Family recovers savings
Newspapers are reporting that a family who hid 40,000 euros (US$57,768) in a pair of old shoes, then threw them away by mistake, has recovered the bulk of its savings. Newspapers Evenimentul Zilei and Gandul reported on Wednesday that a man from the city of Alba Iulia hid the savings in the shoes without telling his wife. The papers say the wife cleaned house before Christmas and threw the shoes away. The papers reported that the couple informed police, who discovered that a woman found the shoes — and bought a 22,000 euro cottage. The family recovered 11,000 euros from the woman and 19,000 euros from the people who sold the house.
China to develop port
China will finance the building of a second port in the east African nation, a transport corridor and the upgrading of a railroad linking Mombasa port and the Ugandan capital, a statement said on Wednesday. The second port is to be built in the coastal town of Lamu, the statement from President Mwai Kibaki’s office said without giving figures. Initially, the port was to be financed by Qatar under a deal to lease swathes of arable land to the Gulf state, but the agreement was shelved. The road could provide a route to export Chinese oil from southern Sudan.
Affairs Web site growing
Britons snowed in by wintry weather have been flocking to an extra-marital dating site in the last 24 hours. Illicit Encounters, which provides a platform for married people to conduct affairs, said on Wednesday it has seen an unexpected increase in visitors over the past 24 hours, and received a record number of new profiles on Wednesday morning. The Web site said most new members are registering from areas worst hit by this week’s extreme weather, including Hampshire, Berkshire and the West Country, and the site has taken on several temporary staff members to cope with the rush. The Web site said it has gained 2,567 new members in the last six days, suggesting that this month will be its busiest month ever.
Churchgoers gunned down
Three men in a car sprayed automatic gunfire into a crowd of churchgoers in the south as they left a midnight Mass for Coptic Christmas, killing at least seven people in a drive-by shooting, the church bishop and security officials said. The Interior Ministry said the attack on Wednesday just before midnight was suspected as retaliation for the November rape of a Muslim girl by a Christian man in the same town. The statement said witnesses have identified the lead attacker. The attack took place in the town of Nag Hamadi in Qena province, about 64km from the famous ancient ruins of Luxor.
‘Obligations will be honored’
The country will “honor its obligations” over the more than US$5 billion owed to the UK and the Netherlands that was lost in failed savings banks, President Olafur Grimsson told British television. The parliament had approved a deeply unpopular bill to cover compensation already paid out by the British and Dutch governments to holders of “Icesave” accounts after banks that collapsed in 2008. Grimsson stunned international financial markets and the government on Tuesday by refusing to sign it and forcing a referendum on the issue.
Contractor was spy: Havana
A US contractor detained last month in Cuba for distributing satellite communications equipment worked for US “secret services” and is being investigated, a top Cuban official said on Wednesday. Cuban Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon shed no light on what the government plans to do with the prisoner, who President Raul Castro has cited as evidence that the US continues its five-decade long campaign to subvert the island’s communist system. The man, arrested early last month, has never been publicly identified. US diplomats were permitted to visit him on Dec. 28, but they have provided little information. He worked for a Maryland-based company called Development Alternatives Inc that said he was involved in a US government program to strengthen civil society and promote democracy in Cuba. “This is a man hired by a company that contracts for the American secret services and that is the object of investigation,” Alarcon told reporters. He said the contractor was part of a trend toward “privatization of war” by the US, which hires people to be “agents, torturers, spies.” Asked if the prisoner was in good condition, Alarcon said: “I can assure you that he is much better — much, much better — than the victims of those contractors all over the world.”
Sculpture mystery solved
The mystery of a missing 4 tonne sculpture outside a Utah motorcycle shop has been solved. It disappeared over the weekend, and apparently the sculptor took it back. Springville sculptor Jeffrey Decker’s attorney said Decker owns the statue and was legally entitled to remove it, the Daily Herald reported. Lawyer Randall Spencer said on Tuesday a loan agreement made it clear that the sculpture was on loan to Timpanogos Harley-Davidson. The US$100,000 sculpture depicts an old-time speed racer. It was erected two years ago at the store in Lindon. Employees who showed up for work on Saturday found that the statue and the granite block it was mounted on were gone.
Sentence me here: Polanski
Roman Polanski sent a letter from house arrest in Switzerland asking a Los Angeles judge to sentence him in a sex case without making him return to the US, but a ruling was postponed on Wednesday. The notarized letter signed by Polanski on Dec. 26 in Gstaad was filed by his lawyer. It said Polanski understood he had the right to be present at all legal proceedings, but “I request that judgment be pronounced against me in my absence.” Deputy District Attorney David Walgren objected to the request and demanded he “show his face” in court before he was sentenced. The director fled the US in 1978 on the eve of sentencing after pleading guilty to one count of having sex with a 13-year-old girl. Espinoza accepted the letter but said he wanted to see legal briefs that state why sentencing Polanski in absentia was appropriate.
Dogs flown to new homes
More than a dozen Chihuahuas from San Francisco are flying in style to new homes in New York. The 15 animals are flying in the main cabin of Virgin America flights scheduled to leave from San Francisco International Airport on Wednesday morning. San Francisco animal control officials say Chihuahuas are in abundance at California animal shelters, but they’re in demand in other states like New York. Experts say pop culture is to blame for the overpopulation of the dogs in California, with fans imitating Chihuahua-toting celebrities like Paris Hilton.
On the Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo, enthusiastic slackers share their tips: Fill up a thermos with whiskey, do planks or stretches in the work pantry at regular intervals, drink liters of water to prompt lots of trips to the toilet on work time, and, once there, spend time on social media or playing games on your phone. “Not working hard is everyone’s basic right,” one commenter wrote. “With or without legal protection, everyone has the right to not work hard.” Young Chinese people are pushing back against an engrained culture of overwork, and embracing a philosophy of laziness known as “touching
The Palauan president-elect has vowed to stand up to Chinese “bullying” in the Pacific, saying that the archipelago nation is set to stand by its alliances with “true friends,” Taiwan and the US. Surangel Whipps Jr, 52, a supermarket owner and two-time senator from a prominent Palauan family, is to be sworn in as the new president tomorrow, succeeding his brother-in-law, Tommy Remengesau Jr. In a forthright interview, Whipps said that the US had demonstrated over the years that it was a reliable friend of Palau, most recently shown by its delivery of 6,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. “It’s important for
DELIVERING HOPE: The Japanese PM pledged to push ahead with plans to stage the Games, despite polls showing about 80% think they will not or should not happen Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga yesterday vowed to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control and hold the already postponed Olympic Games this summer with ample protection. In a speech opening a new session of parliament, Suga said that his government would revise laws to make disease prevention measures enforceable with penalties and compensation. Early in the pandemic, Japan was able to keep its caseload manageable with nonbinding requests for businesses to close or operate with social distancing, and for people to stay at home, but recent weeks have seen several highs in new cases per day, in part blamed on eased attitudes
‘STUNNED’: With help from an official at the US Department of Justice, Donald Trump reportedly planned to oust the acting attorney general in a bid to overturn the election Former US president Donald Trump was at his Florida resort on Saturday, beginning post-presidency life while US President Joe Biden settled into the White House, but in Washington and beyond, the chaos of the 45th president’s final days in office continued to throw out damaging aftershocks. In yet another earth-shaking report, the New York Times said that Trump plotted with an official at the US Department of Justice to fire the acting attorney general, then force Georgia Republicans to overturn his defeat in that state. Meanwhile, former acting US secretary of defense Christopher Miller made an extraordinary admission, telling Vanity Fair that