‘Alien signals’ reported
Beijing said its giant Sky Eye telescope might have picked up signs of life beyond Earth, the state-backed Science and Technology Daily said in a report, which it then appeared to have deleted, along with posts about the discovery. The narrow-band electromagnetic signals detected by Sky Eye — the world’s largest radio telescope — differ from previous ones captured and the team is investigating them, the report said, citing Zhang Tongjie (張同傑), chief scientist of an extraterrestrial civilization search team cofounded by Beijing Normal University, the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of California, Berkeley. However, the suspicious signals could also be some kind of radio interference and require further investigation, Zhang added.
Ryanair drops Afrikaans test
Ryanair has dropped a requirement for South Africans to prove their nationality before traveling by completing a test in Afrikaans due to a surge in fake South African passports, chief executive officer Michael O’Leary said. The South African government last week said it was taken aback by the low-cost carrier’s decision to force UK-bound travelers holding the country’s passport to take the test, calling the move a “backward profiling system.” Afrikaans is spoken by just 12 percent of the 58 million people in the country, and is often associated with apartheid and white minority rule. O’Leary described the South African government’s profiling accusation as “rubbish,” but said the test had been dropped. “Our team issued a test in Afrikaans of 12 simple questions like what’s the name of the mountain outside Pretoria? They have no difficulty completing that, but we didn’t think it was appropriate either,” he said.
President reshuffles Cabinet
President Joko Widodo yesterday announced a Cabinet reshuffle, appointing a new trade minister following controversy over a series of policy flip-flops on palm oil exports. In an official ceremony at the state palace the president inaugurated Zukifli Hasan, chairman of the National Mandate Party and a former forestry minister as the next minister of trade. His predecessor, Muhammad Lutfi, oversaw a flip-flop on policies to contain a surge in domestic cooking oil prices, which included a ban on palm oil shipments from the world’s biggest exporter. The three-week export ban sent shock waves through global markets and led to a series of arrests for alleged corruption before it was lifted on May 23. Widodo also announced changes to the agrarian and spatial planning ministry, appointing former Indonesian National Armed Forces commander Hadi Tjahjanto. He also inaugurated three deputy ministers to the ministries of manpower, spatial planning and home affairs.
Coal walk ends with 25 hurt
Twenty-five people have been treated for burns after walking on hot coals in northern Switzerland, Zurich state police said in a statement. Emergency services were alerted to injuries at a private event on the Au Peninsula on Lake Zurich on Tuesday evening. They said that 25 people were given medical treatment at the scene, and 13 of them were hospitalized with more severe injuries. Investigators secured evidence and started an investigation into the circumstances of the incident. There was no immediate word on why the people walked over hot coals.
LOST AT SEA: Survivors of a sunken Cambodian ship said they floated for two days in open waters, while a UN official said that traffickers might continue undeterred Chinese survivors from a boat that sank near a Cambodian island, killing three people and leaving eight missing, said they embarked on what they believed would be a short-term fishing job and ended up without food and water aboard the vessel, and their belongings were taken away. Cambodian authorities said on Friday they rescued 21 people one day after the boat small wooden fishing vessel sank near Koh Tang, a Cambodian island close to the maritime border with Vietnam. Nine more people were rescued by the Vietnamese and three bodies were recovered by Cambodia, leaving eight people still missing, Preah Sihanouk provincial
SOUTH CHINA SEA: Despite differences on some matters, Marcos has pledged to foster closer ties with China, calling the relationship ‘advantageous’ to both nations The Philippines is interested in renewing talks with China on joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea to expand and diversify its sources of energy, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said in an interview. The Southeast Asian country seeks a compromise with China, which is claiming parts of the South China Sea that are within Philippine territory, Marcos said, stressing that any agreement must not contravene his nation’s laws. While the Philippines and China could not agree on which nation’s law would apply, “we continue to explore, perhaps there can be other ways that we can do it,” Marcos
Prominent Chinese commentator Hu Xijin (胡錫進) on Sunday said that as China ponders its COVID-19 policies, epidemic experts need to speak out and China ought to conduct comprehensive research and make any studies transparent to the public. Hu’s unusual call on Chinese social media for candor and transparency earned him 34,000 likes on the popular Sina Weibo microblogging platform, as well as frank responses from commentators in a normally tightly policed Internet quick to censor voices deemed a risk to social stability. China’s top leaders warned in May amid the COVID-19 lockdown of Shanghai and widespread restrictions in the Chinese capital, Beijing,
‘DEVOTED GUARDIANS’: A Chinese foreign affairs official said his nation’s diplomats would not ‘sit and do nothing while our country’s interests are being harmed’ China yesterday signaled no letup in its combative approach to foreign policy in a third term for Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) as leader despite criticism from many Western diplomats that the so-called “wolf warrior” stance has been counterproductive. As relations with the West have soured over issues from trade and human rights to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese diplomats have often been confrontational on the public stage, including on social media, a stridency that some critics see as intended for a domestic audience that nonetheless hurts its foreign ties. “We Chinese will not capitulate. We will not sit and do nothing while