■Two-week traffic deaths: 224
Road crashes claimed 224 lives during recent Muslim festivities when millions of Malaysians drove out of cities to return to their hometowns, police said yesterday. The 15-day death toll -- mostly affecting motorcyclists -- came close to the 228 traffic fatalities during last year's Eid al-Fitr holiday season, despite a major safety campaign that flooded radio airwaves with reminders to drive carefully. More than 100,000 motorists were fined for traffic violations between Oct. 7 and Sunday, the period when Muslims traveled to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, according to police statistics. The total number of accidents nationwide exceeded 10,000.
Crocodile search continues
Shotgun-toting marksmen cruised rivers on Sunday hunting for 11 crocodiles that slithered away from a flooded farm. A total of 34 crocodiles escaped in the Non Sung district of Nakorn Ratchasima Province on Wednesday after floodwaters inundated a commercial farm which raises the reptiles for their meat and skins, said Suwira Phonkoh, an official in the province's special task force to help flood victims. Twenty-three crocodiles were later shot dead. The remaining 11 -- some as long as 6m -- were still at large on Sunday and authorities said capturing them was proving increasingly difficult.
Shoe factory fire kills 36
A fire at an illegal shoe factory in southeastern China killed 36 people and injured at least 20, authorities said yesterday. The blaze broke out on Sunday night in a workshop making shoe uppers in the city of Putian in Fujian Province, the Xinhua news agency said. The factory was operating without a license, the State Administration of Work Safety said on its Web site. The agency said 36 people were killed and 20 injured, although the Xinhua report had put the death toll at 34, with 21 injured. A woman in the publicity department of Putian city's Public Security Bureau confirmed the blaze and said faulty electric wiring was likely to blame.
■ PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Magistrate stoned to death
A court magistrate in Papua New Guinea was stoned to death after his car crashed into a refugee camp in the capital Port Moresby, local media reported yesterday. The Post Courier newspaper said senior magistrate Ivo Cappo was killed on Saturday night when he lost control of his car, and ran into the camp on Ela Beach. None of the refugees were injured, but when Cappo got out of his car to inspect the crash, the refugees from the western part of New Guinea, which is under Indonesian rule, rushed him and stoned him to death, said the newspaper. "But whether it was willful or manslaughter is yet to be established," police chief Fed Yakasa told the National newspaper.
March crash caused by pilot
The pilot of an Indonesian jetliner that crash-landed in March, killing 21 people, ignored repeated warnings that he was approaching the runway too fast and should circle around again, an investigation found. The Boeing 737-400 skidded off the runway at the Yogyakarta airport and plowed into a ricefield before bursting into flames. It was the fourth accident involving a commercial jetliner in Indonesia since 2005. Tatang Kurniadi, the chief of the National Transportation Safety Board, said the final probe concluded that pilot error was to blame.
■Oil workers kidnapped
Gunmen in 30 speedboats kidnapped three foreigners and four Nigerians from the offshore EA oil field in the Niger Delta on Saturday night, officials said on Sunday. The men were seized after a three-hour gunfight at the field, said Olav Ljosne, a spokesman for Shell. The foreigners are a Briton, a Croat and a Russian, he said. The EA field, operated by Royal Dutch Shell, has been closed since February last year because of a previous militant attack, but it was due to resume operations by the middle of next year.
■ SOUTH AFRICA
Arrests made in Dube case
Police said on Sunday they have arrested five men in connection with the killing of reggae star Lucky Dube, who was gunned down in an apparent carjacking attempt last Thursday. A police spokesman said the men would appear in the Johannesburg magistrates court today. He said police seized two stolen handguns and a car allegedly used during the crime. Dube, who launched his career with criticism of the apartheid regime, was killed after he dropped two of his teenage sons at his brother's Johannesburg house. Friends told newspapers they believed it was a targeted assassination. But police say they are sticking to the idea of a botched carjacking.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Lifespan gene in mice found
Scientists have found a gene that regulates lifespan in mammals that could one day lead to treatments to hold off ageing and its related illnesses such as Alzheimer's, cancer and heart disease. Experiments in male mice showed that those without a gene called IRS-1 lived 20 percent longer and had much healthier lives. Female mice without the gene had even better longevity, living 30 percent longer on average. In addition to longer lives, the mice without IRS-1 were much healthier than normal mice as they aged. They had brighter eyes, better immune function and healthier skin and bones. Dominic Withers, of the Centre for Research on Ageing at University College London, led the study and his results have been published online in the Faseb journal.
Conscience is clear: Laporte
Former national rugby coach Bernard Laporte says his conscience is clear amid reports that tax authorities are probing his business interests. He was due to start work yesterday as junior minister for sports ... Asked if he was worried he might be prosecuted, Laporte told Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper: "Do you think I would have taken this job if I had the slightest doubt?" Laporte has investments in restaurants and casinos. He said he was not the subject of a tax investigation but just an audit. "My conscience is clear," he was quoted as saying. "It's just a company being checked out, which happens all the time."
Beyonce rocks capital
R&B star Beyonce Knowles joined the millennium celebrations in the Horn of Africa Nation with a spirited concert in the capital for some 5,000 adoring fans on Saturday. She got a hysterical welcome when she came onstage. Her concert was part of the nation's yearlong celebration of its 2,000th birthday according to its ancient calendar. Beyonce's opening act, rapper Ludacris, got a lukewarm reception. "Rap music doesn't suit Ethiopia," local music promoter Michael Melake said. "It's all about the black American experience, and we don't relate to that."
■ Tropical storm weakens
Tropical Storm Kiko weakened further as it inched out to sea and away from the Pacific coast on Sunday. Kiko moved well offshore and was expected to weaken to a tropical depression yesterday, forecasters at the US National Hurricane Center said. Above normal tides and battering waves along the coast were expected to subside early yesterday. On Sunday evening the storm packed maximum sustained winds of near 75kph. Kiko was heading west-northwest at 6kph and was centered about 415km south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas.
■ UNITED STATES
Kid Rock arrested after brawl
Musician Kid Rock was arrested early on Sunday after a brawl at a restaurant and spent about 12 hours in jail before being released, police said. He stopped at the Waffle House restaurant shortly after 5am after his performance at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, authorities said. "He and five members of his entourage were involved in a fight with a male customer inside the Waffle House," said Mekka Parish, a spokeswoman for the DeKalb County Police Department. The customer recognized a female with Kid Rock's party and exchanged words with her, Parish said. At some point the customer punched out a restaurant window, she said.
■ UNITED STATES
Amish killed in auto accident
A van carrying Amish on an interstate highway veered out of control, overturned and ejected most of its passengers, killing five people and injuring 11, authorities said. Two adults and three children were killed when the southbound van veered onto the grassy median, flipped over and came to rest in the northbound lanes of the highway about 80km northeast of Indianapolis, Indiana, State Police Sergeant Rod Russell said. No other vehicles were involved in the crash, he said. Amish people generally shun modern conveniences but sometimes enlist non-Amish as drivers.
■ UNITED STATES
Cabbies angry over rule
Taxi drivers in New York are angry about a new rule requiring the installation of global positioning systems and credit card machines in cabs were planning a second one-day strike in six weeks yesterday. The city was preparing for the strike by the Taxi Workers Alliance by instituting a contingency plan that lets drivers pick up multiple passengers and charge zone-based fares. The touch-screen monitors let passengers pay by credit card, check on news stories and map their taxi's current location. The alliance opposes the technology, saying the 5 percent surcharge on each credit card transaction amounts to a wage cut and the GPS device allows cab companies to track drivers.
■ UNITED STATES
Card game leads to murderer
A prison card game gave police the tip they needed to arrest a man in a killing that occurred nearly three years ago, authorities said on Saturday. In July, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement gave nearly 93,000 state inmates playing cards that highlight 104 of the state's most troubling unsolved homicide and missing-persons cases. On Friday, police arrested Derrick Hamilton after an inmate tipped them off about the 2004 killing of James Foote, who was found dead with a gunshot wound to his chest. Foote's picture and the details of his death were featured on a card. An inmate told authorities Hamilton had bragged about killing Foote, WINK-TV in Fort Myers reported.
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
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
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable