Jobless offered cash to move
The unemployed are being offered cash by the government to move to the earthquake-damaged city of Christchurch and join in the rebuilding effort. The government announced yesterday it would pay welfare recipients NZ$3,000 (US$2,600) to move to the city if they found any kind of fulltime work there. Christchurch has been slowly rebuilding after a 2011 earthquake killed 185 people and destroyed much of the city’s downtown. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said the city’s reconstruction is creating thousands of jobs, but some unemployed people do not have the resources to move to Christchurch. She said the money would help pay for moving expenses, accommodation, tools and other equipment. The scheme is initially limited to 1,000 people.
Fiery debris halts flights
An explosive engine failure on a Vietnamese airliner showered fiery debris across a runway at the nation’s second-busiest airport yesterday, preventing planes landing and taking off for 40 minutes, an official said. The malfunction happened as Vietnam Airlines flight 780 was taxiing to take off on a flight to Ho Chi Minh City, Melbourne Airport spokeswoman Anna Gillett said. The twin-engine Airbus A330 came to rest at the intersection of the airport’s two runways, blocking all traffic for 40 minutes until 11:30am, she said. No one was injured. “The issue also resulted in some debris from the plane causing some spot fires on the runaway and surrounding area,” Gillett said. “There are some rumors that the aircraft itself was ablaze with fire — that’s not the case.” A passenger, who identified himself only as Peter, told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio that the jet’s nose had begun lifting for takeoff when the engine failed, forcing the pilots to abort the flight.
New strain of flu detected
A new kind of avian influenza has been detected for the first time in Adelie penguins, though the virus does not seem to make them sick, researchers said yesterday. The virus is unlike any other bird flu known to science, said the report in mBio, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. “It raises a lot of unanswered questions,” said study author Aeron Hurt, senior research scientist at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne, Australia. The findings show that “avian influenza viruses can get down to Antarctica and be maintained in penguin populations,” he said. The study is the first to report on live avian flu in penguins, though previous research has found evidence of flu antibodies in penguin blood.
Jobless mom drowns sons
An unemployed woman whose husband had just lost his job drowned her two sons, aged two and six, in the bathtub due to distress over their future, a prosecutor said. “She was upset by the dire financial situation and said it was the only solution she could find to avoid her children being unhappy when they grew up,” Philippe Dulieu, public prosecutor in the city of Namur, told Belga news agency. The woman, who was born in 1987, gave the two boys sleeping pills once her husband had left the house on Saturday, before drowning them and putting them to bed, the prosecutor said. When the husband returned “she told him the children were already in bed. They spent the evening together, watching TV.” Her husband discovered they were dead on Sunday. She was charged on Monday and placed in custody.
Plane crashes into house
A small plane smashed into a Colorado home on Monday, but the pilot was able to walk away and no one else was injured, authorities said. The plane crashed into a residence “after experiencing trouble while towing a banner over Northglenn, Colorado,” a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said. “The pilot escaped from the aircraft and parachuted safely to the ground before the aircraft went down,” he said. Nobody was home at the time of the crash, district firefighters said, and the pilot was transported to hospital, but was not thought to be badly hurt.
Naked man hit by car, killed
A naked man who had been running and doing push-ups in a Portland street was struck by a car and killed early on Sunday, police said. Portland police said they received two telephone calls about the man in a street in an industrial area of north Portland, but the man was killed before they arrived at the scene.
Ex-president fled: authorities
The government suspects former president Francisco Flores has left the country, where he faces charges of embezzlement, illegal enrichment and disobedience. Public Safety Minister Ricardo Perdomo yesterday said that Flores is thought to have gone by boat or plane and illegally entered Panama. A judge has not issued an arrest warrant for Flores, who was charged last week with embezzling US$5.3 million while he was president from 1999 to 2004. He is also charged with mismanaging US$10 million that was donated a decade ago by Taiwan’s government during his presidency. Flores has denied wrongdoing. He says he turned the money over to the intended state projects, but has offered no proof of the handover. Perdomo would not say what proof authorities have that Flores left El Salvador.
US$2.3m cash man nabbed
Authorities have arrested a man found with nearly US$2.3 million in cash hidden in a compartment in his van, officials said on Monday. Flavio Rojas, 48, was picked up on Sunday night on a highway 10km north of the capital. An estimated half of the country’s population is below the national poverty line. Police are investigating whether Rojas was transporting the money for an organized crime group. Mexican drug organizations like the Zetas and the Sinaloa cartel have expanded their trafficking and money laundering operations in the country in recent years, sometimes in combination with local groups.
Newspapers slim down
A leading newspaper is cutting the size of its daily editions because of a newsprint shortage. El Universal says it will publish 16 pages a day as of Monday, down from its regular 24 pages. It says it can keep that up for two more weeks. Several other papers have already slimmed or shut down, blaming government currency controls. El Universal says it has had paper sitting in a port since January, but needs US dollars to release it from bond. It blames government delays in allowing it to exchange the local currency for US dollars. The government sells hard currency at low prices, but importers complain it can take months for officials to approve the exchanges, leading to shortages of imports, which result in reduced production for many goods.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around