Protesters trap UN workers
Protesters at the UN building in the capital forced UN workers to stay in their office yesterday to demand the world body end its investigation of rights abuses alleged during the country’s civil war. Hundreds of national flag-waving men marched to the UN compound in Colombo, led by Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa and Buddhist monks. They initially tried to break into the building by breaching the barriers and security walls but settled for a sit-in opposite the gate. “We warn the UN to withdraw the [investigating] panel if they want to get the employees out,” Weerawansa told the protesters. The number of employees within the UN offices was not known.
World Cup kills two
A World Cup gambling debt and a disgruntled wife upset that her husband came home late from watching soccer have been blamed for two murders, reports said yesterday. The Tuoi Tre newspaper reported that two youths, aged 19 and 20, have been arrested for the alleged murder of a neighbor in a robbery bid to cover a World Cup gambling debt. They allegedly killed Nguyen Thi To Nga, a high school literature teacher, as they tried to rob her in order to cover the debt. Separately, the Doi Song and Phap Luat newspapers reported that police in Quang Ngai Province arrested a man on Monday for allegedly choking his wife to death. The 35-year-old man told police he killed his wife because she complained he came home late following a World Cup match on Friday, the reports said.
Troops kill 23 militants
Pakistani forces killed 23 militants early yesterday in fighting that erupted after insurgents fired on troops during a search operation in the country’s northwest, police and intelligence officials said. The search was launched after a suicide bomb attack on a paramilitary fort in Lower Dir district, where troops killed hundreds of militants in an offensive last year. “The fighting began when miscreants opened fire on troops searching the area after reports of militant movement there,” Dir’s top police chief, Mumtaz Zireen, said.
Security forces kill protester
A young man was killed yesterday when security forces opened fire at stone-throwing protesters in Indian Kashmir, police said, the latest in a series of deaths that have stoked public anger. Police and paramilitary forces struggling to control protests in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley have now killed 12 civilians in less than a month. The incident took place in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir, which has been at the center of furious demonstrations since June 11 when a 17-year-old student died from a police teargas shell. Yesterday’s death occurred when security forces opened fire to disperse a demonstration triggered by the disappearance of another protester, a witness said.
Church-burning trial begins
Three Malaysian Muslims went on trial yesterday for allegedly torching a church during the height of a dispute over whether non-Muslims can use the word “Allah” to refer to God. The firebombing of the church marked the start of an unprecedented string of assaults on places of worship in January following a court verdict that allowed Christians to use “Allah” in their Malay-language publications. Two brothers and their friend were charged earlier this year for starting a fire on Jan. 8 that partially gutted a Protestant church.
Ministry denies fueling ban
Iranian planes are getting fuel at airports around the world, foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said yesterday, denying reports that some countries were refusing supplies because of US sanctions. On Monday, ISNA news agency quoted an Iranian Airlines Union official as saying that planes had been refused fuel at airports in the UK, German and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The German transport ministry said there was no ban and a British government source said London was not aware of any cut to supplies and that any such a decision would be up to private companies. A source in the UAE said a private firm had refused to refuel an Iranian plane, but the UAE had not imposed a ban.
Hot dog champ released
Japanese eating champion Takeru Kobayashi, arrested at a Fourth of July hot dog-eating contest, was freed after a night in jail, looking a little weary and saying he was hungry. Kobayashi was freed on Monday after he pleaded not guilty. A contract dispute had kept Kobayashi out of Sunday’s annual Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest, but he showed up anyway. “I was there as a spectator, just to cheer on my buddies,” he said through an interpreter outside court on Monday. Fans chanted for him, and “in the heat of it, I jumped on the stage, hoping they would let me eat.” He was charged with obstruction of governmental administration, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
Dissident numbers drop
The number of political prisoners fell sharply in the past half-year and now stands at 167, the smallest in years, opposition activist Elizardo Sanchez said on Monday. At the beginning of the year, the number of jailed dissidents stood at 201, but the rights commission Sanchez heads now puts the number at 167. However, “this doesn’t mean that the human rights situation has improved,” he said, “because at the same time there has been an increase in the number of arbitrary, short-term detentions.”
Paris limits rescue charges
Journalists and aid workers would be exempted from a proposed bill that could see the state charge kidnapped citizens for rescues if they ignore travel advice to go to danger zones, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on Monday. Earlier this year government officials raised the possibility of charging for hostage searches, after 10 million euros (US$12.5 million) was spent to rescue of two journalists in Afghanistan. The proposed law would enable the state to reclaim “all or part of the expenses incurred in overseas rescue operations for those who deliberately exposed themselves” to danger.
Thirteen dead in clashes
Kurdish rebels have attacked a military post near the border with Iraq, setting off clashes that killed three soldiers and 10 rebels, the Anatolia news agency reported. The clashes erupted late on Monday when the rebels fired at the military post with long-range weapons, it said.
Feminists burn money
The Feminist Initiative party burned 100,000 Swedish kronor (US$13,000) at a barbecue yesterday on Gotland island in a protest against unequal pay. The money represented what the country’s women miss out on every minute in comparison to men, the party said. The money was donated by an ad agency.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
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