Bride eyes record
A bride is hoping to enter the record books after getting married in a wedding dress with a train more than 2km long trailing behind her. It took guests more than three hours to roll out the gown, complete with 9,999 silk red roses attached to it, in the northeastern province of Jilin, state news agency Xinhua said.
Ferry toll rises
The number of people missing from the Tonga ferry disaster has risen to 85, Australia’s Defence Ministry said yesterday. The cause of Wednesday’s sinking, 86km northeast of the Pacific island’s capital, Nuku’alofa, is not yet known. Detailing the current figures of missing or dead, the ministry said 85 of 141 people on board the vessel were unaccounted for. A Tongan patrol boat earlier recovered two bodies and 54 survivors, including 28 crew members, it said.
Smugglers slip-slide away
A gang of eight smugglers literally slipped away from police when they used a 40m homemade slide to escape after officers raided their smuggling operation, a media report said yesterday. Marine police launched the anti-smuggling operation after they saw the gang unloading boxes from a van parked on a hillside road above a bay on the south side of Hong Kong island, the South China Morning Post newspaper said. The smugglers were using the wooden slide to move the contraband down the hillside into six waiting speedboats. As police moved in five of the speedboats sped off while one waited as the men by the van used the slide to slip down the hill into the boat before it too escaped into Chinese waters. Police, who said about 20 people were involved, seized 56 boxes containing furs, computer hard disks and mobile phones worth about HK$4.1 million (US$525,610) from the van.
Swine flu ad man gets flu
A man who appeared in advertisements telling people how to avoid swine flu has come down with the virus himself, he said on Friday. Actor David McCusker, 30, who is seen sneezing in an elevator and spreading germs in the television spots fell victim to the very same virus, newspapers reported. “I was supposed to ‘Catch it. Bin it. Kill it,’” he said, reprising the ad’s slogan. “But instead, I’ve been shivering, shaking and spreading it,” he said, according to the Sun. “It was a shock when I found out. I quarantined myself to sweat it out. I’ve been getting lots of stick from mates. I caught it, didn’t bin it and spread it all over the place,” he added. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said on Thursday that the number of deaths in England linked to swine flu increased from 27 to 36 in the previous week. However, there were 30,000 new cases of swine flu in England over the past seven days, compared to 110,000 cases in the previous week, and the majority of infections continued to be “mild,” the HPA said.
Bomb threat delays flight
A flight by Spanish airline Vueling was delayed for several hours on Thursday after an unknown caller said a bomb was on the plane. Airport authorities spent several hours searching the aircraft, which was due to take off from Athens’ International Airport, for signs of an explosive device but ended up finding nothing, Vueling said. The incident in Athens follows an emergency evacuation of one of the company’s aircraft after one of its engines caught fire in Paris. Eight people were injured.
Will the kangaroo caught
He had been hopping around the countryside for the past 10 days, but wildlife authorities finally caught up with Will the kangaroo in a village in the southwest. Police had been receiving phone calls over past weeks from local residents who had spotted the 1.2m marsupial bouncing around a children’s park or in corn fields. Wildlife authorities cornered Will in the village of Juillac-le-Coq late on Wednesday and used a tranquilizer dart gun to put him to sleep and capture him, his owner said. It remains unclear how Will managed to escape his pen in the first place. His owner, who lives in the nearby village of Gente, was on holiday when he went off on his adventure.
Lovers steal from tomb
Unhappy lovers have been taking so much stone from the tomb of Saint Agapitikos to use in love potions that soon there won’t be anything left. Dust from the grave in the courtyard of the church in the village of Arodes in Paphos district has been used for centuries by the lovelorn, who are supposed to slip it into the drink of their objet d’amour. But in recent years so many have been filching shards of stone that a quarter of the tomb has disappeared. The island’s antiquities department has been called in to help. “The only thing we can do is examine the damage and try to prevent any further damage,” said Maria Hadjicosti, the acting director. Saint Agapitikos — whose name means “lover” — is believed to have served in the German army of the Crusaders before settling as a hermit in the area. “You’re very welcome to come and see the tomb, but please don’t go taking any of it with you now,” Arodes mayor Matthaios Stefanou said.
Collider to be restarted
The world’s biggest atom-smasher will operate below full power when its restarts in November, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) said on Thursday. In a statement, CERN said no more repairs would be necessary for “safe running” this year and next, after the 27km collider is switched back on. Nestled inside a tunnel straddling the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) promises to unlock scientific mysteries about the creation of the universe and the fundamental nature of matter. But the machine was shut down nine days after it was inaugurated in September following a series of technical faults and repairs have taken until now. The LHC’s components had been tested to an energy equivalent of 5 teraelectronvolts at full power.
Honey robbers caught
Four men allegedly attempting to smuggle more than a tonne of honey out of the country were stopped by a military patrol on the border with Russia, according to officials on Friday. The illicit honey — about 1.1 tonnes in 24 barrels — was believed to be destined for the Russian black market and had a street value of as much as US$100,000. The two Ukrainian and two Russian suspects in two lorries were driving at night along a rural back road near the border when they were stopped. Police, acting on a tip off, ambushed the alleged smugglers just 10m short of Russian territory, border police said in a statement. The men failed to produce any paperwork documenting the necessary duties paid on the honey. The men, if convicted, of smuggling and attempted illegal border crossing could face sentences of three years in jail, and confiscation of their product and property.
Organ swindler admits guilt
A man accused of swindling desperately ill patients out of US$400,000 by making false promises of organ transplants in the Philippines has pleaded guilty in New York to five federal wire fraud charges. Jerome Feldman pleaded guilty on Friday before a District Court judge in Utica. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to US$250,000 on each of the five counts. Prosecutors said Feldman’s victims traveled to the Philippines based on his promises they would receive organ transplants there. One died while awaiting a promised liver transplant. Feldman never arranged the transplants and kept the money.
Gucci sues over fakes
Gucci America sued several credit card processing companies for trademark infringement on Thursday on grounds those companies facilitated the sale of counterfeit Gucci bags on the Internet. Gucci America said in the lawsuit filed in District Court in Manhattan that by processing transactions on counterfeits, the companies “not only supply the necessary marketplace for such transactions, they are full partners in those counterfeiting activities.”
Tony Curtis comes clean
It was while filming Some Like It Hot in 1958 that Tony Curtis made his infamous remark that shooting a love scene with co-star Marilyn Monroe was “like kissing Hitler.” But in a new memoir, Curtis alleges that the two actors were lovers at the time, and that their affair resulted in Monroe’s pregnancy — although she later suffered a miscarriage. In The Making of Some Like It Hot, which is due for publication in September, Curtis, now 84, says that the couple, who enjoyed a brief relationship in 1949, grew close again while on set. “What I experienced with her was unforgettable,” he says. Both were married at the time, he to Janet Leigh and she to the playwright Arthur Miller. It was, Curtis says, when they were admitting their affair to Miller that Monroe broke the news of her pregnancy. “I was stunned,” Curtis writes. “I just stood there. The room was so silent that I could hear tires screeching on Santa Monica Boulevard.” Curtis says he was told to finish the film and stay away from Miller and Monroe, and it was only after filming had finished that he learned of Monroe’s miscarriage. Curtis’s marriage to Janet Leigh, with whom he had two daughters, ended in 1962. In 2002, Curtis told the British gay magazine Attitude that when he first arrived in Hollywood in 1948, “I had more action than Mount Vesuvius; men, women, animals!” At a Guardian interview at the British Film Institute in London last year, Curtis explained the genesis of the “kissing Hitler” remark. “Someone said to me, ‘Hey, what’s it like kissing Marilyn?’ I said, ‘It’s like kissing Hitler. What are you doing asking me such a stupid question?’ That’s where it came from.”
Divers find WWII plane
Divers have stumbled upon what they believe is the wreckage of a US Army air force amphibious plane that went down in the St Lawrence River in 1942. The government divers, who work for Parks Canada, announced on Thursday that they came across the wreck while doing routine work near the village of Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan in eastern Quebec. It has not yet been confirmed whether it is the lost plane. The US military considers the potential discovery a major find.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC) yesterday said that reporters in the territory were experiencing “highly unusual” visas problems, and called on the US and China to stop using the media as a political weapon. Journalists have been caught up in US-China tensions, with both sides placing limits or expelling reporters from their territories in the past few months. Now the spat is filtering into Hong Kong, a regional press hub nominally in charge of its own immigration policies. The FCC said in a statement that multiple media firms had reported delays getting visas in recent months. “The delays have affected journalists