Loud Russian wins contest
Short shrieks, high-pitched yelps, and drawn-out wails rang out at an international competition aimed at setting a new record for the loudest scream. Russian Sergey Savelyev chimed in at 116.8 decibels — roughly as loud as an ambulance siren — to win Saturday’s competition in the seaside town of Pattaya. His effort fell short of breaking the 129-decibel Guinness World Record for the loudest scream set in 2000 in London. “I was only getting warmed up,” said 33-year-old Savelyev, who said he would be back next year to compete in the competition hosted by Thailand’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum.
Small plane goes missing
A plane carrying 16 people disappeared in the eastern part of the country yesterday, an airline official said. The Twin Otter plane was on a commercial flight in the remote Papua region when it lost contact with ground officials, said Captain Nikmatullah, the tor of operations of the airline operating the plane, Merpati Nusantara. Nikmatullah, who goes by a single name, said no trace had been found of the plane more then four hours after it took off. The aircraft was carrying enough fuel to keep it in the air for three-and-a half hours, he told Metro TV station.
Building collapse kills 23
Authorities say rescue crews have pulled the bodies of two more women from the rubble of a collapsed five-story building in Karachi, bringing the death toll to 23. Almost all the victims are women and children. Chief Fire Officer Ehtisham Uddin said the rescue operation was called off yesterday because all residents of the building had been accounted for. He said crews were working to remove the rubble. The building collapsed late on Friday in the congested downtown Lea Market neighborhood. Mayor Mohammad Dilawar said on Saturday the building apparently was weakened by heavy monsoon rains. Karachi, a city of more than 16 million people, has an aging infrastructure and a poor drainage system.
Two officials suspended
Authorities in Zhentou Township, Hunan Province, suspended two environment officials and detained a chemical plant boss after hundreds of residents protested, claiming the factory polluted a river and caused at least two deaths in the area, an official said yesterday. About 1,000 villagers gathered at government and police offices on Thursday to highlight what they say is deadly pollution being discharged from the Xianghe Chemical Factory in nearby Liuyang City, Xinhua news agency said on Saturday. The protesters said chemical waste from the factory pollutes the water that irrigates their rice and vegetable fields, a resident said in a telephone interview.
CD shops bombed
Police said suspected militants have bombed four music shops selling CDs and cassettes in the northern part of the country. No injuries have been reported. Police officer Habibur Rahman said a time bomb planted outside the shops in the main market of Balakot, in a district next to the troubled Swat Valley, exploded early yesterday. A similar attack last Monday in another town in the same district damaged three CD shops and wounded two bystanders. In the past, bombings of CD stores have been blamed on pro-Taliban militants who consider music and movies un-Islamic.
Police hunting gunman
Hundreds of police officers were scouring the streets of Tel Aviv yesterday in a door-to-door manhunt for a gunman who opened fire on a gay youth club. A masked man entered a club for gay teens late on Saturday, pulled out a pistol and shot in all directions, killing two and injuring 11, four seriously, police said. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the man then holstered his pistol and fled the scene by foot to the busy streets of Tel Aviv. Nitzan Horowitz, Israel’s only openly gay lawmaker, said the attack had all the symptoms of a “hate crime.” “This is the worst attack ever against the gay community in Israel,” he said. “This act was a blind attack against innocent youths and I expect the authorities to exercise all means in apprehending the shooter.” Gays and lesbians enjoy great freedom and liberties in Israel.
Border agents embarrassed
The government says an illegal immigrant sneaked into the UK by smuggling himself aboard a bus full of British border agents. The Home Office said the man hid in the small space between the bus’ chassis and its fuel tank as it traveled through the Channel Tunnel from the French town of Coquelles to the English coastal town of Dover. The Daily Mail newspaper reported on Saturday that the bus carried at least 20 Border Agency staff, whose job it is to keep illegal immigrants out. The newspaper said the man was spotted dropping from the bus on to the road, but ran away before he could be caught. The Home Office said the man had not been caught.
Ancient skeleton discovered
A roughly 4,500-year-old skeleton of a man, probably a warrior killed by an arrow to the chest, has been discovered on a beach south of Rome, Italian police said. The well-preserved skeleton, dubbed “Nello,” was found during a routine flyover around areas of archeological interest in May that prompted police to probe a fissure in the ground. “We thought it was that of a Roman solider, but then the experts identified it as dating back to the third millennium BC,” said Raffaele Mancino, an official with the police division overseeing Italy’s cultural heritage. Six small vases were found buried alongside the skeleton, whose feet were missing.
Minister’s aide attacked
An aide of Zimbabwe’s finance minister and deputy leader of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Tendai Biti, was attacked on Saturday at the minister’s residence, the party claimed. An MDC statement said soldiers “brutally assaulted” Howard Makonza, an aide of Biti. Makonza was taken to hospital for treatment. While an MDC official claimed they had lodged a police report, Wayne Bvudzijena, Zimbabwe police spokesperson, said he had not received any such report. “I am not aware of such an incident. Normally it is difficult for such a thing to happen as there is usually tight security at [a] minister’s residence,” Bvudzijena said.
Mandela guard kills himself
Police say an officer guarding former president Nelson Mandela’s home shot and killed himself outside the anti-apartheid leader’s Johannesburg house on Saturday. Police spokesman Sally De Beer said Mandela was at home at the time of the apparent suicide. She said Mandela was never in danger. The officer was assigned to guard the perimeter of the house and was not part of Mandela’s body guard.
Father guilty in prayer death
A Wisconsin man accused of killing his 11-year-old diabetic daughter by praying instead of seeking medical care was found guilty on Saturday of second-degree reckless homicide. Dale Neumann, 47, was convicted in the death of his daughter, Madeline, from undiagnosed diabetes on March 23 last year Prosecutors contended he should have rushed the girl to a hospital because she couldn’t walk, talk, eat or drink. Madeline died on the floor of the family’s rural home as people surrounded her and prayed. An ambulance was called when she stopped breathing. Neumann declined comment as he left the courthouse. His wife Leilani Neumann, 41, was convicted on the same charge in the spring. Sentencing was set for Oct. 6 for for both parents, who face up to 25 years in prison.
Clarcon products seized
The US Marshals Service have seized all skin sanitizers and skin protectants, including ingredients, at Clarcon Biological Chemistry Laboratory’s facility in Roy, Utah, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said. The agency warned the public on Saturday not to use any Clarcon products because they contain harmful bacteria and are promoted as antimicrobial agents that claim to treat open wounds, damaged skin and protect against various infectious diseases. Clarcon voluntarily recalled the affected products, marketed under several different brand names, in June, following an FDA inspection that revealed high levels of potentially disease-causing bacteria in the products. The inspection also uncovered serious deviations from the FDA’s regulations
Storm kills one at festival
One person was killed and at least 40 were injured after a storm whipped through an outdoor country music festival, causing a stage to collapse in Camrose, east of Edmonton, around 6pm on Saturday. “The concert at Big Valley Jamboree was delayed and the concert bowl was being cleared when a small portion of the main stage collapsed,” Camrose Police Chief Darrell Kambeitz told the Canadian Press. He said reports of dozens of people being trapped at the site weren’t true. The four-day festival began on Thursday. There was no word on whether yesterday’s performances would go ahead.
Blind drivers go for a spin
Twenty blind people were able to get behind the wheel of a new high-tech vehicle designed by Virginia Tech engineering students. They took turns maneuvering the dune buggy on Friday in a University of Maryland parking lot. The test drive capped a National Federation for the Blind summer camp for 200 blind youth. Virginia Tech was the only university to take on a 2004 challenge from the federation to build a vehicle that could let blind people drive. The buggy they designed uses a laser sensor to figure out the road ahead. A special vibrating vest worn by drivers communicates speed and warns when to stop. And a headset relays voice commands signaling which way to turn.
A psychologist has been publicly reprimanded by her profession for suggesting she could cure homosexuals of their “illness,” the Federal Psychology Council said on Saturday. Rozangela Alves Justino, a therapist in Rio de Janeiro, was allowed to continue to practice but barred from continuing to make claims that homosexuality was provoked by childhood trauma. She has said she will appeal the council’s decision.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big