Deer-edible bags invented
The deer that roam Nara no longer face discomfort — or far worse — after local firms developed a safe alternative to the plastic packaging discarded by tourists that often ended up in the animals’ stomachs. Last year, several of the 1,300 deer that wander around the ancient capital’s central park were found dead after swallowing plastic bags and food wrappers. Firms collaborated to develop bags that pass safely through the animals’ complex digestive system. The bags are made with recycled pulp from milk cartons and rice bran, one of the main ingredients of the shika senbei savory crackers fed to them by tourists.
‘Save 12 HK youths’ spreads
A social media campaign calling for the release of 12 Hong Kongers detained in China is gaining ground, with support from international advocates, campaigners and politicians, including Greta Thunberg, sharing the #save12HKyouths hashtag. The campaign hopes to draw international attention to the plight of 12 young people held under tight security in China after they were caught allegedly trying to flee Hong Kong by boat. On Aug. 23, Chinese authorities intercepted a speedboat off the coast of southern Guangdong Province carrying 12 people aged 16 to 30, who were allegedly heading to Taiwan.
Air quality grim five years on
Environmental conditions are “grim,” falling short of public expectations even after five years of efforts to improve air quality, boost clean energy and curb greenhouse gas emissions, a senior official said yesterday. “There is still a long way to go,” said Deputy Minister of Ecology and Environment Zhao Yingmin (趙英民), even though China has met a series of targets on smog, water quality and carbon emissions. China remains dependent on heavy industry and coal, and the “grim environmental trends” have not fundamentally changed, he added.
Visa jostling starts stampede
At least 15 people on Tuesday were killed in a stampede among thousands gathered outside Pakistan’s consulate, as jostling broke out between people applying for visas in Jalalabad, the Nangarhar Provincial Government said. About 3,000 Afghans had congregated, waiting to collect tokens needed to apply, two provincial officials told reporters a day after the tragedy. Eleven of the 15 victims were women, and several senior citizens were among more than a dozen injured, Nangarhar Provincial Councilor Sohrab Qaderi said. “The visa applicants jostled to secure their token from the consulate officials... The crowd got out of control, leading to a stampede,” an official in Jalalabad said.
One killed in poll clashes
At least one person was killed and many others injured in more clashes between supporters of President Alpha Conde and those of opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo, Minister of Security Albert Damantang Camara said on Tuesday. The clashes erupted in Kissidougou, about 700km southeast of the capital Conakry, after Diallo declared on Monday that he had won Sunday’s presidential election, Camara said. “One person was killed, and many, including police officers who intervened, were injured,” he said, adding that a curfew has been declared in the area. Diallo’s victory claim before the official count was completed by the electoral commission raised concerns that it could escalate violence in the tense aftermath of the vote.
Vandalism linked to rumors
Objects including Egyptian sarcophagi, stone sculptures and 19th-century paintings held at the Pergamon Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie and the Neues Museum sustained visible damage during an attack on Oct. 3, the weekly Die Zeit and broadcaster Deutschlandfunk reported on Tuesday. Media have linked the Museum Island attack to conspiracy theories pushed through social media channels by prominent COVID-19 deniers. One such theory claims that the Pergamon Museum is the center of the “global satanism scene” because it holds a reconstruction of the ancient Greek Pergamon Altar.
Billionaire’s home burgled
Burglars in Paris made off with more than 500,000 euros (US$592,878) in fur coats, jewelry, handbags and other luxury goods after breaking into the home of Russian billionaire Nikolai Sarkisov, a police source said yesterday. Sarkisov, 52, is the cofounder along with his brother of Reso-Guarantee, one of Russia’s biggest insurance companies. His 600m2 duplex is on Avenue Foch, one of the most expensive streets in the French capital, near the Champs-Elysees. The thieves struck in broad daylight last week while the businessman was away in the Mediterranean resort of Saint-Tropez.
Study reveals grim figures
Air pollution killed 476,000 newborns last year, with the biggest hotspots in India and Sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new global study that said nearly two-thirds of the deaths came from noxious fumes from cooking fuels. More than 116,000 Indian infants died from air pollution in the first month of life, and the corresponding figure was 236,000 in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the State of Global Air report. The estimates were produced by the US-based Health Effects Institute, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease project.
Report implicates Trump
President Donald Trump spent years cultivating business projects in China, where he maintained a previously unknown bank account, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, as he attempts to portray election rival former vice president Joe Biden as weaker on Beijing. Trump maintained an office in China during his first run for president and partnered with a major government-controlled company, the paper reported. Trump additionally keeps a previously unknown bank account in China, controlled by Trump International Hotels Management, according to an analysis of his tax records by the paper.
Saudi crown prince sued
The fiancee of slain Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi and a human rights group that he founded filed a lawsuit on Tuesday with allegations that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince ordered him killed. The civil lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages against Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also named more than 20 other Saudi Arabians as defendants. It coincides with complications in the US-Saudi Arabia relationship over the 2018 slaying of Khashoggi, Riyadh’s human rights record, its role in Yemen’s civil war and other issues. The Saudi Arabian embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit. The crown prince has denied ordering Khashoggi’s murder.
‘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
A CAUTIONARY TALE: Bookseller Lam Wing-kee speaks of the danger that his adopted home Taiwan now faces and the ordeal of his detention in China Lam Wing-kee (林榮基) leaned forward in his chair, answering quickly and sharply to issue a warning to the people of his new home, Taiwan. “Be ready now,” Lam said. “We should be more alert as citizens, we should get ready,” the 64-year-old Hong Konger said. “If they can take Hong Kong back, the next place, I feel, is Taiwan.” Late in Taipei at Causeway Bay Books Mark II, on the 10th floor of a nondescript building, Lam, a wiry, gray-haired bookseller, was sitting at his desk with a bemused gaze behind thin oval glasses. The desk was neat, but crowded with books and a
‘POLICE EVERYWHERE’: A law that would criminalize the publication of images of police officers was passed by the National Assembly and awaits Senate approval Violent clashes erupted in Paris on Saturday as tens of thousands took to the streets to protest against new security legislation, with tensions intensified by the police beating and racial abuse of a black man that shocked France. Several fires were started in Paris, sending acrid smoke into the air, as protesters vented their anger against the security law, which would restrict the publication of police officers’ faces. About 46,000 people marched in Paris and 133,000 in total nationwide, the French Ministry of the Interior said. Protest organizers said about 500,000 joined nationwide, including 200,000 in the capital. French President Emmanuel Macron late
Not enough beds and not enough doctors: a skyrocketing COVID-19 caseload is pushing hospitals in the Balkans to the cusp of collapse, in chaotic scenes reminding some medics of the region’s 1990s wars. After nearly a year of keeping outbreaks more or less under control, the nightmare scenario that the Balkans feared from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is now starting to unfold. In hard-hit Bosnia-Herzegovina, one doctor described the distress of having to juggle the care of multiple patients whose lives were hanging by a thread. “The situation reminds me of the war, and I’m afraid it could get even worse