Wild elephant captured
Hunters have captured a wild elephant that trampled to death at least nine people and injured several others in the southeast, officials said yesterday. A team of 15 forestry officials found the elephant on Saturday after a two week search and shot it with a tranquilizer in the jungles of Haspasha district, about 500km southeast of Kathmandu, said a forest officer who declined to give his name. The elephant had already killed nine people and injured several others, and also damaged huts and crops since last month.
Students trampled to death
Six middle school students were trampled to death at a school in Jiangxi Province and 39 were injured as puapils pushed and shoved each other in a crowded stairwell, state press reported yesterday. The accident occurred after the pupils swarmed down the staircase of the Tuchang Middle School after evening classes on Saturday night, the Xinhua news agency reported. An investigation into the stampede was under way, the report said. The students died from their injuries while they were being transported to a hospital, it said. One injured student remained in critical condition.
General calls for coup
A retired army general has called for the military to take control of the Indian Ocean country, but a US embassy official said there were no signs of a takeover. Retired General Fidy called for military rule on private radio on Friday in protest against the "unconstitutional" government of President Marc Ravalomanana. On Saturday, a plane carrying Ravalomanana home from Europe was diverted after shooting reportedly broke out near the airport in the capital Antananarivo. One person was reportedly shot.
Architect weds at 98
Legendary modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer has wed his secretary at the tender age of 98. Niemeyer tied the knot with his 60-something secretary Vera Lucia Cabreira at his Rio de Janeiro home on Thursday and then told his family about his nuptials on Friday, local media reported. The couple has known each other for three decades, and Niemeyer -- known widely for landmark buildings in his country's modernist capital, Brasilia -- still works. Lest anyone think him impetuous, Niemeyer has an impressive marriage record; He was married for 76 years to Annita Baldo, who died in 2004.
■ United States
Patient killed in shootout
An armed patient was fatally shot on Saturday in his hospital room in Aurora, Illinois, at the end of a four-and-a-half hour standoff with police. He pointed his gun at police, who opened fire. "We can't confirm that he committed suicide. And we can't confirm that he fired a shot first," a police spokesman said. "We do know he raised his gun. One of our police officers fired upon him when he did that." That officer has been placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of an investigation. The gunman had briefly held another patient hostage in the room, but released him unharmed.
Hollande unites Socialists
Socialist Party chief Francois Hollande vowed on Saturday to unite the party, but insisted the party's presidential candidate -- and his longtime companion -- Segolene Royal must be free to run her own campaign. Royal won a stunning victory in the party primary on Thursday, sweeping up more than 60 percent of the vote. Hollande said he must rally the party together again before the first round of the presidential vote next year. "There was a debate. There was a vote. There are still wounds," he said.
■ South Africa
Body parts found in baggage
Police arrested a 24-year-old man in Eastern Cape province who was found carrying the head and arms of his grandmother in his baggage, the SAPA news agency reported. Police were tipped off about the man, who was ordered off a bus and found to be carrying a finger in his pocket, the news agency said, citing Police Captain Jackson Manatha. After being questioned at a police station, the man admitted that he had left his baggage on the bus. "Police chased the bus to Ndabakazi station ... when he opened it an old woman's head and her two arms were found," he said. "It is alleged that the suspect murdered his 85-year-old grandmother on Friday," Manatha said.
Budget gains momentum
The government won a confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies on Saturday over its belt-tightening budget for next year. The vote was called by Prime Minister Romano Prodi's center-left coalition. There were 331 votes were cast in favor of the budget, while 231 voted against. Prodi said the vote was needed to put an end to obstructionist tactics by the center-right opposition, while the opposition countered that it was called to paper over cracks in Prodi's own nine-party coalition. The budget, which is due to pass to the Senate this week, aims to cut next year's public deficit to below the EU's 3 percent limit for the first time since 2002.
Prison hostages killed
At least four people, including three lawyers being held hostage, were killed after police raided the Mil Cumbres prison on the outskirts of Morelia to end a standoff with inmates, local media reported. It was not immediately clear if police had regained control on Saturday of the prison on the outskirts, where four inmates had taken 10 lawyers hostage on Friday. It was reported that at least three lawyers and an inmate were killed in the raid.
Fingerprinting US visitors
The parliament adopted a bill yesterday that would make digital fingerprinting compulsory for all US citizens seeking to enter the country. "All US citizens should be controlled and subjected to digital fingerprinting when they are issued with a visa and when they enter Iran," according to the bill, adopted after a debate broadcast live on state radio. "This law comes in response to the American practice of taking digital fingerprints of sportsmen, political officials and other Iranians, sometimes with an insulting attitude," Member of Parliament Kazem Jalali said during the debate.
Pakistani fugitive in custody
A Pakistani man accused of setting on fire a young woman last year in a Parisian suburb was placed under judicial investigation after flying back from Pakistan, a court official said on Saturday. Amer Mustag Butt, 25, was placed in preventive custody following his arrival in France late on Friday. He had been tracked down in Pakistan by French police with the aid of Pakistani authorities and agreed to return to France and "face the consequences," a source familiar with the case said. It is alleged that on Nov. 13 last year Butt doused 18-year-old Chahrazad Belayni with gasoline and set fire to her for refusing to marry him, then fled to the country. The woman received 60 percent burns and has undergone several operations.
Arrest warrants protested
The foreign ministry summoned Buenos Aires' envoy to Tehran in protest over an Argentine judge's request to arrest former president Hashemi Rafsanjani and other officials, state-run radio reported yesterday. During a meeting with Charge d'Affaires Ali Eslamian, a foreign ministry official, condemned the arrest requests as an "irresponsible act" and "against legal and judicial procedure," the radio reported. "The US and Israel open support to the judge indicates an under the table deal to incriminate Iran," Eslamian said. The judge is seeking the detention of Rafsanjani and eight other officials for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded more than 200 others.
Thousands of people gathered near the nation's biggest World War II soldiers' cemetery on Saturday to protest against far-right extremism. Demonstrators formed a human chain near the cemetery in Halbe, and heard speeches from politicians and musicians at a rally. "No more fascism and no more war -- all democrats in Germany must stand up for that," said Matthias Platzeck, governor of the state of Brandenburg. Some 700 far-right supporters gathered on Saturday at another war-era cemetery in Seelow, about 100km further east. Politicians are vowing to step up efforts to counter the spread of far-right ideology, especially in the east.
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
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
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
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies