Military makes new inroads
The military said yesterday that it had recovered a torched bulletproof vehicle belonging to the leader of the Tamil Tiger guerrillas. The military also said it destroyed three rebel boats and recovered 40 bodies of dead rebels after another day of heavy fighting on Friday in the northeast of the country. Government forces are in what they say is a final push to defeat the rebels — the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam — and end 25 years of civil war. A string of major victories by the military in recent months, in which the rebels’ administrative capital and main bases were captured, has pushed the guerillas into a strip of coastal land measuring just 21km² in the northeast. A military statement said five vehicles, including one used by leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, were recovered late on Friday.
Church sex ad not so fun
A Wellington sex shop has upset the Catholic Church with an advertisement showing a praying woman with a smile on her face, a newspaper reported yesterday. The D.Vice store’s ad shows four parishioners in a church; three of them have their eyes closed and hands clasped. But the fourth, a woman, is smiling and below her is a tagline describing a sexual aid and its price, the Dominion Post reported. Wellington’s Catholic Archbishop John Dew told the paper it was “unnecessary and distasteful” to associate a church with a sex shop device, adding: “It is an insult to anyone who recognises a church as a sacred gathering place for believers in God and a place of prayer.” Wendy Lee, a director of D.Vice, said the billboard was meant to make people laugh and not to offend, while marketing spokesman Rene Bros said the campaign showed people thinking about sex while performing everyday tasks.
Worker blows himself up
A man killed himself and injured two others when he blew himself up at an office building in Urumqi, capital of China’s western region of Xinjiang, the Xinhua news agency said. Han Wushun, an ethnic Chinese migrant worker from Sichuan Province, demanded 4,500 yuan (US$658) in wages from the Xinjiang Beixin Road and Bridge Construction Co on Thursday afternoon before detonating explosives he carried in a black satchel, Xinhua said. Han had worked for the company for three months in 2007. He sued in a local court for the money early last year, but lost his case in July, Xinhua said. The agency quoted an unnamed manager of the company as saying Han had been paid in full according to his contract.
Protesters persuaded to quit
A protest march of more than 1,000 people heading to Beijing to petition the government about job losses at a textile company has fizzled out, Xinhua reported yesterday. The protesters, traveling on foot and by bicycle, set out from Baoding town in Hebei Province on Friday, but most had been persuaded to go back home, the agency said. “The local government arranged buses to carry the workers back,” it said. Xinhua earlier quoted one protester, who declined to be identified, as saying the marchers would petition the government about restructuring of the 4,000-strong company. It quoted a local official as saying no conflict had been reported. Baoding is 140km from Beijing.
E-mailer’s sanity probed
A court is seeking a further psychiatric report on a 40-year-old man who sent out e-mails threatening airlines and the US government, claiming to speak for al-Qaeda, the Straits Times reported yesterday. The court has put off sentencing Josemaria Miguel Ye Yong Qiang, who sent e-mails threatening Irish Air Arann and US Delta Airlines, as well as the US embassy in Canberra. In September last year he sent an e-mail glorifying the New York attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to the White House, identifying himself as an al-Qaeda member. Ye’s lawyer said the unemployed man wanted to inconvenience American and European airlines out of frustration for having been bullied by some of his white colleagues while working and studying abroad.