News Burst 30 December 2019
- Chinese scientist He Jiankui, who created the world’s first “gene-edited” babies, has been sentenced to three years in prison and fined 3 million yuan (US$430,000). He, along with two others named Zhang Renli and Qin Jinzhou, was convicted by a Shenzhen court on Monday on charges related to the “illegally carrying out human embryo gene-editing intended for reproduction”, which led to the births of three genetically edited babies.
- Hong Kong will end 2019 with multiple protests planned for New Year’s Eve (Dec 31) and New Year’s Day aimed at disrupting festivities and shopping in the Asian financial hub, which has seen a rise in clashes between police and protesters since Christmas. Events dubbed “Suck the Eve” and “Shop with you” are scheduled for New Year’s Eve on Tuesday around the city, including in the party district of Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong’s picturesque Victoria Harbour, and popular shopping malls, according to notices circulated on social media.
- Pakistan is currently in the grip of severe cold wave, with the mercury on Sunday, Dec 29 plunging to record-breaking -21C (-5.8F) in Skardu, a city located the central valley of Gilgit-Baltistan. According to local reports, the small canals and ponds in Skardu have been frozen due to the severe low temperature, while snowfall has also blocked many main roads and passes.
- With fewer than 2 full-days remaining, India’s capital Delhi is about to register its second-coldest month of December since records began in 1901. Several flights have been diverted and almost three dozen trains are running behind schedule as a thick blanket of fog covers New Delhi amid an unusually severe winter season.
- A group of friends started an IT company in 2013 and for a few years all was going smoothly, with profits steadily growing. However, a major rift then broke out among its leadership, which ended with one of the co-founders being shown the door. The man went to look for a new job outside France, but he didn’t forget the wrong done to him by his former associates. That’s how a businessman became a hacker. An investigation established that between December 2018 and January 2019, he used remote transactions to snatch 182 units of bitcoin, which is around €1.1 million ($1.2 million), from the company’s accounts. Having the inside-out knowledge of how the firm operates, the man never exceeded the withdrawal limit that automatically triggers an alarm.
- At 2:00 pm UTC on 30 December, Tropical Cyclone Sarai (Category 2) was tracking closer to Nuku’alofa, Tonga, than previously forecast. On its current track, Tropical Cyclone Sarai is expected to be located 90km west of Nuku’alofa at 7:00pm. Occasional rain and strong to gale force winds will continue to affect the group this morning. The maximum winds near its center are about 50 knots (100 km/hr) with momentary gusts of up to 60 knots (120km/hr).
- A population of coral reefs is making a remarkable recovery around the newest island on Earth, Hunga Tonga – Hunga Ha’apai (HTHH), after it was formed during a volcanic eruption in 2015. The island is 200m high and connects the neighbouring islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’apai. The finding was made by a team of scientists recently, who were studying the effects of the eruption on coral reef diversity around the island.
- Merry Christams Pacific Islanders: The Office of the Drug Control under the Australian Government’s Department of Health has announced the amount of kava that can be imported by a traveller for personal use has increased from 2kg to 4kg.
- Report: “Bali, Indonesia’s most-visited island, has suffered the effects of overtourism in the last few years to the point that the government is weighing a tourist tax to help combat some of the more sinister effects on the environment.” According to this report, people are actually being advised to give the Indonesian island a miss next year, in order to give the wildlife and nature a chance to recuperate.
- A volunteer firefighter was killed battling Australian bushfires on Monday as “columns” of flames generating their own dangerous weather systems bore down on a tourist region, prompting the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. Around 100 fires are burning across Australia, with as many as 14 “emergency” warnings in place for Victoria while fires are also threatening homes and infrastructure in South Australia and Tasmania.
- Severe Tropical Storm Calvinia 55kts ↑ 980 hPa ↓ S of Mauritius – Moving SE 5 kts ↓
- Tropical Cyclone Sarai 45 kts ↓ 987 hPa ↑ SW of Tonga – Moving SE 7 kts ↓
Strongest EQ in Europe M3.5 Romania
Strongest EQ in US M3.7 Alaska
Strongest EQ on the Planet M5.3 Southwest of Africa
Deepest EQ M4.4 388 km Kamchatka, RussiaNews Burst 30 December 2019