Boeing Co. grappled with more groundings of its most important airliner as operators from Brazil to South Korea idled the 737 Max following a second deadly crash, throwing the U.S. manufacturer deeper into crisis. Singapore barred all 737 Max service in and out of the city-state, a move that was followed by Australia and Malaysia. Elsewhere in Asia, a South Korean carrier suspended its 737 Max planes, while two airlines in Latin American also halted operations of the jet, which entered service just a few years ago and has become Boeing’s fastest-selling aircraft, with nearly 4,700 orders.
An Australian man who drove a car into dozens of pedestrians on a busy shopping street in central Melbourne in 2017, killing six, has been jailed for life with a minimum non-parole period of 46 years, the Victorian state Supreme Court said on Friday. James Gargasoulas, 29, was handed a life sentence for each of the murders, whose victims included a baby and a 10-year-old girl. The incident was one of Australia’s worst mass killings since the 1996 Port Arthur massacre on the southern island state of Tasmania, in which 35 people were gunned down.
Australia’s main political parties and parliament were hit by a “malicious intrusion” on their computer networks, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. The cyber-attack revealed two weeks ago was carried out by a “sophisticated state actor”, he said. But he added there was “no evidence of any electoral interference”. The nation will hold an election within months. The Australian government has faced a number of cyber-attacks in recent years, some of which have been attributed in local media to nations such as China.
A refugee soccer player was freed by Thailand and left on a flight to Australia early Tuesday after prosecutors said they were no longer seeking his extradition to Bahrain in a case that has drawn worldwide attention. Thailand had come under great pressure from Australia’s government, sporting bodies and human rights groups to send Hakeem al-Araibi back to Australia, where he has refugee status and plays semi-professional soccer. Thai prosecutors on Monday submitted a request to a court to withdraw the case to extradite al-Araibi to Bahrain, where he faces a 10-year prison sentence for an arson attack that damaged a police station. He has denied those charges and says the case is politically motivated.
China says it is investigating a Chinese-Australian writer for alleged “involvement in criminal activities endangering China’s national security”. Yang Hengjun’s detention in China was earlier disclosed by Australia – days after he went missing. The 53-year-old former Chinese diplomat has been held since flying from New York to Guangzhou on Saturday. Mr Yang was being held in “residential surveillance” in Beijing, Australian officials said. The term is often used when Chinese investigators hold a suspect at a secret location.
The United States, Pakistani, Swiss, Indian, South Korean and New Zealand consulates in Melbourne are among a number of foreign diplomatic headquarters across the city and in Canberra targeted with suspicious packages. The deliveries on Wednesday sparked an emergency “hazardous material” response and, in some cases, evacuation. Victoria police issued a statement saying it was aware of “a number of consulate offices in Melbourne today receiving suspicious packages”. “At this time we believe the matter is targeted and not impacting the general community,” the statement said.
Vast numbers of bluebottle jellyfish have been pushed ashore in Queensland, Australia, stinging thousands of people and forcing the closure of swim spots. Surf Life Saving Queensland said over 2,600 people received treatment at the weekend. Bluebottle stings are painful but typically not life-threatening. Unusually strong winds pushed the jellyfish colonies towards beaches. About 13,000 stings were recorded in the past week – three times more than in the corresponding period last year.
Australia’s largest city Sydney was hit with torrential downpours and strong winds on Wednesday causing flooding, loss of electricity, and chaos for commuters. At least two deaths were caused by the storm. This is the heaviest November rain the city has experienced since 1984. Over 100 flights were canceled or delayed at the international airport.
Michael Rogers, known as Australia’s homeless ‘Trolley Man,’ tried to stop a man from stabbing two police officers by ramming him with a shopping carriage. Footage of Rogers’ effort spread online and nearly $72 thousand was raised in support. An Australian court charged a woman with using needles to contaminate strawberries after nearly 200 complaints.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a national apology to the victims of child sexual abuse throughout the country on Monday. The apology comes after a five-year investigation by the Royal Commission which uncovered that tens of thousands of children had suffered sexual abuse in institutions including churches, schools, and sports clubs over the years.