Pollution Problems — The air quality of Asian cities has worsened in recent years, posing a growing threat to human health, reports the New York Times. Data compiled by Clean Air Asia indicate that levels of air pollutants in 284 out of 300 cities in 16 Asian nations exceeded targets recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Experts said Asia’s economic rebound combined with the increase of passenger and freight vehicles are worsening air quality in the region.
City of Lights — The French government wants shops in Paris to turn off their lights between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. as a way of saving energy and cut costs, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, but retailers say the lights-out campaign will hurt tourism. The city’s brightly-illuminated Champs-Élysées, Avenue Montaigne and Boulevard Haussmann are popular tourist attractions and many stores keep their lights on all night. Delphine Batho, the minister of environment and energy, made the proposal to turn off nighttime lights in shops and it could take effect by July 2013. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy started the lights-out campaign as part of a broader European initiative to increase energy efficiency by 20% by 2020.
New Zealand Tornado: A “freak” tornado has struck the outskirts of Auckland in New Zealand killing three people, writes the Guardian. Authorities said seven people are suffering from injuries while 250 more were forced to evacuate their homes. The tornado, which one resident described as “five minutes of utter devastation,” hit the suburbs of Hobsonville and Whenupai on Thursday, tearing apart trees and taking off roofs. Auckland was last hit by a tornado in May 2011 when one person died, notes the BBC.
McAfee Arrest: The founder of the antivirus software, John McAfee, was arrested in Guatemala City on Wednesday, reports the New York Times. McAfee has been on the run for almost a month following the death of a neighbour near his home in Belize who was found dead on Nov. 11. He has been arrested in Guatemala on charges of entering the country illegally. McAfee’s whereabouts surfaced after journalists from the magazine Vice, who had accompanied the software pioneer for five days as he crossed over the border from Belize, forget to delete the location of a picture that was uploaded to the Internet, said the Guardian. McAfee has claimed the Belizean government is persecuting him and he needs a place where he can speak freely. Belizean officials have denied these claims. For more on the unfolding situation, TIME’s Sam Gustin has his take here.
Military Plane Crash: A South African plane headed in the direction of an airport near the home of Nelson Mandela has crashed, writes CNN. Local media reported that the plane was carrying a team of doctors responsible for the former president’s health. Mandela has not appeared in public since the 2010 World Cup and is receiving round-the-clock care following abdominal surgery earlier this year. The initial search for the plane, which went missing on Wednesday, had to be abandoned due to poor weather, reports the BBC. The wreckage of the flight, traveling from Pretoria to Mthatha, was eventually found in the Drakensberg Mountains in KwaZulu-Natal province.