Mahathir attacks US, UK
US and British pilots whose bombs killed Iraqi civilians were murderers, and the invasion and occupation of Iraq by those two countries amounted to terrorism, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday. Several British and European diplomats walked out in protest against Mahathir's broadside in a speech at a national conference on human rights. The US Embassy has decided earlier not to send officers to the event. Mahathir, who ruled majority Muslim Malaysia for 22 years before retiring in 2003, also defended his human rights record in government. He was often criticized for detaining suspects without trial under a security law and for the imprisonment of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
■ New Zealand
Cheeky billboards removed
Three billboards in Auckland advertising an automobile trade magazine's Web site with the words "We've got rides for dirty bitches" will be taken down following several complaints from women, it was reported yesterday. The billboards included a picture of two fluffy dogs looking out the window of a mud-spattered sports utility vehicle. Tina Clyma, of ACP Media, publisher of Auto Trader, said the billboards would be taken down before the Advertising Standards Authority ruled on the complaints made to it. "It was a cheeky reference to New Zealanders love affair with vehicles," she said. "It was not meant to cause offense to anybody, but it looks like we are really in the dog-house over this one."
Cheaters could face charges
Students who cheat at exams are usually given a zero grade or sometimes expelled from school, but in China they could soon face criminal charges. A newly-published draft version of the country's first educational exam law has triggered widespread controversy by suggesting that cheating should be viewed as a criminal offense, Shenzhen Daily reported yesterday. It states that cheating, especially organized, large-scale cheating, is against the law.
Granny killer found dead
A notorious Australian serial killer known as the "granny killer" was found dead in his cell yesterday after apparently hanging himself, prison authorities said. A New South Wales state corrective services spokesman said John Wayne Glover's body was found in his cell at Lithgow jail, west of Sydney, early yesterday afternoon and he was pronounced dead shortly afterward. Glover, who was in his early 70s, was serving life without parole for the murders of six women in Sydney's exclusive North Shore area between 1989 and 1990. All but one of his victims were aged over 80.
Airport closed in money row
The British company that polices Baghdad's airport closed it to passengers yesterday for the second time in three months, in another attempt to force the Iraqi government to pay what it says are months of unpaid bills. A senior spokesman for Iraq's Transport Ministry confirmed the airport was closed over the money issue but said: "Within hours we will solve the problem ... We will pay them." "We haven't been paid for seven months," Giles Morgan, a spokesman for Global Strategies Group, which has guarded the airport with about 550 staff since the middle of last year, said.
Hu begins visit
Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) started a landmark tour of North America on Thursday and said he wanted to expand relations with Canada ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Paul Martin. The Canadian leader was expected to press Hu over China's human-rights record and huge pollution emissions at a meeting yesterday but his government is also anxious to build up trade. Hu said the Canadian and Chinese economies were "highly complimentary" and stressed the "vast potential" for further cooperation.
■ United States
Thompson left a note
Counterculture author Hunter S. Thompson wrote a suicide note to his wife four days before he killed himself, according to an article published on Thursday by his friend, biographer and executor Douglas Brinkley in Rolling Stone magazine. The brief message was titled "Football Season Is Over," Brinkley said, and it was scrawled in black marker. "No More Games. No More bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax This won't hurt."
■ United Kingdom
Old age begins at 80
Old age has been postponed, biologically and psychologically, and it now begins at 80, according to Ian Robertson, dean of research at Dublin's Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. The degree to which people retained their faculties after 50 was influenced by what they did, he said, and summarized with seven points. Aerobic fitness is probably most important, he said, as the function and structure of the brain are influenced by activity. Also important factors are mental stimulation, new learning, high and prolonged stress levels, a rich social life, and healthy eating -- such as a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and fish -- had profound effects on cognitive decline. Finally, think young.
■ United States
Haunted building in lawsuit
The landlords of an Orlando entertainment complex are suing two restaurateurs for refusing to move into a building because they claim it is haunted. Subcontractors who worked there and other people have reported seeing ghosts or other apparitions, said the attorney for the restaurant owners. The US$2.6 million lawsuit says an offer to hold an exorcism was refused. Christopher and Yoko Chung, the owners of a Japanese restaurant, objected to the exorcism offer because it is a Roman Catholic rite. The lawsuit asks a judge to decide whether the building is haunted and, if so, whether the ghosts would interfere with the restaurant's business.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around