World news snapshot: Cyclone Dovi hits New Zealand and the body of computer anti-virus expert John McAfee remains in a Spanish morgue

New Zealand Herald

The publication reports that Cyclone Dovi was packing a punch across many parts of New Zealand yesterday (Saturday) with howling gales and heavy rain causing havoc – and forcing the closure of the Auckland Harbor Bridge.

Police urged people to avoid non-essential travel as gale-force winds struck, with gusts of between 130km per hour (81mph) and 150km per hour expected in some parts as the storm reached its peak around lunchtime and early afternoon.

National Emergency Response Team leader Mark Owen said several highways had been closed due to slips and flooding, with major disruption unavoidable given the scale of the severe weather.

“Our crews are working hard to clear slips and re-open roads as soon as possible, but heavy rain and severe winds are still affecting many areas, and we need flood waters to recede in some areas before damage can be assessed.

“Driving conditions are hazardous in many areas, with the risk of surface flooding, slips, falling tree branches or power lines coming down, and people should avoid all non-essential travel in these areas.”

El País, Spain

The newspaper reports that the body of American computer anti-virus developer John McAfee remains in a morgue in the Barcelona City of Justice complex, in the north-eastern Spanish region of Catalonia, seven months after his death. It is currently located in the Legal Medicine Institute while a judge prepares a report on his death.

That report, released this week, has determined that the software mogul died by suicide in his prison cell in Barcelona province on June 23 2021 as he awaited extradition to the US on charges of failing to file US tax returns from 2014 to 2018.

The publication says the 75-year-old’s family had raised questions about the circumstances of his death, even though an autopsy concluded that Mr McAfee hanged himself inside his cell at Brian’s 2 penitentiary in Sant Esteve Sesrovires. Prison workers reportedly found a suicide note.

The lengthy investigation is not over yet, as lawyers for Mr McAfee’s family have appealed against the Spanish judge’s decision to close the case.

San Francisco Chronicles

Hundreds of people marched and rode during a “Save JFK” rally on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park yesterday (Saturday). Members of Walk SF organized the rally to garner support in an effort to keep JFK Drive (which flows from left to right to the north-east of the city) car free.

On an unseasonably warm, sunny Saturday morning in Golden Gate Park, San Franciscans were reportedly taking advantage of the green urban oasis. Friends holding coffees walked and talked, dogs ran alongside their owners and children on tricycles trailed their cycling parents. The occasional thump of a tennis ball hitting the ground on the nearby courts could just be heard over the birds chirping and friends chatting.

It’s a far cry from Saturday mornings on JFK Drive before the pandemic, long-time San Francisco resident Carol Brownson, 80, is quoted as saying.

“Can you hear any of that from a car?” she said, sitting on the scooter she uses to get around in the middle of JFK. “The car is the most intrusive bubble in our life.”

In April 2020, JFK drive, along with Twin Peaks Boulevard and the Great Highway, among others, was closed to car traffic as a way to give residents more space to exercise outside while maintaining social distancing during the pandemic. While the other two have since at least partially reopened to vehicles, JFK’s fate will be decided in March or April.

The Moscow Times

Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Saturday slammed Western claims of an imminent Moscow invasion of Ukraine as a “provocation” as he began new crisis talks with US president Joe Biden.

Weeks of tensions that have seen Russia surround its western neighbor with more than 100,000 troops intensified after Washington warned that an all-out invasion could begin “any day” and Russia launched its biggest naval drills in years across the Black Sea.

Russia’s defense ministry apparently added to the febrile atmosphere by announcing that it had chased off a US submarine that it allegedly had crossed into its territorial waters near the Kuril Islands in the Pacific. The ministry said it had summoned the US defense attache in Moscow over the incident.

The military maneuvers gave added urgency to a hastily arranged call yesterday between Mr Biden and Mr Putin aimed at defusing one of the “gravest crises” in East-West relations since the Cold War.

Mr Putin reportedly began his afternoon by holding talks with France’s Emmanuel Macron. Mr Macron’s office said “both expressed a desire to continue dialogue” but reported no clear progress. The Kremlin said Mr Putin told Mr Macron that Western claims of a planned Russian invasion were “provocative speculation” and could spark a conflict in Ukraine.

The Tribune, India

Seven laborers were rescued while two others were still trapped after an under-construction tunnel caved in at Sleemanabad in Madhya Pradesh’s Katni district, officials said today (Sunday).

The tunnel of the Bargi canal project had caved in late Saturday night, trapping nine labourers.

Seven had been pulled out from the debris so far, Madhya Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Rajesh Rajora told PTI (the Press Trust of India).

The State Disaster Emergency Response Force team and other personnel were making all efforts to rescue the other two trapped workers, said Mr Rajora, who was monitoring the rescue operation from Bhopal.

The trapped laborers were responding to calls from rescue personnel, Sleemanabad Sub-Divisional Magistrate Sangh Mitra Gautam said.

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