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Crew rescued in Australia after marlin punched hole in fishing boat

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Crew rescued in Australia after marlin punched hole in fishing boat

 …As Death toll from Brazil floods rises to 40***

 The crew of a fishing vessel was rescued off the eastern coast of Australia after a 70kg black marlin slammed into the boat’s engine and punched a hole in its canvas.

The skipper of the 6.7-meter private fishing boat said that the crew hooked the marlin at about 1.00 p.m. (0200 GMT) on Sunday.

This happened when the fish turned around and hit the vessel, which was some 32km off Tura Head in southern New South Wales.

“We were fighting it and it did a U-turn and slammed into the engine,’’ the skipper said in comments cited by Marine Rescue NSW on Monday.

“It happened so quickly.

“It was a freaky thing. We had to cut the line,’’ the skipper added.

Rescuers said that the fish slammed into the boat’s engine and punched a hole in its canvas cover, disabling its power.

“It was an unusual rescue,’’ said Marine Rescue Merimbula Unit Commander, Bill Blakeman, who was part of the crew that towed the fishing vessel back to land.

“I have had a couple of shark-related incidents over the years where they attacked propellers, but never a marlin disabling a vessel,’’ Blakeman said.

Black marlins or Makaira indica have a long, pointed bill and can grow to a maximum length of five metres and can weigh up to over 700kg.

According to NSW’s Department of Primary Industries, they are not normally considered dangerous.

However, they have been known to attack boats and floating objects by impaling them with their bills. 

In another development, at least, 40 people have been killed after heavy rains caused floods and landslides,  along the Atlantic coast in the Brazilian State of São Paulo over the weekend, according to officials.

About 39 people died in São Sebastião in south-eastern Brazil, the regional government said on Tuesday.

Another person was reported dead in the city of Ubatuba. Children were also among those killed, according to media reports.

More than 600 millimeters of rainfall were recorded within 24 hours in the state of São Paulo, according to the regional government.

The regional government said it is one of the largest amounts ever recorded in Brazil over such a short period of time.

In February 2022, more than 200 people were killed after heavy rainfall caused landslides and floods in the mountainous region near Rio de Janeiro.

More than 500 firefighters and other rescue forces were still searching for survivors along the coast of São Paulo, but blocked roads were hampering the rescue efforts.

Over 40 people are still missing, according to the report.

São Paulo Governor Tarcísio de Freitas has ordered three days of mourning.

Some 2,500 people were believed to have lost their homes or were forced to leave them due to the floods.

Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who visited the affected region on Monday, said no more houses should be built in high-risk areas. 

– dpa

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Israel passes law to shield Netanyahu from being declared unfit

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Israel passes law to shield Netanyahu from being declared unfit

Israeli lawmakers on Thursday, passed a law to make it harder to declare Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as unfit to serve.

The first in a series of laws comprising the far-right government’s controversial judicial overhaul plan.

The bill was passed early in the morning after a heated overnight debate, with 61 members of the 120-seat Knesset (parliament) voting in favour and 47 against.

The remaining lawmakers either abstained or were not present for the vote.

It was approved despite warnings from Israel’s Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, who said the law would shield the incumbent Netanyahu from being ousted over his corruption trial.

Under the new controversial law, a prime minister could only be declared unfit and forced to step down if three-quarters of the government’s ministers confirmed so due to the prime minister’s physical or psychological incapacity.

The new legislation was an amendment to a quasi-constitutional basic law that provided guidelines for dealing with a prime minister who was unable to perform their duties.

The vote came only hours before Israelis launch another day of nationwide protests against the judicial overhaul.

Since the start of 2023, hundreds of thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets across the country in weekly protests to oppose the government’s plan to weaken the Supreme Court.

The protest was also against the expansion of the powers of the government over the judiciary.

The crisis had sparked nationwide turmoil, with calls from within the military’s elite units to refuse to show up for duty in case the overhaul would be approved, unnerved high-tech investors, and drawn international criticism. 

– Xinhua

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Xi wraps up ‘constructive’ Moscow visit, no breakthrough on Ukraine

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Xi wraps up ‘constructive’ Moscow visit, no breakthrough on Ukraine

Chinese President Xi Jinping was on his way back to Beijing on Wednesday after a three-day visit to Russia that saw the two countries ink agreements on extending their strategic partnership.

Xi said there is no sign of a breakthrough when it came to ending the war in Ukraine.

The several hours of talks between Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin were dominated by Ukraine, as well as energy and trade issues.

Beijing’s recent peace initiative for Ukraine, which calls for a ceasefire but does not demand the withdrawal of Russian forces, was warmly received by Putin but continued to meet criticism among Western powers.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that relations between Beijing and Moscow represent a “marriage of convenience’’ rather than a real alliance.

“If China wants to play a constructive role here in this conflict, then they ought to press Russia to pull its troops out of Ukraine and Ukrainian sovereign territory,’’ Kirby said.

He added that Xi needed to also speak to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

At a news conference, Xi said he had held constructive talks at the Kremlin on the second of his three-day state visit.

He pointed particularly to the expansion of economic cooperation with Russia.

Putin assured Xi of a reliable supply of Russian oil and gas in the long term and said a new Russia-China gas pipeline via Mongolia is in the works.

Russia has been shut out of much of the European energy market after the invasion of Ukraine a year ago.

Since then, Russia has sought out new customers and emphasised opportunities in Asia.

By 2030, gas supplies to China should rise to almost 100 billion cubic metres per year, Putin said.

In addition, 100 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas would be supplied, as well as coal and other energy sources. China would receive the energy at a discount.

Putin said Russia was ready to supply agricultural products to China, too.

Payments for goods in the Chinese currency yuan and in rouble were also to be expanded, Putin said, while the two countries also plan to expand their transport links by building roads and bridges.

Putin called the talks “warm and collegial.’’

Turning to Russia’s war on Ukraine, Putin again praised Xi’s proposal for peace, which has been met with deep scepticism in Washington and Europe.

“We find that many of the positions in the peace plan put forward by China agree with Russian approaches and could become the basis for a peaceful solution, once the West and Kiev are ready for it,’’ Putin said.

Xi said that China was taking an objective and impartial position on the conflict.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said the two had discussed Ukraine for more than four hours on Monday.

“There was an opportunity to clear everything up,’’ Peskov said.

For international observers, however, China was by no means a neutral authority especially because the country, which is allied with Russia, has never condemned Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Nothing was disclosed about possible arms and ammunition deliveries from China to Russia a move that Washington and NATO said Beijing is considering.

In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned China against supplying Russia with weapons as this would be to support an illegal war.

NATO has not seen any proof that China is delivering weapons but the alliance has seen some signs that he has been a request from Russia, Stoltenberg said.

The top NATO official said providing arms was an issue that is being considered in Beijing and urged China not to do so.

Xi’s visit comes at an opportune moment for Putin.

It is the first by a foreign leader since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant on Putin for alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

He was accused of unlawfully deporting children from Ukraine to Russia.

Russia says the children were being taken out of a war zone to safety.

For Putin, the visit from Beijing allowed him to show that he was not isolated internationally.

According to Russian analysts, Xi fulfilled his most important mission immediately upon arrival in Moscow.

His demonstrative support signalled to the West that Putin was here to stay, said political scientist Sergei Malakhov.

“China has effectively wiped away the question of international isolation,’’ Malakhov told Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper.

Xi said that it was in line with historical logic that he chose Russia for his first visit after his re-election because both large countries are neighbours and strategic partners.

The two allies issued a joint statement on international issues, showing where their interests align.

They called for an objective investigation into the Nord Stream 1 and 2 explosions and spoke out against U.S. dominance and in favour of a multipolar world order.

They also stressed that their strategic partnership was not a military-political bloc and not directed against other states.

Although China is economically benefiting from its partnership with Russia, Beijing is careful not to blatantly violate Western sanctions.

China is striking a careful balance between assuring stability and political support from its neighbouring country that it shares a 4,000-kilometre-long border.

Still leaving the door open for Europe, which is ultimately an even more important trade partner than Russia. 

– dpa

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China launches 4 meteorological satellites; as Xi extends condolences to Malawi, Mozambique

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China launches 4 meteorological satellites; as Xi extends condolences to Malawi, Mozambique

….Over deadly tropical cyclone***

 China successfully sent four meteorological satellites into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China on Wednesday.

The satellites, belonging to the Tianmu-1 meteorological constellation, were launched by a Kuaizhou-1A carrier rocket at 5:09 p.m. (Beijing Time) and have entered the planned orbit.

They will be mainly used to provide commercial meteorological data services.

It was the 19th flight mission of the Kuaizhou-1A rockets. 

In another development, the Chinese President Xi Jinping has extended his condolences to the President of Malawi Lazarus Chakwera and the President of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi over the deadly tropical cyclone hitting the two countries.

In his messages sent on Monday, Xi said he was saddened to learn that Tropical Cyclone Freddy has caused heavy casualties and property losses in Malawi and Mozambique.

On behalf of the Chinese government and people, he extended deep condolences to those killed in the disaster and offered sincere sympathies to the bereaved families and the injured.

The Chinese president also expressed his belief that both countries are sure to overcome the disaster and rebuild their homeland.

– Xinhua

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