Taliban kill Afghan man
Taliban militants shot dead an abducted Afghan in the lawless northwest tribal region, accusing him of spying for the US, an official said yesterday. The bullet-riddled body of Islam-ud-din was found dumped by the road in the Sheratalla area, 40km north of Miranshah, the main town in the troubled North Waziristan region. “Islam, who was kidnapped two weeks ago, had multiple bullet wounds on his body,” police official Mehboob Khan said. A note found on the body said he was “spying for the US,” the official said.
Dragon dancers protest
At least three police officers and 10 civilians were hurt in a riot when traditional dragon dancers protested over being banned from performing, police and state media said yesterday. The disturbance occurred on Sunday in Guizhou Province after police banned the dance out of safety concerns, Xinhua news agency said. The dancers went to the local government in Dejiang County to stage a protest dance but were stopped by police. Clashes ensued that drew in crowds of more than 2,000 people, it said. The Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said the incident drew crowds of more than 10,000 people and at least 50 people were injured. An official with Dejiang’s Public Security Bureau said dragon dancers in Dejiang wear fireworks and consume alcohol, creating a risk.
UK mom told to stay away
The mother of a British teenager who was found dead on a beach last year has been advised not to return to the country because of death threats, her lawyer said yesterday. Vikram Varma said he had warned Fiona MacKeown that it was not safe for her to travel to Goa, where her 15-year-old daughter, Scarlett Keeling, was allegedly drugged and raped. “The threat to her life is quite high,” he said. He declined to elaborate. The lawyer said it was “very clear” that Scarlett had been killed by people linked to the drugs underworld and that the threats against her mother were an attempt to stop her from testifying against two men awaiting trial.
Enzyme may hinder cancer
Scientists have identified an enzyme that appears to suppress breast cancer and they hope the finding will spur new therapies to control the second most common cancer in the world. At issue is the enzyme CHIP, which experts say can stunt cancer growth by degrading cancer-causing proteins. The enzyme occurs naturally in human breast tissue. In an article published in Nature Cell Biology, the scientists said they injected two kinds of human breast cancer cells into mice. One set carried the CHIP enzyme. Tumors in the group of mice with the enzyme were far smaller, Junn Yanagisawa of the University of Tsukuba said.
Flooding strikes Java
Seasonal flooding has inundated hundreds of houses, forced the closure of a regional airport and triggered landslides that killed at least two people, officials said yesterday. Dozens of flights to Semarang, Java, were canceled yesterday after the main runway was submerged, provincial spokesman Achyani said. It was unclear how long the airport would remain closed because heavy rainfall caused by Tropical Cyclone Freddy continued to lash the city of 1.3 million. Two people have died in landslides, one near Semarang and a second in western Java.
Zimbabwe may use rand
President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Sunday that Zimbabwe could adopt the South African rand as its standard currency. “We have to help them so that the coalition government works,” Motlanthe said in an interview with the SABC channel, referring to power-sharing between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai. It “may be practical for them to enter into an arrangment with the reserve bank here and allow the rand to become the common currency,” he said. Anaylsts say inflation in Zimbabwe stands at several billion percent. The Zimbabwean dollar has been repeatedly devalued and restrictions on the use of foreign currencies including the US dollar, the euro and the rand have been lifted by Harare.
Handball player murdered
Austrian police arrested two men suspected of stabbing to death Romanian handball player Marian Cozma outside a Hungarian nightclub early on Sunday, police in Budapest said yesterday. “The two suspects fled Hungary and were arrested in Austria by Austrian police and remain in Austrian police custody,” police spokeswoman Piroska Varadi said. “A third suspect is still at large.” The government was expected to seek the suspects’ extradition. Cozma, 26, a Romanian international player who played in Hungary for MKB Veszprem was stabbed in the heart in an attack in which two other players — Croatian goalkeeper Ivan Pesic, 19, and 22-year-old Zarko Sesum of Serbia — were severely wounded. One of Pesic’s kidneys had to be removed and Sesum was being treated for head injuries. Both were in a stable condition.
Moscow protesters detained
Police say seven activists have been detained in Moscow after a rally in memory of a human rights lawyer and a journalist who were killed last month. The protesters were rounded up near the place where prominent lawyer Stanislav Markelov and reporter Anastasiya Baburina were gunned down. The police said the activists would be released “after a short explanatory conversation.”
Israeli tanks kill man
Palestinian officials say Israeli tanks firing on northern Gaza struck a small house yesterday, killing a 22-year-old man. Israeli aircraft also struck two Palestinian militant positions in the Gaza Strip early yesterday in response to rocket fire from the territory a day earlier, the military said. No injuries were reported. The military did not identify the targets. But Palestinian officials said aircraft hit a Hamas security compound in southern Gaza that had already been struck three times during Israel’s recently ended Gaza offensive and a rocket-launching pad in a field in northern Gaza.
Asbestos-laden ship docks
A decommissioned French aircraft carrier containing asbestos arrived from France on Sunday for recycling despite an environmental controversy. The Clemenceau docked near Hartlepool. It was originally set to be dismantled in India, but revelations that it was loaded with asbestos sparked protests by environmental groups there. British environmentalists, however, were unable to stop the French ship from being brought to the country. The recycling company doing the work estimates 200 jobs will be created, but environmentalists say that is not worth the potential risks.
Octuplets’ grandma upset
The mother of the woman who used a fertility doctor to give birth to octuplets, despite already having six young children, called her daughter’s actions “unconscionable” in an interview posted online on Sunday.Angela Suleman is caring for the six older children while her daughter is hospitalized after giving birth on Jan. 26 to the octuplets. The Web site posted photographs from inside Angela Suleman’s disheveled three-bedroom home, where Nadya and her brood also live. Heaps of clothing pour from an open closet door and a carpeted bedroom, where a bedsheet serves as a curtain, is cluttered with cribs.
Holocaust denier ousted
A Roman Catholic bishop whose denials that the Holocaust ever happened led to Vatican demands he recant has been removed as the head of a seminary, local media reported on Sunday, citing a Catholic official. The ultraconservative Society of St. Pius X has dismissed Bishop Richard Williamson as director of its seminary in La Reja, outside Buenos Aires, independent Argentine news agency Diarios y Noticias and the newspaper La Nacion said. Williamson is one of four bishops from the society whose excommunications were lifted last month by Pope Benedict XVI. Williamson has said he does not believe Jews were gassed during the Holocaust.
Eleven die in drug fight
The bloody drug war claimed 11 more victims on Saturday and Sunday as rival drug gangs clashed in the border town of Ciudad Juarez, police said. Among them, three people were shot exiting a nightclub and four others — including a 14-year-old — were killed in another area of the city. Witnesses told police that the victims had been drug dealers, killed by rival gangs. Another victim, whose remains were charred, could not be identified. At least 220 people have died in the city — which lies across the Rio Grande from the US city El Paso — since the beginning of this year.
Five Rio police killed
Five police officers were killed in a bloody weekend of violence in Rio de Janeiro, authorities said on Sunday. In less than 12 hours, three members of the military police were killed, adding to a sense of insecurity that has swept the city. On Sunday, a sergeant died in hospital after being shot three times during an assault in the north of the city. A police statement said two men had approached the officer on motorbike. In the same area on Saturday, another sergeant was shot while on patrol. Also on Saturday, in the Campo Grande neighborhood, an off-duty captain was shot at a barbecue with friends. The gunmen are thought to belong to gangs that control some areas of the city, running protection rackets.
Troops torch drug crops
Soldiers and police burned 700 hectares of fields growing marijuana and poppies used to make heroin in the country’s biggest drug operation, the president’s office said on Sunday. The street value of the marijuana and heroin that could be processed from the destroyed crops was estimated at US$12 billion, twice the size of the country’s national budget, said Fredy Portillo, a spokesman for the president’s office. The weeklong operations deployed around 400 security forces to the mountainous state of San Marcos near the border with Mexico, where powerful Mexican cartels distribute seeds and pay high prices for the illicit harvest.
Henry Tong (湯偉雄) and Elaine To (杜依蘭) were preparing to spend their first wedding anniversary in separate prison cells until their acquittal for rioting during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. There were gasps and tears of relief in court on Friday last week as a judge declared prosecutors had failed to prove that the couple took part in clashes with police in July last year. The pair walked free in a ruling that has potential consequences for hundreds of other protesters facing similar charges. However, they have a long journey ahead as they try to rebuild their lives and business. “We have already been punished,”
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
BEIJING REACTS: China announced that Hong Kong’s extradition treaties with Canada, Australia and Britain would be suspended after those nations acted earlier New Zealand yesterday announced that it would suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong. The move came after China passed sweeping new security legislation for the territory. New Zealand is the final member of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance to take such action after the Australia, Britain, Canada and the US previously announced similar measures. New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters said that the new legislation goes against commitments China made to the international community. “New Zealand can no longer trust that Hong Kong’s criminal justice system is sufficiently independent from China,” Peters said. Moreover, Wellington would treat military and technology exports to