Dog smugglers caught
Authorities rescued more than a thousand dogs found stuffed into tiny cages and being smuggled out of the country to be cooked and eaten in Vietnam, officials said yesterday. Police intercepted four trucks stacked high with crates packed with the animals in an operation on Thursday evening in Nakhon Phanom Province in northeastern Thailand near the border with Laos. Two Thai men and a Vietnamese man have been charged with trafficking and the illegal transportation of animals, police case officer Captain Prawat Pholsuwan said. “The maximum punishment is a one year jail term and a fine of up to 20,000 baht [US$670],” he said.
Carrier exercises expected
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was yesterday scheduled to conduct an air exercise on the nation’s first aircraft carrier, unveiled earlier this week, state media reported. The maneuvers could include aircraft approaching the ship, landing and then quickly taking off again, the Global Times newspaper said, citing a military source said to be closely involved with the drills. The aircraft carrier embarked on its inaugural sea trial on Wednesday. Beijing only recently confirmed it was revamping an old Soviet ship to be its first aircraft carrier and has sought to play down the vessel’s capability, saying it will mainly be used for training and “research.” The Global Times report said that radio restrictions had been imposed in a maritime zone off the coast of Liaoning Province where the carrier is docked. The planes being used for the drills are the Shenyang J-15, a Chinese version of Russia’s Sukhoi Su-33 Flanker, it added. The Ministry of National Defense refused to confirm if an exercise was scheduled to take place yesterday.
‘Rebels’ shoot at cars
Police say suspected rebels have fired guns at motorists on a highway in India’s insurgency-wracked northeast, killing one person and wounding five others. The attack came as nearly two dozen rebel groups in the region asked people to boycott India’s Independence Day anniversary celebrations next week. A police officer says the assailants fled after the firing early yesterday in Golaghat district, 300km southeast of Gauhati, the capital of Assam state. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters. No one claimed responsibility for the shootings.
Casino win was ‘faulty’
It seemed too good to be true — a slot-machine jackpot of almost 43 million euros. And maybe it was. Austrian state broadcaster ORF reports that Behar Merlaku is going to court over the refusal of the Bregenz casino to give him what he considers his win on March 26. Casino officials do not dispute that the gaming machine showed a payout of nearly 43 million euros (US$62 million). However, they say that a malfunctioning computer chip was responsible for what they say was the faulty display. Both sides are going to court.
Mystery train smash kills 1
A passenger was killed and six gravely hurt in central Poland on Friday when an inter-city train derailed for reasons that were not immediately clear, the country’s prime minister said. “We have confirmation that one person has perished,” Prime Minister Donald Tusk told Poland’s TVN24 news channel. Earlier, medics had reported four casualties. “Luckily the death toll is not as high as we had originally thought,” Tusk said, adding that six people were seriously injured in the disaster which occurred near the town of Baby. Rescue workers said 56 passengers were being treated for injuries in hospital.