President files lawsuit
Indonesia's president filed a lawsuit against a former house leader yesterday after being accused of polygamy, which is illegal for civil servants in the world's most populous Muslim nation. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono -- accompanied by his wife Kristiani and several bodyguards -- went to the police headquarters in the capital Jakarta to personally file his complaint against Zaenal Ma'arif. Ma'arif, who was fired as a deputy chairman of the nation's 500-seat parliament, said last week that he had evidence Yudhoyono was married to another woman in the 1970s and that the pair had two children.
Children killed in blast
A land mine left over from the 1970s exploded in the north, killing three children and wounding six, two seriously, state media reported yesterday. The three children, all aged 10, were killed at the scene as they tried to extract scrap metal from the land mine on Friday in Lai Chau Province, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said. Six other children, also the same age, were wounded and two remained in critical condition, the newspaper said. Local authorities were not available for comment. The children collected the land mine while tending their buffaloes and tried to smash it open when it exploded, the paper said.
Police, protesters clash
Police clashed with thousands of villagers protesting over the pollution of local water supplies by a brewery in the southwest, a human rights monitor reported yesterday. It said seven protesters were detained and 20 injured. The People's Armed Police moved in on Friday to break up the protest in Yuanshi, Sichuan Province, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy reported. Villagers protested after China Resources (Shifang) Breweries Co dumped waste water, contaminating supplies used for drinking and farm irrigation, the center said. Seven people were detained and 20 injured in Yuanshi, on the outskirts of Shifang, the report said.
Flooding maroons 200,000
At least 200,000 people have been marooned in the north, as monsoon rains and snow melt from the Himalayas hit the flood-prone nation, state-run media said. The military has begun to evacuate people and distribute relief as major rivers burst their banks and inundated low areas in the north, the state-run BSS news agency said. Unconfirmed reports said at least 10 people have so far died of drowning and snake-bites in the area. Last month, landslides triggered by heavy rains killed at least 126 people in southeastern city of Chittagong on the bay of Bengal. The government's flood forecasting center said the situation could worsen in the next few days.
Train on way to India
A passenger train left Dhaka for India yesterday on a trial run as the two neighbors push to restore regular train services after a gap of 36 years, an official said. The train, carrying a 35-member delegation, was expected to reach the eastern Indian metropolis of Kolkata late yesterday, a railway ministry official said. In Kolkata, the delegation will meet its Indian counterpart and negotiate immigration and customs procedures. Train services between the two countries stopped in 1965. Kolkata and Dhaka are connected by air and bus services.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Dreer weather predicted
Flood-ravaged areas were spared more chaos yesterday after heavy overnight rain failed to cause new flooding and forecasters predicted better weather. Police in Gloucestershire, one of the worst affected counties, had warned people to stay at home on Saturday night or risk becoming stranded. But the Met Office said that only 10mm of rain fell in the region, far less than expected. A Met Office spokesman said the worst of the rain had moved away and the next few days should see warmer weather, sunny spells and brisk winds. Meanwhile, a man's body was discovered in a flooded field near Tewkesbury on Saturday, bringing the death toll to nine.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Cellphones light surgery
The light from cellphone screens allowed surgeons to complete an emergency appendectomy during a blackout in Villa Mercedes, a small city in San Luis Province, reports said on Saturday. Leonardo Molina, 29, was on the operating table on July 21, when the power went out. "The generator ... didn't work," a hospital spokesman told TN TV news station. "The surgeons and anesthetists were in the dark ... A family member got some cellphones together from people in the hallway and took them in to provide light." Leonardo's brother, told La Nacion newspaper that the lights were out for an hour and his brother's anesthesia was wearing off. The hospital director told the paper that the surgery was without light a maximum of 20 minutes.
Giant condom thrills crowd
Concertgoers at a festival in Lichtenvoorde were treated to an unusual sight on Friday: a pink hot air balloon 38.7m high, shaped exactly like a condom, drifting across the sky. The balloon, with the words Vrij Veilig (safe sex) -- emblazoned on it, was launched by the public health service in Gelre-Ijssel. The director of the health service said the festival was an ideal opportunity to reach young people. More than 80,000 are expected to attend the three-day Zwarte Cross event -- a combination motor-cross race and hard rock concert. It took three months to design and construct the balloon in Bristol, England, and 10 to 15 minutes for workers from to fill the balloon with hot air. Organizers said they plan to submit the balloon to Guinness Book of World Records in the category of "World's Biggest Condom."
■ UNITED STATES
Biplane crash shuts show
A biplane performing stunts for an Ohio air show crashed into a runway on Saturday in front of thousands of spectators, killing the pilot, officials said. Jim LeRoy, 46, was in one of two planes making loop-to-loops with smoke trailing as part of the annual air show at Dayton International Airport. His Pitts aircraft slammed into the runway across a field from spectators and caught fire. The crowd stood stunned as the show was shut down. LeRoy died en route to a hospital, a fire department official said.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Queen's grandson to wed
Queen Elizabeth II's eldest grandson Peter Phillips will marry Canadian Autumn Kelly, a Buckingham Palace spokesman announced on Saturday. Phillips, 29, is the only son of the monarch's daughter Princess Anne and her first husband Mark Phillips. He met Kelly, a management consultant, at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in 200e. No date was given for the wedding.
■ UNITED STATES
Gator found in bag
An early morning beach walk yielded quite a surprise when an off-duty peace officer found an alligator in a pillowcase. The man came across the moving case on Overlook Beach near Babylon, New York, early on Saturday. Someone had written on the sealed bag: "Live Gator -- Please find him a home," according to the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). The agent, an off-duty peace officer for the SPCA, called in a response team to rescue the 76cm animal. SPCA officials have asked for donations to help them care for the alligator until it can be brought to a reptile sanctuary out of state.
Rio police arrested
Rio de Janeiro police arrested two fellow officers on Thursday, accusing them of extorting money from two American tourists who happened to be San Francisco cops on vacation. The US tourists were leaving a night club in Rio's Copacabana beach neighborhood before dawn on Wednesday, when two uniformed police officers approached them and searched them for drugs. Although no drugs were found, the officers told the tourists they would have to pay a bribe or be arrested. One of the Americans went back to their hotel to fetch the equivalent of some US$2,200 in local and foreign currency. The Brazilian policemen then took off with the money and an MP3 player.
■ UNITED STATES
Senior becomes Eagle Scout
More than a half-century after he finished the requirements to earn the rank, an 88-year-old Florida man was honored as an Eagle Scout, making him possibly the oldest person to ever collect the Boy Scout honor. Walter Hart could not become an Eagle Scout at the time he earned the rank because his service in World War II got in the way. "I've been looking forward to this for a long time," Hart, who lives in a retirement center in Lehigh Acres said on Saturday. Hart joined the Cub Scouts in 1928 and earned 23 merit badges during his years as a Boy Scout, officials said. Of the 120 merit badges available, 21 must be earned to qualify for Eagle Scout rank.
■ UNITED STATES
Ketchup packet up for record
An Illinois community has sought to create the world's largest packet of ketchup. Collinsville, Illinois, has partnered with the HJ Heinz Co to fill a 2.4m tall and 1.2m-wide plastic pouch with 680kg of the tomato goop for a school fundraiser. The company donated 4,000 glass bottles of the condiment for people to buy for US$1 and pour into the packet. Proceeds will go to the Collinsville Christian Academy, which was damaged by a fire this week. Hundreds in the city, home to a 52m water tower shaped like a condiment bottle.
■ UNITED STATES
Ancient mask discovered
Archeologists working in Alaska have found the remains of a whalebone mask believed to be about 3,000 years old. The partial mask was discovered earlier this month while archeologists were unearthing an ancient village, and is about 2,000 years older than any known Aleut mask, according to archeologists. Residents of the ancient site -- a village marked by unprecedented heated stone houses and ivory carvings -- ate polar bears, ice seals and a type of whale that has never been documented in North American waters, said Rick Knecht, an archeologist at University of Alaska Fairbanks.
‘LIKE A CASSANDRA’: Chinese residents of Prato went into self-imposed lockdown and warned their Italian neighbors about what was coming, but were ignored In the storm of infection and death sweeping Italy, one big community stands out to health officials as remarkably unscathed — the 50,000 ethnic Chinese who live in the town of Prato. Two months ago, the country’s Chinese residents were the target of what Amnesty International described as shameful discrimination, the butt of insults and violent attacks by people who feared that they would spread the coronavirus through Italy. However, in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to Italy’s single biggest Chinese community, the opposite has been true. Once scapegoats, they are now held up by authorities as a model for early,
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,