Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 3 July 2020

CORONAVIRUS

From SpaceX to Panama ghost ships: the non-coronavirus news you may have missed

A US private enterprise made history and Panama banned ships turning off location sensors

SpaceX successfully docked at the International Space Station

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule has docked at the International Space Station, becoming the first commercial enterprise to do so.

Docking took place 19 hours after a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on Saturday afternoon, carrying the Crew Dragon into orbit.

Soft capture, the moment when a spacecraft makes first contact and latches with a target vehicle, took place at 6.26pm UAE time.

Astronauts Robert Behnken, 49, and Douglas Hurley, 53, former military test pilots, joined US astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner aboard the ISS.

Saudi Arabia intercepts two Houthi drones aimed at Khamis Mushait

The Saudi-led coalition said on Monday that it intercepted and downed two drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels near the southern city of Khamis Mushait.

The attack, which was intercepted by Saudi air defences, comes despite a unilateral truce announced by the coalition in early April as the coronavirus pandemic hit countries in the region.

Colonel Turki Al Maliki said the attacks reflected the rebels' rejection of the truce, which was declared to allow Yemen to focus on the threat from the coronavirus.

Hundreds attend funeral of disabled Palestinian shot by Israeli police

Palestinians carry the coffin of Iyad Hallaq, a disabled Palestinian man who was shot dead by Israeli police after they mistakenly thought he was armed with a pistol, during his funeral in Jerusalem on May 31, 2020. AFP
Palestinians carry the coffin of Iyad Hallaq, a disabled Palestinian man who was shot dead by Israeli police after they mistakenly thought he was armed with a pistol, during his funeral in Jerusalem on May 31, 2020. AFP

Hundreds of people attended the funeral on Sunday of a Palestinian who was fatally shot by Israeli police in an incident for which Israel's new defence minister later apologised.

A police spokesman had said officers killed a Palestinian they suspected was carrying a weapon in Jerusalem's Old City on Saturday, but according to Israeli media, the man was later found to have been unarmed.

Palestinian officials said the 32-year-old man, Iyad Hallaq, suffered mental health issues and decried his killing.

During Israel's Sunday cabinet meeting, Defence Minister Benny Gantz said: "We are really sorry about the incident in which Iyad Hallaq was shot to death and we share in the family's sorrow – but I am certain this matter will be investigated swiftly and conclusions will be drawn."

Panama to fine ships $10,000 for turning off location systems

Panama's Maritime Authority said it will impose sanctions on vessels, including fines of up to $10,000 (Dh36,750) and withdrawing its flag from the ship, if they deliberately deactivate, tamper or alter the operation of their tracking transponders.

The issue of ships disabling tracking equipment – designed for safety at sea and to prevent ships colliding – has come to the fore in recent months as a method employed by vessels seeking to avoid US sanctions for shipping Iranian oil.

"This General Directorate of Merchant Marine will impose sanctions to all those Panamanian flagged vessels that deliberately deactivate, tamper or alter the operation of Long Range Identification and Tracking System or the Automatic Identification System," it said in a statement.

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Updated: June 1, 2020 05:24 PM

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