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International News

Japan’s NEC shows "flying car" hovering steadily for minute


Experience, training, insurance could be required on Mount Everest


From The Asian Reporter, V29, #16 (August 19, 2019), page 2.

Lost baby dugong dies of shock, ingesting plastic

BANGKOK (AP) — An eight-month-old dugong nurtured by marine experts after it was found lost near a beach in southern Thailand has died of what biologists believe was a combination of shock and ingesting plastic waste. The female dugong — a large ocean mammal — was named "Marium" and became a hit in Thailand after images of biologists embracing and feeding her with milk and sea grass spread across social media. Veterinarians and volunteers had set out in canoes to feed Marium for up to 15 times a day while also giving her health checks. Last week, she was found bruised after being chased and supposedly attacked by a male dugong during the mating season, said Jatuporn Buruspat, the director-general of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. She was brought in for treatment in the artificial sea on Libong Island in Krabi province. "We assume she wandered off too far from her natural habitat and was chased, and eventually attacked by another male dugong, or dugongs, as they feel attracted to her," he said. An autopsy showed a large amount of plastic waste in her intestine, which could also have played a part in her death as it led to gastritis and blood infection, he said. "She must’ve thought these plastics were edible," Jatuporn said. The dugong is a species of marine mammal similar to the American manatee. It can grow to about 11 feet in length. Its conservation status is listed as vulnerable.

First-round NBA pick Hachimura scores 35 points for Japan

CHIBA, Japan (AP) — First-round National Basketball Association (NBA) draft pick Rui Hachimura scored 35 points to lead Japan to a 99-89 win over New Zealand in a World Cup warm-up game at Port Chiba Arena. Hachimura became the first player from Japan to be chosen in the first round of the NBA draft, taken with the No. 9 overall pick by the rebuilding Washington Wizards in June. The former Gonzaga University star played in the NBA’s Summer League for the Wizards, but now will take up national duties for Japan at the World Cup and for other warm-up games, including New Zealand again on Wednesday. "We got off to a good start and went from there ... I want to lead this team," Hachimura said after the game. "I’m just happy to be back in Japan after a while for these friendly games." The 21-year-old from Toyama prefecture scored 22 points in the first half and impressed Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey. "I think he’s going to be a heck of a player, the NBA is a physical game, a tough game. He’s got a great body for the NBA," Casey, who is in Japan for a coaching clinic and was at the game as a spectator, told Kyodo News. "I see Rui ... developing his game to move out to the 3-point line. Because that’s where the NBA is. Great kid, great work ethic." Tai Webster led New Zealand with 18 points. Japan played without Memphis Grizzlies’ forward Yuta Watanabe, who has an ankle injury. Japan opens its World Cup competition against Turkey on September 1 in Shanghai and then takes on Czech Republic and the United States.

Cambodian rescued after being wedged in mountain rock

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A Cambodian man who became wedged between rocks while collecting bat droppings for sale was rescued after being trapped for almost four days. Police said Sum Bora slipped while trying to retrieve his flashlight, which he accidentally dropped in the small rocky hollow. Bat droppings — guano — are used as fertilizer and sold for supplementary income by poor farmers, who sometimes try to attract bats to their property. Cambodia’s Fresh News reported that when the 28-year-old failed to return home after three days, his worried family began to search for him. His brother discovered him in the Chakry mountain jungle in the northwestern province of Battambang and alerted authorities. Police Maj. Sareth Visen said about 200 rescue personnel took about 10 hours to carefully extricate the trapped man by destroying bits of the rock that had pinned him. Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world, with 35% of its 15.2 million people living in poverty, according to a September 2018 report by the United Nations Development Program.

Malaysia renews Aussie rare earth plant’s permit, sets rules

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s government extended Australian miner Lynas Corp.’s license to operate a rare earth refinery for six months but set new rules for it to tackle radioactive waste amid renewed public fears of health and environmental risks. Lynas has been operating its Malaysian refinery, the first outside China producing minerals that are crucial to high-tech manufacturing, in central Pahang state since 2012 but it hasn’t dealt with low-level radioactive waste accumulating at its plant. The Atomic Energy Licensing Board said Lynas’ operating license, which expires September 2, will be renewed for another six months but it must move its cracking and leaching process — which produces the radioactive waste from Australian ore — out of Malaysia in four years. It said in a statement that Lynas will also have to identify a site to construct a permanent disposal facility in the country or get written approval from a country willing to accept more than 580,000 tons of waste stockpiled at its refinery, which is exposed to possible floods and other natural disasters. It told the miner to halt plans to process the waste into agricultural soil conditioner. The Lynas issue has put Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s government, which won a stunning victory in general elections in May 2018, in a tight spot. Some members of the current government previously opposed Lynas’ operation in the country, citing high risks of pollution. Cabinet members are also divided, with entrepreneur minister Mohamad Redzuan Yusof supporting rare earth as a strategic industry that could open doors for new investment in the country.

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