Elephant census in August
The government is planning its first-ever census of elephants as the animals increasingly come into conflict with villagers, a top official said yesterday. Government wildlife director Chandrawansa Pathiraja said a head count would start in August to aid better planning of conservation and minimize clashes between elephants and humans. “We will carry out the census within a 48-hour period,” Pathiraja said. “We expect dry weather at this time.” The local elephant population is believed to have dwindled to about 4,000 from an estimated 12,000 in 1900.
Suspected wife killer arrested
A middle-aged man has been arrested 12 years after allegedly killing his wife and storing her body in a large cardboard box at his daughter’s home, police said on Tuesday. The daughter called police on Saturday after finding a woman’s body inside a box wrapped in 10 layers of plastic at her home in Seoul. Fingerprints showed it was her mother. The suspect, identified only as Lee, 51, was found at Bucheon, southwest of Seoul, and is being investigated for murder, Yonhap news agency quoted investigators as saying. Lee told reporters he “kept the body because I was sorry to my dead wife and daughter. I wanted to keep the body forever.”
Minister read wrong speech
Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, 78, is battling to save his reputation after mistakenly reading from the speech of his Portuguese counterpart at a UN meeting in New York. Krishna read the first three minutes of the wrong text last week before one of his officials stepped in to point out his error, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency reported. “On a more personal note, allow me to express my profound satisfaction regarding the happy coincidence of having two members of the -Portuguese-speaking countries, Brazil and Portugal, together here today,” Krishna told the UN according to PTI. The minister later brushed off Friday’s gaffe, telling reporters in New York that “there was nothing wrong in it.” The Hindustan Times on Tuesday teased Krishna by suggesting that the very public muddle-up allowed the nation to acknowledge its debt to Portugal, which was once a colonial ruler of Goa and other parts of the country. “If we junk the colonial baggage, there is a lot we can thank the Portuguese for,” it said, mentioning Goa’s famous food. “The least we can do is read out their speeches once in a while.” Nirmala Sitharaman, spokeswoman for the opposition BJP, said the speech mix-up proved the government’s “level of incompetence has reached to its optimum.”
Hiker tells of survival
A British hiker said yesterday he had survived in the wilderness for more than five days without food before attracting rescuers with a makeshift sign pleading “help.” James Esbester, 30, went missing last Thursday in the South Island’s rugged Kahurangi National Park after becoming disorientated while climbing a hill on a trek he intended to last only half a day. Esbester said he feared he would perish before a rescue helicopter spotted him in fading light late on Tuesday about 10km from where he originally became lost. He was suffering mild dehydration when a helicopter carrying out its final sweep for the day found him on Tuesday. Esbester said the crew winched him to safety and fed him tea before taking him to hospital, where he was discharged after a few hours’ observation. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a cup of tea taste so good,” he said.