Dog death prompts suicides
An elderly couple were so devastated by the death of their dog that they committed suicide, police said on Monday. C.N. Madanraj, 66, and his wife Tara Bai, 63, were found hanging in their home in Hyderabad on Sunday after neighbors told police about a foul smell coming from their house, police officer V. Anantaiah said. The couple left behind a suicide note saying they were ending their lives after the death of "Puppy," their pet of 13 years, Anantaiah said. The note also requested that police inform their relatives about their deaths, and the couple left behind US$40 to pay for their funeral.
Man tries to ransom himself
A man's plan to abduct and ransom himself to pay a blackmailer who threatened to reveal an illicit love affair came undone after he fell off a roof and broke his hip, police said. Ravindra Kumar of the lawless eastern Indian state of Bihar went missing on March 19, and his wife alerted police when she received a ransom demand of 10 million rupees (US$230,000). But the case took a twist on Monday after Kumar tumbled from a roof and was rushed to hospital by his blackmailer. He was quizzed by police and then charged with lodging a false case, said Anwar Hussain, police chief for Bihar's capital city Patna.
■ HONG KONG
Job-search etiquette lacking
Hong Kongers may be a hard-working bunch, but when it comes to gaining employment in the first place some leave a lot to be desired, a survey of questionable job-seeking techniques revealed on Monday. From one candidate who offered her would-be boss a bribe to another whose idea of looking for work was watching TV, the Chinese city's job-hunters can be woefully inept. "Despite the fact that salary increases are on the rise, job-search etiquette is not," said international finance sector recruitment company Robert Half, which conducted the survey of 508 employers.
One of 107 wives beaten
A 74-year-old Indonesian with 107 wives has reportedly been jailed for beating one of them in front of three others -- because he suspected she had been unfaithful. The victim recounted the crime to police on Java, the Koran Tempo newspaper said. A local police chief was quoted as saying that the husband, Abdurahman, was guilty of torturing Tariah, his second wife. Islam permits up to four wives and polygamy is thought to be widespread in Indonesia. Only four of Abdurahman's wives were still living with him. He said he had 41 children and "countless grandchildren," according to the newspaper.
Gay Web site to launch
A Web site will launch on Thursday what its producer describes as the country's first show to focus on gay issues and the first with an openly homosexual host. The weekly, hourlong Internet TV show Tongxing Xianglian, or "Connecting Homosexuals," will debut on Thursday on www.phoenixtv.com. The Web site is run by the same media company that runs the Phoenix satellite TV station. Clips from the online show will be aired by the broadcaster. The producer of the show said that while homosexuals have appeared on Chinese TV shows, this will be the first show to focus on gay issues and the first with an openly gay host, AIDS activist Didier Zheng.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Minimum wage criticized
One in seven of London's full-time workers earns less than what the capital's mayor, Ken Livingstone, deems to be the minimum wage necessary to survive on in the city, he said on Monday. And almost half of part-time workers earn below the benchmark, he added. The mayor announced that his new "London Living Wage" figure was ?7.20 (US$14.25) per hour -- well above the ?5.35 national minimum wage for workers aged over 22. The mayor has no powers to compel employers to up their wages for employees.
Pharaoh's hair home again
Strands of hair from the head of Pharaoh Ramses II came home on Monday after the son of a French laboratory worker tried to sell them on the Internet, the state news agency MENA said. An archeological mission had flown to Paris to bring home the strands, apparently taken when the mummy went to France for treatment in the 1970s. Ramses II, also known as Ramses the Great, is traditionally believed to be the pharaoh mentioned in the biblical story of Moses. The mummy was discovered in 1881 and shortly afterwards moved to Cairo.
Machines work at customs
Passengers arriving at Norway's busiest airports can declare their additional alcohol or cigarettes to an automatic teller instead of a customs officer in what Oslo says is a world first. "This will enable us to use our personnel to fight more serious smuggling," Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen was quoted as having told the daily Aftenposten. Halvorsen, arriving from abroad, was the first to use the automatic customs machine, which became operational on Sunday. Public NRK television said she declared an extra bottle of wine, and pictures showed she paid the duty by bank card.
Dog owner bites police
The owner of a pit bull bit a police officer after his dog bolted away during a confrontation with police, the Diario de Noticias daily said yesterday. Two policemen stopped the dog owner for walking the animal without a leash and a muzzle on Sunday on the outskirts of Lisbon. The man threatened the officers with his dog, but the animal ran off, leaving the 35-year-old to grapple with the officers. The owner bit one policeman on the wrist, while another officer suffered a broken finger in the scuffle, the paper reported. The owner of the dog is under house arrest, while police are still looking for the pit bull, the daily said.
Five peacekeepers killed
Unidentified gunmen killed five African Union (AU) peacekeepers in the Darfur region, the deadliest single attack against the force since late 2004, the AU said on Monday. The five were guarding a water point near the Sudanese border with Chad when they came under fire on Sunday, an AU spokesman said. Four soldiers were killed in the shooting and the fifth died of his wounds on Monday morning. Three gunmen were also killed, he said. Chairman of the AU Commission Alpha Oumar Konare warned that the continuing violence raised the possibility "for a catastrophic and tragic breakdown of the security and humanitarian situation."
■ UNITED STATES
New school for Amish
Amish students entered a new and more secure one-room schoolhouse on Monday, six months to the day after a gunman shot 10 of their classmates, killing five. The building replaces the school that was torn down after the Oct. 2 attack by a neighborhood milk-truck driver. Blacktop was installed on the driveway instead of gravel, Bart Township zoning officer John Coldiron said, because the children remembered the sound of the gunman's tires on the rocks.
Cake implicated in escape
Police arrested 29 people, including 11 jail guards, and were investigating whether a cake laced with sleeping drugs may have helped a former opposition governor escape prison over the weekend. Eduardo Lapi, ex-governor of Yaracuy state, was reported missing by prison authorities early on Sunday from the San Felipe jail some 350km east of the capital of Caracas, where he was being held on corruption charges. Yaracuy Security Secretary Oscar Baquero told the state news agency on Monday that police are investigating whether a cake smuggled into the jail by family members may have contained sleeping drugs to keep guards from preventing his escape.
■ UNITED STATES
DNA evidence clears `rapist'
A schizophrenic who spent 22 years in prison for rape and was denied parole five times has been cleared by DNA evidence. A judge threw out Anthony Capozzi's two 1987 rape convictions after DNA linked the crimes to another man. Capozzi, 50, is expected to be freed later this week. Though his attorney, parents and other relatives have never doubted Capozzi's innocence, it was the recent arrest of a suspect in a 25-year string of rapes and murders that ultimately proved them right.
■ UNITED STATES
Criminal charges not filed
Prosecutors said on Monday they will not file criminal charges in the death of a 28-year-old woman who participated in a radio station's water-drinking contest. The district attorney's office said the behavior of staff at station KDND-FM did not rise to the level of criminal activity. "There were no observable indications or symptoms that Jennifer Strange was experiencing a serious medical emergency which would have required station employees to seek or administer medical aid to her," the district attorney's office said in a statement. Strange died on Jan. 12 after taking part in an on-air contest to see which contestant could drink the most water without having to go to the restroom.
■ UNITED STATES
Grisly murder trial opens
Jealousy drove a woman to kill her lover's friend, dismember her body with a chainsaw and burn it, a prosecutor said on Monday at the opening of South Dakota's first death penalty trial against a woman. Daphne Wright, 43, is charged with kidnapping and murdering Darlene VanderGiesen whose bone fragments were found in the basement of Wright's home in Sioux Falls. Wright became upset when her friend, Sallie Collins, befriended VanderGiesen, 42, prosecutor Dave Nelson told jurors. ``The reason for this murder? Jealousy,'' he said. "In her words, she felt Darlene was trying to destroy her relationship with Sallie," Nelson said. "There was no romantic relationship between Darlene and Sallie. They were friends." Wright was arrested 10 days after VanderGiesen disappeared on Feb. 1, last year.
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
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
CHANGING PERCEPTIONS: In its tender, the Hong Kong administration said that it had failed to ‘mobilise the community to support law enforcement actions’ The Hong Kong government has agreed to pay millions of pounds to a discreet London-based PR firm to counter coverage of the territory in the international media. Consulum, which has also represented Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was on Monday awarded the ￡5 million (US$6.2 million) one-year contract to improve Hong Kong’s reputation — the same day that China passed national security legislation targeting the territory. The Mayfair-based PR business was founded by Tim Ryan and Matthew Gunther Bushell, two former employees of Bell Pottinger, an agency that has been criticized for representing some governments and leaders that other businesses