World Briefs: US task force to probe UFO sightings

US task force to probe UFO sightings

WASHINGTON • The Pentagon said it is setting up a new task force under the US Navy to investigate UFO sightings.

With the creation of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, the Defence Department hopes "to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs", said spokesman Susan Gough.

Rather than little green alien invaders, the US military is actually concerned about "unidentified aerial phenomena" connected with terrestrial adversaries.

Washington is particularly concerned about China's spying capabilities, using drones or other airborne means.

"The mission of the task force is to detect, analyse and catalogue UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to US national security," Ms Gough said.

The Pentagon takes "any incursions by unauthorised aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace very seriously and examine each report".


Thai royal pardon for duo on death row

BANGKOK • Two Myanmar migrant workers on death row for the brutal murder of a pair of British backpackers in Thailand have had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment following a mass royal pardon.

The two men's lawyer Nadthasiri Bergman said the pardon decree - which was published on Friday and applies to all inmates on death row - was "effective immediately".

Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun were found guilty of the rape and murder of Ms Hannah Witheridge, 23, and of killing Mr David Miller, 24, after their battered bodies were found on a beach on the southern resort island of Koh Tao in 2014.

But lawyers said the evidence used to convict the two men - who are from Myanmar's impoverished Rakhine state - was unreliable and alleged that their confessions were obtained under duress.


Man punches shark to save wife in NSW

SYDNEY • A man jumped onto a great white shark and punched it to save his wife when it attacked her yesterday at a beach in Port Macquarie in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), said the media and officials.

The Sydney Morning Herald said Ms Chantelle Doyle, 35, was attacked by the 2m to 3m shark while surfing at Shelly Beach, and suffered severe lacerations to her right leg.

It quoted Surf Life Saving NSW chief executive Steven Pearce as saying Ms Doyle's husband jumped off his surfboard and onto the shark.

"This fellow paddled over and jumped off his board onto the shark and hit it to get it to release her and then assisted her back to the beach," Mr Pearce said. "Pretty full on, really heroic."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 16, 2020, with the headline 'World Briefs'. Subscribe