Pakistan appoints new spy chief

Updated 22 September 2014

Pakistan appoints new spy chief

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s army has named a new chief to head the country’s premier intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, which is also known by its acronym ISI.
Maj. Gen. Rizwan Akhtar was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general to head the spy agency, the army said in a statement.
Akhtar, who previously headed a Pakistani paramilitary force in Karachi, replaced Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam.
Both the military and the ISI wield tremendous power in Pakistan, even after a successful transition of power to civilians last year.
The spy agency, which officially is meant to report to the prime minister, commonly follows positions taken by the military command.
The army also promoted five other officers to the rank of lieutenant general to replace officers who retire in October.
The military changes remove most of the top officers appointed by the last army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who opted not to launch a major military offensive in country’s North Waziristan tribal region despite repeated recommendations from Washington.
The new army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, did that in mid-June.


Thailand’s lost baby dugong dies from shock, eating plastic

Updated 47 min 42 sec ago

Thailand’s lost baby dugong dies from shock, eating plastic

  • Marium, the female baby dugong had already lost her mother when she was initially found
  • Biologists tried saving her, but they believe she died of a combination of the plastic and shock

BANGKOK: An 8-month-old dugong nurtured by marine experts after it was found lost near a beach in southern Thailand has died of what biologists believe was a combination of shock and ingesting plastic waste, officials said Saturday.
The female dugong — a large ocean mammal — was named “Marium” and became a hit in Thailand after images of biologists embracing and feeding her with milk and seagrass spread across social media. Veterinarians and volunteers had set out in canoes to feed Marium up to 15 times a day while also giving her health checks.
Last week, she was found bruised after being chased and supposedly attacked by a male dugong during the mating season, said Jatuporn Buruspat, director-general of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.
She was brought in for treatment in the artificial sea on Libong Island in Krabi province.
“We assume she wandered off too far from her natural habitat and was chased and eventually attacked by another male dugong, or dugongs, as they feel attracted to her,” Jatuporn said Saturday.
An autopsy showed a big amount of plastic waste in her intestine, which could also have played a part in her death as it led to gastritis and blood infection, he said.
“She must have thought these plastics were edible,” Jatuporn said.
The dugong is a species of marine mammal similar to the American manatee and can grow to about 3.4 meters (11 feet) in length. Its conservation status is listed as vulnerable.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-arcpha said Marium’s death saddens the whole nation and the world.
“Her death will remind Thais and people all over the world not to dispose trash into the oceans,” Varawut said at a news conference.