Plastics found at Everest
Traces of microplastics have been found close to the top of Mount Everest, likely originating from equipment used by the hundreds of climbers who summit the world’s highest peak every year, a study showed on Friday. In the first study of microplastics on Everest, by a research team part of the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition, the tiny pollutants were found as high as 8,440m above sea level, although concentration levels were higher at the mountain’s base camp. The findings, which reveal the potential threat to Everest posed by plastic pollutants, were published in the environmental journal One Earth.
Police investigate doctor
Police have opened a murder inquiry against a senior doctor in the western city of Essen over the killing of two seriously ill COVID-19 patients with a lethal injection, authorities said. The doctor, 44, who had been working at the University Hospital in Essen since February, is suspected of having killed two men, aged 47 and 50, who were in intensive care with very severe cases of the disease, Essen police said on Friday. They said the man, who was arrested on Wednesday, had confessed to one of the killings, saying that he had wanted to spare the patient and his relatives further suffering. The Bild daily reported that the doctor had informed the patients’ families before killing them with a lethal injection.
Panda cub makes debut
Chewing on his paw and falling asleep on his face, the first giant panda born in the country made his public debut on Friday at the age of almost seven months. Fan Xing went on show at the Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen after it reopened following a COVID-19 shutdown. “I think he looks fine... Mum is around, he feels safe so that’s nice,” Ouwehands zoological manager Jose Kok said. “I’m also very proud because it was a cub that was a result of a natural mating,” Kok said. He must return to China in four years as part of an international breeding program.
Man sentenced in cold case
A court has sentenced a man to 12 years in jail over the death of a boy who disappeared from a youth camp two decades ago in a cold case that shocked the country. Jos Brech, 58, was found guilty of kidnapping 11-year-old Nicky Verstappen “in an act that led to his death,” sexual assault and possession of child pornography. Limburg Regional Court judges cleared former scout worker Brech of manslaughter charges saying there was not enough evidence to convict him for the boy’s death. Verstappen’s body was found on Aug. 11, 1998, a day after he disappeared from a youth camp in southern Limburg Province. He likely died from suffocation, but the cause of death could not be established, the judges said.
Police pursue shooter
Eight people were on Friday injured in a shooting at a US mall in Wisconsin, police said, adding that they were still hunting for the shooter. The FBI and the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s office wrote on Twitter that officers were on the scene at the Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, supporting the “active” response by local police. “When emergency personnel arrived, the shooter was no longer at the scene,” the Wauwatosa Police Department said in a statement. The wounded included seven adults and a teenager who had been rushed to a hospital, it said.
Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger said the incoming administration of US president-elect Joe Biden should move quickly to restore lines of communication with China that frayed during US President Donald Trump’s term or risk a crisis that could escalate into military conflict. “Unless there is some basis for some cooperative action, the world will slide into a catastrophe comparable to World War I,” Kissinger said during the opening session of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum. He said military technologies available today would make such a crisis “even more difficult to control” than those of earlier eras. “America and China are
14 GRIEVANCES: Australia’s values, democracy and sovereignty ‘are not up for trade,’ the prime minister said, after Beijing accused Canberra of poisoning bilateral relations Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would not compromise national security and sovereignty, as Beijing ramped up its criticism of his government and warned it against making China an enemy. “Australia will always be ourselves,” Morrison said in a television interview yesterday with the Nine Network. “We will always set our own laws and our own rules according to our national interests — not at the behest of any other nation, whether that’s the US or China or anyone else.” A Chinese diplomat in Canberra gave a document to Australian media outlets outlining 14 grievances and accusing Canberra of “poisoning bilateral
For thousands of years, the dainty Fritillaria delavayi has grown slowly on the rocky slopes of the Hengduan mountains in China, producing a bright green flower after its fifth year. The conspicuous small plant has one deadly enemy: people, who harvest the flower for traditional Chinese medicine. As commercial harvesting has intensified, Fritillaria delavayi has vanished — by rapidly evolving to produce gray and brown leaves and flowers that cannot be so easily seen by pickers. Scientists have discovered that the color of the plant’s leaves has become more camouflaged — matching the background rocks on which they grow — in areas where
On the morning of Oct. 23, a 56-year-old employee at West Japan Railway was inspecting trains when he encountered an Asian black bear just outside Tsuruga Station in Japan’s northwestern Fukui Prefecture. He escaped with just a scratch, but about 10 minutes later, the same bear fractured the leg of a worker at a nearby construction site. Four days before the incident, a male bear entered a four-story shopping center in neighboring Ishikawa Prefecture. The 1.3m-tall bear holed up in a storage room for 13 hours, until it was shot by a local hunting group. Between April and September, wild bears were spotted 13,670