Two passengers missing
An air and marine search was under way off the east coast for two passengers who were discovered missing yesterday morning after the cruise ship Carnival Spirit docked at Sydney Harbour’s Circular Quay, police Sergeant David Rose said. He did not give further details, but Australian Associated Press reports the search for the 30-year-old man and 26-year-old woman extends from Sydney 100m north to the city of Newcastle. Their nationalities have not been released. A spokeswoman for ship operator Carnival Corp was not immediately available for comment. The Miami-based company is the world’s largest cruise operator and has been plagued by high-profile problems in recent years.
Find a loo with new app
For those on the go, finding a clean toilet in the city-state and giving feedback on the best and worst commodes is now in hand with a new app for smartphones and tablets. The Restroom Association of Singapore says the LOO Connect service on its toilet.org.sg Web site allows people to pinpoint and comment on public facilities and to see those given three, four or five stars. The non-profit group said it was “leveraging on the ‘crowdsourcing’ trend and technology to recognize clean toilets and encourage socially responsible behavior.”
Clinton says Xi pragmatic
Former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday hailed Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) as “pragmatic,” saying he was more of a politician than his predecessor. “The new president appears to be a pragmatic leader,” she said in an adddresss to the think tank Pacific Council of International Policy, which focuses on issues with particular impact on the US West Coast, at a dinner event in Beverly Hills. “He’s also much more of a politician than his predecessor Hu Jintao (胡錦濤). I watched him walk a room, I watched him interact, not only with Chinese colleagues and American leaders, but unions from all over the world.” Clinton added that Xi “would do his country and the world a great work by gaining control and being sure that there is no daylight between the Communist Party leadership and the military leadership.”
Vatican abhors Death Saint
The folk Death Saint is a blasphemous symbol that should not be part of any religion, Vatican Culture Minister Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi said on Wednesday, adding that worshiping such an icon is a degeneration of religion. The Santa Muerte is a skeletal figure of a cloaked woman with a scythe in her bony hand. It is worshiped both by drug dealers in Mexico and by the terrified people who live in drug-torn neighborhoods. Ravasi was speaking at a dialogue among believers and nonbelievers in Mexico City as part of the Vatican’s “Courtyard of the Gentiles.”
Berlusconi loses appeal
An appeals court on Wednesday upheld the tax fraud conviction and four-year prison sentence against former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in a case that could see him barred from public office for five years. Berlusconi’s lawyers are expected to appeal the case to the nation’s highest Court of Cassation. In October, a lower court convicted Berlusconi in a scheme that involved inflating the price his Mediaset media empire paid for TV rights to US movies and pocketing the difference. Berlusconi has long denied the charges and says he is a victim of politically motivated prosecutors.
Nun, 83, damaged property
A federal jury has found an 83-year-old nun and two fellow protesters guilty of breaking into the primary storehouse for bomb-grade uranium. The jury found the three protesters guilty of a charge of interfering with national security and a second charge of damaging federal property. The trio spent about two hours inside the Y-12 National Security Complex in July, cutting through fences to reach the Tennessee facility. Once there, they painted slogans, chipped off a part of a wall with hammers and splattered human blood on the exterior.
Chopper crashes in street
A small helicopter lost power and came crashing down on a busy downtown Honolulu street on Wednesday afternoon, but no one was seriously injured, authorities said. The helicopter was on a photography flight when it lost power, forcing a crash landing on Fort Street, which is home to a large apartment complex and Hawaii Pacific University. The area is usually full of university students and downtown office workers, and has a lot of vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The chopper ended up along a curb, badly damaging a parked car. Preliminary information indicates the Robinson R22 Beta had an engine failure, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.
Bees ‘killed climber, dog’
An Arizona climber has been found dead, dangling from a rope on a cliff face south of Tucson, after apparently being stung to death by bees, police said on Wednesday. Steven Wallace Johnson, 55, a counselor with about 30 years experience hiking and climbing, headed into the mountains south of Tucson on Friday, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said. Johnson was reported missing on Monday by co-workers after he failed to show up for work. A Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue team found his body that afternoon, Estrada said. “He had been stung repeatedly and he was dangling there,” he said. He said Johnson’s dog had also been attacked by bees and was found dead nearby.
‘Pastry Chef’ gets tasty price
An Impressionist oil painting depicting a chef in his white uniform fetched a tasty US$18 million on Wednesday, the most ever paid at auction for a work by the artist Chaim Soutine. Soutine’s Le Petit Patissier (The Little Pastry Chef), was the highlight of the Christie’s auction in New York. Christie’s said Soutine’s rosy-cheeked chef, the sixth of a renowned series painted in about 1927, set an auction record for the Russian-born French artist. Marc Chagall’s unusual Three Acrobats was the second-most expensive work at the sale in Manhattan, selling for US$13 million.
Omega-3 not good for heart
Fish oil supplements rich in omega-3 fatty acids are not beneficial for patients at high risk of cardiovascular troubles and already being medicated, a study found on Wednesday. In the study, carried out in 2010 in Italy with 12,513 patients, half the group took an omega-3 supplement and the other half an olive oil placebo. “In a large general-practice cohort of patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors, daily treatment with n-3 fatty acids did not reduce cardiovascular mortality and morbidity,” the study said. The research was led by Mario Negri at the Societa Prodotti Antibiotici in Milan.