Al-Bashir visit delayed
A visit by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted on international war crimes charges, was delayed yesterday after his plane was forced to turn back while flying over Turkmenistan, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry said. His unexpected delay forced the rescheduling of a meeting with President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤). The ministry said al-Bashir’s plane had been instructed to change route midflight, but was unable to do so and returned to Iran, where he had been for an anti-terror conference. It did not explain why the original route was altered. Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for allegedly orchestrating atrocities in Darfur.
Overthrow allegations made
Authorities accused 30 detained opposition members yesterday of conspiring to overthrow the government and to revive communist ideologies after the activists were arrested ahead of a banned political rally. Opposition parties and human rights groups said it was a ludicrous accusation aimed at demonizing activists planning a massive street demonstration on July 9 to demand greater electoral transparency. The detention of the 30 and the allegations against them mark a dramatic escalation in tensions between the government and its political rivals before the rally, which could be Kuala Lumpur’s biggest in nearly four years.
New recruits will get iPads
New recruits to the military, air force and navy are to get a new standard-issue item of equipment besides their rifle — an iPad. The Ministry of Defense said yesterday it would be issuing “about 8,000” of the sleek, touch-screen tablet computers to recruits from November. The ministry said it was also planning to issue the devices to other servicemen next year. The cheapest iPad2 device currently retails for S$668 (US$538). Minister of Defense Neo Kian Hong said adopting the iPad would allow the Singapore Armed Forces to take advantage of the technological abilities of the city-state’s youth.
Lethal injection introduced
Hanoi will this week begin carrying out the death penalty by lethal injection instead of firing squad, an official said yesterday. Legislators seeking a “more humane” method of judicial killing approved the change last year. “The law on execution by lethal injection to replace firing squads in death penalty cases will take effect from July 1, 2011, throughout Vietnam,” an official from the Ministry of Public Security said. He asked not to be identified. The ministry recently held a conference to brief police about the new law, the official said. Most death sentences in the country are handed down to drug traffickers and murderers.
Whale attacked dinghy
A humpback whale hit a dinghy with its tail off the coast, knocking a 13-year-old boy unconscious and breaking his collarbone. Drew Hall says he was fishing with his parents in a dinghy off the north coast of New South Wales state on Sunday morning when the whale breached nearby. He said yesterday he did not see the tail coming when it crashed down on the 5.2m dinghy, smashing its canopy. His mother Karen Hall said she saw her son knocked to the floor and thought he had been killed. The boy was taken to hospital for treatment of a concussion and a broken collarbone. He was discharged on Sunday afternoon.