Man arrested for Web page
Police said yesterday they arrested a man and might charge him with sedition for allegedly creating a Facebook page that mocked the country’s former king Sultan Iskandar Ismail. The suspect is believed to have set up the page to criticize Ismail, a state ruler who was the country’s king for five years in the 1980s, a federal police official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements. Sultan Iskandar died at age 77 last January. The 40-year-old suspect is being investigated for sedition, which is punishable by three years in prison, the official said. Under the law, acts that provoke hatred against royal rulers are considered seditious. The page criticized the late sultan’s spending and other activities, saying its aim was “to expose the treachery of the sultan against his race and religion.”
Spy jailed for seven years
A former spy was sentenced to seven years in jail yesterday for leaking military information to North Korea. The man, identified only as Park, was convicted of handing over documents on military training and operations between September 2003 and August 2005 to a North Korean agent in Beijing in return for payment. “It is confirmed that Park leaked military intelligence to a North Korean agent, an act which could threaten national security and our free democracy,” the Seoul central district court said in a statement. Park allegedly became acquainted with the North Korean spy when both were working in Beijing in the mid-1990s. He and several colleagues were fired by the South’s intelligence agency in 1998 in connection with a botched attempt to frame then-presidential candidate Kim Dae-jung by linking him to North Korean funds.
Pilot crashes into garden
A student pilot practicing maneuvers crashed a light plane into an back garden yesterday, startling a resident who was hanging out the washing. The twin-engined plane came down in the rural community of Kirkham, near Sydney, and ploughed into the neighboring garden before coming to rest. “The initial bang was in my backyard, then it slid 20m into next door,” Julie Watson said, adding that her neighbor was hanging out her washing at the time. “I quite often hear the planes stop and start, because they do training flights over the area, and I just knew it was a little bit louder than usual,” she added. Two men aged 62 and 34 were treated for minor injuries. The student pilot had been practicing stall maneuvers when he lost control of the plane.
La Nina starves seabirds
Large numbers of penguins and other seabirds are dying of starvation on the country’s beaches because of a La Nina climate pattern affecting the nation this year, the government said. Dead birds have started washing up on the North Island after calmer seas made it harder for them to find food, Department of Conservation vet Kate McInnes said in a statement. There could be thousands of deaths over the summer because of the weather event, the statement said. The bird deaths are the latest natural shocks in the country to be blamed on environmental factors. Scientists said that a bacterial disease that started spreading through kiwifruit orchards last month was likely awakened by weather conditions. Earlier this month, the government said that Pacific oysters in the North Island were being killed by a herpes virus triggered by warmer sea temperatures.