Honduran leaders accused
The former boss of Honduras’ Los Cachiros cartel on Friday testified that he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to the current and former presidents of Honduras in exchange for protection from extradition to the US and other favors. Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga said in a Manhattan court that he gave then-Honduran president Porfirio Lobo between US$500,000 and US$600,000 in 2009 and that Lobo helped him launder the proceeds from drug trafficking. Rivera Maradiaga also said he paid a US$250,000 bribe to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, without specifying the date.
Migrant boat sinks
A small boat carrying African migrants off the coast of the country’s south sank on Friday, leaving two people dead and one missing, authorities said. The boat was traveling off the southern border state of Chiapas when it listed to one side, pitching its occupants into the water, the state prosecutors’ office said in a statement. A 39-year-old man was found dead washed up on the shore, it said. A second body was later located a few hundred meters from the first. A search operation “managed to rescue eight migrants alive,” the office said, adding that one person was missing. All were from Cameroon, which has seen a growing exodus of refugees amid an increasingly violent conflict between its French and English-speaking communities.
Killer sentenced to death
A man who prosecutors said was driven by vengeance when he fatally shot six members of his ex-wife’s family in Texas, including four children, was on Friday sentenced to death, a decision the lone survivor of the attack has said would help her let go of “hurt and anger.” Jurors sentenced Ronald Lee Haskell after deliberating for little more than four hours. The jury had to choose between life in prison without parole or a death sentence. The same jury last month convicted Haskell of capital murder in the 2014 killings of Stephen and Katie Stay at their home in suburban Houston.
Lost dog found after 12 years
A toy fox terrier that disappeared from its family’s south Florida home in 2007 was this week found almost 2,000km away in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and reunited with its owner on Friday. The 14-year-old dog named Dutchess was found hungry, shivering and in serious need of a nail trim under a shed on Monday, Humane Animal Rescue said. The property owner took the dog to a Humane Animal Rescue location, where staffers located a microchip and traced the dog back to its owners in Boca Raton, Florida. The dog’s owner, Katheryn Strang, drove to Pittsburgh for an emotional reunion with Dutchess. Boca Raton is about 1,800km from Pittsburgh.
Bus crash kills at least 11
An overloaded bus plunged down a hill, killing at least 11 people and injuring 108, an official said yesterday. The packed bus was ferrying passengers — who had been celebrating the Hindu festival of Dashain — from Sindhupalchowk to neighboring Kathmandu. However, the crowded vehicle slipped and fell more than 50m at a bend. “Six people were killed instantly and five more passed away on the way to hospital or while being treated,” district official Goma Devi Chemjong told reporters.
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
SPACE RACE: The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp mission aims to land a robotic rover and put a probe into orbit around the planet China is targeting a July launch for its ambitious Mars mission, which includes landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the Red Planet, the company in charge of the project has said. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space program in an effort to catch up with its rival, the US, and affirm its status as a major world power. The Mars mission is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a space station by 2022. Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for some time this year,
India has moved additional troops along its northern border as it prepares for an extended conflict with China, after several rounds of talks failed to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region, an Indian government official said, asking not to be identified, citing rules. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by the Chinese army, the official said. The standoff began on May 5, when troops clashed
China is poised to enshrine individuals’ rights to privacy and personal data for the first time, a symbolic first step as more of the country of 1.4 billion people becomes digitized — and more vulnerable to leaks and hacks. The legislation is part of China’s first civil code, a sweeping package of laws that is being deliberated during the annual meeting of China’s National People’s Congress, which began on Friday after a delay of more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent draft, an individual has a right to privacy and to have their personal information protected. Data