Murdered family discovered
Police found a young girl and three other members of a family dead at their home outside Tokyo yesterday following a call from a man saying he had killed his entire family, a police spokesman said. Police discovered the bodies of the girl, two women and a man in Chiba, a prefecture to the east of Tokyo, the police spokesman said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy. The victims included a girl aged about five, two women in their 70s and 40s and a man in his 50s.
Pig’s will lauded as symbol
A pig that survived for 36 days buried beneath rubble in the quake-hit southwest on a diet of charcoal has been hailed as a symbol of the will to stay alive, state press reported on Monday. The pig, who weighed nearly 150kg at the time of the magnitude-8.0 earthquake on May 12, had lost two thirds of its weight when found last week, the Chongqing Evening Post said. “It didn’t look like a pig at all when it was saved. It was as thin as a goat!” a witness told Xinhua news agency. According to the report in the Chongqing Evening Post, the pig survived on water and a bag of charcoal that had been buried with the one-year-old in the ruins of Pengzhou, Sichuan Province.
Two charged with murder
Two men were arrested yesterday and charged with the murder of a South Korean tourist who disappeared on a backpacker holiday nearly five years ago, police said. His body has not been found. The arrests followed two anonymous letters sent to the police this month about the disappearance of Kim Jae-hyeon, 25, an economics student from Pusan, after they reopened the case and launched a search for his body. A police statement said he was believed to have died on the South Island in September or October 2003 and his body could yet be recovered but “the initiative for that now lay with other people.”
Heroin smuggled in carpets
Drug traffickers sewed tiny tubes of heroin into “flying carpets” that were shipped to China as part of a newly discovered method for smuggling illicit drugs, state media said yesterday. Customs officials in Urumqi, capital of the far western Xinjiang region that borders Pakistan and Afghanistan among other countries, confiscated 48kg of heroin from 32 carpets sent from Pakistan in March alone, the China Daily said. Two months earlier, 5kg of heroin were discovered in three carpets shipped from Afghanistan, the newspaper said. Traffickers had injected the heroin into tiny plastic tubes that were then wrapped in synthetic fibres and sewn into the carpets, it said.
Lake to become tourist spot
Authorities hopes to turn a dangerous “quake lake” that once threatened up to 1.3 million lives into a tourist spot as part of rebuilding efforts in its quake-hit southwest, state press said yesterday. The Tangjiashan lake was the biggest of several lakes created when the May 12 earthquake struck Sichuan Province, triggering landslides that blocked rivers and led to the build up of large bodies of water. Early relief and rescue work following the quake were hampered by the possibility that the quake lakes would burst and bring further misery. Now officials are seeking to profit by developing the lakes into tourist spots, Xinhua news agency said.
Four teenagers convicted
A regional court on Monday convicted four teenagers of burning a man to death in the eternal flame of their town’s World War II memorial. The Vladimir Regional Court gave prison sentences of 16 to 18 years to three 19-year-old defendants, while a 15-year-old defendant was sentenced to a juvenile detention center for nine years, court spokesman Vladimir Ganenko said. The victim, 25-year-old Alexei Denisov, came upon the teenagers while walking home on the night of Jan. 1 in the industrial town of Kolchugino, about 130km northeast of Moscow.
Alleged murderer drowns
A reporter accused of brutally murdering elderly women in cases he covered for his newspaper was found drowned in a bucket of water in a prison bathroom, police said on Monday. Vlado Taneski, 56, died several hours after being placed in prison custody, police said. He was charged with two murders and suspected in a third. Police said a handwritten note was found in Taneski’s prison cell, under the bed pillow, that said: “I did not commit these murders.” The victims, all elderly cleaners, were found strangled with telephone cable after being beaten and sexually abused. Their naked bodies were dumped in garbage bags.
Confidential data exposed
A slip-up led to residential rolls on half a million people becoming freely accessible on the Internet, an investigative program on TV said on Monday. The rolls, which list names, dates of birth, marital status and religious affiliation, are normally protected by passwords. HSH, the company that supplied the software and maintained the databases, admitted on Monday that for three months, a non-secret password had applied to rolls kept by 15 local authorities. The password was in software documentation on the Web. After the error was discovered on Friday, new secret passwords were adopted.
Unsolved case reopened
The unsolved case of a 15-year-old girl who went missing in Rome 25 years ago has been dramatically reopened. A woman has told police the girl was kidnapped by a criminal gang on the orders of Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, the disgraced former head of the Vatican’s bank who was linked to the death of the Italian banker Roberto Calvi. The disappearance in June 1983 of Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican employee, has previously been linked by criminal informants to the Rome-based Banda della Magliana gang. But new details supplied by Sabrina Minardi, former girlfriend to the gang’s boss, Enrico De Pedis, now ties in the Holy See official.
New finding on crocs
Baby crocodiles call from their eggs to tell others in the nest when it is time to hatch, scientists have discovered. The calls, described by one researcher as an “umph, umph” sound, are thought to be critical to the survival of the animals. By calling and hatching together, baby Nile crocodiles increase the chances that a parent will remain at the nest and be able to protect them from predators in their first hours of life, scientists believe. Writing in the journal Current Biology, Amelie Vergne and Nicolas Mathevon, at Jean Monnet University in Saint Etienne, France, describe how they divided crocodile eggs which were due to hatch within 10 days into three groups.
Weekend violence kills 17
Seventeen people were killed in a wave of weekend violence in Ciudad Juarez, a border city torn by a drug war between rival cocaine cartels, police said on Monday. One was a brazen attack that left three men dead when assailants armed with assault rifles fired on a children’s party.
Woman to get fourth star
Lieutenant General Ann Dunwoody on Monday became the first woman to be nominated to the highest rank in the US Army, four-star general. “This is an historic occasion for the Department of Defense and I am proud to nominate Lieutenant General Ann Dunwoody for a fourth star,” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in a statement. Dunwoody’s nomination has to be approved by the US Senate. The 33-year veteran would take over as commander of Army Materiel Command, which provides logistics support to tens of thousands of US soldiers stationed around the world. Army spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Anne Edgecomb said nomination of Dunwoody to the rank of four-star general was “important, considering that there are about 11 four-star generals in the Army.”
Terror plotter given 22 years
A California man who pleaded guilty in December to joining an Islamic terror cell with plans to wage war against the US government was sentenced on Monday to 22 years in federal prison. Levar Washington, 30, was one of four men — members of a radical Islamic group formed in a California prison — who were indicted in 2005 for plotting attacks on US military installations as well as synagogues and the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles. Washington and the group’s ringleader, Kevin James, were taken into custody in 2005 after a robbery intended to pay for their operations, and prosecutors said at the time that the group, known as Jam’iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh had been on the verge of launching its first attack. James and a third member of the cell, Gregory Patterson, have also pleaded guilty in the case and are still awaiting sentencing. The fourth defendant, Hammad Samana, was been found mentally unfit to stand trial and is receiving psychiatric treatment at a federal prison.
Nap was bad idea for thief
A thief caught napping in the house he was burglarizing for the second time is under arrest in the southern city of Canoas. Police spokeswoman Giovana Schafer said 20-year-old Maicon Seggiaro Kovalski broke into a middle-class home before daybreak on Monday. He walked away with a TV set and other household goods, which she said “he quickly exchanged for crack cocaine.” After smoking some of the crack, Kovalski decided to return to the house to steal more, but he feel asleep on the couch, where he was found by the owners, Schafer said. She said Kovalski had confessed to the burglary.
Sex show trial postponed
A judge in Tyler, Texas, has postponed the trial of a man accused of helping to run a swingers club where children allegedly performed sex shows for adults. Attorneys for Patrick Kelly said a judge on Monday granted their request to push back the trial so that new allegations against the children’s foster father can be investigated. The foster father was charged in California last week with sexually assaulting a foster child in 1990, but he and his wife are potential witnesses in Kelly’s trial.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy