Minister’s body found
The body of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu has been recovered from the wreckage of a helicopter that crashed in a densely forested area in the Himalayan foothills. Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said yesterday the body had been taken to the state capital, Itanagar. The single-engine helicopter carrying Khandu and four others lost radio contact and crashed on Saturday about 20 minutes after taking off from the Buddhist mountain retreat of Tawang. The bodies were retrieved on Wednesday after a five-day search. A state funeral for Khandu will be held today.
Hmong protest crushed
Troops forcibly dispersed ethnic Hmong protesters after thousands mounted a rare demonstration in northwestern Dien Bien Province calling for autonomy, a military source said yesterday. The Hmong, who began demonstrating several days ago, were also demanding greater freedom of religion, said the source, who asked for anonymity. The troops “had to disperse the crowd by force,” the source said, without saying if anyone was injured.
World War I veteran dies
Briton Claude Choules, the last World War I combat veteran, has died aged 110, ending the living connection with a conflict that saw 70 million military personnel mobilized. Blind and almost totally deaf, Choules died in his sleep at his hostel home in Perth overnight. The only other surviving veteran of The Great War is said to be Britain’s Florence Green, who served with the Royal Air Force in a non-combat role as a mess waitress and is now aged 110. Born in Worcestershire, England, Choules served with the Royal Navy on board the HMS Impregnable in 1916 at the age of 15 and witnessed the surrender of the German Imperial Navy in 1918. After the war, he moved to Australia and was seconded to the Royal Australian Navy in 1926. Choules remained with the navy after the war but spent his final working years in the crayfishing industry at Safety Bay, near Perth. Married for 80 years to Ethel, a Scottish children’s nurse who lived to 98, he had two daughters, a son, 13 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Visitors being fingerprinted
The government has begun taking fingerprints from foreigners entering the country in a bid to prevent illegal immigrants coming in using fake papers, immigration spokesman Abdul Haidir Mohamad Sukor said yesterday. A pilot system, implemented at several entry points since late last month, requires visitors to give prints of both index fingers, Abdul Haidir said. He said the biometric system was expected to be implemented nationwide from June 1. “Before this in Malaysia, the overstayers are just sent back but they can come back with fake passports. With the biometric system, they cannot lie,” he said.
Crash body recovered
An undersea recovery team has recovered the first body from the wreck of an Air France jet that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 with the loss of all 228 on board, police said yesterday. The remains of some passengers were found in the ocean after the crash, but it is thought that some of the missing could be in the wreckage 4,000m below the surface. The search crew used an underwater robot to recover the body.
Chief coroner sacked
The nation’s chief coroner was sacked on Wednesday and activists applauded the move, saying he had forged autopsy results to hide torture and state security abuses. The justice minister sacked coroner Ahmed Sabiey after he was investigated for having given unauthorized interviews on the health of former president Hosni Mubarak, judicial sources said. Internet social networking sites had carried statements from dozens of groups calling for Sabiey to step down. He was blamed for having covered up details of the death of 28-year-old Khaled Said in June. The death sparked public protests and was a catalyst in galvanizing anger that toppled Mubarak on Feb. 11.