A missing submersible is running out of air
An international rescue team was fighting time to locate a deep-diving submersible with five people on board after it lost contact during a North Atlantic exploration of the Titanic wreck.
The Titan submersible is believed to be stocked with less than two days of oxygen and likely had about 40 hours of breathable air remaining as of 1 p.m. ET yesterday, the US Coast Guard said.
Contact with Titan broke off more than halfway through the two-and-a-half-hour dive on Sunday. The five people on board are Hamish Harding, a British businessman and explorer; Shahzada Dawood, a British-Pakistani businessman and explorer, and his son Suleman; and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, a French marine expert who has participated in over 35 dives to the wreck of the Titanic. According to the company, Stockton Rush, the managing director of OceanGate Expeditions, piloted the submersible.
The search for the Titan encounters a number of obstacles, and even if it can be found, finding it again will not be easy. The search area is more than two miles below the surface, the pressure is equivalent to that under a 100-story solid lead tower.
Dangerous Tourism: OceanGate Expeditions has been offering Titanic wreck tours for up to $250,000 per person since 2021 and is part of a booming, high-risk travel industry. In 2018, leaders in the submersible industry sent a letter to the company’s CEO warning that the company’s “current ‘experimental’ approach” could lead to “catastrophic” problems.
“There are so many things that can go wrong,” said our colleague William Broad, who went down in a similar submersible. “Communications can be disrupted, as is clearly the case with the Titan submersible. Even scarier and worse are the non-electrical mechanical failures, for example when the propellers that move the submersible stop working.” Or, he added, if the ballast doesn’t come off, you can’t return to the surface.
Harding admitted in a 2021 interview that he had undertaken deep-sea missions in the past, despite knowing that a rescue would not be an option. “If something goes wrong, you don’t come back,” he said.
A revolution at Alibaba
The Chinese tech giant’s chairman and CEO, Daniel Zhang, will step down, Alibaba announced yesterday. Two long-time executives will take the top positions, while Zhang will serve only as general manager of the company’s cloud computing division.
The reorganization comes at a critical time as the company splits into six entities. Alibaba has been the most prominent target of Beijing’s crackdown on the power of China’s biggest tech companies.
Joseph Tsai, an Alibaba veteran, will chair the meeting. Eddie Yongming Wu, who, like Tsai, is a co-founder of Alibaba, will become CEO.
“The familiar team, the old guard, are back in control,” said the chairman of an investment advisory firm in Beijing.
Finances: China’s central bank cut interest rates yesterday, a clear sign of concern from the Chinese government and the corporate sector that the country’s economy is faltering.
The men — Michael McMahon, a retired New York City police officer, Zhu Yong and Zheng Congying — were also found guilty of acting as unregistered foreign agents, and Zhu was convicted on a second conspiracy charge.
Prosecutors said the men were key to a plot to force former official Xu Jin to return to China, where he should have faced the death penalty for embezzlement.
Prosecutors accused the men of playing a role in Operation Foxhunt, which the Justice Ministry says is part of Beijing’s attempt to control Chinese citizens around the world.
THE LATEST NEWS
Around the world
Stroll along Geylang Road, a street food restaurant in Singapore’s Red Light District, where stalls showcase the city’s distinctly multicultural Chinese, Malay and Indian flavors.
“No matter how full you are,” writes our travel reporter Christine Chung, “there’s always room for an extra meal in Singapore.”
ARTS AND IDEAS
Is it time to put an end to the medicinal namesake?
The tradition of naming newly discovered body parts and diseases after great medical figures was once considered medicine’s highest honor. But the discovery that dozens of namesakes have been linked to Nazi-era doctors, including those with Asperger’s Syndrome, has prompted a renewed investigation.
Still, some scholars say the tradition should live on, arguing that even “deleted” eponyms can serve as a reminder of the paths medicine should never tread again.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook
This hearty farro and mushroom dish has a rich, earthy flavor.
What to see
Pixar’s Elemental, a clever animated girl-meets-boy story, is the Times critics’ pick.
What to Hear
Here are new tracks from Doja Cat, Peggy Gou, Elliott Sharp and others.
What you should read
“By All Means Available” looks at US successes and failures in Afghanistan.
Now it’s time to play
Play the mini crossword and find a clue: Trickles (five letters).
Here are the Wordle and the Spelling Bee. You can find all of our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you in the morning. – Justin and Amelia
PS Jonah Markowitz wrote about his two year experience photographing in a Brooklyn neighborhood known as “Little Bangladesh”.
The Daily is about the decline in the US inflation rate.
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