Wheelchair drunk charged
A man has been charged with driving his motorized wheelchair down a highway while drunk, police said yesterday. Motorists were forced to drive around the 64-year-old man after he fell asleep in an exit lane on the Captain Cook Highway in northern Queensland state at 10am on Friday. When a passing police patrol woke him up he told them he had intended to drive 14km to visit a friend. He was given a breathalyzer test and found to be more than six times over the legal limit for driving, police say.
Maritime exercise executed
Singapore and the US kicked off an 11-day maritime exercise on Monday focusing on anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare and security operations. A key highlight of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training exercise is the “MISTRAL missile firing by the Republic of Singapore Navy’s landing ship tank RSS Endeavour against air drone targets,” the defense ministry said in a statement. “Land, sea and air elements from the two armed forces, totaling 1,400 personnel, 14 ships, five fixed and rotary wing aircraft, and one submarine, will be deployed for the exercise,” the ministry said.
Man dies after selling kidney
A student has died at his home after selling one of his kidneys in China to earn money to marry his girlfriend, officials said yesterday. To Cong Luan, a 22-year-old student at the Industrial Technical College in Ho Chi Minh City, died on Sunday at his home in a town in the central province of Ninh Thuan, according to Pham Thi Hong Phan, an official with the town’s People’s Committee. Luan had his left kidney removed in Guangzhou, China, where he developed paralysis after the operation.
Woman stabs passengers
Police were yesterday searching for a woman who stabbed three people in the arm at a crowded train station in Osaka. Officials issued a public plea for information and released pictures of the suspect taken by security cameras on Sunday afternoon. The images show a middle-aged woman in a black dress and with shoulder-length hair, her face obscured by a large sun hat. She is suspected of stabbing three women from behind on a crowded platform in Osaka Station. The victims included two university students and a company executive, local media reported. All three had only light injuries.
Violence in south claims five
A clash between authorities and suspected separatists and attacks on civilians claimed five lives yesterday in the troubled south, where train travel has been disrupted because of the growing violence. Early yesterday morning a joint patrol of police and soldiers was ambushed on the road from Pattani to Bannang Sata district, 780km south of Bangkok, sparking a five-minute gunbattle. The shootout left three insurgents dead, Bannang Sata Police Colonel Sompien Todsomya said. Meanwhile, in Pattani Province, suspected separatists shot dead a rubber merchant in Panare district, and villagers discovered a corpse in Yarang, believed to be another victim of violence. On Saturday, insurgents boarded a government train in Yala, shooting dead three railways employees and one policeman. Train service in the deep south, including Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala provinces, was suspended yesterday because of the attack.
Boat capsizes; 13 missing
A Japanese fishing boat capsized off the east coast yesterday, leaving 13 people missing and four unconscious, the coast guard said. Another three people were safe after being rescued off the 135-tonne No. 58 Suwamaru, which was carrying 20 crew members when it capsized. Coast guard ships were heading to the area of the incident 330km off Chiba Prefecture, a coast guard official said.
H5N1 found on poultry farm
An outbreak of the H5N1 bird flu virus has been found in chickens on a farm in Pakistan and about 25 people had been quarantined, but no human cases had been discovered, government officials said yesterday. The outbreak, at least the fifth in birds in Pakistan this year, was confirmed on Saturday at a poultry farm in Swabi town, about 60km northwest of Islamabad, the officials said. About 4,500 birds on the farm had been culled and the area disinfected, an agriculture ministry official said. About 25 people, including farm workers and their close contacts, were being monitored in quarantine.
Eleven Shiites beheaded
At least 11 Shiite Muslims were executed by a rival Sunni group in the Kurram Agency, a volatile northwestern tribal district, a tribal leader said yesterday. The beheaded bodies of eight people from the Shiite tribe Toori were found dumped in Arawali and three in the Sadda area of the district, tribal chief Ali Akbar told the Geo news television channel. However, Kurram’s administrator, Azam Khan, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur only eight deaths had been confirmed. All were abducted on Friday when a food convoy they were traveling with came under attack in the Sunni-dominated area of Pir Qayyum.
Gaza gates opened
Government officials opened Gaza’s crossings as its Supreme Court hears a case on closing them. The family of a soldier held by Hamas had petitioned the court on Sunday to keep the crossings closed. They are afraid that he will be taken out of Gaza to Egypt through a passage there. The family said government officials told them the blockade of Gaza would not be lifted until he was freed. The restrictions at most crossings were partially lifted on Sunday as part of a ceasefire with Hamas, and were reopened yesterday. The year-long blockade meant to stop militant rocket fire has prompted fuel and transportation shortages.
Immigrants light fire, flee
Fourteen non-EU nationals without visas or work permits escaped from a Paris immigrant detention center after a fire that was set deliberately, police said yesterday, revising earlier figures of 50 detainees. The detainees at the country’s biggest clandestine immigrant processing center were transferred overnight to other centers in the cities of Lille, Nimes, Palaiseau and Oissel. Police said the fire — which destroyed the center’s two buildings — had not caused any serious injuries. Since mid-December, the site has been the focus of rising tension and protests, with the French authorities having stepped up markedly over the past year the numbers of illegal immigrants it deports. Hunger strikes, fires, refusals to lock down for the night and scuffles with police have all occurred at the Vincennes center.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Crack ruins diva’s lungs
Soul diva Amy Winehouse damaged her lungs by smoking crack cocaine and cigarettes, her father Mitch Winehouse said in an interview published on Sunday. Winehouse was quoted as saying that Amy had early stage emphysema and an irregular heartbeat, and had been warned that she would have to wear an oxygen mask unless she stops smoking drugs. The 24-year-old Winehouse collapsed at her north London home yesterday after signing autographs for a group of fans and was taken to a London hospital.
Uranium miners abducted
Four French nationals employed by nuclear company Areva were abducted by rebels on Sunday, where they worked in an area known for its uranium mines, the country’s Foreign Ministry said. Both the ministry and Paris-based Areva said that they had been captured by the rebel Movement for Justice, which opposes the mining of ancestral lands. Areva, the world’s largest nuclear power company, gets much of its uranium — used to make nuclear fuel — from Niger. The Movement for Justice has operated in the desert nation’s arid northern region, engaging the army in sporadic gunfights as part of a struggle to protect lands from mining.
Gas leak injures swimmers
Police in the southern part of the country said more than 50 people had been injured after inhaling ammonia gas that leaked at a swimming pool in the village of Kulmbach. Michael Huebsch, a spokesman for police in nearby Bayreuth, said that 24 people were taken to the hospital after suffering injuries from inhaling the poisonous gas. About 30 others were treated on the spot. Authorities said they didn’t know what caused the leak at the outdoor pool on a hot Sunday afternoon when it was packed with swimmers.
Soldiers nab drug suspects
Soldiers captured at least 10 suspected members of a Tijuana-based drug cartel in a raid on a child’s baptism party in the border city, officials said on Sunday. Sixty-one people were arrested in the sweep late on Saturday, including the band hired to play the party and three city police officers, Baja California state police spokesman Agustin Perez said. Authorities had been tracking the movements of suspected members of the Arellano Felix drug cartel for days and acted “at a moment when they were vulnerable,” the spokesman said. Soldiers also seized various rifles and handguns, police uniforms, 460g of methamphetamine and 5,000 rounds of ammunition at the party, held at a rented Tijuana event hall.
Pele robbed by gang
Soccer legend Pele was held at gunpoint by a band of youths, who stole his gold necklace, cellphone and a watch, the news magazine Veja reported on its Web site. The robbery — which took place on June 13 but was not made public until now — occurred near the city of Santos in southern Sao Paulo state, it said. Pele was riding in the passenger seat of a car when it was stopped near a slum by at least 10 young men armed with pistols and knives, the report said. Veja said Pele did not report the crime to police. No one answered repeated telephone calls to Pele’s office on Sunday.
■ UNITED STATES
Comedian Carlin dies at 71
Irreverent US comedian George Carlin, who became known as a voice of the 1970s counterculture and was one of the country’s best known funny men, died on Sunday aged 71, US media reported. The Grammy award winner, whose career spanned five decades, died of heart failure. Carlin had a history of heart problems and passed away in Santa Monica, California, after checking into the hospital with chest pains, his publicist Jeff Abraham told the New York Times. The first host of the popular comedy show Saturday Night Live when it debuted in 1975, he went on to sell more than 1 million recordings of his stand up acts and also became a best-selling author.
Police 'blocked' exit
Mexico City’s Human Rights Commission cited evidence on Sunday that police may have partly blocked the exit at a nightclub where a stampede killed 12 people, including a 13-year-old girl. Victims’ relatives demanded that authorities investigate the police raid on the club in Nueva Atzacoalco District in search of drug and liquor violations that officials say may have led to Friday’s tragedy. Police raided the News Devine club in response to reports of violations. Panicked revelers tried to flee, piling up in a deadly crush at the club’s narrow exit. The city’s Public Safety Department said it is looking into the allegations but had no immediate comment.
■ UNITED STATES
Twins share wedding
Identical twin sisters Francine and Maria Munafo have added their weddings to the list of special events they’ve shared by marrying in a double ceremony in suburban New York. The 28-year-olds became engaged to their longtime boyfriends on Christmas Day 2006 and married them on Saturday at a waterfront catering hall in Westchester County. However, the twins have decided to go their separate ways for their honeymoons: Francine and Jeffrey Parkinson are going to Disney World in Orlando, Florida; Maria and Albino Goncalves are visiting the Poconos.
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