Thai killed by militants
An artillery attack by militants on a controversial hydroelectric project killed one Thai national and prompted the evacuation of dozens of remaining Thais working at the site, a company spokesman said yesterday. The Thai workers were surveying the site in eastern Karen State as part of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand's agreement to build a US$1 billion dam project on the Salween River. Saman Kantameun, 53, was killed on Sunday when "a group of rebels" shelled their camp, authority spokesman Apichart Dilogsopon said.
Woman loses locks on bus
A first-time visitor to the capital traveling on one of its pickpocket-prone buses was stunned to find her wallet safe but her hair snipped off during a ride, a report said yesterday. Nuryamah, 35, felt a tug on the back of her head as she took a mid-morning ride in Jakarta on Monday and realized a thief had cut off 40cm of her lengthy locks, the Jakarta Post reported. "It took me six years to grow this," she sobbed to police as she filed a report to them, according to the daily. A nearby officer nabbed the culprit, Agus Setiawan, who told police he had intended to use the ponytail to make keychains.
Husband found to be female
A court has ordered a couple to separate, declaring their marriage a same-sex union as the husband was a woman, local media reported yesterday. An Islamic court in the Malacca ruled as void the marriage between 40-year-old Mohd Sufian Mohamad and 43-year-old Zaiton Aziz after medical examinations showed Sufian was a woman, the New Straits Times said. Same-sex relationships are not recognized in the country. A mosque official performed the marriage between Sufian and Zaiton in December 2002 but the state religious affairs department refused to register the marriage after becoming suspicious of Sufian's gender.
Eight arrested in bombings
Police have detained at least eight people over bombings in Kathmandu over the weekend, officials said yesterday. Two people were killed and 20 others injured on Sunday, when three near-simultaneous explosions tore through two buses and a busy market. Three little-known groups pushing for more autonomy claimed responsibility. "We have carried out a massive search and detained eight people for interrogation," police spokesman Sushil Barsimha Thapa said. Security has been tightened on all routes into Kathmandu, he said.
Air controllers convicted
A district court in Buelach found four air traffic control employees guilty yesterday on charges related to a mid-air collision over Germany in July 2002. Four other employees of Skyguide, who had also been facing charges of negligent manslaughter, were acquitted by the court, the Swiss news agency ATS reported. Three of the guilty were given suspended jail sentences of a year each, while another was fined, ATS said. The collision of a Russian Bashkirian airlines jet and a DHL cargo plane in Swiss-controlled airspace killed 71 people. The trial of the eight in May -- which followed an air accident inquiry and court cases in Germany -- focused on shortcomings in the Zurich air traffic control room on the night of the disaster over the German town of Ueberlingen.
■ SOUTH AFRICA
Hearse thieves caught
Police in Soweto have arrested two men who stole a hearse with a corpse inside and embarked on a drinking spree near the largest township of Soweto, media reported on Monday. The suspects were caught after their vehicle ran out of gasoline on Sunday, the Sowetan newspaper reported. They had gone into a bar where they met three women and asked them to help push the car to the nearest gasoline station, it said. They told the women the corpse in the coffin belonged to a relative and that they were on their way to bury it at a cemetery.
Rebel clash kills 26
Rival factions of the rebel National Liberation Force clashed in Bujumbura at dawn yesterday, killing 26 people, officials in the capital said. Members of one faction attacked a faction that wants peace, killing 25 rebel fighters, one civilian and wounding six others, Bujumbura Mayor Elias Duregure and a rebel spokesman said. "We were 400 combatants in the barracks [that was attacked], with 30 guns and some grenades," said Godeship Ntakirutimana, a spokesman for the faction that wants peace. "We need protection."
Welfare officer replaced
The senior child welfare official who was to go to London to assess whether Madonna could adopt toddler David Banda has been removed from the case following allegations he solicited money from the singer for the trip. Simon Chisale, the chief social welfare officer, said on Monday the government had gone to court last week to have Penstone Kilembe, the director of the Child Welfare Services, replaced as the assessor in the Madonna adoption. Chisale was now planning to go to London, arriving yesterday to carry out the first assessment of Banda's progress.
Debt transferred to HIV fund
Sofia on Monday formally transferred Libya's decades-old debt of US$56.6 million to an international relief fund for the victims of an HIV epidemic that infected more than 400 Libyan children. The agreement was part of a deal that secured freedom this summer for five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor sentenced to death for allegedly deliberately infecting the children. Deputy Foreign Minister Feim Chaushev said the debt agreement "demonstrates that Bulgaria is a reliable partner and strictly abides by its obligations." The deal was cosigned by the chairman of the Benghazi International Fund for the Libyan AIDS victims, Mark Pierini.
■ UNITED STATES
Cave digging kills boy
A cave that two brothers were digging into the side of a sand dune collapsed, killing the youngest boy, authorities said. The 10-year-old boy and his brother were tunneling under a 12m cypress tree at crowded Salmon Creek State Beach, California, on Sunday, Bodega Bay Fire Chief Sean Grinnell said. The older boy was partially buried but was able to dig himself out, and he ran for help, Grinnell said. It took more than an hour for rescue personnel to pull the 10-year-old out of 2m of sand. His identity was not immediately released.
■ UNITED STATES
State settles with convict
Pennsylvania has agreed to pay a convicted murderer US$35,000 to settle a lawsuit over her allegations that state prison staff raped and assaulted her. In a 1996 lawsuit, Lisa Michelle Lambert, 34, accused administrators at the prison of doing nothing to prevent the assaults. Lambert said the assaults happened while she was serving her life sentence for the 1991 murder of 16-year-old Laurie Show, who she murdered because she thought the teen was romantically involved with her boyfriend. Lambert's lawyer, Angus Love, called the settlement amount "low."
■ UNITED STATES
Truckers end police chase
Three commercial truck drivers put on the brakes to help police stop a man who led authorities on a high-speed chase for more than 80km near Biggs, Oregon. The truckers pulled up alongside each other and slowed to about 8kph, forming a rolling roadblock. The fleeing driver stopped and fled on foot but was quickly captured by officers, authorities said. Trucker Edwin Beach said he had heard police radio messages and said, "OK, where's the high-speed chase at?" He coordinated with two other drivers over his radio and placed his truck in the middle on Interstate 84. "We were all kind of laughing because he was running down the freeway," said Beach. The fleeing car was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run.
■ UNITED STATES
Texas schedules executions
Texas plans to execute five convicted killers this month, with the first scheduled for today in the busiest capital punishment state in the country. The lethal injection of 30-year-old Tony Roach will bring the number of executions in Texas this year to 24, equaling the total for all of last year. One man set to die last week, Kenneth Foster, received a commutation from Governor Rick Perry after supporters and death penalty opponents waged an intense campaign pointing out Foster was not the gunman in the fatal shooting case that resulted in his death sentence. The unusual commutation sent Foster to a life prison term.
■ UNITED STATES
Castlemaker raises ruckus
The man who currently holds the world's record for the tallest sand castle is pouring cold water on an attempt in South Carolina to dethrone him. Ed Jarrett, from Casco, Maine, said the 13m castle built in June in Myrtle Beach failed to follow Guinness World Records guidelines that ban using machinery and require the structure to be taller than it is wide. "Myrtle Beach doesn't meet the criteria," Jarrett said. "You can't just pile up a bunch of sand, build a small castle on top of that pile, and call it a record." He said his nearly 10m tall castle, completed last weekend in Maine, should be the new record holder.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
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
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