Kylie has breast cancer
Pop diva Kylie Minogue, whose hit album Fever went platinum in the US, has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has postponed her Australian and Asian tour, her management said yesterday. Minogue, 36, is Australia's biggest music star, rising from humble beginnings as a child actress on the TV soap Neighbours to international stardom as one of the world's top pop singers. The Frontier Touring Co said Minogue was diagnosed with "early breast cancer" while visiting family in Melbourne this week.
Italian aid worker seized
Authorities suspect criminals, not militants, kidnapped 32-year old Clementina Cantoni, who works for the CARE International aid agency, from her car on a street in the center of Kabul, a government official said yesterday. Cantoni was grabbed at about 8:30pm on Monday after the vehicle in which she was travelling in was intercepted and blocked by another car. No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. There's a suspicion that members of the same group that kidnapped three UN staffers last October are behind this, one official said.
Cave raid nets 15 suspects
Afghan and US troops arrested at least 15 suspected Taliban after surrounding a group of caves in the mountains of Uruzgan Province, Afghan officials said yesterday. Defense Ministry spokesman General Mohammed Zaher Azimi said Afghan and US troops battled the rebels for an hour before they surrendered, though an Afghan general said there was no shooting. Azimi said 17 suspects were detained, but General Muslim Hamid said 15 were taken into custody along with a supply of rifles, grenades and rockets found in the caves.
■ Sri Lanka
Convicted monk kills self
A monk who drank poison minutes after becoming the nation's first Buddhist clergyman to be convicted of child abuse died at a hospital yesterday, officials at the facility said. A high court on Monday found Bellana Panniyaloka guilty of grave sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl in 2001, and gave him the maximum 20-year prison term. Moments later, the monk drank from a bottle he had concealed in his saffron robes. He then collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, where he died yesterday.
Underwater casino planned
The battle for casino supremacy has moved to a new frontier. An underwater casino with a capacity of 450 gaming tables and 3,000 slot machines will open in mid-2008, Melco International Development Ltd said in a statement on Monday. The HK$8 billion (US$1 billion) resort will also house deluxe apartment blocks, 2,000 hotel rooms, a mall and a 4,000-seat performance hall.
Pets on anti-depressants
An increasing number of dogs and cats are being fed anti-depressant drugs to counteract obsessive compulsive disorder, a report said yesterday. An estimated 3 to 6 percent of the country's dogs and cats are diagnosed with the problem as owners act on telltale signs such as tail-biting, circling, pacing, shadow-chasing and excessive grooming, the Daily Telegraph said. Vet Robert Stabler was quoted as saying a combination of genes and the environment were responsible.
Town outlaws gossip
Malicious gossip often results in tears and anger, but in Colombia it had lead to murder -- and officials say they've heard enough. Fed up with people targeted by false rumors turning up dead or wrongfully arrested, the mayor of a small Colombian town has made gossip a crime punishable by up to four years in prison. "Human beings must be aware and recognize that having a tongue and using it to do bad is the same as having dynamite in their mouths," says an official municipal decree issued last year in Icononzo, 70km southwest of the capital, Bogota.
Mob-run Viagra track found
Police have discovered a mob-linked race track where they say horses were pumped full of Viagra and other drugs to fix races. The illegally built and operated track, known locally as "Miss Charmet," is located on the outskirts of Naples city -- home to the Camorra, the local version of the Sicilian Mafia. "We are able to ascertain the use of the famous [drug] Viagra to increase the performance of these horses," police commander Mario Pantano told local television. It was not clear how Viagra affected the horses' speed. The track and its horses, worth an estimated 5 million euros (US$6.4 million), were seized by authorities investigating illegal doping of horses, according to local media.
■ United States
Zoo death probe launched
Prosecutors said they are investigating a Chicago, Illinois zoo after a spate of recent animal deaths has alarmed animal rights activists. Two elephants, two gorillas, a camel and three endangered Francois langur monkeys have died at the Lincoln Park Zoo in recent months. Another elephant died shortly after it was moved to a zoo in Utah. The Cook County state's attorney's office said on Monday it would investigate to determine if the deaths were the result of any criminal wrongdoing. The US Department of Agriculture and the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, which accredits US zoos, are also reviewing the zoo's animal care practices.
■ United States
Viagra smuggler sentenced
A California man who smuggled and manufactured tens of thousands of counterfeit Viagra tablets was sentenced Monday to six months of home detention and 2,500 hours of community service. Frank Fu Jen Huang, 59, of Upland, pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy, trafficking in counterfeit goods and causing a counterfeit drug to be made or sold. Prosecutors said Huang dealt in US$5.8 million worth of the counterfeit male sexual potency pills, including importing at least 50,000 tablets from China.
■ United States
Hilfiger to host reality show
Forget his Nantucket neighbors. Tommy Hilfiger is running with a new crowd this summer, including Miss Minnesota 2004, a professional skateboarder and a stay-at-home mom from St. Louis. They're among the 16 contestants on CBS' new reality show The Cut, which aims to recreate Hilfiger's own rags-to-riches story. They'll live "Tommy's life in fast forward" and be faced with assignments that test their talent, business acumen, sales and marketing savvy, social skills, resourcefulness and, of course, their sense of style. Hilfiger hosts the show, which premieres June 9. Contestants live in a Manhattan loft.
Corrupt unit disbanded
The first opposition governor to take office in Guerrero state in recent decades announced on Monday he will dissolve a state police unit that became notorious for human rights abuses. Governor Zeferino Torreblanca, who took office as governor of the Pacific coast state of Guerrero on April 1, has raised hopes there will be a house-cleaning of government in a state long known for violence, crime and massacres. Torreblanca said he will disband the Guerrero state Motorized Police unit, also known as the State Transit and Public Safety Police, the unit responsible for the 1995 Aguas Blancas massacre. In that incident, police opened fire on a group of leftist farmworkers as they traveled to a protest rally in June 1995.
Race riots probed
Russian authorities have opened criminal proceedings after a violent clash in a Siberian city last week between police and a large group of Chinese construction workers that left people injured on both sides, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. In a statement Monday, the ministry said Russia regarded the May 11 incident with the "utmost seriousness," and would carry out a thorough investigation. Prosecutors in Irkutsk opened two preliminary criminal cases -- one against the Chinese citizens for resisting police, and another against police officers for abuse of power.
Martin challenges opponents
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin on Monday challenged his opponents to behave with civility in parliament, just days before the possible fall of his minority Liberal government. Martin faces a no-confidence vote tomorrow, which would trigger an election if he loses. The Parliament has been paralyzed for weeks, with the opposition Conservatives seizing on a Liberal Party corruption scandal and tying up the House of Commons with shouting matches and motions to adjourn. On Monday, Martin urged Conservative Leader Stephen Harper to resume a respectful dialogue within the House.
Mini-summit due to end
An African mini-summit in Tripoli on peace efforts for Sudan's war-torn Darfur region was due to end yesterday with an agreement to resume talks between Khartoum and rebels within the next two weeks in Nigeria. African leaders attending the seven-way summit in Tripoli agreed that "the Abuja negotiations should be resumed by the end of the month," Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir told reporters. Egyptian presidential spokesman Suleiman Awad later said official talks would kick off on June 1. A final date was expected to be announced late yesterday when the two-day meeting officially closes.
Eiffel Tower jump goes bad
A Norwegian man was killed after jumping off an upper deck of the Eiffel Tower with a parachute that never opened, officials said yesterday. The man crashed on the 55m-high first deck of the famous Paris landmark after jumping from an upper deck on Monday evening, said an official for SNTE, the company that manages the Eiffel Tower. Norwegian foreign ministry spokeswoman Anne Lene Sandsten said the man was Norwegian, according to news agency NTB.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic