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OREM, Utah: A six-year-old girl died after she was hit by a golf ball struck by her father, AP news agency reported on Thursday (Jul 18).
Aria Hill and her father were out golfing with her uncle Brayden Hill at Sleepy Ridge Golf Course in Orem, about 65km south of Salt Lake City, on Monday.
According to the Washington Post, she was sitting in a cart on a path 15 to 20 yards (13.7m to 18.3m) to the left of her father when the ball struck her in the back of her head, at the base of her neck.
Hill's extended family members remember her as a loving, playful child. Her uncle David Smith described her as a happy child who greeted strangers and enjoyed spending time with her parents.
Smith said Hill loved to spend time with her mother Talysa doing "big girl things" like dressing up, experimenting with makeup and helping take care of her two younger brothers.
She also went golfing often with her father and that it was one of their favourite activities to do together, Smith said.
A GoFundMe page, set up to raise funds for Hill's medical and funeral expenses, said that she "has gone to live with her Heavenly Father and His angels".
Quoting Talysa, it said: "We are so grateful for all the love, support, and prayers made in our behalf during this difficult time. We've truly felt comforted."
Talysa also described Hill as "the sassiest girl in the world".
"She was silly, spunky, creative, unique, and so so full of love for everyone she came in contact with," said Talysa.
And of losing Hill, she said: "There is a huge hole in our hearts that she has taken with her back to Heaven ... Fly high my little angel."
According to AP, Lieutenant Trent Colledge of the Orem Police Department said Hill was flown to a Salt Lake City hospital in critical condition and later succumbed to her injuries.
Steven Marett, the head golf professional at the course, told Deseret News that he has seen people occasionally get hit by balls, but he had never heard of guests getting seriously injured or killed.
Lt Colledge said police are not planning to pursue charges because it appears to have been a tragic accident.
LOS ANGELES: Fifty years after their history-making voyage to the moon, Buzz Aldrin recalls the first moments of the Apollo 11 launch being so smooth that he and his two crewmates, Neil Armstrong and Mike Collins, were unsure precisely when they left the ground.
He remembers the white-knuckle descent to the moon's dusty surface in the four-legged lunar module Eagle, as Armstrong took manual control of the landing craft to pilot it to a safe touchdown, just seconds from running out of fuel.
And as the second human ever to step on the moon - Armstrong was first down the ladder - Aldrin recounts feeling sure-footed in the one-sixth gravity of the lunar surface while gazing at the "magnificent desolation" around him.
Aldrin says he and his crewmates were so absorbed in doing their jobs that they were oddly disconnected from how momentous the occasion was as it unfolded for hundreds of millions of people on Earth, watching it all on live television.
"I sometimes think the three of us missed 'the big event'," Aldrin said during a 50th anniversary gala at the Ronald Reagan Library outside Los Angeles. "While we were out there on the moon, the world was growing closer together, right here."
Aldrin, now 89 and one of just four living people ever to have walked on the moon, recounted highlights of his Apollo 11 experiences in an interview with an organizer of Saturday's event, which was closed to the media. A transcript was furnished to Reuters.
It was 50 years ago to the day on Tuesday that Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins were launched into space atop a Saturn 5 rocket from Florida's Kennedy Space Center.
"ON OUR WAY"
"We did not know the instant of leaving the ground. We only knew it from the instruments and voice communications which confirmed liftoff," he recalled. "We sort of looked at each other and thought, 'We must be on our way.'"
After reaching lunar orbit, leaving Collins behind as pilot of the command module Columbia, Armstrong and Aldrin descended to the moon's surface in the Eagle. Armstrong ended up piloting the craft to a safe landing after overriding a computer guidance system that was heading it to a field of boulders.
During those tense moments, Aldrin's voice was heard in the TV broadcast calling out navigation data as Eagle moved downward and forward over the surface to touchdown.
"We knew we were continuing to burn fuel. We knew what we had, then we heard '30 seconds left.' If we ran out of fuel, we knew it would be a hard landing. We saw the shadow cast in front of us. That was new, not something we saw in the simulator," Aldrin recounted.
"I saw dust creating a haze, not particles, but a haze that went out, dust the engine was picking up," he said.
In the final seconds of descent, Aldrin confirmed an indicator light showing that at least one of the probes dangling from Eagle's footpads had touched the surface - calling out "Contact light."
Seconds later came Armstrong's famed radio announcement to mission control in Houston - "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."
The relief of the two astronauts was mutual. "Neil remembers we shook hands, and I recall putting my hand on his shoulder and we smiled," Aldrin said.
Hours later, Armstrong's words upon becoming the first human to set foot on the moon - "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" - were immortalized. As Aldrin recalls, "Neil thought of that. It wasn't on the checklist."
Aldrin's turn came next.
"I then got in position to come down ... came down the ladder, and jumped off, being careful not to lock the door behind me," he said, recounting "it was easy to balance" as he moved about the lunar surface to set up NASA experiments.
To this day, Aldrin added, he stands by his own best known, though somewhat less famous catch phrase from the moon - his impromptu description of the moonscape as a scene of "magnificent desolation."
"I guess I said that because it was magnificent," he said. "We had gotten there, and it looked pretty desolate. But it was magnificent desolation. I think Neil remarked the beauty, too."
NEW YORK: After a dramatic decades-long run as one of the world's most notorious druglords, there is little suspense about what will happen in a New York courtroom on Wednesday (Jul 17): Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is expected to be sentenced to life in prison.
The hearing is more or less a formality: Guzman, the 62-year-old former leader of the Sinaloa cartel, was convicted in February of crimes spanning a quarter of a century including trafficking hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and marijuana to the United States.
The charges, which also include money laundering and weapons-related offenses, carry a mandatory life sentence.
Last week, prosecutors asked US federal judge Brian Cogan to tack on a symbolic extra 30 years in prison for the use of firearms in his business, portraying Guzman as "ruthless and bloodthirsty".
They also want Guzman to turn over US$12.7 billion, based on a conservative estimate of revenues from his cartel's drug sales in the United States. So far, US authorities have not recovered a dime.
El Chapo is considered to be the most powerful druglord since Colombia's Pablo Escobar. He was the co-leader of the Sinaloa organisation from 1989 until 2014.
During the three-month trial, jurors heard evidence of Guzman's misdeeds; witnesses described the cartel boss beating, shooting and even burying alive those who got in his way, including informants and members of rival gangs.
At least one of Guzman's victims - a woman who prosecutors say survived a hit ordered by the kingpin - will make a statement at Wednesday's sentencing hearing.
Jurors also heard the most detailed explanation to date of the cartel's operations - and Guzman's colorful life.
"ALCATRAZ OF THE ROCKIES"
Guzman launched his career working in the cannabis fields of his home state of Sinaloa. Now, he is likely to spend the rest of his days at the "Alcatraz of the Rockies" - the supermax federal prison in Florence, Colorado.
Current inmates include convicted "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols, the British "shoe bomber" Richard Reid and the Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is awaiting execution.
Since his extradition in 2017, Guzman has been held in solitary confinement at a high-security prison in Lower Manhattan.
He has repeatedly complained about the conditions of his detention via his attorneys - notably that his windowless cell is constantly lit.
On Wednesday, the kingpin - who twice escaped Mexican prisons, in 2001 and again in 2015 - could see his wife Emma Coronel and their two daughters for the last time.
"The government's request of life plus 30 years is a farce," said Guzman's attorney Eduardo Balarezo. "Joaquin's conviction and incarceration for drug trafficking will change nothing in the so-called war on drugs."
In an interview with reporters, New York's special narcotics prosecutor Bridget Brennan acknowledged that taking El Chapo out of the equation did not diminish the Sinaloa cartel's influence.
"We believe that's the one that supplies most of the drugs coming into the US," she said.
SENGA BAY, Malawi: On the shores of Lake Malawi, a crowd eagerly awaits the arrival of a white and yellow cedarwood boat carrying its haul.
The crew of six deliver a single net of chambo, sardine and tiny usipa fish from the boat, just one of 72 vessels that land their catch every day on the beach at Senga Bay.
But overfishing and climate change have taken their toll.
Hundreds of local traders gather each morning and afternoon at Senga only to find that fish populations are falling in Lake Malawi, Africa's third largest body of freshwater.
"We were hoping to catch a half-boat full or maybe a quarter-boat ... but I'm afraid the fish are dwindling in numbers," port manager Alfred Banda told reporters staring wearily at the small catch as it was dragged onto the sand.
"Before, we used to catch a full boat but now we are struggling," he said, adding that a full boat would earn a team of between six and 12 fishermen about $300.
Bordering three countries - Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique - Lake Malawi stretches across more than 29,000 sq km with over 1,000 species of fish.
The 14,000 people living at Senga Bay depend on the lake for food and for their livelihood.
"Seven years ago there was lots more fish than today. In 2019 it is different, there's no fish in the water," trader Katrina Male, a 40-year-old mother of six, told AFP as she stalked the nets of newly brought in fish seeking the best deal.
"The fish nowadays are more expensive, because they are becoming scarce," Male said. "Some children have stopped going to school because their parents can't find the money."
"NO ALTERNATIVE TO FISHING"
For both locals and climate experts, declining fish numbers reflect a combination of environmental change and overfishing that augurs ill for the future.
The World Bank ranks Malawi among the top 10 at-risk countries in Africa to climate change, with cyclones and floods among the major threats.
Senga community leader John White Said says increasing gale force winds and torrential rains have made it harder for fishermen on the lake.
"Our men can't catch fish because of wind which is much stronger than before," he said, adding that the rains are increasingly unpredictable on the lake.
"The rain before would not destroy houses and nature but now it comes with full power, destroying everything and that affects the water as well."
According to USAID, the number of rainfalls incidents in the aid-dependant country is likely to decrease - but each rainfall will be more intense, leading to droughts and floods.
The threat was highlighted in March when Malawi was hit by torrential rains from Cyclone Idai, killing 59 people. The storm also cut a swathe through Mozambique and Zimbabwe, leaving nearly 1,000 dead.
On top of the environmental impact, the number of fishermen in Senga had doubled in the last 10 years due to the lack of other jobs, Said said.
"There is no alternative to fishing."
One of the few to benefit is 38-year-old boat owner Salim Jackson, who rents out his two vessels.
"I got into fishing 13 years ago because I had no other option, I never went to school. But it has brought me good money," he said.
"UNSUSTAINABLE FISHING PRACTICES"
By sunset, the balls of fishing net lay stretched out on the beach and both buyers and fishermen negotiate prices.
Traders take their purchases in buckets to makeshift reed tables to be dried, smoked, fried or boiled in preparation for the market.
"Declining fish catches are mainly due to unsustainable fishing practices," said Sosten Chiotha, a Malawian environmental science professor who works for the Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) action group.
"Overfishing is a challenge in Lake Malawi (but) there are efforts on co-management and closed seasons to ensure that the fishery recovers."
Chiotha added that climate change was hitting Malawi with "increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events in the major ecosystems including lakes".
That leaves Malawi's agriculture-based economy sharply vulnerable to climatic events and entrenched poverty heightens pressure on the environment.
Wearing a black silk thawb robe and white kufi cap, Said stands tall on Senga beach, surveying the scene around him.
"I'm worried," he said. "In Malawi most people depend on fishing financially and as a cheap food source.
"The men have to cast their nets further and further away from the beach."
DUBAI: Iran called on Britain to immediately release its oil tanker which British Royal Marines seized last week on suspicion that it was breaking European sanctions by taking oil to Syria, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi reporters.
"This is a dangerous game and has consequences ... the legal pretexts for the capture are not valid ... the release of the tanker is in all countries' interest ... Foreign powers should leave the region because Iran and other regional countries are capable of securing the regional security," Mousavi said.
Iran has warned of reciprocal measures if the tanker is not released by Britain.
Britain said on Thursday that three Iranian vessels tried to block a British-owned tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz, which controls the flow of Middle East oil to the world, but backed off when confronted by a Royal Navy warship. Iran denied that its vessels had done any such thing.
Tension between Iran and the West has increased a week after Britain seized the tanker and London said the British Heritage, operated by oil company BP, had been approached in the strait between Iran and the Arabian peninsula.
Britain is among European parties to Iran's 2015 nuclear deal, which President Donald trump pulled out of last year and reimposed and toughened sanctions on Tehran.
"Foreign powers should leave the region because Iran and other regional countries are capable of securing the regional security," Mousavi said.
WASHINGTON: An Air Force investigation has found no evidence to support accusations of sexual misconduct against President Donald Trump's nominee to become vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a senior U.S. military official said on Wednesday (Jul 10).
The nomination of Air Force General John Hyten, the outgoing head of the U.S. military's Strategic Command, remains on track, the Pentagon said. Still, it was unclear if he would be confirmed by the Senate by the end of July, when outgoing Vice Chairman Paul Selva is due to retire.
"We've conducted an exhaustive investigation, talked to ... 53 witnesses across three countries and 13 states, reviewed tens of thousands of emails, interviewed folks that were closest to the alleged incidents," the military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We're just out of rocks to turn over."
The unsubstantiated allegations against Hyten included "unwanted kissing, touching, rubbing up against" the accuser, the official said.
News of the investigation follows a spate of surprise disclosures at the Pentagon, including ones that led Patrick Shanahan to resign as acting defense secretary last month and led the admiral expected to become the Navy's next top uniformed officer to instead announce on Sunday that he would retire.
Sources said the outcome of the investigation into the allegations against Hyten has been briefed to the Senate, which has yet to schedule a confirmation hearing. Hyten is likely to be asked about them in any testimony.
The Senate is due to consider other several key nominations, including to confirm acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper in the job.
On Thursday, it will hold a confirmation hearing for Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Trump's top uniformed military adviser.
The U.S. military official, briefing a small group of reporters, said an unidentified U.S. military service member brought allegations of nine incidents between 2017 and 2018 against Hyten just days after Trump nominated him in April to become the nation's second-highest uniformed military officer.
The official said that as required by law, the Air Force opened a criminal probe led by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations into the allegations on Apr 15.
Following the investigation, the office's report was referred to a body overseen by another four-star general to determine whether there should be any further action, including a military court martial.
"The court martial convening authority considered the facts in the report, and based on advice of their counsel, decided that there was insufficient evidence to prefer any charges against General Hyten or to recommend administrative actions against the general," the official said.
Air Force Colonel DeDe Halfhill, a senior Pentagon spokeswoman, said Hyten cooperated with the investigation, and noted his decades of service in a statement.
PORT MORESBY: Twenty-four people have died - including two pregnant women with their unborn children - in tribal fighting in Papua New Guinea's lawless highlands, prompting the prime minister on Wednesday (Jul 10) to vow to avenge the brutal killings.
Local officials said at least 24 people had been killed in Hela province, a rugged region in the west of the country, in a three-day spasm of violence between rival tribes.
Highland clans have fought each other in Papua New Guinea for centuries, but an influx of automatic weapons has made clashes more deadly and escalated the cycle of violence.
"Twenty-four people are confirmed dead, killed in three days, but could be more today," Hela provincial administrator William Bando said. "We are still waiting for today's brief from our officials on the ground."
Bando has called for at least 100 police to be deployed to reinforce some 40 local officers.
The incident has shocked the country and recently appointed Prime Minister James Marape, who is from the province.
He vowed more security deployments and warned the perpetrators "your time is up".
"Today is one of the saddest day of my life," he said in a statement. "Many children and mothers innocently murdered in Munima and Karida villages of my electorate."
In one attack in Karida, fighters are said to have hacked to death six women, eight children - as well as two pregnant women and their unborn children - in a 30-minute rampage.
Local health worker Pills Kolo said it was hard to recognise some of the body parts and posted images of remains bundled together using mosquito nets as makeshift body bags.
"Gun-toting criminals, your time is up," Marape said. "Learn from what I will do to criminals who killed innocent people, I am not afraid to use strongest measures in law on you."
He noted that the death penalty was "already a law".
It is not clear what prompted the attack, but many fights are fuelled by old rivalries prompted by rape or theft, or disputes over tribal boundaries.
In nearby Enga province, a similar surge in violence prompted the establishment of a makeshift military garrison and the deployment of a company of around 100 government soldiers under the command of a Sandhurst-trained major.
Marape has not yet provided details of the security deployments but appeared exasperated by the current resources available.
"How can a province of 400,000 people function with policing law and order with under 60 policemen, and occasional operational military and police that does no more than band-aid maintenance," he said.
WASHINGTON: Instagram on Monday (Jul 8) announced new features aimed at curbing online bullying on its platform, including a warning to people as they are preparing to post abusive remarks.
"It's our responsibility to create a safe environment on Instagram," said a statement from Adam Mosseri, head of the visually focused social platform owned by Facebook.
"This has been an important priority for us for some time, and we are continuing to invest in better understanding and tackling this problem."
One new tool being rolled out is a warning generated by artificial intelligence to notify users their comment may be considered offensive before it is posted.
"This intervention gives people a chance to reflect and undo their comment and prevents the recipient from receiving the harmful comment notification," Mosseri said.
"From early tests of this feature, we have found that it encourages some people to undo their comment and share something less hurtful once they have had a chance to reflect."
Another new tool is aimed at limiting the spread of abusive comments on a user's feed.
"We've heard from young people in our community that they're reluctant to block, unfollow, or report their bully because it could escalate the situation, especially if they interact with their bully in real life," Mosseri commented.
A new feature called "restrict" that is being tested will make posts from an offending person visible only to that person.
"You can choose to make a restricted person's comments visible to others by approving their comments," Mosseri added.
"Restricted people won't be able to see when you're active on Instagram or when you've read their direct messages."
The move by Instagram is the latest in a series of actions on cyberbullying by social networks to deal with hate speech and abusive conduct which can be especially harmful to young users.
SYDNEY: Australian defence officials said on Monday (Jul 8) they were tracking a Chinese surveillance ship that is expected to position itself just outside of its territorial waters to monitor military exercises between Australia and the United States.
Around 25,000 Australian and US military personnel on board battleships equipped with strike jets will over the next month participate in bi-annual Talisman Sabre war games.
Lieutenant General Greg Bilton, chief of joint operations at the Australian Defence Force, said the Chinese surveillance vessel was probably headed to Australia's northeast coast to get a first-hand look at the military exercises.
"We're tracking it. We don't know yet its destination but we are assuming that it will come down to the east coast of Queensland and we will take appropriate measures," Bilton told reporters in Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland.
Relations between the United States and China have soured in recent months amid a trade war and perceived Chinese assertiveness in the Pacific, encapsulated by Beijing's artificial island building in the disputed South China Sea.
China claims most of the resource-rich South China Sea, through which about US$5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims on the waterway.
Australia and China are also competing for influence in the South Pacific, a sparsely populated region that control vast swathes of resource rich oceans.
News of the Chinese surveillance ship approaching Australia follows the unannounced arrival of three Chinese vessels in Sydney last month, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protest.
China's navy has grown dramatically over the past two decades as Beijing seeks to extend its power of influence and it now has one of the mightiest navies in the world.
BRASILIA: Deforestation in Brazil's portion of the Amazon rainforest soared more than 88per cent in June compared with the same month a year ago, the second consecutive month of rising forest destruction under new President Jair Bolsonaro, who has called for development of the region.
According to data from Brazil's space research agency, deforestation in the world's largest tropical rainforest totaled 920 sq km.
The data showing an 88.4 per cent deforestation increase is preliminary but indicates the official annual figure, based on more detailed imaging and measured for the 12 months to the end of July, is well on track to surpass last year's figure.
In the first 11 months, deforestation already has reached 4,565 sq km, a 15 per cent increase over the same period in the previous year. That is an area larger than the US state of Rhode Island.
Environmentalists have warned that Bolsonaro's strong remarks calling for the development of the Amazon and criticising the country's environmental enforcement agency Ibama for handing out too many fines would embolden loggers and ranchers seeking to profit from deforestation.
"Bolsonaro has aggravated the situation. ... He has made a strong rhetorical attack," said Paulo Barreto, a researcher at Brazilian nongovernment organisation Imazon.
The new data coincides with more pressure on the government to protect the environment under the terms of the free trade deal between the European Union and South American bloc Mercosur agreed to last week. Brazil will take action if concerns about an increase in deforestation are confirmed, the agriculture minister said on Wednesday.
The rainy season through April appeared to have held off a spike in deforestation that subsequently came with the dry season starting in May.
Deforestation rose 34 per cent in May compared with the same month a year ago.
Bolsonaro's office declined to comment, saying questions would be addressed by the Environment Ministry.
"We are adopting all measures to combat illegal deforestation," Environment Minister Ricardo Salles told reporters. "This week we had 17 enforcement teams simultaneously in all of the Amazon from Ibama."
Brazil is home to 60 per cent of the Amazon, which is the world's largest tropical rainforest and is seen as vital to the global fight against climate change.
Grains trader Cargill, the largest privately held US company, said last month that the food industry would not be able to meet a pledge to eliminate deforestation in their supply chains globally by 2020 and committed to do more to protect native environments in Brazil.
While the final text of the EU-Mercosur deal has not been released, an outline from the EU states the agreement includes a provision that the Paris Agreement on climate change must be effectively implemented along with other commitments to fight deforestation.
French President Emmanuel Macron had warned last week that he would not sign off on the deal if Brazil leaves the Paris accord. Bolsonaro met Macron at last week’s G20 summit and reassured him Brazil was in the Paris Agreement to stay.
Greenpeace forest strategist Paulo Adario said "all indications" are that deforestation will worsen under Bolsonaro, but he hopes news of a large increase will put pressure on the government to take action.
"When they have the final numbers, if it is really a lot, this will be a nightmare for Bolsonaro," Adario said. "This is something that is really important from an international and Brazilian point of view because the Amazon is an icon."