Chinese activity ‘escalates’
Chinese military activity has been escalating in the East China Sea, with a spike in emergency jet scrambles in the past three months, Self-Defense Forces head Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano yesterday said at a regular news briefing in Tokyo. “It appears that Chinese activity is escalating at sea and in the air,” Kawano said. Air force jet scrambles rose by more than 80 in the three months ending on Thursday from 114 a year earlier, he said. Detailed figures for the period are due to be announced next week. Kawano also said that Tokyo was “very concerned” about how China would react to the expected ruling by an international court on Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea on July 12.
Homeless man crushed
A homeless man whose dismembered body was found crushed in cardboard bales was likely picked up by a recycling truck while sleeping rough, police said. The remains of Daniel Bindner were found on Tuesday at a cardboard processing plant in Hamilton, about 30km from his hometown of Te Awamutu on the North Island. Police investigating the grisly discovery said the 40-year-old father-of-three was last seen on June 21 and had been reported missing on Monday. They said he was believed to have been sleeping rough in the days before his death. “At this stage, we believe Mr Binder’s body was transported from the Te Awamutu area in a recycling truck to Oji Fibre Solutions in Hamilton,” Detective Inspector Hywel Jones said. Cardboard at the plant is processed into bales. Jones said a post mortem into the cause of death had proved inconclusive and the investigation was continuing, appealing for witnesses who saw Bindner on the streets.
Kim gets new title
The nation’s parliament on Wednesday awarded Kim Jong-un a new post, adding to a long list of titles for the young leader. Kim was made chairman of the State Affairs Commission, a new body established under a revised constitution adopted by the parliament and which replaces the National Defense Commission, state media reported yesterday. His full title is now the Dear Respected Comrade Kim Jong-un, Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army. Kim, believed to be in his early 30s, attended the assembly meeting on Wednesday. He also holds the rank of marshal in the military, and is more usually referred to as “our marshal” in propaganda.
Police to have body cameras
Cleveland police officers will have body cameras affixed to their riot gear during the Republican National Convention this month. The Arizona company TASER International said it would loan 300 mounting units to the city that will allow officers to attach the body cameras to their riot gear to record interactions between police and the public. The four-day convention beginning on July 18 is expected to draw tens of thousands of people — including thousands of protesters. The city plans to bring in thousands of officers from police departments across the country to help with security. A Cleveland police spokeswoman told Cleveland.com that it would be up to those departments to determine whether their officers would wear body cameras.
Rousseff final vote near
The Senate could take its final vote on the impeachment of suspended President Dilma Rousseff the day before the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, a senior lawmaker said on Wednesday. Senate President Renan Calheiros told journalists the final vote in Rousseff’s impeachment trial was scheduled for about Aug. 20. If she is found guilty of breaking budgetary rules to help win re-election, she would be permanently replaced by interim president Michel Temer, her former deputy. The Rio Olympics are set to open on Aug. 5. The Senate voted on May 12 to put Rousseff on trial and a committee that has been hearing testimony from witnesses is expected to present its findings on Aug. 9.
Alvin Toffler dies at 87
Alvin Toffler, the author and visionary known for several world best-sellers, including Future Shock and The Third Wave, has died at his home in Los Angeles aged 87. He died late on Monday, Toffler Associates, the consultancy firm he founded, said in a statement, without giving a reason for his death. Toffler’s groundbreaking book Future Shock, in which he examined social change, as well as several other books he co-authored with his wife, Heidi, made him one of the most respected futurists of the modern era, with world leaders and moguls seeking his advice. Toffler predicted economic and technological developments — including cloning, personal computers and the Internet — as well as the social effects they helped bring about, including social alienation, the decline of the nuclear family and rising crime and drug use.
LGBT assault false: police
A British lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) YouTube star who said he was assaulted outside a Los Angeles gay bar is facing a criminal charge of making a false police report, authorities said on Wednesday. Calum McSwiggan, 26, of London had called police early on Monday claiming he had been beaten up by three men outside a gay bar in West Hollywood. However, police officers who responded at the scene said they were unable to substantiate the assault and that McSwiggan “had no visible injuries.” He was arrested after he allegedly began vandalizing a car. After McSwiggan was booked and placed in a cell by himself, he was seen injuring himself with the handle and receiver of a payphone inside the cell, the West Hollywood police department said in a statement. He was rushed to a hospital for treatment and later posted a picture of himself on Instagram in a hospital gown with a bandage on his head. McSwiggan insisted he did not lie about the assault in a message posted on Twitter on Wednesday.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
‘LIKE A CASSANDRA’: Chinese residents of Prato went into self-imposed lockdown and warned their Italian neighbors about what was coming, but were ignored In the storm of infection and death sweeping Italy, one big community stands out to health officials as remarkably unscathed — the 50,000 ethnic Chinese who live in the town of Prato. Two months ago, the country’s Chinese residents were the target of what Amnesty International described as shameful discrimination, the butt of insults and violent attacks by people who feared that they would spread the coronavirus through Italy. However, in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to Italy’s single biggest Chinese community, the opposite has been true. Once scapegoats, they are now held up by authorities as a model for early,