Mayon Volcano alert raised
Local authorities warned yesterday that Mayon Volcano is showing signs of life and could erupt again soon. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said it was raising the 2,460m mountain’s alert status to “moderate unrest” from that of “low-level unrest.” Nearby residents were reminded not to venture into a “permanent danger zone” in a 6km radius from the crater. The zone was also extended to 7km on its southeast flank, which faces Legazpi, a city of 160,000 people. “This alert condition signifies a state of unrest which could lead to ash explosions or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruption,” the institute said.
Singapore tycoon finds son
An ecstatic Singaporean millionaire thinks he has discovered his son in Malaysia after putting out an appeal to be reunited with his long-lost family, a report said yesterday. “I found him! I found him!” Yak Eng Wai, 62, told the Star newspaper after speaking by telephone to a man who was able to provide accurate family details to confirm that he was his 37-year-old son, Ah Teck. Spokesman Tung Kong Ming of the Malaysian Chinese Association, which had publicized Yak’s appeal, said the man had to furnish identification papers to support his claims, but that the wealthy tycoon appeared convinced.
Family killed in landslide
A landslide killed a family of five in their homes in West Java province yesterday, police said. The family was killed in the early morning after a cliff collapsed on two houses in Cijeruk district near Bogor city, local police chief Aditiawarman said. “Five people were killed. Two children, an 18-year-old woman, a mother and a grandmother,” he said. “The father survived as he was returning from the mosque after morning prayers [when the landslide happened],” he said. “There was no rain or strong wind whatsoever. It happened all of a sudden early in the morning around 5:30am.”
Police arrest ‘drug mules’
Police have seized almost 5kg of methamphetamines and detained three women — a Thai and two Indonesians— believed to be couriers for an international drug ring, the official Bernama news agency reported yesterday. The trio were arrested on Tuesday during a raid at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, where police discovered the drugs said to be worth 1.25 million ringgit (US$338,000), city police chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman said. “The syndicate was using Malaysia as a transit point before the drugs were smuggled to Indonesia and Thailand,” Bernama quoted Mohammad Sabtu as saying.
US warns of El Nino’s return
US scientists on Thursday said that the El Nino warming trend of the Pacific Ocean waters has returned, bringing with it almost certain changes in weather patterns around the world. The El Nino climatological effect occurs on average every two to five years and typically lasts about 12 months. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a statement that the current El Nino was likely to develop further during the next several months, with additional strengthening possible and is expected to last through early next year. The weather system often brings damaging winter storms in California and turbulent weather across the southern US. It has also been associated with severe flooding and mudslides in Central and South America and drought in Indonesia.
Orchestra plays at finish post
A horse racing track asked the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to give a recital at its finishing post, hoping to wow spectators and spur the animals to quicken their pace. Kempton Park race course, just south of London, staged the unique event on Wednesday, as the orchestra played the William Tell Overture during a race. Organizers said it was the first ever race staged with a live soundtrack.
Base damaged Babylon site
Substantial damage was caused to the ancient city of Babylon by a military base set up there after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, a UNESCO report released on Thursday said. It said that Babylon now needs urgent renovation work. “In view of Babylon’s historical and archeological significance, recent allegations of damage to the site during its military use were particularly serious,” said Mohamed Djelid, director of UNESCO’s Office for Iraq. The damage to the city, considered one of the cradles of human civilization, was carried out by “digging, cutting, scraping and levelling,” when the military base was there from April 2003 to December 2004. UNESCO quoted a 2005 British Museum report as saying that the US action was “tantamount to establishing a military camp around the Great Pyramid in Egypt or around Stonehenge in Britain. The archeological city was plundered during the war in 2003. Contents of the Nebuchadnezzar and Hammurabi museums and of the Babylon Library and Archive were stolen and destroyed.”
Smoking indoors banned
Lawmakers passed a new law on Thursday banning public smoking indoors in a bid to curb some of the highest levels of passive smoking in Europe. The law bans lighting up in nearly all enclosed spaces. Lawbreakers will face fines of up to 2,000 euros (US$2,780). The law’s passage came after months of political wrangling and vociferous opposition from smokers and organized nightclub and restaurant owners seeking an exemption from the ban amid fears it would drive them to ruin.
Diplomat quits after sting
A British diplomat in Russia has resigned after allegedly being filmed having sex with two prostitutes, in a classic sting operation apparently masterminded by the country’s security services. James Hudson quit as deputy consul general in Yekaterinburg after the video — entitled Adventures of Mr Hudson in Russia — mysteriously surfaced on a local Web site. The film appears to show Hudson entering a brothel. He lies down on a sofa, opens a bottle of champagne and cavorts with two blonde women in their underwear. The video then shows him having sex with both women. As well as prostitutes, the Web site accused the diplomat of gambling and taking “light drugs.” The high quality of the video suggests it was not the work of amateurs.
Teacher attacks pupil
A 49-year-old science teacher at a central English school has been arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of a 14-year-old pupil in a classroom set-to, police confirmed on Thursday. The whole class was said to have been “traumatized” by the incident in which, police said, “a weapon” was used. Reports spoke of the boy having been struck with a weight. He was said to be in serious condition in a hospital following the incident in Mansfield. Police confirmed that science teacher Peter Harvey was being questioned by detectives.
Cemetery workers probed
Workers at a historic Illinois cemetery may have dug up more than 100 bodies and dumped them in mass graves at the back of the 60 hectare property in a scheme to resell plots to unsuspecting customers, authorities said. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said on Wednesday that his office was questioning five employees from Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip. But no charges were announced and investigators were working to determine how many plots might have been resold. The sheriff’s investigation began six weeks ago when the cemetery’s owner reported that an employee who began feeling guilty revealed what allegedly had been going on, possibly for as long as four years, Dart said. Burr Oak is the final resting place of singers Dinah Washington, Willie Dixon and Otis Spann, as well as former world heavyweight boxing champion Ezzard Charles, Harlem Globetrotter Inman Jackson and several Negro League baseball players.
Alleged fawn beater charged
A 75-year-old woman who found a fawn in her flower garden has been accused of beating it to death with a shovel. Dorothy Richardson is charged in a warrant with animal cruelty at her Euclid home near the Cleveland Metroparks Euclid Creek Reservation, a wooded park where deer, foxes and other wildlife roam. Animal control officer Ann Mills requested the warrant. She says “everybody’s very upset” about the fawn’s June 15 death. Richardson told Cleveland’s WKYC-TV she was afraid of the fawn and used a shovel to try to make it move. She said it died she put it in a box and took it to the curb on trash day.
Liberty replica beheaded
A 90kg Statue of Liberty stolen from a New York City coffee shop last month has apparently turned up in a video that shows it blindfolded, beheaded and smashed to pieces. The video includes slogans like “We don’t want your freedom” and “Death to America” flashing in 1980s video game font on the screen, according to the Daily News. The video, staged to resemble a videotaped beheading by terrorists, was posted to YouTube anonymously on July 4. Coffee shop owner Debi Ryan called the theft “un-American.”
Family sees Jackson’s ghost
A family in the town of Malambo told reporters on Thursday that they saw Michael Jackson’s ghost while they were watching the music video of Thriller. The alleged ghost first appeared as a chemical odor and then in a shadow of the singer. “I told one of my children to turn off that video, and my son did not want to do it. I told him again to turn it off, because I could feel Michael Jackson’s presence here with a smell of formaldehyde,” Rocio Salazar told the RCN news. The children reportedly used a cellphone to record video of a shadow that the family believes was Jackson’s apparition. “One of my children told me he saw a shadow behind me, which you can see in the recording,” the woman said.
Toddler hides too well
A Greenville, Pennsylvania, toddler did such a remarkable job of hiding during a game of hide-and-seek that the family had to call police and firefighters to help find her. Two-year-old Natalie Jasmer was playing the game with her siblings on Tuesday. When the family couldn’t find her, her parents called the police. But it was the family dog that finally sniffed her out. She had fallen asleep in a drawer underneath the family’s washing machine.
The Australian government yesterday said that it had decided against buying the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine and identified a second case of a rare blood clot likely linked to the AstraZeneca shot. The Australian government had been in talks with the New Jersey-based pharmaceutical giant, which had asked the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration for provisional registration. However, Australian Minister of Health Greg Hunt ruled out a J&J contract, because its vaccine was similar to the AstraZeneca product, which Australia had already contracted for 53.8 million doses. Hunt said the government was following the advice of Australia’s scientific and technical advisory
The Indonesian government has said it is satisfied with the effectiveness of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine it has been using, after China’s top disease control official said that current vaccines offer low protection against the novel coronavirus. Siti Nadia Tarmizi, a spokesperson for Indonesia’s COVID-19 vaccine program, on Monday said the WHO had found that the Chinese vaccines had met requirements by being more than 50 percent effective. Clinical trials in Indonesia for the vaccine from Chinese drugmaker Sinovac showed that it was 65 percent effective, she said. “It means ... the ability to form antibodies in our bodies is still very
The Oscars are the glitziest night of the year in Hollywood and millions across the globe tune in, but they threaten to be a dud in China after the nomination of a Hong Kong protest documentary. Beijing-born filmmaker Chloe Zhao (趙婷), who is touted to win big for her acclaimed American road movie Nomadland, has also faced criticism back home after some questioned her loyalty to China. China has spent years “pining for Hollywood accolades,” entertainment magazine Variety said, and state broadcaster China Central Television has shown the awards live or on a delay since 2003. Online platforms in China, the world’s fastest-growing
FEARING THE WORST: High-powered weapons, as well as a hand grenade, were used in fighting between two clans over a land ownership dispute that is expected to continue Police are warning an “all-out war” could erupt in Papua New Guinea’s Eastern Highlands Province, after 19 people were killed in tribal violence last week. High-powered weapons, as well as a hand grenade, were used in fighting on Thursday and Friday near a town called Kainantu, resulting in 19 deaths, with many more people unaccounted for and properties destroyed. The fighting, between the Agarabi and Tapo clans, was over a land ownership dispute and broke out just kilometers outside of Kainantu. Police said it is believed that the fighting stopped on Saturday and Sunday as some fighters observed the Sabbath, but they fear