‘French Spiderman’ scales Hong Kong skyscraper with ‘peace banner’

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Alain Robert put out a statement saying the message of his climb was to make “an urgent appeal for peace and consultation between Hong Kong people and their government” prior to his ascent. (AFP)
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French daredevil Alain Robert shimmies up the 68-storey Cheung Kong Center in Hong Kong’s main business district . (AFP)
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Residents watch French daredevil Alain Robert climb the 68-storey Cheung Kong Center in Hong Kong’s main business district. (AFP)
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Residents watch French daredevil Alain Robert climb the 68-storey Cheung Kong Center in Hong Kong’s main business district. (AFP)
Updated 16 August 2019

‘French Spiderman’ scales Hong Kong skyscraper with ‘peace banner’

  • Alain Robert shimmied up the 68-story Cheung Kong Center in Hong Kong’s main business district
  • Hong Kong has been battered by 10 weeks of huge — sometimes violent — democracy protests

HONG KONG: Daredevil Alain Robert — dubbed the ‘French Spiderman’ — climbed a Hong Kong skyscraper on Friday and unfurled a “peace banner” as the financial hub is rocked by historic political unrest.
The 57-year-old adventurer, who specializes in unsanctioned ascents of tall buildings, shimmied up the 68-story Cheung Kong Center in Hong Kong’s main business district in hot and humid conditions on Friday morning.
During the climb he attached a banner featuring the Hong Kong and Chinese flags, as well as two hands shaking.
Prior to the ascent Robert put out a statement saying the message of his climb was to make “an urgent appeal for peace and consultation between Hong Kong people and their government.”
“Perhaps what I do can lower the temperature and maybe raise a smile. That’s my hope anyway,” Robert said in his media statement.
But many were unimpressed.
“Do you really want (to) shake hands with butchers and dictators,” tweeted Australia-based Chinese dissident artist Badiucao.

“This shows many foreigners don’t understand the underlying issue between Hong Kong and China,” a user wrote on a popular forum.
Hong Kong has been battered by 10 weeks of huge — sometimes violent — democracy protests.
They were sparked by opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the mainland, but have since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights.
The movement represents the greatest challenge to Beijing’s authority since the city was handed back by the British in 1997 under a deal that allowed it to keep freedoms that many Hong Kongers feel are now being eroded.
So far neither Beijing, nor the city’s loyalist leaders, have made any major concessions to the movement.
Robert has regularly come to Hong Kong to scale buildings in a city that boasts the highest concentration of skyscrapers in the world.
He has climbed the Cheung Kong Center twice before.
Last August he was banned by a Hong Kong court from making any more climbs after he was charged over a 2011 illegal ascent of the 27-floor Hang Seng Bank building.
At the time he vowed to return to Hong Kong as soon as the ban expired.
In January he was arrested after climbing a 47-story tower in Manila.


Alaska man discovers 50-year-old message in bottle from Russian Navy

Updated 19 August 2019

Alaska man discovers 50-year-old message in bottle from Russian Navy

  • Then Russian Navy Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko wrote the letter when he was a 36-year-old aboard the Sulak
ANCHORAGE, Alaska: A man discovered a 50-year-old letter in a bottle from the Russian Navy on the shores of western Alaska.
Tyler Ivanoff found the handwritten Russian letter early this month while gathering firewood near Shishmaref about 600 miles (966 kilometers) northwest of Anchorage, television station KTUU reported.
“I was just looking for firewood when I found the bottle,” Tyler Ivanoff said. “When I found the bottle, I had to use a screwdriver to get the message out.”
Ivanoff shared his discovery on Facebook where Russian speakers translated the message to be a greeting from a Cold War Russian sailor dated June 20, 1969. The message included an address and a request for a response from the person who finds it.
Reporters from the state-owned Russian media network, Russia-1, tracked down the original writer, Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko, KTUU reported.
He was skeptical he wrote the note until he saw his signature on the bottom.
“There — exactly!” he exclaimed.
The message was sent while the then 36-year-old was aboard the Sulak, Botsanenko said. Botsanenko shed tears when the Russian television reporter told him the Sulak was sold for scrap in the 1990s.
Botsanenko also showed the reporter some souvenirs from his time on the ship, including the autograph of the wife of a famous Russian spy and Japanese liquor bottles, the latter kept over his wife’s protests.
Ivanoff’s discovery of the bottle was first reported by Nome radio station KNOM.