Girl killed in leaflet drop
A young girl died after a box of public information leaflets dropped by a Royal Air Force (RAF) plane landed on her, a newspaper said yesterday. Britain’s Ministry of Defence said it was investigating the accident, which it described as “highly regrettable,” the Times said. The drop occurred over a rural area of southern Helmand Province on June 23 as part of an information campaign, the newspaper said. “Sadly one of the boxes failed to fully open and on landing caused serious injuries to an Afghan child,” an RAF spokesman said. Officials said it was not known what type of leaflet was being dropped.
Abducted tourist found dead
A female Japanese tourist has been found dead on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali after a suspected kidnapping, police said on Tuesday. Rika Sano, 33, was found partially decomposed with her belongings scattered around her near the popular tourist beach of Kuta in southern Bali on Monday, provincial police spokesman I Gede Sugianyar said. “The body was lying face down, half-naked in a bush, with only her black shirt on. We also found her mobile phone, underwear and a bag,” he said. Sugianyar denied local media reports alleging that a policeman was involved in Sano’s death. Local media reported she had been abducted on Friday.
Athlete crawls up tower
Paralympics gold medal winner Kurt Fearnley yesterday left his wheelchair and took the 1,504 steps two at a time to conquer Sydney’s tallest building in a better time than most people with working legs can do it. The 28-year-old wheelchair marathon champion crawled up the fire escape at the 260m Sydney Tower in 20 minutes, compared with the all-comers record of 6 minutes, 52 seconds. Fearnley was born with lumbar sacral agenesis, which left him without the bottom part of his spine.
US troops leave village
US troops yesterday pulled out from a village where two US soldiers were killed in a landmine attack by suspected Islamic militants. The Seabees, members of the Construction Battalions of the US Navy, left behind unfinished development projects in Kagay village in Indanan town on Jolo island. Major-General Ben Dolorfino, a regional Philippine military commander, declined to say how many Seabees pulled out but said that Filipino troops have been dispatched to guard the construction sites. “The Seabees totally pulled out, but they are determined to continue with the projects,” he said. “They will probably have to subcontract the remaining work.” The landmine attack on Tuesday killed two US servicemen and a Filipino marine.
Cashier scolds robber
A would-be robber armed with a wooden stick was arrested after being confronted by an angry shopkeeper, apologizing and calling the police to confess his crime, an official said yesterday. Takashi Owada, a 54-year-old unemployed man, demanded money from the 59-year-old female cashier at a convenience store in the northern city of Fukushima on Tuesday, a police spokesman said. When the cashier told him, “Don’t be silly,” Owada changed his mind and said: “I’m sorry.” He called the police at the store exit with his own cellphone and was arrested within minutes for attempted robbery.
POW camp on sale
A former World War II prisoner-of-war camp has been advertised for sale on eBay as a “unique leisure attraction” at £900,000 (US$1.4 million). The Harperley Prisoner of War Camp, near Crook in County Durham, housed German and Italian prisoners. The complex of rows of gray huts was turned into a tourist attraction in 2004, but its present owners, James and Lisa McLeod, said their plans for further restoration had run out of cash. “A unique opportunity to buy a piece of history,” the classified ad placed on Tuesday on the e-Bay site said. The site boasts a garden center, restaurant, farm shop and a museum.
Judge to review Chirac case
The Paris prosecutor’s office has asked a court to drop a case against former president Jacques Chirac and others accused in an alleged corruption scandal dating back to his 1977-1995 tenure as Paris mayor, a judicial official said on Tuesday. The request has been delivered to investigating judge Xaviere Simeoni, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing. Simeoni must now decide whether to follow the advice — or whether Chirac and more than 40 others must stand trial. A judge filed preliminary embezzlement charges against Chirac in 2007, after he left the presidency and no longer had judicial immunity.
Babi Yar massacre marked
Ukrainians and Jewish groups marked the 68th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre on Tuesday by unveiling a new monument commemorating victims of the Nazi killings. President Viktor Yushchenko, Jewish leaders and Kiev residents attended memorial events marking one of the most horrific chapters of the Holocaust. More than 33,700 Jews were shot at the Babi Yar ravine in Kiev over 48 hours beginning on Sept. 29, 1941. In the ensuing months, the ravine was filled with some 100,000 bodies, including non-Jews.
Aboriginal remains returned
Dutch authorities on Tuesday presented the skeletal remains of five 18th and 19th century Aboriginal Australians to their descendants in a special ceremony in the western city of Leiden. “The spirits can stop wandering now, they are returning home with us,” Gwen Hickling, an elder of the Aboriginal Bundjalung community, said after a spiritual cleansing ceremony. “The spirits were wandering in No Man’s Land, but now we can take them to their resting place.” Australian Ambassador Lydia Morton thanked Dutch authorities for helping the Australian government to repatriate indigenous remains held in overseas collections. “It is important in healing the pain of past injustices,” she said.
Saudi help needed: report
Saudi Arabia’s drive to disrupt al-Qaeda financing networks should be more strictly enforced, while Yemen is emerging as a new base for terror groups plotting against US and Saudi interests, a US government watchdog report said on Tuesday. The Government Accounting Office said Saudi Arabia has made progress in the fight against terrorism, arresting and prosecuting suspects and taking steps to curtail fund-raising by extremist groups inside the country. But it said loopholes remain, including the flow of donations from individuals and charities in Saudi Arabia to support extremist organizations outside the country as well as its limited ability to crack down on cash couriers who physically transfer funds.
Court rejects Rather suit
A New York court on Tuesday rejected a lawsuit by veteran news anchor Dan Rather against CBS television in which he claimed to have been punished for a controversial report about then-president George W. Bush. The New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division panel issued a judgment dismissing the complaint “in its entirety.” This overturned a lower court’s decision to allow Rather’s US$70 million lawsuit. CBS applauded the decision, saying it was “pleased by the appellate court’s unanimous ruling today dismissing all of Dan Rather’s claims. CBS’s position on each claim was upheld, as we have said they would be for the past two years.”
New rules on dorm sex
Sex in a Tufts University dorm is fine. Sex in a Tufts dorm with your roommate present? That’s a no-no. This semester, the school has a new policy banning sexual activity while a roommate is in the same room. Kim Thurler, a Tufts University spokeswoman, said the school issued the new rule after a dozen or so complaints in the past three years. “It’s really about respect and consideration and it’s a question of how roommates utilized their space,” Thurler said. The new policy concerning overnight guests reads: “You may not engage in sexual activity while your roommate is present in the room.”
Disney nods to volunteers
Disney is offering a free day’s admission to 1 million guests who complete a day of volunteer work next year. The “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” program will provide certified volunteers with a one-day ticket to any park at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, or Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, next year. Would-be volunteers must register online with Disney and must be residents of the US, Canada or Puerto Rico to be eligible for the free admission. Disney is partnering with HandsOn Network, a clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities, to connect people with projects and to certify that the work was done.
White House feared witches
Former president George W. Bush’s White House refused to grant a prestigious honor to JK Rowling, fearing that it would look like a tacit approval of witchcraft, a former presidential aide said. The decision is revealed in a book by Matt Latimer, a former Bush speechwriter, who relates how the presidential medal of freedom — the nation’s highest award for those who have promoted national security, world peace or culture — was withheld from prominent figures on an array of spurious grounds, political and otherwise. “This ... narrow thinking led people in the White House to actually object to giving JK Rowling a presidential medal because the Harry Potter books encouraged witchcraft,” Latimer wrote in Speech-Less: Tales of a White House Survivor.
Cirque head goes to space
The billionaire founder of the Cirque du Soleil show yesterday blasted off on a Russian rocket to bring his trademark humor and acrobatic energy into the ultra-serious world of space flight. Guy Laliberte, 50, a Canadian citizen, had spent millions from a personal fortune on his two week visit to the International Space Station, but he could be the last such “space tourist” for several years. He blasted off on schedule from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome, located in Kazakhstan, at 7:14am alongside a professional Russian cosmonaut and US astronaut.
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
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies