Solar Impulse reaches quarter way to Hawaii

TOKYO: A solar-powered aircraft on a round-the-world flight was high above the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, over a quarter of the way to Hawaii after leaving Japan, the mission website showed. Solar Impulse 2 had travelled 26 per cent of the way to the tropical US state by 0500 GMT, having flown 2,204 km with 6,136 km more to go, according to the project.

That put the plane and its veteran pilot more than 36 hours into the toughest leg of the bid to circumnavigate the planet using only the power of the sun. "Enjoying every moment of this flight. Getting to this point has been challenging," veteran Swiss pilot André Borschberg tweeted. "This flight will only be a success if we really partner, the airplane and myself," he said.

Unprecedented move

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday nominated a female judge to sit on the Supreme Court in an unprecedented move. Anisa Rasouli, the head of the Afghan Women Judges Association and a former juvenile court judge, was the only female nominated to the nine-member bench after the announcement was delayed due to opposition by a group of Islamic conservatives earlier this month. The nomination requires approval by Parliament. The former academic and World Bank economist has already appointed two female governors for the provinces of Ghor and Daikundi, moves hailed by rights campaigners. He also said on Tuesday he wanted all ministries to appoint female deputy ministers.

Gay flag whitewashed

RAMALLAH: Palestinian protesters whitewashed a rainbow flag of gay rights that was painted by a Palestinian artist on six slabs of the West Bank separation barrier. The artist, Khaled Jarrar, said on Tuesday his art was meant as a reminder that Palestinians live under Israeli occupation, at a time when gay rights are in the news after the US allowed same-sex weddings. But protesters perceived the painting as support for homosexuality, a taboo subject in Palestinian society where gays are not tolerated. The artwork ignited angry responses among Palestinians and activists whitewashed the flag on Monday night, just a few hours after it was painted on the best known section of Israel's graffiti-covered barrier, next to a portrait of Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian leaders. Jarrar, 39, who has exhibited in Europe and the United States, told The Associated Press that the destruction "reflects the absence of tolerance, and freedoms in the Palestinian society.""People don't accept different thinking in our society," he said.