Yunus fights back
Nobel-winning microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus began a legal battle yesterday to overturn an attempt by the government to sack him from the bank he founded. The central bank fired the 70-year-old leader of Grameen Bank on Wednesday, saying he had been “removed from his position” as managing director for breaking the law when he was re-appointed in 2000. The country has a mandatory retirement age of 60. However, Yunis defied the order yesterday, returning to work as normal at Grameen’s headquarters in Dhaka and lodging a case in the High Court contesting the decision to remove him. Yunus’s troubles are thought to stem from 2007 when he floated the idea of forming a political party, earning the wrath of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has publicly disparaged his work. Local economists have warned the government’s “hasty decision” could prompt a collapse of confidence or even a bank run in the country’s vast microfinance sector.
US diplomat to stand trial
A court yesterday said that the murder trial of a CIA contractor would go ahead, despite the insistence of the US that he has diplomatic immunity. The hearing against Raymond Davis took place in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore where he is being held, and was adjourned until Tuesday. The issue of Davis’ claim to diplomatic immunity is pending before the Pakistani High Court, which is due to rule on it on March 14. “The court passed an order today saying that he [Davis] had failed to produce any legitimate document proving his diplomatic immunity,” said Asad Manzoor Butt, the lawyer representing the two men shot by him, after a closed-door hearing.
Forty killed in plunges
Two separate accidents in Himachal Pradesh killed at least 40 people on Wednesday, after an open truck carrying a wedding party and a bus rolled into gorges, police said. The truck flipped over at a curve in the road in Chamba district and fell into a 90m gorge. Rescuers recovered 33 bodies and took seven injured people to a hospital, police said. Seven people died in the second accident as workers on a power project were being driven home. Both drivers were killed and investigations have been opened into the cause of the accidents.
Hachiko’s death explained
Scientists have settled a decades-old mystery by naming a cause of death for the country’s most famous dog. Hachiko became legendary for his loyalty by waiting for his owner every day at a train station for 10 years after his master died. He has been immortalized in children’s books and two movies. He was considered such a hero that his organs were preserved when he died in 1935. Hachiko was rumored to have swallowed a chicken skewer that ruptured his stomach. However, veterinarians examining his organs said on Wednesday that he had terminal cancer.
The Supreme Court yesterday quashed the appointment of P.J. Thomas as the head of the federal anti-graft commission because of his involvement in a controversial palm oil import case, in another rebuke for the Congress-led coalition government. The court said the appointment of Thomas was made last year without taking into account the 1992 case in which he, as a state official, had been accused of signing a deal to import palm oil from Malaysia at higher prices.
Traders stuck in elevator
It turned out to be an all-nighter, but not the fun kind. Seven high-powered traders and brokers who went out for a night on the town in London’s Canary Wharf business district ended up curled up together on the floor of an elevator after it malfunctioned and their calls for help went unheeded. An investigation is under way to determine the cause of the elevator failure, but some news reports have speculated that the group was jumping up and down inside the elevator, causing it to stop working. Building employees found the seven traders and brokers asleep on the elevator floor at 3am. The seven had been eating sushi and drinking at a Japanese restaurant in the Canary Wharf business district before they became trapped.
Decades-old letter delivered
A World War II-era letter addressed to a woman at a Red Cross hospital in California has been delivered almost 70 years after its postmark in Alabama, but the mystery of the message remains. The Montgomery Advertiser reports that the letter is addressed to Miss R.T. Fletcher, American Red Cross Station Hospital, Camp Roberts, California. That building was torn down years ago. Camp Roberts was closed in 1970, so the letter was delivered to the Camp Roberts Historical Museum. Curator Gary McMaster said he hasn’t opened the letter for privacy reasons. The envelope is torn where the return address would be located, so it’s not clear who sent it. However, the tear reveals a handwritten letter inside.
Authorities on Wednesday charged an immigration consultant with helping foreigners obtain permanent residency or citizenship in a huge fraud scheme, police said. About 1,100 applicants mostly from the Middle East and their dependents were implicated in the fraud, including 76 who obtained citizenship. Immigration minister Jason Kenney said the consultant had allegedly “fraudulently helped individuals create the appearance they were residing in Canada in order to keep their permanent resident status and ultimately attempt to acquire citizenship.”
Cuban dancers stay
Five members of the National Ballet of Cuba, including one of its principal dancers, have remained in Canada after performing there, dance officials said on Wednesday. National Ballet of Canada spokeswoman Catherine Chang said the five are taking classes with the ballet in Toronto, adding that she can’t confirm that they have defected. However, an official with the National Ballet of Cuba said the dancers had decided to stay in Canada. The official was not authorized to talk to the press on the issue and spoke on condition of anonymity. The Montreal Gazette reported that among the Cubans was a principal dancer, Elier Bourzac, who said he was staying in Canada for “artistic” reasons.
Death sought against doctor
Prosecutors in Philadelphia say they will seek the death penalty against a doctor charged with killing a patient and seven babies at his abortion clinic. Kermit Gosnell is charged with running a filthy medical practice that allegedly served as a pill mill by day and an abortion mill by night. City prosecutors cite as aggravating circumstances the multiple deaths and the tender age of the babies allegedly killed with scissors after being born alive.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”