Terror suspects to face trial
A magistrate yesterday ordered 11 men accused of being members of an alleged terrorist cell in Australia to stand trial. Magistrate Paul Smith said at a court hearing in the southern city of Melbourne that he was satisfied prosecutors had enough evidence to justify sending the men to trial. A decision on whether to send two other men with the group to trial would come later, the magistrate said. The 11 suspects sent to trial pleaded innocent at the hearing to charges that they were members of a terrorist organization. Some face additional charges of funding a terrorist organization.
Drone plane test announced
Australia announced plans yesterday that it would test unmanned drones in the fight against illegal fishing, drug running and human trafficking. The defense department said it was testing the ability of a US-made drone to conduct patrols along the the Northwest Shelf, off the coast of western Australia, an area it described as having "vital strategic and economic importance." Liberal Party Senator Sandy Macdonald, the parliamentary secretary to the minister for defense, said the unmanned aircraft would work in tandem with a naval patrol boat throughout this month. He said the drone would record the movements of vessels passing through Australian water.
Three die in likely suicide
Three young women were found dead in an apparent group suicide in a parked car in Tokyo, police said. A police officer on patrol discovered the bodies of the women, all believed to be in their twenties, inside the vehicle in a deserted parking lot in western Tokyo, according to a local police official who gave only his last name, Yasuda. There was no sign that any of the women struggled and investigators suspect they committed suicide, Yasuda said. Three still-smoking charcoal stoves were found in the sealed car and the women likely died of asphyxiation, Yasuda said. Charcoal stoves emit fumes that cause asphyxia. Police have yet to identify the bodies.
Attack kills over 40 seals
Police on Friday were investigating a shooting attack on a colony of rare seals on a remote southern island that killed more than 40 of the animals. Fishing industry officials denied accusations by animal welfare activists that the attack was probably carried out by fishermen as an illegal cull of seals living in lucrative fishing grounds. A group of university students who were studying seals on Kanowna Island witnessed the attack on Wednesday, police said. Police on Thursday detained two fishermen and found two high-powered rifles aboard their boat, but the men were released without charge. The investigation is continuing.
Japanese fishing was legal
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the entry of 39 Japanese vessels into Russian waters, which it had previously protested, actually had been done legally, Interfax reported. The Foreign Ministry summoned the Japanese ambassador on Monday to protest a violation of its waters. However, ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said on Thursday that the vessels' presence was legal under a 1981 agreement, Interfax said.. "It looks like emotions played a role here," Kamynin said. That apparently was a reference to the tensions that have soared after the Russian seizure of a Japanese trawler during which one Japanese fisherman died from gunshot.
■ United Kingdom
TV drama targets Bush
Public broadcaster Channel 4 is courting controversy with what it calls a "shockingly real" drama about the assassination of US President George W. Bush. Death of a President, shot in the form of a documentary examining the assassination, will use a blend of archival footage and computer-generated special effects to portray Bush being killed by a sniper in October next year in Chicago. It will air next month on Channel 4's More4 digital channel, as well as at the Toronto Film Festival this month. "It's a pointed political examination of what the war on terror is doing to the American body politic," said More4 boss Peter Dale at a press conference on Thursday. "I'm sure there will be people upset by it ... I hope people will see the intention as a good one."
■ United Kingdom
Extradited man arrested
A British man wanted for questioning about the beating deaths of his wife and three children was returned to London yesterday after being deported from Thailand, authorities said. Rahan Arshad, 36, was arrested on Wednesday at a checkpoint on the Thailand-Malaysia border. Greater Manchester Police confirmed that a 36-year-old man had been arrested at Heathrow Airport after arriving from Thailand. Arshad had been sought for questioning about the killings of Uzma Rahan, 32, and her three children -- Adam, 11, Abbas, 8, and Henne, 6. Their bodies were found in their home in near Manchester on Aug. 20.
■ United States
Execution toll rises by two
Executions of two convicted murderers on Thursday in Texas and Oklahoma took the total number of people put to death in the US this year to 41. James Malicoat, 31, apologized for the murder of his one-year-old daughter in 1997 before he was put to death by lethal injection in McAlester, Oklahoma, a prison official said. Shortly afterward Texas executed Derrick Frazier, 29, who was sentenced to death for the 1997 murder of Betsy Nutt. Frazier continued to insist on his innocence in the crime before he was executed by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas. An accomplice, Jermaine Herron, was convicted of killing Nutt's son in the crime and was executed last May.
■ United Kingdom
Raving squatters in trouble
The owner of an eight-bedroom mansion in one of London's most fashionable neighborhoods will evict squatters who have turned the property into a summer venue for rave parties, police said on Thursday. The squatters, who arrived in June, have occupied a house near Regent's Park which was slated for demolition. Since the middle of last month the group has been hosting massive raves. Jane Anderson Craig, a neighbor, said the squatters had been charging for entry. "The noise was just incredible," she said. "They were filing by the houses throwing beer bottles into the streets."
■ United States
Buffett weds companion
Billionaire Warren Buffett married a longtime friend Astrid Menks in a private ceremony in Omaha, Nebraska, on Wednesday, the Omaha World-Herald reported on Thursday. Buffett's daughter, Susan, hosted the wedding at her Omaha home. She said her father and Menks, 60, were married in a 15-minute ceremony on Buffett's 76th birthday. "It's her only and his last [wedding]," she said, recalling her father's take on the ceremony. Buffett's first wife, Susan, died in 2004.
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