Girl thrown from train
A five-year-old girl was thrown out of a moving train in Mumbai during an argument between her family and another passenger over sharing a seat, police said yesterday. The girl suffered head injuries when she landed on the tracks after the train had left the main Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. “A scuffle broke out over seating and the little girl was thrown out of the door. It happened in just a few seconds,” Mumbai railway police chief Tukaram Chavan said. “She’s receiving treatment and recovering. She was very lucky not to have been hit by another train.” A 19-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the incident. Newspapers said other passengers in the crowded train had beaten him up after the incident. “Had I known that the man was a maniac, I would have given him the seat instead of putting my daughter’s life in danger,” the girl’s father told the Hindustan Times.
Cheetah delays flight
Passengers on a Qantas flight were delayed yesterday when the pilot reported difficulties in getting one passenger on board — a cheetah. “We’re sorry for the delay, but we’re having some problems loading the cheetah,” the pilot reportedly told passengers as the plane sat on the tarmac at Melbourne airport. Qantas said the Adelaide-bound flight was delayed for 36 minutes after ground staff had problems loading the pallet carrying the big cat, which was bound for a South Australian zoo.
Rat’s head found in curry
Police are investigating the chef at a canteen of a leading university in Dhaka after a student found a rat’s head in a bowl of chicken curry, sparking protests. The student made the gruesome discovery while eating lunch on Monday and fell sick immediately, said Chowdhury Muhammad Zakaria, the head of security at Rajshahi University. The incident led to protests by students at the school, the country’s second-largest with more than 25,000 students, who were already demonstrating about a recent hike in the price of canteen meals.
Oprah cuddles koala
US talkshow queen Oprah Winfrey cuddled a koala as her “Ultimate Australian Adventure” swung into action. Winfrey touched down in Great Barrier Reef holiday spot Hamilton Island in her private jet before driving a golf buggy to a wildlife sanctuary, where she was mobbed by hundreds of cheering Australians on the first stop of her eight-day tour. “It’s beautiful. It’s a long trip but it’s worth it,” Winfrey said of her first impressions of Australia.
Scientists must probe aging
President Nursultan Nazarbayev, 70, has instructed scientists at a newly opened research center to develop ways to reverse the aging process. Speaking to students on Tuesday at the recently inaugurated Nazarbayev University, he said the Center for Life Sciences’ priorities should include finding ways to artificially produce human tissue and rejuvenate the body. Earlier this year, Nazarbayev was effectively made leader for life, giving him the right to determine policies after he retires.
Box of animals doesn’t fly
A Saudi who flew in from Jakarta with snakes, parrots and a squirrel in his hand luggage has been arrested at Abu Dhabi airport, Emirati dailies reported on Tuesday. “The man was just about to board a plane at the capital’s airport when a member of staff noticed that something was moving inside a box he was carrying,” said an English-language paper, 7Days. “Inside were four snakes, two parrots and a squirrel, all alive and separated in different compartments inside the box.”
Violinist says king is his dad
A German violinist has filed a lawsuit in Bucharest asking for former King Michael to take a paternity test, alleging he is his son. The 89-year-old former king will be called to court on April 20 to answer questions and take the test. Dieter Stanzeleit, 71, said on Tuesday he has copies of Romanian intelligence documents from 1939, 1951 and 1978 that attest to Michael marrying a British woman, and his existence. The royal family opposes his claims. Michael ruled Romania from 1927 to 1930, and again from 1940 until 1947 when he was forced to abdicate by the Communists. Stanzeleit was adopted by a German family after his mother was killed at the end of World War II.
Advent smokes snuffed
A sniffer dog called Lucky turned out to be anything but for a 21-year-old stoner in Munich arrested with a homemade Advent calendar with cannabis behind each little door instead of chocolate. Police knocked on his door to check the man’s driving license, but after noticing a small piece of cannabis on the kitchen table, they set Lucky to work to see if there was any more of the drug. “Behind every little door [on the calendar] was a small amount of cannabis in a matchbox, wrapped up in a colorful bow,” police said on Tuesday. “He said he had been given the calendar as a present.”
Power output hits record
The tiny Catholic enclave is now by far the world’s most environmentally friendly state following the installation of giant solar power panels, the Vatican’s official daily said on Tuesday. “The Vatican has reached a small record in solar energy power production per capita: 200 watts at peak times ... per inhabitant, compared to 80 in Germany, the world leader in this field,” Osservatore Romano said. The Vatican City is the least populated sovereign state in the world, with a population of about 800 people. Osservatore Romano said the panels installed on the Paul VI conference hall two years ago had saved the Vatican almost 90 tonnes of oil equivalent. Pope Benedict XVI has been dubbed the “green pope” by the Italian media for his strong emphasis on defence of the environment. Earlier this month Vatican officials said they were thinking of using an electric-powered vehicle to replace the iconic popemobile.
Wife bites off hubby’s tongue
A 57-year-old Wisconsin woman bit off half of her 79-year-old husband’s tongue during a kiss and has been arrested, authorities said on Tuesday. The severed piece of tongue was recovered, and the man was taken to a hospital where doctors were trying to reattach it, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, police said. The woman was singing Christmas carols and blowing a New Year’s horn when police detained her after the incident on Monday. The man said his wife had been acting strangely in recent days, the police said.
Praying couple on trial
A couple who prayed for their sick toddler rather than take him to a doctor before his pneumonia death are on trial in Philadelphia, charged with involuntary manslaughter. Defense lawyers say Herbert and Catherine Schaible are being prosecuted because they are Christian fundamentalists and belong to a church that endorses faith healing. Catherine Schaible’s lawyer says prosecutors cannot prove the mother knew her two-year-old son, Kent, was facing death when he became ill in January last year. The boy died 10 days later of bacterial pneumonia. Prosecutors say a doctor’s visit could have saved him.
Man fined for N Korea sales
A Vienna court has fined an Austrian man 3.3 million euros (US$4.4 million) over the sale of luxury goods, including yachts, believed destined for North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, a court official said on Tuesday. The businessman, who was not named, was also handed a nine-month suspended sentence late on Monday for the dealings which violate an international trade embargo, court official Christian Gneist said. Working with a North Korean intermediary, the Viennese man tried to procure two yachts and received payment for them, Gneist said. Prosecutors also accused him of lining up top-end Mercedes-Benz cars and musical instruments, Austrian daily Kurier reported. The man pleaded guilty and told the court he had not realized what he was getting into, Kurier said.
Snails under attack
Who would want to harm the plastic, pink snails of Miami Beach? The Miami Herald reports that police are investigating the vandalism of several of the 45 giant art pieces displayed around South Beach as part of an international art fair. So far, at least eight have been targeted, including one that was thrown into Biscayne Bay. Galleria Ca’ d’Oro and the Cracking Art Group brought the snails to town ahead of the Art Basel Miami Beach fair.
FBI issues Barbie doll alert
The FBI says it recently issued an alert about a Barbie doll with a hidden video camera that could be used to produce child pornography, but stressed that the toy has not been linked with any reported crimes. FBI spokesman Steve Dupre said on Tuesday the alert was meant only for law enforcement agencies to advise them not to overlook “Barbie Video Girl” during any searches. The FBI said that “the alert’s intent was to ensure law enforcement agencies were aware that the doll — like any other video-capable equipment — could contain evidence and to not disregard such an item during a search.” The doll has an LCD screen on its back and shoots video through a lens hidden in Barbie’s necklace. Jim Silver, a toy industry analyst said the controversy has been overblown. “It’s a doll, for Pete’s sake,” he said.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
‘LIKE A CASSANDRA’: Chinese residents of Prato went into self-imposed lockdown and warned their Italian neighbors about what was coming, but were ignored In the storm of infection and death sweeping Italy, one big community stands out to health officials as remarkably unscathed — the 50,000 ethnic Chinese who live in the town of Prato. Two months ago, the country’s Chinese residents were the target of what Amnesty International described as shameful discrimination, the butt of insults and violent attacks by people who feared that they would spread the coronavirus through Italy. However, in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to Italy’s single biggest Chinese community, the opposite has been true. Once scapegoats, they are now held up by authorities as a model for early,