Man sentenced for murder
A man was sentenced to life in prison for murdering a teenager who was stabbed 133 times and then decapitated in an alcohol-fueled argument. James Roughan, 28, was sentenced by a Supreme Court jury that found him guilty on Monday night of the 2005 murder of 17-year-old Morgan Shepherd. A second defendant, Christopher Jones, was already serving a life sentence. Shepherd was killed after getting into an argument with Roughan and Jones during a drinking session, the court heard. Jones told friends that Roughan used the boy’s head like a puppet and a bowling ball.
Bombs found under train
Police have launched an investigation after a cache of up to 10 petrol bombs was found stashed underneath a train heading to Jakarta, officials said yesterday. The petrol bombs were detected on the executive train after it had departed the West Java city of Cirebon yesterday morning. “There were at least nine bottles with wicks and wrapped in black plastic attached to the train,” said Suhartono, a spokesman for Cirebon operations at rail company, PT KAI. Suhartono said the rail company had not received any threats.
Bodies found in backyard
Police dug up six bodies from the backyard of an alleged serial killer’s home on Monday, bringing the number of his suspected victims to 11, an official said. Verry Henyanksyah, 30, was arrested last week after confessing to murdering his lover and leaving the mutilated body in a suitcase in Jakarta, police spokesman Abu Bakar Nataprawira said. Last week, four bodies were found behind Henyanksyah’s home in Jombang, a town in East Java. On Monday, police and local villagers dug up six more bodies, including those of a woman and her three-year-old daughter. Police said the bodies showed signs of being hit. Police said the motive for the killings remained unclear.
Woman stabs seven men
A woman went on a stabbing rampage at a crowded train station, wounding seven men after failing to slash her own wrist, police said yesterday. The woman attempted to cut her wrist with an army knife at a shopping mall near the train station in Hiratsuka on Monday night, but someone bumped into her and she became angry, police official Hidetoshi Yukitake said. “She was screaming as she was slashing people at random,” Yukitake said. None of the seven men stabbed were seriously injured, Yukitake said. The woman was arrested at the scene after being overpowered by onlookers. “She said she was frustrated. She was also angry at her father,” Yukitake said.
Foreign students wanted
The government aims to more than double the number of foreign university students in the country by simplifying immigration procedures and hiring more English-speaking professors, an official said yesterday. The government hopes to boost the number of foreign students from 120,000 to 300,000 by 2020, as the country lags far behind the US and major European countries. Some 580,000 international students study in the US, with 356,000 students in Britain, 265,000 in France and 248,000 in Germany, the education ministry said. “The plan is part of our globalization efforts at Japanese universities,” said Ryuichi Oda, an education ministry official.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Voters losing hope: poll
Voters increasingly do not believe new policy initiatives or a fresh new leader can save the Labour party from electoral disaster, a Populus survey for the Times newspaper said yesterday. The poll showed that the percentage of voters who believed that significant changes in key domestic policy areas like health, crime and tax would bring about a change in Labour’s fortunes dropping to 56 percent from 69 percent in May. There was also a 3-point increase since May in the number of voters who did not believe a younger leader could save the party to 44 percent, along with a one point drop in those who believed it could to 52 percent. Overall, backing for Labour fell one point compared with a similar poll three weeks ago to 27 percent, while the main opposition Conservatives gained two points to 43 percent. Populus questioned 1,002 voters by telephone between Friday and Sunday.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Blank passports stolen
The Foreign Office said yesterday that thousands of blank British passports had been stolen in a raid on a delivery van. The ministry said the documents were snatched as they were being delivered from northern England to a Royal Air Force base near London. Approximately 3,000 passports and blank visa stickers were in the consignment. The Identity and Passport Service said that computer chips embedded in the passports to store personal and biometric data have not been activated. The Foreign Office said it means the documents can’t be used as passports.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Bear remains recovered
The remains of a bear believed to be up to 40,000 years old have been recovered from a cave in Scotland, scientists said on Monday. The animal’s skeleton was brought to the surface after a 12-year operation to unblock the entrance to the stream cave in Sutherland, where it was found by divers in 1995. Experts from the Grampian Speleological Group removed the skeleton at the end of last month using cases to protect the bones as they were carried through narrow passageways to the surface. Scottish Natural Heritage said it was the first time that such a complete bear skeleton has been found in Scotland.
Bruni gives ministers album
President Nicolas Sarkozy’s pop star wife Carla gave a copy of her new album to every government minister after their last meeting on Monday before the summer holidays, a minister said. Budget Minister Eric Woerth left the meeting with Sarkozy at the Elysee palace with the CD under his arm and told reporters he thought it was a “very good album.” The album by supermodel-turned-singer Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Comme Si De Rien N’Etait (Simply), sparked frenzied media coverage when it came out this month, but also an outpouring of vitriol on the Internet by voters hostile to the right-wing Sarkozy.
Sub sets record dive
A Russian mini-submarine reached the bottom of Lake Baikal yesterday, setting a record for the deepest dive in a lake, expedition organizers said. “The Mir-2 has reached the bottom of Lake Baikal at a depth of 1,680m,” ITAR-TASS reported from the barge where the submarine was diving from. Scientists plan to collect samples at different depths and document the effects of global warming on the Siberian lake, as well as drawing the attention of the government to the need for greater environmental protection.
Capital against privatization
Mexico City residents voted against the president’s proposal to give private companies a bigger role in the country’s state-run oil industry, results of a nonbinding referendum released on Monday showed. About 84 percent of those in the capital who voted on Sunday opposed President Felipe Calderon’s plan. Voters were asked whether the country should allow private companies to participate in oil exploration, refining and distribution.
Church criticizes draft
A top religious official said on Monday that the country’s newly approved draft constitution is incompatible with the Roman Catholic faith because of its provisions on abortion and same-sex unions. The charter must still be put to a national referendum on Sept. 28. Monsignor Antonio Arregui, president of the Ecuadorean Episcopal Conference, criticized the draft charter for ambiguous abortion laws and granting same-sex unions the same benefits afforded in heterosexual marriages. “A union between homosexuals is not a family,” Arregui said in a news conference on Monday.
■ UNITED STATES
Fire threatens Yosemite
A wildfire burning almost completely out of control on Monday outside the famed Yosemite National Park has charred more than 108km², destroyed 12 homes and shrouded many an iconic vista with smoky haze. The blaze, marching through steep, dry terrain, has forced the evacuation of about 300 homes in the nearby towns of Midpines and Coulterville, California, and is threatening about 2,000 others.
■ UNITED STATES
Pray at the Pump
Two prayer services will be held at St Louis gas stations to thank God for lower fuel prices and to ask that they continue to drop. Darrell Alexander, Midwest co-chair of the Pray at the Pump movement, said gatherings would be held on Monday at a Mobil station west of downtown St Louis. Participants said they planned to buy gas, pray and sing We Shall Overcome with a new verse, “We’ll have lower gas prices.”
Pinochet’s child wants office
The eldest daughter of late dictator Augusto Pinochet signed up on Monday to run in municipal elections in an upscale neighborhood of the capital later this year, an election service official said. Lucia Pinochet Hiriart will run as an independent in the elections for local councils. While city councils have limited power, the polls in October will be a barometer of the political climate ahead of a presidential election next year. “She signed up this morning,” the official said. “She is running for the post of councilor of Vitacura.”
More isotopes needed
A panel of medical experts urged the government on Monday to build more nuclear facilities to supply medical isotopes and lessen dependence on an aging reactor that produces half the world’s supply. Isotopes are used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and heart ailments. The report looked into the closure of a 51-year-old reactor in Ontario in November for routine maintenance. The shutdown of the reactor led to a critical shortage of isotopes that forced many cancer patients to postpone tests and treatment. The reactor, operated by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, supplies isotopes that are used in about 25 million medical diagnoses and treatments each year. The reactor was restarted on Dec. 16.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
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