Woman fights death claim
Jeanne Pouchain in 2017 received an official letter from the court of appeal in Lyon stating that she had died and asking her relatives to pay money she was alleged to have owed. She has been fighting the state ever since to prove that she is still alive. “I feel like I’m living a nightmare,” she said. “I’m alive for my husband, for my son, for my loved ones, for the people around me, but for the justice system, I’m dead.” The former boss of a cleaning firm said the mix-up appears to have started with a lawsuit filed years ago by a disgruntled former employee. Her lawyers have petitioned a court to grant a new hearing so they can present their case that their client is not dead. “The most important thing is to prove that I’m alive. To prove I exist,” Pouchain said. “I want the state to return my identity.”
Meng sent death threats
Huawei Technologies Co chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟) has received multiple death threats, including bullets in the mail, while under house arrest in Vancouver, a court was told on Wednesday. The threats were revealed during testimony by Doug Maynard, chief operating officer of Lions Gate Risk Management, the company providing her security detail. Meng received “five or six” threatening letters at her residence in June and July last year, he said, adding that “sometimes there were bullets inside the envelopes.” The sender’s identity and possible motivation were not disclosed.
Tintin painting on sale
A painting of comic book hero Tintin that for years was kept folded in a drawer was due to go on sale at a Paris auction house yesterday, with an estimated sale price of more than 2 million euros (US$2.43 million). The painting by Belgian illustrator and comic book author Georges Remi, better known by his nom de plume Herge, was submitted to his editor as a proposed cover, but never used. Herge later gave it to Jean-Louis Casterman, heir to the publishing house that published his books. The image shows Tintin, in oriental dress and flanked by his dog, Snowy, hiding in a vase from a rampant red dragon.
Firms warned over pipeline
The Department of State this month told European companies that it suspects are helping to build Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that they face a risk of sanctions, a spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday. The department reached out to firms after Jan. 1, alerting them to the new sanctions risk after the Senate overrode President Donald Trump’s veto of a massive defense bill that contained punitive measures on the pipeline, the spokesperson said. The department was expected this week to issue a report on companies it believes are helping the Russia-to-Germany pipeline.
CIA releases UFO files
Thousands of documents from the CIA on unidentified flying objects were released this week in a document dump that the agency says includes all its records on UFOs. The documents are available on the Black Vault, an online archive of declassified government documents. About 2,700 pages were included in the dump. “The CIA has made it INCREDIBLY difficult to use their records in a reasonable manner,” Black Vault founder John Greenewald Jr wrote to Vice’s Motherboard. “This outdated format makes it very difficult for people to see the documents, and use them, for any research purpose.”
Google blocks news sites
Google has started hiding news sites from some local users, in an experiment that comes amid Canberra’s push to compel tech firms to pay media outlets for their content. The government plans to force Google and Facebook to pay media organisations when their platforms host their content or face millions of dollars in fines. The “world first” rules, due to come into effect this year, have drawn the tech companies’ ire. The Australian Financial Review reported that Google was blocking several major commercial news outlets including its masthead, News Corp papers and the Guardian Australia from a small number of search users. A Google spokesman said that the changes were part of the “tens of thousands of experiments” that it runs.
Duterte defends China jab
President Rodrigo Duterte defended his government’s decision to purchase Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines, saying that they are as good as the shots developed by the Americans and the Europeans. “The Chinese are not lacking in brains,” Duterte said in a late-night televised address on Wednesday. “The Chinese are bright. They would not venture [into producing vaccines] if it is not safe, sure and secure.” Duterte made the remarks as questions have been raised over the level of protection that Sinovac Biotech’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine can provide, after researchers in Brazil released late-stage clinical data showing efficacy that was lower than initially announced.
Xi seeks Starbucks’ help
President Xi Jinping (習近平) encouraged former Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz and the coffee company to play a role in promoting US-China trade cooperation and bilateral ties, state media reported yesterday. State broadcaster CCTV said that Xi made the remarks in a message when replying to Schultz, who also holds the honorary title of Starbucks chairman emeritus.
Curbs on BNO holders mulled
China is discussing whether to ban territory residents who hold special British passports from public office, the South China Morning Post reported. The proposal is intended as retaliation against the British government’s decision last year to create a pathway to citizenship for the more than 1 million residents in the territory who hold British National Overseas (BNO) passports, the newspaper said, citing unidentified sources. Chinese lawmakers were also mulling whether to deny BNO holders the right to vote in the territory, although the report said that there was disagreement over such a step.
Congress ends with art show
Leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday wrapped up a Workers’ Party congress at a mass indoor art performance, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported yesterday. Kim and other government officials packed into an indoor stadium in Pyongyang to watch performances from military and civilian art troupes and youth groups, mostly on themes of glorifying Kim’s leadership and reinforcing messaging from the congress, KCNA said. The performance was the latest in a series of large gatherings this week where Kim and the other attendees did not appear to wear masks or use other social distancing measures, according to images released by state media.
On the Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo, enthusiastic slackers share their tips: Fill up a thermos with whiskey, do planks or stretches in the work pantry at regular intervals, drink liters of water to prompt lots of trips to the toilet on work time, and, once there, spend time on social media or playing games on your phone. “Not working hard is everyone’s basic right,” one commenter wrote. “With or without legal protection, everyone has the right to not work hard.” Young Chinese people are pushing back against an engrained culture of overwork, and embracing a philosophy of laziness known as “touching
‘STUNNED’: With help from an official at the US Department of Justice, Donald Trump reportedly planned to oust the acting attorney general in a bid to overturn the election Former US president Donald Trump was at his Florida resort on Saturday, beginning post-presidency life while US President Joe Biden settled into the White House, but in Washington and beyond, the chaos of the 45th president’s final days in office continued to throw out damaging aftershocks. In yet another earth-shaking report, the New York Times said that Trump plotted with an official at the US Department of Justice to fire the acting attorney general, then force Georgia Republicans to overturn his defeat in that state. Meanwhile, former acting US secretary of defense Christopher Miller made an extraordinary admission, telling Vanity Fair that
Boeing set a target of designing and certifying its jetliners to fly on 100 percent sustainable fuels by 2030, amid rising pressure on planemakers to take climate change seriously. Regulators allow a 50-50 blend of sustainable and conventional fuels, and Boeing on Friday said it would work with authorities to raise the limit. Rival Airbus is considering another tack: a futuristic lineup of hydrogen-powered aircraft that would reach the skies by 2035. The aircraft manufacturers face growing public clamor to cut emissions in the aviation industry, which added more than 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in 2019, according to
Mongolian Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh on Thursday resigned following a protest over a hospital’s treatment of a new mother who tested positive for COVID-19. Khurelsukh, whose Mongolian People’s Party holds a strong majority in the parliament known as the State Great Khural, stepped down after accusing Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga of the Democratic Party of orchestrating a political crisis. A small protest broke out in the capital, Ulan Bator, on Wednesday after TV footage appeared of a woman who had just given birth being escorted in slippers and a thin robe from the maternity ward to a special wing for COVID-19 patients