Pigeon pants trip up man
A traveler was caught with two live pigeons stuffed in his pants following a trip to the Middle East, customs officials said yesterday. The 23-year-old man was searched after authorities discovered two eggs in a vitamin container in his luggage, said Richard Janeczko, national investigations manager for the Customs Service. They found the pigeons wrapped in padded envelopes and held to each of the man’s legs with a pair of tights, according to a statement released by the agency. Officials also seized seeds in his money belt and an undeclared eggplant.
Former bank official charged
A former vice president at China Development Bank, one of the country’s three policy banks, has been charged with taking bribes, media reported yesterday. Wang Yi (王益), who lost his job when officials detained him in June and launched an investigation, admitted to taking more than 10 million yuan (US$1.5 million) in bribes, Caijing magazine reported, citing unnamed sources. The Chinese Communist Party’s discipline department detained the 53-year-old Wang throughout the probe until his arrest late last month, Caijing reported on its Web site.
Extremists target valentines
Hindu extremists who recently dragged young women out of a fashionable bar as part of a morality campaign have vowed to assault couples marking Valentine’s Day, reports said yesterday. Sri Ram Sena (Lord Ram’s Army) activists stormed the “Amnesia” bar in the southern city of Mangalore late last month and assaulted female customers whom they accused of behaving obscenely. Now the group has turned its wrath on romantics who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14, saying the occasion encourages anti-Indian behavior and sexual misdemeanors.
Pedophile’s sentence cut
An appeals court yesterday reduced the prison term of a German man convicted of sexually abusing four boys, a court official said. A court panel cut Alexander Moritz Watrin’s prison term from 10 years to seven years, Appeals Court Judge Samrith Sophal said. A provincial court had sentenced Watrin, 38, in October 2006 for molesting four boys aged seven to 15. The country has long been a magnet for foreign pedophiles, and its courts have stepped up action against sex offenders in recent years.
Dalai Lama out of hospital
The Dalai Lama was released from a hospital in the capital after doctors determined that minor pain in his arms was caused by a pinched nerve, his spokesman said yesterday. The 73-year-old exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, who underwent three hours of medical tests on Monday, was feeling better following a good night’s sleep in a hotel and would return immediately to his northern headquarters, spokesman Tenzin Takhla said. The Dalai Lama has had a number of health problems in recent months that have interrupted his busy schedule of international travel to teach Buddhism and highlight the Tibetan struggle for more autonomy.
Opposition leaders arrested
Several leaders of an anti-government movement based in Toamasina have been arrested, news reports yesterday and the country’s main opposition leader said. The Express, an independent newspaper, quoted an unidentified regional official as saying that six opposition leaders were arrested on Monday as they tried to organize a protest rally in the port city. Main opposition leader Andry Rajoelina said on his TV Viva that several people who had met with him on Sunday were arrested, but did not identify them. Rajoelina said on Monday that he was petitioning the courts to remove President Marc Ravolamanana, who he accuses of misspending public money and threatening the nation’s young democracy.