Restaurant changes name
A restaurant in Phnom Penh has changed its name in the wake of a bitter border dispute with Thailand, local media reported yesterday. The Olympic Khmer-Thai, a joint venture between local and Thai businessmen, has added an “l” to its title — becoming Olympic Khmer-Thlai. Thlai” translates as “expensive” or “noble.” The restaurant, based near Phnom Penh’s Olympic market, changed its name before deadly border clashes on Wednesday between Thai and Cambodian troops. But the decades-long dispute, over ownership of an area close to the ancient Preah Vihear Temple, has been escalating over the past few months amid mounting nationalist tensions.
Car bomb explodes in Herat
A suicide car bomb exploded outside a base of the NATO-led military force in the western city of Herat yesterday, wounding several troops, the alliance said. The car bomb exploded at the gates of a base that is run by Italian troops in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) with some Spanish soldiers also stationed there. There were several wounded, an ISAF media official at the force’s headquarters in Kabul said, without being able to give more details. ISAF does not release the nationalities of its casualties. A reporter at the scene said the bomb appeared to have struck a military vehicle which had overturned. The area was sealed off and Afghan officials could not immediately say if any civilians had been struck by the explosion.
■ HONG KONG
Australian pilot fined
An Australian pilot with Cathay Pacific was facing disciplinary action yesterday after being convicted of stealing at McDonald’s on a drunken night out. Nicholas Reymond, 31, was fined at a court hearing on Friday for taking a card-reading machine out of a local branch of McDonald’s in February. The theft was captured on closed-circuit television cameras. Reymond, who is training to be a first officer with the airline, was with two friends at the time and told the court he took the machine after drinking heavily. He pleaded guilty to theft and was fined HK$3,000 (US$386) and ordered to pay McDonald’s HK$3,000 in compensation for the machine.
Police arrest rights activist
Authorities have used a draconian security law to arrest a human rights activist who accused police of abusing their power, an opposition party said yesterday. Cheng Lee-whee, a volunteer for the rights group Suaram, was detained late on Friday when she went to a police headquarters in southern Johor state to explain a complaint she had recently filed, the People’s Justice Party said on its Malay-language Web site. Police informed Cheng’s companions that she was being held under the Internal Security Act, which is invoked against people regarded as threats to national security, the report said.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Soldier gets life in jail
A soldier was jailed for life on Friday for the racist murder of a Bangladeshi waiter in Scotland, in a case that triggered high emotions and that has dragged on for 14 years. Michael Ross, who went on to serve in Iraq with the elite Scottish Black Watch regiment, was 15 when he killed Shamsuddin Mahmood in a restaurant on the Scottish island of Orkney in 1994. During a six-week trial the court heard how a masked Ross burst into the Mumutaz restaurant on the evening of June 2, 1994, and shot dead the 26-year-old waiter at point blank range in front of shocked diners.
IMF head investigated
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the French head of the IMF, faces an investigation into whether he abused his power by engaging in a sexual relationship with a subordinate, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The newspaper said the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP had been retained by the IMF to conduct the probe, which is expected to be completed by the end of the month. The report said the investigation focuses on Strauss-Kahn’s relationship with Hungarian-born Piroska Nagy, a former senior official in the IMF’s Africa department, who is married. The two are said to have exchanged e-mails about a possible intimate relationship. The e-mails were discovered by Nagy’s husband, prominent Argentine economist Mario Blejer, who has worked at the IMF, the paper said.
King David statue vanishes
With a background that includes slaying Goliath, King David was capable of seeing off most threats. But not, it seems, a Danish criminal with a crane. A 2.5 tonne bronze statue of the Old Testament ruler was stolen from a stonemasonry in the Danish capital where it had been taken for repairs, the dean of Copenhagen’s cathedral said on Friday. “At first we thought it was a joke. But it wasn’t. This is not something you can have standing in your window,” Dean Anders Gadegaard said. “Someone must have used a big truck and crane to get away with it.” The 3.2m statue, which has stood outside Our Lady’s Church since 1860, was moved to the stonemasonry three months ago for repairs, but disappeared last Sunday night. Selling the statue would be very difficult, Gadegaard said, but he feared the bronze could be melted.
Amnesty lauds Tehran move
Amnesty International on Friday welcomed Iran’s decision to stop executions of child offenders and expressed the hope that Tehran would ban capital punishment altogether. Iran’s assistant attorney general, Hossein Zebhi, said on Wednesday that all courts in the Islamic republic were ordered to stop executing offenders under the age of 18, state news agency IRNA reported. In a statement, the London-based human rights group urged Iran’s parliament to pass legislation to enshrine the directive into law quickly.
■ UNITED STATES
‘Living books’ available
Fourteen “living books” will be on hand in trendy, liberal Santa Monica, California, representing an encyclopedia of knowledge on such subjects as nudism, Buddhism and foodism. That’s because one of them is a real, live nudist, two are Buddhists and another is a vegan. Visitors to the “Living Library” will be allowed to check out any of the 14 people for up to 30 minutes. The hope is that library patrons will learn something about the culture and beliefs of other people, erasing stereotypes in the process. “A personal conversation breaks down barriers and connects two strangers who might not otherwise have the opportunity to speak to each other,” said Rachel Foyt, an administrative analyst at the Santa Monica Public Library. Want to know what it’s like to be homeless? There will be a couple of folks who can speak volumes about it. What are celebrities really like? Ask the celebrity publicist. This being a library, the talking books will have to do their talking outside in the courtyard, or in study rooms, so they won’t disturb readers. Patrons who return their living book late won’t be fined, but Foyt said the library may revoke the souvenir T-shirt.
■ UNITED STATES
Hacker admits church attack
A teenager hacker has admitted carrying out a cyber attack that crashed Church of Scientology Web sites as part of a campaign by a mysterious underground group, US justice officials said on Friday. Dmitriy Guzner, 18, of New Jersey will plead guilty to computer hacking for his role in launching a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack against Scientology Web sites in January this year, the Justice Department said. DDOS attacks occur when Web sites are overwhelmed by a large volume of malicious Internet traffic, making the sites unavailable to legitimate users. According to information filed in federal court in Los Angeles, Guzner described himself as a member of a shadowy Internet-based group known as “Anonymous” that has carried out a series of protests against Scientology. A statement released by the Justice Department in Los Angeles said Guzner would formally plead guilty in “coming weeks” at a court in New Jersey. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison.
■ UNITED STATES
New problems afflict Hubble
New technical problems on the Hubble Space Telescope, which is undergoing repairs, will further delay the resumption of the telescope’s regular duties, NASA officials said on Friday. The Hubble’s operations team encountered anomalies with the telescope’s “side A” this week and “is working diligently to understand the cause and options for proceeding,” NASA Astrophysics director Jon Morse said. Art Whipple, director of the Hubble program, predicted the program will be back to full capacity “sometime late next week.” The Hubble’s scientific instruments were suspended automatically on Sept. 27 because of a major technical fault.
■ UNITED STATES
Mom pleads insanity
A 33-year-old woman accused of stealing her daughter’s identity to attend high school and join the cheerleading squad has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Wendy Brown faces a felony identity theft charge after enrolling in a Green Bay, Wisconsin, high school as her 15-year-old daughter, who lives in Nevada with Brown’s mother, the Green Bay Press-Gazette said. According to a federal complaint, Brown attended one day of classes, practiced with the cheerleading squad and went to a party at the coach’s house. Brown also faces theft and forgery charges from an unrelated case, where she is accused of collecting money for an apartment she didn’t have authority to rent. She could face up to nearly 13 years in prison if convicted of all charges.
■ UNITED STATES
City builds musical road
Workers on Wednesday began carving grooves on the first “musical road” in the US, which will produce notes of the William Tell Overture when cars drive over them. The high desert city of Lancaster, California, placed the grooves on another road, Avenue K, last month for a Honda commercial. The 400m strip was engineered to play the notes — better known as the theme for The Lone Ranger — when motorists in Honda Civics hit them at 88kph. It was believed to be the first such musical road in the US, although there are others in Japan, South Korea and the Netherlands. The city paved over that first stretch after neighbors said the noise was annoying and kept them awake. However, the city received hundreds of calls praising the road and decided to retain the concept. “It will be a tourist attraction. It will pull people off the freeway,” Mayor Rex Parris said. The city decided to recreate the road in an industrial area away from homes.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread
RISKY BUSINESS: The Chinese firm has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of 5G equipment not covered by US sanctions, but fears a wider ban could be announced in the UK Huawei Technologies Co believes it can supply 5G hardware unaffected by US sanctions to the UK for the next five years, sidestepping the expected conclusion of British emergency review on Tuesday. The company has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of kit, but fears a wider ban on its equipment is to be unveiled to placate rebel British Conservative Party lawmakers, who say that the Chinese supplier represents a national security risk. The British government on Friday said that it was “very likely” that British Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden would make a statement to parliament on Tuesday