1. AirAsia flight from Indonesia to Singapore has lost contact with air traffic control.
Via ABC Online.
An Air Asia flight from Indonesia’s Surabaya to Singapore has lost contact with air traffic control, Indonesian media is reporting.
Transport ministry official Hadi Mustofa said flight QZ8501 lost contact with the Jakarta air traffic control tower at 6:17am local time (9:17am AEDT).
The official said the aircraft is an Airbus 320-200 with 155 people on board.
He said the plane had asked for an unusual route before it lost contact.
AirAsia has established an Emergency Call Centre that is available for family or friends of those who may have been on board the aircraft. The number is: +622129850801.
This story originally appeared on the ABC, and has been republished here with full permission.
2. North Korea calls President Obama a “monkey” over his support for film screening.
North Korean prime minister Kim Jong-Un has criticised President Obama after the movie “The Interview” was released in select cinemas on Saturday. The screening had been previously interrupted after Sony Entertainment was hacked by an unknown source.
Despite the fact “The Interview” depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the Korean government denies any involvement in the global hack. They have called Obama’s actions in relation to the movie “very irresponsible.”
“Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest,” an unidentified spokesman at the commission’s policy department said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
He also accused Washington for intermittent outages of North Korean websites this week, after the US had promised to respond to the Sony hack.
3. Egypt reduces jail term for 8 men convicted over gay wedding video.
Eight Egyptian men who participated in a gay wedding video that went viral were convicted on charges of “inciting debauchery and offending public morality” in November for broadcasting images that “violated public decency”, reports the ABC. Their three year prison sentences have now been reduced on appeal. The men will now serve one year in a Cairo jail.
The men were detained after a video, filmed aboard a Nile riverboat, showed what prosecutors said was a gay wedding ceremony, with two men kissing, exchanging rings and cutting a cake with their picture on it. The video went viral on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter.
While homosexuality is not specifically banned under Egyptian law, the men were instead accused of debauchery in the conservative Islamic country. The debauchery charge has since been dropped after an invasive exam of the men showed that they did not have anal sex. They were convicted and sentenced for “offending public morality”.
The wedding video that went viral and led to the imprisonment of participants.
4. Australian mum freed from Chinese prison after 6.5 years.
Australian business woman Charlotte Chou has been released from a Guangzhou prison after serving more than six years for embezzlement, reports The Age.
Chinese authorities claim that Ms Chou embezzled money from a private software engineering college she had founded in China.
But Chou alleges that she was arrested because her former business partner, Zfu Hanbang, had bribed Chinese authorities to keep her in prison so that he could take control of her profitable college. She said that transfer of funds between her and the university were as a result of a properly documented loan.
Ms Chou is planning to return to Australia where she will be reunited with her family, including her son Lincoln who was a baby when his mother was imprisoned in 2008.
5. Saved By The Bell’s Screech arrested after Christmas stabbing.
Saved By The Bell cast with ‘Screech’ (bottom centre)
Dustin Diamond, who played Screech on the 1990s TV show Saved by the Bell, was charged Friday with felony recklessly endangering safety in connection with a stabbing incident on Christmas night at a bar in Port Washington, USA, where he lives.
Diamond allegedly got into a fight with a patron at a bar and stabbed at him. Diamond initially told police he was wielding a pen but later admitted it was a flick knife. He has been remanded in custody until his court appearance on Monday.
While Diamond is fondly remembered for his role as lovable doofus, Screech, on Saved By the Bell, he has since become infamous for his 2006 self-released sex tape, and his scathing autobiography on his time on the show, Behind the Bell.