Helicopter crash kills 13
A military helicopter crashed on Wednesday near the border with Iraq, killing all 13 personnel on board, the military said. The crash occurred in the border province of Sirnak, where government troops are engaged in operations against Kurdish militants. A military statement said the crash appeared to be accidental, with initial information indicating that helicopter had hit a high-voltage transmission line shortly after taking off from a base in Sirnak’s Senoba region. The private DHA news agency said a delegation led by a major-general was on board.
Navy rescues fishermen
The navy yesterday said that it has rescued 23 fishermen from the Bay of Bengal and is searching for scores more missing since Cyclone Mora hit two days ago. Most of those rescued were plucked from a sinking boat which had broken down, stranding them at sea. “At least 15 ships have been deployed to search for survivors in the Bay of Bengal after the storm,” a senior navy official said. Mushtaq Ahmed, a local fishing industry representative, said that eight boats carrying about 150 fishermen have so far failed to return.
Palestinian stabs soldier
A Palestinian woman was shot and critically wounded yesterday after stabbing a soldier outside a Jewish settlement in the northern West Bank, the army and medics said. The soldier was taken to hospital with a stab wound to his upper body, medics from Magen David Adom emergency service said. The attack took place at the entrance to Mevo Dotan, a Jewish settlement southwest of Jenin.
Chinese envoys investigated
President Yoweri Museveni has ordered an investigation into possible collusion between the Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA) and two Chinese diplomats in the trafficking of ivory. The Chinese embassy officials are suspected of colluding in the movement of ivory from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan, a government official said. Ali Munira, spokeswoman for the Inspectorate General of Government ombudsman, did not name the Chinese diplomats, but said the UWA was under suspicion. Museveni has also ordered a new probe into the theft of ivory worth more than US$1 million in November 2014.
A rocket carrying a satellite with a local version of the US global positioning system (GPS) was launched yesterday, part of a government bid to increase the precision of location information used in smartphones and car navigation systems. The rocket that carried the satellite called “Michibiki No. 2” was launched from Tanegashima.
Warning over pangolins
A conservation group said the seizure of 6.35 tonnes of pangolin scales in Hong Kong this week indicates that the heavily poached creature “could soon vanish for good” if urgent steps are not taken to protect it. The International Fund for Animal Welfare on Wednesday said that the size of the seized shipment from Nigeria was 10 times bigger than a confiscation of pangolin scales in Malaysia three weeks earlier. The fund wants China and other countries to take steps to curb the demand for pangolins, whose scales are used in traditional medicine in parts of Asia.
Arrested man released
Manchester police on Wednesday released without charge one of the men arrested in connection with the terrorist attack on Monday last week at a pop concert in the city. Ten men remained in custody following the suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena, where US singer Ariana Grande was performing. Twenty-two people, including seven children, were killed in the attack. The 21-year-old man released had been arrested on Wednesday last week in the town of Nuneaton in central England, more than 180km from Manchester. “As it stands 16 people in total have been arrested in connection with the investigation, of which six people have since been released without charge,” police said in a statement.
Jerry Garcia guitar sold
A guitar that Jerry Garcia played everywhere from San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom to Egypt’s Great Pyramids fetched more than US$1.9 million at an auction on Wednesday. The Grateful Dead frontman’s guitar — named Wolf — was sold at the Brooklyn Bowl, a bowling alley, restaurant and music venue. The proceeds are earmarked for the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center. The guitar was owned by devoted Deadhead Daniel Pritzker, a philanthropist, musician and film director who bought the instrument in 2002 for US$790,000. “I’ve been a fan of The Dead since I was a kid, and playing this iconic guitar over the past 15 years has been a privilege, but the time is right for Wolf to do some good,” Pritzker said.
Property deal probed
Prosecutors yesterday said that they were opening a preliminary investigation into a property deal involving one of President Emmanuel Macron’s ministers. Macron on Wednesday defended Richard Ferrand, a close ally of the president, over allegations that Ferrand favored his wife in a lucrative deal with a public health insurance fund when he headed the company. The timing of the announcement by prosecutors in the western port of Brest is embarrassing for Macron because the government was to unveil a draft law on cleaning up politics. The pledge to rejuvenate the corruption-plagued political class was one of the central planks of the campaign that swept 39-year-old Macron to the presidency on May 7. Ferrand, one of Macron’s first prominent backers and formerly secretary general of the president’s Republique En Marche party, has denied any wrongdoing. He told France Inter radio: “I am an honest man.” The Canard Enchaine investigative newspaper reported last week that an insurance fund that Ferrand headed in his native Brittany — where he is a lawmaker — agreed in 2011 to rent a building from his wife and carry out renovations that boosted its value. Ferrand, 54-year-old minister for territorial cohesion, has dismissed the report as a “welcome present” from the media for the new government. He says his wife made the fund the best offer and that he had no say in the matter.
Gillnet ban extended
The Agriculture and Fisheries Department said it is extending a ban on gillnets in much of the upper Gulf of California as part of an effort to save the endangered vaquita porpoise. A statement on Wednesday by the department said it would continue to provide monetary and other support for fishermen affected by the measure.
‘SPIKES’: Rudy Giuliani at a hearing asked about voting data in Pennsylvania, with a witness saying that 570,000 votes they selected were for Biden and 3,200 for Trump US president-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday said that Americans “won’t stand” for attempts to derail the US election outcome, as US President Donald Trump called for results to be overturned. Biden said in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, that Americans “have full and fair and free elections, and then we honor the results.” “The people of this nation and the laws of the land won’t stand for anything else,” he said. However, Trump is challenging the results, with lawsuits under way in several states. “We have to turn the election over,” he told a hearing in Pennsylvania. “This election was rigged.” “All we need is
Hundreds of flights at one of China’s busiest airports were canceled yesterday as Shanghai raced to bring a local COVID-19 outbreak under control. Health officials have tested thousands of staff at Pudong International Airport since a small cluster of COVID-19 cases in the city was linked to several cargo handlers. China — where the virus first emerged late last year — has largely brought the COVID-19 pandemic under control through travel restrictions and lockdowns, but it is now battling a number of domestic outbreaks in different cities. Shanghai has reported seven local infections linked to the airport this month, with most cases found
It is not often a top bureaucrat in Singapore publicly discloses personal vulnerabilities, but the novel coronavirus pandemic is upending what is seldom discussed outside close circles. Singaporean Economic Development Board Managing Director Chng Kai Fong (莊凱峰), a former top aide to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍), opened up about his mental health struggle during the pandemic at a technology conference held virtually on Sunday. Chng began his online panel at the She Loves Tech conference by this year as “an unprecedented year in terms of personal crisis.” In April, he lost his brother-in-law to cancer, while a close family member
SIGNIFICANT RULING: That male prisoners are denied a choice as to their hair length suggests they are treated less favourably than female prisoners, the judges wrote Prison staff were wrong to cut the hair of a former Hong Kong legislator known for his long locks, the territory’s top court said yesterday, in the second significant ruling against authorities this month. The decision came as powerful establishment voices called for an overhaul of the judiciary — something opponents fear could muzzle the Hong Kong legal system’s vaunted independence as Beijing cracks down on its critics. The ruling by the Hong Kong Final Court of Appeal is the culmination of a long legal battle by former Hong Kong legislator Leung Kwok-hung (梁國雄), 64, who served a brief jail sentence in