Sunscreen ban enforced
A pioneering ban on “reef-toxic” sunscreens took effect yesterday as the Pacific island nation introduced strict environmental measures that also included one of the world’s largest marine sanctuaries. “We have to live and respect the environment because the environment is the nest of life, and without it nobody in Palau can survive,” President Tommy Remengesau said as the new laws took effect. Reef-toxic sunscreen imported or sold in the nation is to be confiscated and the owner fined US$1,000. “When science tells us that a practice is damaging to coral reefs, to fish populations or to the ocean itself, our people take note and our visitors do, too,” Remengesau said.
Floods shut airport, roads
Heavy monsoon rain in the capital and nearby cities since Tuesday has triggered likely the worst flooding in almost seven years, submerging homes and shutting one of Jakarta’s airports. More than 700 areas in the greater Jakarta region suffered from power outages, while some commuter trains were suspended. The local government instructed schools and some offices to be prepared to provide shelter as the rainfall was expected to continue for another three days.
Dos Santos’ assets frozen
A court has placed a freeze on assets held by Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman, a statement from the attorney general’s office said. The order also applied to Dos Santos’ husband, Sindika Dokolo, and Mario da Silva. The three allegedly engaged in transactions with state-owned firms that led to the government losing US$1.14 billion, reports said. Isabel dos Santos is the daughter of former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who served from 1979 to 2017.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered
‘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
Australia is notorious for its venomous spiders, snakes and sea creatures, but researchers have now identified “scorpion-like” toxins secreted by a tree that can cause excruciating pain for weeks. Split-second contact with the dendrocnide tree, a rainforest nettle known by its Aboriginal name gympie-gympie, delivers a sting far more potent than similar plants found in the US or Europe. A team of Australian scientists said that they now better understand why the gympie-gympie’s sting haunts those unlucky enough to brush up against its leaves. Victims report an initial sting that “feels like fire at first, then subsides over hours to a pain reminiscent