South African officials reported that at least seven people have been killed by a wildfire. The wildfire raged along Western Cape’s Garden Route, a scenic route popular amongst tourists. A pregnant woman, two children and a baby are among those who have died. Officials say that at least 1,700 people have been evacuated from the area. The Western Cape Local Government Department released a statement staying that emergency support is in place and food, shelter and medical services are being made available to people. More than 400 firefighters have been battling the fire. One has died after his helicopter crashed. The fire remains active on the mountainous slopes of the area.
On Monday, Oct. 29, the Chinese government decided to ease restrictions on the trade of tiger bones and rhino horns. This recent decision allows people to harvest the parts from captive animals for scientific, medical and cultural use. Rhino horns and tiger bones have traditionally been used and valued in Chinese medicine, being used to treat fever, gout, insomnia and meningitis. However, the benefits of using these parts has not been scientifically proven. China had initially prohibited their trade in 1993, but has now partially reversed the ban, worrying animal conservationists. The World Wildlife Fund released a statement responding that the reverse on the ban could have devastating consequences and may result in the further endangerment of these animals.
On Oct. 29, a Lion Air Boeing 737 plane crashed into the sea, killing all 189 people on board. Among those 189 people were members of the nation’s finance ministry and trainee flight attendants. The plane crashed just minutes after taking off from Jakarta. Indonesian officials report that they do not know the reason for the crash, but that they are conducting an investigation. The plane was just serviced a few months ago and its remnants are now being inspected. However, the flight log showed that on a flight on the previous day, one of the plane’s instruments was giving unreliable airspeed readings and that the captain’s and the first officer’s instrument readings also differed. Lion Air’s CEO Edward Sirait released a statement that the plane had been repaired and had been ok’ed to fly again.
On Monday, Oct. 29, there was a suicide bombing in Tunisia’s capital, Tunis, which injured nine people. The bomber is reportedly Mouna Guebla, an unemployed graduate who is from the eastern region of Mahdia. Guebla’s father said that he doubts that his daughter willingly carried out the attack. Guebla appeared to have used a homemade bomb, according to Tunis police. Tunisia’s Interior Minister Hichem Fourati said that the attack was an isolated attack and that Guebla had not been “known for her religious background or affiliation” nor had been on any watch lists. No group has taken responsibility for the attack, but Tunis local media reported that Guebla may have been influenced into making her decision by sources on the internet.
To celebrate the country’s 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage, on Sunday, Oct. 29, Duchess Meghan Markle, accompanied by husband Prince Harry, spoke about women’s rights in New Zealand. The couple are in New Zealand on the final leg of their Pacific tour. The Duchess commended the country for being the first country in the world to give women the right to vote in parliamentary elections, saying that they “paved the way” for women and minorities around the globe. This is the couple’s first official tour since getting married. They started off the tour in Australia, attending the Invictus Games, an international sport competition and conference for wounded veterans created by Prince Harry in 2014.