Prison chief ambushed
Police said the regional prison service chief in the restive province of Dagestan in the North Caucasus has been wounded by militants. Police spokesman Vyacheslav Gasanov said yesterday that unidentified assailants late on Thursday ambushed a vehicle carrying Muslim Dakhayev in the provincial capital, Makhachkala. Last month, Dakhayev’s deputy was killed in a similar ambush along with his daughter, nephew and a driver.
NATO reports another death
NATO forces say an international service member has been killed in an insurgent attack in the south. The military coalition did not provide further details in yesterday’s statement on the attack, which happened on Thursday. NATO typically waits for national authorities to release specifics about their casualties. It was the ninth international military death since the beginning of this month. So far this year, at least 462 international troops have been killed in the country.
Union turns on army
A union of cellphone sellers and repairers is accusing a soldier of killing their leader, a rare public protest against the military. Protesters marched to an army barracks on Thursday to demand justice for the death of the cellphone market chairman known as Umar Quality. Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Mohammed said the army was investigating and that, if found guilty, the suspect would be disciplined. The military’s presence has been pervasive in the northeastern city of Maiduguri since June, when a special taskforce was deployed to fight a radical Muslim sect responsible for a rash of killings. However, residents have complained about abuses, at one time asking for the force’s complete withdrawal.
Seniors snub sex workshop
An event organized to school a city’s seniors in the arts of safe sex has been canceled because of a lack of interest. The “Generation Sex” workshop was part of an annual over-60s festival in the city of Portsmouth and billed as a “frank, fun and factual” way for seniors to talk about sex in later life. “The background was the risk of sexually transmitted diseases in older people and the need to practice safer sex,” said Drusilla Moody, Portsmouth Council’s tourism and visitor services manager. Entry would have been free, but those taking part would have had to supply proof of age and residency in Portsmouth. However, the workshop was canceled “because too few people booked places,” Moody said.
Teacher sets self on fire
A high-school math teacher in Beziers doused herself with a flammable material and set herself alight in the schoolyard during recess on Thursday, Minister of Education Luc Chatel said. The motives behind the incident were not immediately clear. The teacher, whose name has not been released, was flown via helicopter to nearby Montpellier and hospitalized with serious burns. “I saw a person who was running and on fire. It was a human torch,” said Dolores Roques, a fellow teacher at the school, on France-Info radio. “I didn’t believe my eyes. It seemed unreal. The students were screaming everywhere.” Chatel visited the hospital and said a psychological support unit would be set up in the school.
No ban on Bundchen’s ad
The National Advertising Council on Thursday denied a request to ban a TV ad featuring lingerie-clad supermodel Gisele Bundchen after a government agency called it sexist. “The stereotypes in this ad campaign are common in society, easily identifiable and do not denigrate women,” the council said. The Ministry for Women submitted a request last month to suspend the ad, saying it reinforces the stereotype of women as sex objects. In the commercial, Brazilian-born Bundchen is clad in panties, a bra and high heels, in an effort to distract her husband when she delivers bad news — about damaging the car, exceeding her credit limit and her mother coming to live with them. Some men had called for the ad to be put down because it took them for “idiots.”
Shoot first, Chavez says
President Hugo Chavez is proposing that legislators consider allowing the shooting down of suspected drug-trafficking planes that ignore orders to land. Chavez said in a televised speech on Thursday that such a threat would discourage cartels from flying drugs over Venezuela. He says military aircraft sometimes chase planes suspected of transporting drugs, but pilots of the planes ignore orders to land and just keep going. Venezuela lies next ot Colombia has become an important route for traffickers moving cocaine to Europe and the US.
Fujimori in hospital
Former president Alberto Fujimori was hospitalized on Thursday after falling out of bed in a prison where he is serving a sentence for human rights violations, according to his family and his lawyer. Fujimori, 73, suffered a cut on his ear that required minor surgery, said his son, Kenji Fujimori. The former leader, who is also suffering from cancer, needs observation for a possible brain injury suffered in the fall, said his son, who is a lawmaker. His lawyer Cesar Nakazaki said a scan showed no neurological damage. National Penitentiary Institute director Jose Luis Perez, who visited Fujimori at the hospital, said he was in “stable” condition.
Ex-president on the run
Former president Oscar Mejia Victores was declared a “fugitive from justice” on Thursday, a day after an arrest warrant was issued for the civil war-era leader on charges of genocide and war crimes. The 80-year-old general ruled from 1983 to 1985 after gaining power through a coup. Prosecutors had also issued two other warrants for officials during that era and arrested one of them — former military intelligence chief Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez. The other individual, identified only as Mendoza Garcia, remains at large.
Murder rate nears record
Honduras stands to break world records with its murder rate — estimated at 86 per 100,000 inhabitants — putting it ahead of war-torn countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, a study by the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University of Honduras showed on Thursday. The murder rate was 43.7 per 100,000 inhabitants during the first half of this year, up from 36.6 for the same period last year. The figure far outpaced countries known for high violence, such as Brazil, Venezuela and South Africa. Honduras violence left 3,587 people dead during the first six months of this year, up from 2,929 victims during the same period last year.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year