well as alleged restrictions on civil liberties. Without naming Bolsonaro, Michelle Bachelet criticized his stated wish to celebrate Brazil’s 1964 military coup, as well as his denial of past state crimes.
Three killed in flooding
Three people were killed and dozens of flights were canceled or delayed after severe flooding in Mumbai, with authorities yesterday warning of more heavy monsoon rains. Mumbai — home to 20 million people — has been hit by torrential downpours over the past two months amid the annual monsoon deluge. Nonstop rain over several hours on Wednesday paralyzed traffic, halted trains and delayed airport operations. Residents spoke of being trapped in traffic for several hours amid chaotic scenes. Maharashtra State Minister Ashish Shelar said that schools were to be closed yesterday “as a precautionary measure.”
Bangkok tops visitor list
Bangkok last year ranked first for the fourth straight year as the city with the most international visitors, Mastercard said in a report released on Wednesday. With almost 23 million international visitors last year, Bangkok outpaced Paris and London, which were second and third with just more than 19 million visitors each. Other top cities in order were Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Singapore; Kuala Lumpur; New York; Istanbul, Turkey; Tokyo; and Antalya, Turkey. The report pointed to broad increases in international travel, with the total number of international visits up 76 percent since 2009. Nine of the top 10 cities saw increases compared with 2017. London was the exception, with a drop of 4 percent. Dubai topped the list as far as consumption, with travelers spending an average of US$553 per day and visitors spending a total of nearly US$31 billion.
Wreck foils drug smugglers
An alleged plot to smuggle A$1 billion (US$681.9 million) of drugs on a yacht unraveled when a Frenchman and a Briton ran the boat aground on a remote reef, police said yesterday. The two men — 51-year-old Antoine Dicenta and 34-year-old Graham Palmer — on Monday became stranded in the Albrolhos Islands off Western Australia after their yacht Zero ran into a reef. Police said the pair unloaded about 1 tonne of drugs from their yacht onto a smaller boat and ferried it to a nearby island where they took refuge. Local fishers alerted authorities, sparking a search that resulted in the alleged smugglers being discovered late on Tuesday along with 40 bags filled with drugs. Western Australian Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said that the men had made a “pretty poor attempt” to cover the bags of drugs with seaweed before they were arrested.
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for
SPACE RACE: The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp mission aims to land a robotic rover and put a probe into orbit around the planet China is targeting a July launch for its ambitious Mars mission, which includes landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the Red Planet, the company in charge of the project has said. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space program in an effort to catch up with its rival, the US, and affirm its status as a major world power. The Mars mission is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a space station by 2022. Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for some time this year,
Former US vice president Joe Biden on Friday said he “should not have been so cavalier” after he told a radio host that African Americans who back US President Donald Trump “ain’t black.” In a call with the US Black Chamber of Commerce that was added to his public schedule, Biden said he would never “take the African American community for granted.” “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” Biden said. “No one should have to vote for any party based on their race or religion or background.” Biden faced criticism after his comments earlier on Friday on The Breakfast Club, a