Elephant arrives at rescue
Ramba, an Asian elephant that spent decades performing in circuses, has started a new life in an open-air sanctuary in Chapada dos Guimaraes, after traveling thousands of kilometers by plane and truck from a Chilean zoo. Ramba’s much-anticipated arrival at the 1,133 hectare Elephant Sanctuary Brazil in Mato Grosso state late on Friday was broadcast live on Facebook and viewed thousands of times. The elephant, estimated to be more than 52 years old, worked in circuses in Argentina and Chile before she was rescued by activists in 2012. She was then kept in a roadside zoo in Rancagua, Chile, while her rescuers searched for a new home. Her ordeal left her with abscesses as well as kidney and liver problems. Ramba was accompanied by US-based Global Sanctuary for Elephant head Scott Blais as well as a veterinarian, volunteers and federal police.
“Ramba needs a quiet place, one where she feels safe and is not on display, where she is surrounded by others of her kind who truly understand her and can help her,” Blais said. “She needs sanctuary.”
Gold mine officials arrested
Three officials at a gold mine in Siberia where 15 people died after a dam collapsed on Saturday were arrested yesterday. “The head of the gold mining company Sissim and the manager and foreman of the mining site have been arrested,” the national Investigative Committee said in a statement. The three have been taken to Krasnoyarsk for questioning, it said. Six people are still listed as missing after the dam on the Seiba River burst and flooded cabins where workers were living. Officials said the dam had been built in breach of safety rules and claimed that the authorities were not even aware of its existence.
Right-wing groups rally
Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Rome on Saturday for a so-called “Italian Pride” rally that brought together the right-wing League, the far-right Brothers of Italy party and Forza Italia. The League called for the mass demonstration to protest against the government forged by two former arch-enemies, the center-left Democrats and the 5-Star Movement, to avoid a snap election. Neo-fascist group CasaPound also joined the rally, sparking a political controversy within the center-right moderates. Its supporters were relegated to a corner of the crowded San Giovanni square and closely escorted by police.
Police rescue 147 at school
Police in the north have rescued 147 people from an Islamic boarding school where they were being abused, the fourth such raid in a month, an official said. Armed officers found the inmates when they raided a school in the Rigasa district, Kaduna State Women Affairs Commissioner Hafsat Baba said. “All the inmates were found in chains and said they were beaten. There are 22 women among them and some of them complained of being sexually abused,” she added. Two Cameroonians and two people from Niger and four children were also rescued. The inmates had been taken there by family members for “petty theft, delinquency and drug addiction,” Baba said. “Some of them have psychological problems and are mentally unstable.”
Record flight completed
Qantas yesterday completed the first non-stop commercial flight from New York to Sydney, which was used to run a series of tests to assess the effects of ultra-long-haul flights on crew fatigue and passenger jetlag. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner touched down in Sydney early in the morning after a flight of 19 hours and 16 minutes — the world’s longest. Qantas said tests ranged from monitoring pilot brain waves, melatonin levels and alertness to exercise classes for passengers. A total of 49 people were on board to minimize weight and give the necessary fuel range. “Overall, we’re really happy with how the flight went and it’s great to have some of the data we need to help assess turning this into a regular service,” said captain Sean Golding, who led the four pilots.
Official pans cannabis law
Canberra’s new legislation legalizing possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use do not provide legal protection and clash with federal laws, Attorney-General Christian Porter said yesterday. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) last month became the first of the country’s six states and two main territories to legalize the possession of up to 50g per person of cannabis for personal use, with the law set to come into effect from Jan. 31. However, federal law prohibits such use and Porter, who has been reviewing the ACT laws and yesterday sent a letter to the ACT attorney-general, signaled this will not change. “They’re terrible laws for a variety of reasons,” Porter told the Australian Broadcasting Corp TV Insider political show.
Nine killed in shelling
Two soldiers and a civilian were killed in cross-border shelling with Pakistan in Kashmir, the government said yesterday, while Islamabad said six died on its side, making it one of the deadliest days since New Delhi revoked Kashmir’s special status in August. Three Indian civilians were injured and some buildings and vehicles destroyed because of several hours of heavy shelling by both sides in the Tanghdar region late on Saturday night, a senior police official said.
Election results delayed
Preliminary results expected on Saturday after last month’s presidential election have been delayed, the election commission said. Officials had previously indicated that results would likely be pushed back. However, in her announcement, Awa Alam Nuristani, who heads the Independent Election Commission, did not say how long the vote count would be delayed. “Unfortunately, because of some technical issues and for transparency, we could not announce the results based on the election timetable,” she said, apologizing at a news conference.
Animated film Abominable would not be shown after its distributor yesterday said it could not comply with censors’ demands to cut a controversial scene showing Beijing’s disputed claims in the South China Sea. The decision came after Vietnam pulled the Universal Pictures movie from theaters days ago and the Philippines’ foreign secretary called for the segment to be excised. The animated film about a Chinese teenager helping a yeti return to his home shows a chart featuring the “nine-dash” line, which sets out Beijing’s expansive claims to the waters.
PASTA PUNCHLINE: Billy McLean’s spoof poking fun at misinformation on the coronavirus was meant for friends, but is being eaten up by frazzled Britons It started off as an ad-libbed joke for some friends in a soccer banter group and ended up being heard by vast numbers of Britons within hours. However, the man responsible for a joke WhatsApp audio clip that claimed the UK Ministry of Defence was about to requisition Wembley Stadium to cook the world’s biggest lasagna has said his viral success also shows the risks of believing everything that gets sent to you on the messaging service. Billy McLean, a 29-year-old Londoner who works in software sales, came forward to the Guardian to identify himself as the creator of the much-shared clip
‘AN HONORABLE TASK’: The brigade to Italy is the sixth contingent of doctors the nation has sent abroad to aid governments contending with the COVID-19 pandemic Cuba has dispatched doctors and nurses to Italy for the first time this weekend to help fight COVID-19 at the request of the worst-affected region Lombardy, it said. The Caribbean nation has sent its “armies of white robes” to disaster sites around the world largely in poor countries since its 1959 revolution, with doctors on the front lines in the fight against cholera in Haiti and against ebola in West Africa in the 2010s. Yet with the 52-strong brigade, this is the first time Cuba has sent an emergency contingent to Italy, one of the world’s richest countries, demonstrating the reach of
There are growing concerns for the health of Rokia Traore, a Malian singer who has been on hunger strike at the Fleury-Merogis Prison near Paris since she was arrested on March 10 on allegations of kidnapping her daughter in a child custody dispute. “I am very worried,” said Kenneth Feliho, her lawyer. “She is only drinking. She has not been eating for over a week and her immune system is weak.” Among those calling for the musician’ release are African stars including Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour and Angelique Kidjo. Damon Albarn, who performed with her in the group Africa Express, wrote: “We demand,
FATAL IDEA: The nation’s drugs regulator is curbing use of hydroxychloroquine, which Donald Trump has promoted for its alleged potential to treat COVID-19 Australia’s drug regulator has been forced to restrict powers to prescribe a drug undergoing clinical trials to treat COVID-19, because doctors have been inappropriately prescribing it to themselves and their family members, despite potentially deadly side effects. The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the similar compound chloroquine are currently used mostly for patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but stocks in Australia have been diminished thanks to global publicity — including from US President Donald Trump — about the potential of the drug to treat COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have potentially severe and even deadly side effects if used inappropriately, including