MONTH IN BRIEF
India buys Russia’s discounted LNG
India’s liquefied natural gas importers are buying extra volumes from Russia at a discount, as most other spot buyers spurn the fuel. Companies including Gujarat State Petroleum and GAIL India recently bought several LNG spot shipments from Russia at prices below current market rates, according to traders with knowledge of the matter. They may purchase more as long as the Russian fuel remains cheaper than rival suppliers, said the traders, who requested anonymity to discuss private details.
The US and Japan have agreed to work together to put the first Japanese astronaut on the moon, accompanied by an American astronaut, as the long-time allies develop a partnership aimed at countering China. The two countries said in a joint statement they would collaborate on human and robotic Moon missions, ‘including a shared ambition to see a future Japanese astronaut on the lunar surface’, with a goal of signing an implementation agreement this year. Following a May 23 meeting in Tokyo between US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the countries also said they ‘are committed to a Japanese astronaut opportunity on the Gateway, a human outpost in the lunar vicinity, as part of expanding Artemis collaboration’.
Bodies found on Myanmar beach
The bodies of 14 people have been found washed up on a beach in Myanmar,with a local rescue group saying some were Rohingya attempting to reach Malaysia.‘Fourteen dead bodies were found, 35 people including the boat owners were rescued alive,’ said Lieutenant Colonel Tun Shwe, a police spokesperson in Pathein district, around 200km west of Yangon.A member of Myanmar Rescue Organisation Pathein said the group found eight bodies on May 22, all of whom were Rohingya.
Three children among victims of Af-Pak blast
A suicide bomber killed three children aged 4 to 11 and three soldiers in an attack on a military vehicle in Pakistan’s north-western region bordering Afghanistan. The mountainous frontier separating Pakistan and Afghanistan has long been a hive of militant activity, with fighters using the porous border to escape state security forces. The bomber detonated the device on the evening of May 14, in a small market near Miran Shah in North Waziristan, just 26 km southeast of Afghanistan.Pakistan’s prime minister Shehbaz Sharif said that ‘murderers of innocent children are enemies of humanity and Islam’.
Heavy rains have caused widespread flooding in parts of Bangladesh and India, leaving millions stranded and at least 57 dead. In Bangladesh, about two million people have been marooned by the worst floods in the country’s northeast for nearly two decades. At least 100 villages at Zakiganj were inundated after floodwater rushing from India’s northeast breached a major embankment on the Barak River, said Mosharraf Hossain, the chief government administrator of the Sylhet region.
Death on Everest
A Russian climber has died at Camp I of Mount Everest, the first reported death of a foreigner on the world’s highest peak in the current climbing season that began in March. An official of Nepal’s Department of Tourism said that Pavel Kostrikin, 55, died at the camp, which is located at an altitude of around4 5,360 metres, during a rotation on the 8,848-metre mountain on May 7. Mr Kostrikin is said to have fallen ill at Camp II on the mountain’s south-east ridge route, and died after being brought to Camp I.
Surprise Mekong catch
Cambodian fishermen on the Mekong Riverinadvertently hooked an endangered giant freshwater stingray, 4 metres long and weighing 180 kg. The huge female, one of Southeast Asia’s largest and rarest species of fish, was caught in Stung Treng province, when it swallowed a smaller fish that had taken a baited hook. An international team of experts on the US-funded Wonders of the Mekong project worked with the fishermen to unhook the creature before weighing and measuring it and returning it unharmed to the river.
Award for Ukrainian canine
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has presented the country’s celebrated mine-sniffing dog Patron and his owner with a medal, in recognition of their dedicated service since the Russian invasion. The tiny Jack Russell terrier – who has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance– has been credited with detecting more than 200 explosives and preventing them from detonating since the start of the war on Feb. 24. President Zelenskyy made the award at a news conference in Kyiv with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.