‘Beer man’ given life term
A killer nicknamed the “beer man” for reportedly leaving empty beer cans near the bodies of his suspected victims has been sentenced to life in prison, a court said yesterday. Ravindra Kantrole, in his early 30s, was suspected of being behind seven murders in south Mumbai between October 2006 and January 2007. The only link in the cases was a beer can left by each body.
Police swoop on ‘sex party’
Malaysian police arrested a female newsreader, an actress and 24 other revelers at a New Year’s Eve “sex and drugs” party at a downtown Kuala Lumpur hotel, reports said yesterday. The two high-profile women and seven others tested positive for drugs, police said, according to the New Straits Times, which reported that condoms, beer cans and half-eaten pizza were found strewn around the hotel room. “When police arrived, many of the partygoers were already high on drugs,” the Star newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying, adding that various illegal substances, including cocaine, ketamine and amphetamines were seized. Party organizers had reportedly said that male guests were banned from wearing briefs to the event, while women were permitted to wear only G-string underwear which had to be removed after midnight.
Two buses prove deadly
A New Delhi laborer survived getting hit by one bus, only to be struck and killed by a second one 20 minutes later, police said on Thursday. Raj Kumar, 38, was on his way to work on Wednesday morning when a bus hit him from behind. Local residents put Kumar in a three-wheeled taxi to take him to a hospital, but before they got there he said he felt fine and jumped out. Then when he was crossing the road another bus hit him and he died on the spot. Both vehicles were Blueline buses, infamous for running red lights, speeding and barreling erratically through the city’s free-for-all traffic.
Rice to visit on Wednesday
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit on Wednesday and Thursday, the foreign ministry said yesterday, in her last scheduled trip before the Bush administration leaves office. Rice had earlier announced her plans to visit shortly after the New Year but the exact dates had not been released. Beijing and Washington on Thursday marked 30 years of diplomatic relations, with Bush exchanging congratulatory messages with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤). However, Rice indicated earlier that little of substance appeared likely to emerge from the visit.
Emperor voices concerns
Emperor Akihito yesterday voiced concern about the growing impact of the global financial crisis on the nation’s economy as he greeted New Year crowds in the Imperial Palace. Around 10,000 people, mostly elderly, gathered at the palace in central Tokyo to hear the emperor’s traditional New Year’s address and to exchange greetings with members of the imperial family. “I’m worried that many people are having a New Year with a lot of troubles under the severe economic conditions,” Akihito said in a rare New Year’s comment on economic matters.
Coral decline sparks worries
A sharp slowdown in coral growth on the Great Barrier Reef since 1990 is a warning sign that precipitous changes in the world’s oceans may be imminent, scientists said yesterday. Strong evidence points to the cause being a combination of warmer seas and higher acidity from increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the Institute of Marine Science researchers reported. The research shows that corals on the reef have slowed their growth by more than 14 percent since the “tipping point” year of 1990 and on current trends the corals would stop growing altogether by 2050. Coral skeletons form the backbone of reef ecosystems and provide the habitat for tens of thousands of plant and animal species and more acidic oceans will affect many sea creatures, not just coral, a statement on the report said. The findings are based on analyses of annual growth bands — like rings on trees — extending back in time up to 400 years.