Aid team heads for Haiti
Seoul has dispatched 190 troops to Haiti to help rebuild the Caribbean country following its devastating earthquake. The Defense Ministry said yesterday the troops, mostly army engineers, would provide humanitarian assistance to and rebuild areas in Leogane, just west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. The ministry said the soldiers will join an advance team of 30 troops in Leogane.
Abandoned tanks found
Some people were amazed to discover dozens of T-80 battle tanks seemingly abandoned in a forest, but army officials insisted there was nothing unusual about it. The tanks — nearly 100 in all — were found near the Elanovskaya railroad station about 100km outside the Urals Mountains city of Yekaterinburg, the Kommersant daily reported yesterday. Their presence was revealed after a local news website posted a video of the tanks, covered in a deep layer of snow and resting peacefully between the railroad and the woods with no military personnel in sight. “There are tanks all over the forest, abandoned. If you need one, come and get it,” an unnamed person behind the camera says in the video posted on E1.ru.
EMI appeals ruling
Record company EMI has lodged an appeal against a ruling that band Men At Work ripped off a popular children’s song in their worldwide 1980s hit Down Under, court papers showed. The company is claiming a flute riff that draws on Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree was simply an “amusing” tribute to the ditty, penned by a teacher for a Girl Guides jamboree in 1935. EMI said on Thursday the similarity between the two pieces of music “might be amusing or of interest to the highly sensitized or educated musical ear,” but would probably not be picked up “by the ordinary listener.”
School shuts ‘lesbian dorm’
A girls’ boarding school outside Durban has closed down a dormitory after accusing 27 residents of being lesbians, local media reported on Friday. Two girls were caught kissing in the dormitory, which houses 300 students, the Mercury newspaper reported. When confronted by school officials, they identified 25 other lesbians in the dorm. “Twenty-seven learners were involved in this kind of relationship and the school took a decision to close down the hostel,” provincial education department spokesman Mfundi Sibiya said. The department has appointed a panel to investigate the issue, but the education department said schools did not have the right to remove students because of sexual orientation.
Court plans trial for dealer
An antiques dealer pleaded not guilty to stealing a rare first edition of the works of William Shakespeare. Raymond Scott appeared on Friday in a court in Newcastle. He is charged with theft, handling stolen goods and removing criminal property. His trial was set for June. The 53-year-old is accused of taking the rare volume from Durham University in 1998. His arrest came after a man took the edition to the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, claiming he had found it in Cuba. Scott, who arrived at a previous court hearing in a horse-drawn carriage, appeared on Friday in military fatigues and an expensive pair of Tiffany sunglasses.
Nation ‘in hands of Taliban’
A band of prosecutors and judges are trying to overthrow the democratically elected government, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Friday, likening part of Italy’s judiciary to the Taliban. Speaking at an electoral rally in Turin, the 73 year-old media tycoon, who is on trial in two separate cases, said there was “a subversive aim” to bring down his less than two-year old government. “If the prosecutors don’t like a law then they challenge it and it gets rejected by the courts,” Berlusconi said. “We are in the hands of this band of Talibans, today our democracy is in this situation.” The National Association of Magistrates said Berlusconi’s words marked “an intolerable escalation of insults and aggression.”