The Independent

World news in brief


Engine failure dampens Tokyo space ambitions

Japan’s new medium-lift rocket failed on its debut flight in space yesterday after the launcher’s second-stage engine did not ignite. The 57m (187ft) H3 rocket, Japan’s first new model in three decades, lifted off without a hitch from the Tanegashim­a space port but upon reaching space, the rocket’s second-stage engine failed to ignite, forcing mission officials to destroy the vehicle 14 minutes into the flight.

The failed attempt followed an aborted launch last month. Science and technology minister Keiko Nagaoka said in a statement that the government had establishe­d a task force to

investigat­e the “very regrettabl­e” failure. The loss is a blow to Japan and its efforts to cut the cost of accessing space and compete against Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Reuters

Clean air breathed in by less than 1% of the world

Less than 1 per cent of the world’s population breathes pollution-free air according to a new study. About 99.82 per cent of the global land area is exposed to dangerous levels of particulat­e matter 2.5 (PM2.5) that are above the safety limit recommende­d by the World Health Organisati­on, according to the research published in Lancet Planetary Health. Only 0.001 per cent of the world’s population breathes air considered acceptable, it found. PM2.5 are tiny particles in the air that have been linked to serious illnesses such as lung cancer and heart disease.

The study, conducted by scientists in Australia and China, used more than 5,000 monitoring stations worldwide and machine learning simulation­s, meteorolog­ical data and geographic­al factors to estimate global daily PM2.5 concentrat­ions. The study found that air quality is particular­ly worrisome in regions such as south Asia and east Asia, where more than 90 per cent of days had PM2.5 concentrat­ions above the 15 microgram threshold.

Malnutriti­on rises in pregnant women in dozen countries

Acute malnutriti­on among pregnant women and breastfeed­ing mothers has increased by 25 per cent in the past two years in 12 countries hard hit by rising food prices, according to a United Nations report. Surveys in 10 countries in Africa and two in the Middle East that are worst affected by the food crisis were used in a Unicef report, released yesterday. Poor nutrition in pregnant and breastfeed­ing women can lead to weak immunity and complicati­ons during pregnancy and birth. Some countries in sub-Saharan Africa have in previous studies recorded high infant mortality rates due to various complicati­ons.

Globally, 51 million children under two years old are too short for their age due to malnutriti­on, a condition called stunting, and half of these become stunted during pregnancy or within their first six months of life, the report states.

Two of four Americans kidnapped in Mexico found dead

Two Americans in a group of four friends who were kidnapped during a trip to Mexico last week have been found dead. The group was taken hostage on Friday after entering the state of Tamaulipas in Matamoros – an area dominated by the Gulf cartel. The Americans, who had driven from South Carolina, came under fire from a group of armed men and were bundled into the back of a pickup truck. Tamaulipas governor Americo Villarreal said that two of the victims had been found dead. Another person was wounded while the fourth was unharmed and are back in the US, according to the Tamaulipas attorney general. The victims were identified by family on Monday as Latavia “Tay” McGee, Shaeed Woodard, Zindell Brown and Eric James Williams, who travelled south so one of them could get a tummy tuck medical procedure. It remains unclear who out of those four was killed.

Man held after stabbing flight attendant

A man tried to open an emergency door and stab a flight attendant with a broken metal spoon before being subdued by fellow passengers who rushed to help on a United flight from Los Angeles to Boston, according to federal prosecutor­s. Francisco Severo Torres, 33, was charged with one count of interferen­ce and attempted interferen­ce with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon. Court documents state that the employee was hit on the neck three times by the suspect.

“Passengers then tackled Torres and he was restrained with the assistance of flight crew. Torres was immediatel­y taken into custody upon the flight’s arrival to Boston,” prosecutor­s state.

Mr Torres was arrested and made an initial appearance on Monday in US District Court. He was detained and will appear in court again tomorrow.

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 ?? (Reuters) ?? Japan’s H3 rocket l ifts off yesterday from the remote is l and of Tanegashim­a, south of the Kagoshima prefecture
(Reuters) Japan’s H3 rocket l ifts off yesterday from the remote is l and of Tanegashim­a, south of the Kagoshima prefecture

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