US spy plane to be deployed
The US military is set to deploy an unmanned spy plane to boost surveillance capabilities as North Korea apparently readied for missile launches, a newspaper report said yesterday. The Global Hawk will be stationed at the US airbase in Misawa in the first ever deployment of the aircraft in the country, the Sankei Shimbun reported, quoting government sources. The US military informed the government last month about plans to deploy the plane between June and September, but may bring the date forward, it said, following reports about North Korea’s preparations for missile launches. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, citing a top South Korean government official, said North Korea had loaded two mid-range Musudan missiles on mobile launchers and hidden them in underground facilities near its east coast.
Possible radioactive leak
Radioactive water may have leaked into the ground from a tank at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the operator said yesterday, the latest in a series of troubles at the crippled facility. Up to 120 tonnes of contaminated water may have escaped from one of the seven underground reservoir tanks at the tsunami-damaged plant, according to a Tokyo Electric Power Co spokesman. The tank stores water used to cool down the reactors after radioactive caesium is removed, but other radioactive substances remain. The leakage came after one of the systems keeping spent atomic fuel cool at the plant temporarily failed on Friday, the second outage in a matter of weeks, underlining the precarious fix at the plant.
Carter warns on violence
Former US president Jimmy Carter warned on Friday that deadly religious violence was undermining the country’s hard-won democratic reforms. At least 43 people were killed in Buddhist-Muslim unrest last month, marring international optimism about the nation’s emergence from decades of military rule. “I’m deeply concerned about the recent religious violence,” Carter, 88, said in a speech in the former capital, Yangon, during a visit for talks with the reformist regime and fellow Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. “The recent violence risks damaging the reputation that you have gained in your country just as you’re trying to rebuild it once again,” he added. “No people should ever be treated as inferior by the government or by other citizens,” he said, voicing concern for the plight of tens of thousands of displaced people in western Rakhine state.
Ferry collision injures 31
Thirty-one people were injured in a collision between a passenger ferry and another vessel late on Friday, police said, in the latest accident to hit the city’s frenetic waters. “The ferry crashed with another ship. Right now the injured people have been transported to the dock,” a police spokeswoman said, adding that 11 of the injured had been admitted to hospital. Thirty-eight people were killed and scores injured when a ferry collided with a pleasure boat in October last year, the region’s worst maritime disaster in 40 years, which raised questions about safety in one of the world’s busiest harbors. Researchers say that while it remains one of the world’s safest ports, increased vessel traffic and risks associated with land reclamation works along the harbor front call for urgent government attention.
Target sorry for ‘big’ gaffe
Retailer Target apologized on Friday after a labeling gaffe that saw the color of a plus-size dress named after manatees, the blubbery denizens of the deep found off of Florida’s coast. While the scale of the outrage caused by the blunder was not clear, Target was clearly not taking any chances by swiftly updating the color label for its “Manatee gray” kimono maxi dress. Target moved to address the issue after a sharp-eyed online customer said that the standard-size dress in the same style and color was described as “dark heather gray.” “It is never Target’s intention to offend our guests and we apologize for this unintentional oversight. We updated the color label to ‘gray’ and the dress is only available on Target.com,” a Target spokeswoman said.
Museum worker hid tortoise
A museum says an employee hid an African leopard tortoise named Cashew in an elevator after finding the 8kg reptile, presumed stolen, trapped behind the paneling in her enclosure. The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa, said the employee’s bizarre move was a misguided attempt to prevent further embarrassment after officials announced on Tuesday that they believed Cashew had been taken as a prank. Cashew was discovered in the elevator on Thursday and officials said they supposed the regretful thief had smuggled her back inside. Museum president and CEO Jerry Enzler on Friday said that an employee found Cashew some time earlier wedged behind a wall panel. The employee then put her in the elevator to keep up the impression she had been stolen. Enzler said the employee will be reprimanded
Berry expecting second child
Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry is expecting her second child at the age of 46 with French actor fiance Olivier Martinez, her spokeswoman said on Friday. Celebrity news Web site TMZ reported that she is three months pregnant and that Berry knew it was a boy. “I can confirm that Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez are expecting a child,” spokswoman Meredith O’Sullivan told reporters, but added: “We will not be commenting on or confirming any additional details.” Martinez, 47, confirmed the couple’s wedding plans in March last year. The couple met each other in 2010 on the set of the film Dark Tide. Berry has been married twice before and has a five-year-old daughter, Nahla, with Canadian model Gabriel Aubry.
Lil Poopy’s father cleared
Child welfare officials concluded that there is no evidence of abuse and neglect in the case of a nine-year-old rapper in Massachusetts who drew condemnation for appearing in sexually suggestive videos. Brockton Police in February asked state child welfare officials to look into possible abuse after watching videos featuring Louie Rivera Jr, who goes by the stage name Lil Poopy, following a feature story about him in a local newspaper. The videos showed the boy cavorting with scantily clad grown women in nightclubs and singing about drugs and a luxurious lifestyle. A state Department of Children and Families spokeswoman said a thorough investigation into the fourth-grader’s father, Luis Rivera, has been closed after finding no evidence to support abuse or neglect allegations. The family’s lawyer said the finding was a “complete vindication.” The publicity has done wonders for the boy’s career, attorney Joseph Krowski said, with multiple offers to appear on television.
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,
An Australian graduate student arrested for spying and expelled from North Korea last year said that he was threatened with a firing-squad execution and told not even US President Donald Trump could save his “sorry arse.” Among the crimes Alek Sigley was accused of committing was posting a picture of a toy tank on Instagram, which his interrogators told him was military espionage. Sigley, 30, was studying for a master’s degree in Korean literature at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang when he went missing in June last year, sparking alarm. A fluent speaker of Korean, he had written articles for several publications