TB doctor triggers scare
About 400 people will be tested for tuberculosis after their doctor was diagnosed with the disease, the local government in Gifu, 270km west of Tokyo, said on Tuesday. The doctor had been coughing and breathing heavily since January but was not diagnosed until last month. The local government has sent check-up requests to 415 of the doctor's patients, including babies and elderly people who run the highest risk of infection. The doctor has treated 1,695 patients since January, but the local government said it was unlikely that any would have been infected as the doctor would only have spent a brief time seeing each patient.
Group slams detentions
Four Tibetan teenagers have been detained for more than a month on suspicion of scribbling graffiti calling for Tibet's independence and the return of the Dalai Lama, the US-based International Campaign for Tibet said yesterday. A fifth boy was hospitalized with injuries stemming from beatings he suffered during detention, the Washington-based group said. The students were initially detained early last month after the graffiti appeared on walls of a school and a police station in Xiahe County in Gansu Province. A man who answered the phone at the Xiahe county government office called the report "nonsense and rumor."
Police shoot protester
A man was killed and dozens of people injured in West Bengal yesterday after hundreds of people clashed with police, accusing officials of hoarding food stocks meant for the poor. At least 100 people, including dozens of policemen, have been injured in clashes this week during protests against what locals say is widespread graft in the government's public distribution system. Poor villagers say that subsidized food grains and sugar meant for them were being diverted to regular markets and sold at huge premiums by corrupt officials. Witnesses said one protester was killed when police opened fire to disperse a mob but police said they were still investigating how he died.
Customs get surprise
The package from Hong Kong looked innocent enough, marked "personal clothing." But when customs officials opened it, they were stunned to see about 300 live scorpions and spiders. The creatures were packed in nets, bottles and transparent plastic boxes, concealed under clothes, newspapers reported yesterday. "The scorpions almost bit the examiner," Nelson Ebio, a port collector at the Central Mail Exchange Center, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The Philippine Star daily quoted Ebio as saying the package arrived on Monday, but it was not clear who sent it.
Court reprieves torturer
A man who was sentenced to death for torturing and trying to kill his ex-girlfriend has been given a two-year reprieve, the Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday. The Shaanxi Provincial Higher People's Court ruled that if Cai Chao shows good behavior over the next two years, his death sentence will be commuted to life in prison. Xinhua said Cai had appealed the death sentence given to him by a lower court. He had tied up the woman, burned her with cigarettes, poured boiling water on her and then stabbed her in the chest and abdomen before stabbing himself. The higher court said that Cai had shown remorse for his actions and that leniency should be shown.
Princess goes to court
Princess Martha Louise on Tuesday became the first royal in at least a century to bring a legal case to court, in a dispute over the use of her name and image on the cover of a book about people who see angels. The 2002 book Seeing Angels by Emma Heathcote-James uses the title "Martha's Angels" and a picture of the princess, who has made news by claiming she communicates with angels. The princess appeared with her attorney, Cato Schiotz, for a Nordre Vestfold District Court hearing to ask that a temporary order preventing distribution of the book remain in force.
Drunk driving priest nabbed
A Roman Catholic priest is facing a holy row after he was caught at the wheel following a drinking spree that left him 11 times over the limit, police said on Tuesday. "Father Antoni M, 54, had a blood-alcohol level of more than 2.2g per liter," Warsaw police spokeswoman Anna Kedzierzawska was quoted as saying by the PAP news agency. Officers arrested the priest early on Tuesday after spotting his car zigzagging through the centre of Warsaw, police said. He could face two years in prison for breaking Poland's drink-driving limit of 0.2g of alcohol per liter of blood.
Scary report on drivers
If you've ever driven in Dublin, you probably knew this already: One in six drivers has never passed a driving test. The Transport Department's Bulletin of Vehicle and Driver Statistics, published on Tuesday, said 2.45 million people were licensed to drive at the start of this year. More than 430,000 of them, or 17.6 percent, were using "provisional" licenses, which are issued to people who have failed an on-the-road test or have yet to take one. Most provisional-license holders are required to drive with a fully licensed driver riding shotgun. This rule is widely flouted.
Batasuna members detained
Police detained two members of an outlawed Basque party in the northern city of San Sebastian on Tuesday, court officials said. Joseba Alvarez and Oihana Agirre, members of the Batasuna party, were arrested on an order of Madrid's National Court for calling and taking part in an illegal separatist rally on Sept. 9, court officials said. Their homes in San Sebastian were also searched. Alvarez is a spokesman for Batasuna, which was outlawed in 2003 on the basis that it was the political wing of ETA. The party's leader, Arnaldo Otegi, has ben in jail since June on terrorism charges.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
A quarter of secondary schools are squandering their pupils' talent and potential and letting them down on exam results, the government admitted on Tuesday. The schools minister Lord Andrew Adonis said that 800 schools were failing to meet government targets. He told a conference of head teachers of private schools: "The waste of talent and potential this represents simply isn't acceptable for the future." He said that while some schools were improving, others were "not improving fast enough to give parents confidence." The schools' failures affect as many as 800,000 pupils.
■ UNITED STATES
`Indiana Jones' suit settled
The producers of the new Indiana Jones movie have settled a lawsuit against an actor accused of breaching a confidentiality agreement by revealing the film's plot in a newspaper interview. A Superior Court order was filed on Tuesday finding that Tyler Nelson knowingly violated the agreement that he signed when he was cast to appear in a scene of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, said Lucasfilm Ltd publicist Lynne Hale. The fourth installment of the adventure series will be in theaters in May, but Tyler revealed plot details during an interview last month with his hometown newspaper, Oklahoma's Edmond Sun, Daily Variety reported.
■ UNITED STATES
Man breaks into Cage home
A tailor, Robert Dennis Furo, 45, has pleaded not guilty of residential burglary after a break-in at Nicolas Cage's coastal home on Tuesday. Cage called a security guard at his gated community around 1:30am on Monday after he saw a man wandering inside his home and wearing one of the actor's jackets, police Lieutenant Craig Fox said. Cage was upstairs with his wife and son, and reported seeing the man standing at the door of a bathroom. "He was standing there naked -- except for the leather jacket," Fox said. When officers arrived Cage had already asked the man to take off the jacket and escorted him outside "without struggle," Fox said.
■ UNITED STATES
Vigil held for torture victim
Holding candles and singing hymns, about 30 people gathered for a vigil at a church in Big Creek, West Virginia, for a black woman who allegedly was tortured for days by six whites in a trailer. The church is about 2km from the trailer where investigators say Megan Williams was sexually assaulted, beaten and forced to eat animal droppings. She was rescued on Sept. 8 by sheriff's deputies acting on an anonymous tip. A preliminary hearing for one suspect, 46-year-old Karen Burton, is set for Thursday. A grand jury will hear the cases against five of the suspects: 27-year-old George Messer, 24-year-old Bobby Brewster, 23-year-old Alisha Burton, 49-year-old Frankie Brewster and 20-year-old Danny Combs.
Polish ambassador attacked
Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said yesterday the nation would not withdraw a 1,000-strong troop contingent from Iraq after Poland's ambassador was injured in an attack on his convoy in Baghdad. "Desertion is always the worst option," Kaczynski told reporters. "This is a difficult situation, but those who became engaged and were there for years and then withdraw are making the worst possible mistake." Polish ambassador General Edward Pietrzyk was wounded and one of his bodyguards died when his diplomatic convoy came under attack in the Iraqi capital yesterday.
■ UNITED STATES
Spanking judge resigns
An Alabama judge has resigned amid investigations of possible judicial and sexual improprieties, including allegations that he spanked male inmates in a private courthouse room. Circuit Judge Herman Thomas had been suspended with pay since March when a state judicial panel filed the first of a series of charges accusing him of unduly helping relatives and friends with their legal troubles and changing defendants' legal status or sentences.
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
PLAYING THE VICTIM? A Chinese spokesman sent a statement to Australian media saying that Beijing had ‘irrefutable’ evidence of Canberra’s widescale espionage Australia yesterday unveiled the “largest-ever” boost in cybersecurity spending, days after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke out about a wave of state-sponsored attacks suspected to have been carried out by China. Morrison and government officials said the country would spend an additional A$1.35 billion (US$928 million) on cybersecurity, about a 10 percent hike, taking the budget for the next decade to A$15 billion. The largest chunk of the new money would help create 500 jobs within the Australian Signals Directorate, the government’s communications intelligence agency. Morrison on June 19 said that a “state-based actor” was targeting a host of
The Philippine army chief yesterday expressed outrage over the fatal police shooting of four soldiers, including two officers, and demanded justice, as both sides provided contrasting accounts of the killings. Philippine Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Ano, a retired military chief of staff who now oversees the national police, ordered that the police involved in Monday’s violence in Jolo in Sulu Province be disarmed and restricted for investigation. Police said the soldiers were killed in a “misencounter” with a group of police officers. The army said that the two officers and two enlisted men were on a mission against