As American political scandals go, it may not rank on a par with Iraq's missing weapons of mass destruction. \nBut Tyler Crotty, a 13-year-old from Florida, has whipped up a surprisingly big storm in the US, considering that all he did was yawn. \nFatefully, though, Tyler chose to express his overwhelming sense of tedium -- yawning, checking his watch and staring at his feet -- while standing on a podium just behind US President George W. Bush as he spoke at a Republican Party rally. \nFootage of the bored teenager was screened this week on David Letterman's nightly talk show. CNN quickly told its viewers that the White House had assured them the tape was a fake. \nThat prompted an outburst from Letterman, whose short temper is legendary, and who accused CNN of lying. \nBy yesterday it finally seemed that the truth had emerged: the footage was real, and Tyler Crotty, 12 at the time the rally took place last month, was so tired because his father, Rich Crotty, had got him out of bed early to travel there. \nNot that Crotty is likely to face much retribution for embarrassing the Bush administration: he is chairman of the Orange County, Florida, Republican Party, and a major donor to the president's re-election campaign. \nTyler "was probably on stage for a minimum of three hours, including the speech," his father said. \n"And a 12-year-old gets fidgety and looks at his watch and carries on after three hours in the same seat," he said. \nBy yesterday, media access to Tyler was being handled by the White House, which was reserving him for an appearance with Letterman last night. \n"He's a young person who strongly supports the president and is excited about getting a chance to talk about it," an ever-optimistic spokesman was quoted as saying. \nWhat remains a mystery is why CNN twice told viewers that Bush aides had been in touch to deny the scenes were real. \nSeveral articles in the US media recently have accused mainstream outlets of accepting White House statements uncritically during the Iraq war. But this week CNN appeared to have gone even further, pre-empting any actual communication from the administration. \n"It turns out, due to what we might say [was] a misunderstanding among the folks who are usually so fantastic behind me here in the newsroom, it turns out that was not true," CNN anchor Daryn Kagan said on air. \n"The White House, it turns out, I guess never did call us about the tape," he said.
Japan’s Mount Aso erupted yesterday, spewing a giant column of ash thousands of meters into the sky as hikers rushed away from the popular tourist spot. No injuries were immediately reported after the late-morning eruption in southwest Japan, which sent rocks flying in a dramatic blast captured by nearby CCTV cameras. People were warned not to approach the volcano as it ejected hot gas and ash as high as 3,500m, and sent stones tumbling down its grassy slopes. Authorities were checking if any hikers had been trapped or injured, officials told local media, as TV footage showed dozens of vehicles and tour buses
South Korea yesterday said that it would lift COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings next week as the country prepares to switch to a “living with COVID-19” strategy amid rising vaccination levels. A new panel established this week is drawing up a plan for a gradual lifting of curbs, aiming to lift restrictions and reopen the economy next month on the expectation that 80 percent of the adult population will be fully vaccinated. From Monday, the South Korean government is to allow gatherings of up to four unvaccinated people and ease operating-hour restrictions imposed on venues such as restaurants, cafes and cinemas, South
‘AVOIDABLE SITUATION’: After being tortured in his home country, a Sri Lankan and his family are at risk of deportation from the UK, despite his academic fellowship A scientist conducting groundbreaking research into renewable energy is facing deportation with his family to Sri Lanka, where he was tortured, after receiving contradictory information about his case from the British Home Office. Nadarajah Muhunthan, 47, his wife, Sharmila, 42, and their three children, aged 13, nine and five, went to the UK in 2018 after Muhunthan, who is working on thin-film photovoltaic devices used to generate solar power, was given a prestigious Commonwealth Rutherford fellowship. The award allowed him to reside to the UK for two years to research and develop the technology. His wife obtained a job caring for
A top global law firm is no longer representing the University of Hong Kong (HKU) in seeking the removal of a Tiananmen memorial from its campus after it came under heavy criticism in the US for helping China purge dissent, the Washington Post reported. Mayer Brown is the latest international company to face pressure over how its actions in China contradict its more progressive statements in the West. The 8m high Pillar of Shame sculpture by Danish artist Jens Galschiot has stood on HKU’s campus since 1997, the year the city was handed back to China. It features 50 anguished faces and tortured