News Burst 22 May 2020
- The arrest of Felicien Kabuga, one of the last key fugitives wanted over the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in a suburb of Paris has raised some difficult questions for France. Those committed to getting justice for the genocide victims want to know how fugitives such as Kabuga find refuge in France – and why it took so long to track him down. Kabuga, now 84, faces trial at an international tribunal after his arrest on Saturday. He is accused of being one of the organisers and financiers of the genocide carried out by ethnic Hutu extremists against Tutsis and moderate Hutus between April and July 1994, in which at least 800 000 people were slaughtered. According to the United Nations court indictment filed against him, Kabuga – once one of Rwanda’s richest men – used his fortune and business empire to facilitate the killings. France’s role before, during and after the genocide remains a matter of substantial controversy. France’s role before, during and after the genocide remains a matter of substantial controversy.
- US C-17 military transport aircraft with first shipment of 50 American ventilators has landed in Moscow’s Vnukovo-3 airport. Overall, the US is aiming to donate 200 ventilators. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier pointed out that the US is delivering the equipment free of charge, just like Russia previously did with ventilators for Americans. Moreover, Russia in April sent a shipment of medical materials to help Washington to fight the coronavirus spread.
- Hospital waste, human tissue, other medical waste dumped in woods, 3.5 tonnes of hazardous and infectious waste found in forest dumped outside Mexico City.
- Volkswagen has apologised for running a racist Instagram advert as part of a campaign to promote its new Golf model in Germany. The short clip showed an outsized white hand pushing around a dark-skinned man, apparently preventing him from getting into the car, before flicking him into the doorway of a Buenos Aires restaurant. And the cafe’s name is Petit Colon, which in French literally means the “Little Colonist.” The now-deleted clip, made by a creative agency, was part of a series of promotional videos shown on the stories section of VW brand’s German language Instagram account, which told the tale of an interracial couple falling in love.
- Police have released footage showing a man allegedly breaking into the Australian Museum in Sydney’s CBD. The man broke into the heritage-listed Australian Museum and was captured on CCTV cameras wandering around the exhibits for around 40 minutes, according to New South Wales police. The man was seen taking photograph with different exhibits, including a T-Rex dinosaur skull. He also allegedly took a hat believed to be owned by a member of staff before leaving the building.
- Boeing Australia presented the country’s Air Force on Tuesday with a prototype of a jet-powered drone that they hope will one day fly alongside manned warplanes while bringing artificial intelligence to the battlefield. The Loyal Wingman, at 38-foot-long (11.5 meters) and with a range of 2,000 miles (3,218.6 kilometers), will “use artificial intelligence to fly independently, or in support of manned aircraft, while maintaining safe distance between other aircraft,” according to Boeing’s website on the project. The drones will be able to engage in electronic warfare as well as intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance missions and swap quickly between those roles, according to Boeing. The aircraft delivered in Sydney on Tuesday is the first of three prototypes Boeing is producing. It’s also the first aircraft “to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years,” Boeing said in a statement.
- The Australian government has published dozens of previously redacted pages of text relating to Cardinal George Pell. Three unredacted reports published Thursday reveal for the first time the commission’s findings into what Pell knew about allegations of child sex abuse committed by priests decades ago in the Australian state of Victoria. The commission found that, as early as 1973, the former Vatican Treasurer “was not only conscious of child sex abuse by clergy but that he also had considered measures of avoiding situations which might provoke gossip about it.” The redacted pages appeared in the final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Assault, which was published in December 2017. Black lines obscured multiple pages of Case Studies 16, 28 and 35, which examined allegations of abuse in the Diocese of Ballarat, the Archdiocese of Melbourne, and the church’s mechanism to address assault claims. In 2017, the commission found former Bishop Ronald Mulkearns knew about Ridsdale’s offending from 1975 and failed to stop it. Instead, he moved him between parishes, which gave the priest access to more victims, the commission found.
- While 38-year-olds Leslie and Andrew Godfrey enjoyed a five-day, 750-mile sailing passage from Sri Lanka to the Maldives, the whole world changed. Without internet access, the couple had yet to learn that Covid-19 had continued to spread, becoming a pandemic. From March 7 to 12, as they sailed across the Laccadive Sea toward the iridescent blue water of the northern Maldives, ports had begun slamming shut at a rate that no small sailboat could keep up with. The Las Vegas-based Godfreys started planning for their five-year sailing journey around the world back in college. Sonrisa, their 39-year-old Valiant 40 sailboat, is tiny by house standards. In a given year, an estimated 10,000 small boats, sailed by families and individuals, are out exploring the world’s oceans.
- The death toll due to devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan rose to 72 across West Bengal of which 15 were reported from Kolkata. With thousands of people left homeless, bridges washed away and low-lying areas in waist deep water, state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced a compensation of Rs 2.5 lakhs for those affected. ”I have never seen such a disaster before. I will ask PM to visit the state and see the situation,” she said. The extent of the structural damage caused by Cyclone Amphan is evident from visuals of airport hangars in Kolkata collapsing and water inundating runaways.
- Three women were trampled to death during a stampede for an US$8 cash handout in Colombo on Thursday (May 21), amid growing desperation among Sri Lankans struggling to make ends meet during a coronavirus lockdown that has smashed the economy. Some 1,000 people queued outside a businessman’s warehouse for his annual handout during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. There was a rush for the 1,500-rupee gift – about the same amount as a labourer’s daily wage – when the gates opened. some people tried to break the queue and enter, that is when the women at the top of the queue fell and were trampled to death. Nine others were seriously hurt in the stampede and taken to hospital.
- The head of Ukraine’s investigation team has said that evidence from the passengers on board flight PS752 suggests that something had happened to the plane even before it was hit by the missiles fired at it by the Revolutionary Guard. Alexander Ruvin, Director of the Kyiv Research Institute of Forensics, says evidence shows that passengers were out of their seats before the two missiles hit it shortly after taking off from Tehran’s International Imam Khomeini Airport on January 8. In an interview Ruvin said at the time of the crash the plane had not reached the altitude of 8,000 meters when seat belts are allowed to be unfastened. However, he added, finding the bodies of the passengers on the crash site with no seats means there was already a state of panic on the plane and the passengers had left their seats. It is not clear why Ruvin says people left their seats before the first missile hit. They might have done so between the two impacts since the second missile hit 30 seconds later. There is reason to believe that [something] was burning inside and black smoke was getting out through holes,” Ruvin said and added that the team did not find the lower part of the plane and all but four of the seats.
- “Beloved” female giant panda Tan Tan is preparing to return home to China after 20 years of putting smiles on the faces of visitors at Kobe Oji Zoo here. The zoo announced on May 19 that the star attraction, its only panda, will be sent back to her homeland as her lease is ending. The city borrowed the panda with the aim of cheering up residents who had experienced the devastating 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake. “Tan Tan came to Kobe to cheer up people and has been particularly loved by children,” said Hiroyuki Ueyama, the head of the zoo, on May 19. “We really appreciate what she has done.” Tan Tan, 24, joined the zoo in 2000 when she was a young panda under a Japan-China joint breeding research program, with a limited term of 10 years. The loan period was extended to July 2020. Her return date has yet to be decided as a flight to China has been unable to be booked due to the new coronavirus outbreak. According to the Panda Protection Institute of Japan, the total number of giant pandas in Japan will be nine after Tan Tan returns home: three in Tokyo’s Ueno Zoological Gardens and six in Adventure World in Wakayama Prefecture. [Depressing]
- The Philippines has become the world’s largest known source of online child sexual exploitation, with endemic poverty helping drive a surge in abuse, a report said Thursday. Parents and relatives were responsible for facilitating the abuse in nearly all cases, according to the International Justice Mission aid group’s seven-year study. The combination of English fluency and high internet connectivity in the former US colony had helped make the country a “global hotspot” for child pornography, the report said. The proportion of Philippine internet addresses used to host child pornography had tripled in the three years to 2017, said the study, which based its findings on data collected by law enforcement data.
- Millions of Indians were rattled by a loud boom that shook their city Wednesday — one that baffled even local cops and emergency officials. The boom was heard across the nation’s tech-capital city of Bengaluru — which has a population of more than 8 million — at about 1:25 p.m. Wednesday
Sunspot number: 0
Current Stretch: 19 days
2020 total: 110 days (77%)
2019 total: 281 days (77%)
Tropical Cyclone Mangga – Cat 1 – w/v 35-50 kts 996 hPa Moving SE 6 kts Intensifying – West of Cocos Islands, Indian Ocean – The system is expected to track to the southeast and pass to the west of Cocos (Keeling) Islands during Friday. The system will then accelerate to the southeast and bring severe weather to western WA on Sunday and Monday.
Strongest EQ in Europe M5.7 Crete, Greece
Strongest EQ in North America M4.4 Idaho
2nd Strongest EQ on the Planet M5.1 Papua New Guinea
Deepest EQ M5.1 500 km Fiji News Burst 22 May 2020