Auschwitz probes reopened
The country has reopened investigations into crimes committed at the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz during World War II, in an effort to track down any surviving camp employees before they die. Up to 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, perished at Nazi German hands at Auschwitz, near the city of Krakow, during the war that ended in 1945. In the postwar communist era, Warsaw launched probes into crimes committed at Auschwitz, but closed them in the 1980s because questioning witnesses and perpetrators based abroad was too hard at a time when the country was part of the Soviet bloc. The IPN investigates -communist-era and Nazi-era crimes and can prosecute those it considers to have committed “crimes against the nation.”
Aspirin could prevent cancer
People with a genetic condition that puts them at increased risk of colon cancer may lower their chance of developing the disease by taking aspirin daily, a study suggests. The 861 people in the study had Lynch syndrome — a rare, inherited disorder that puts them at high risk for cancers including those of the colon. In the study, people were assigned to take 600mg of aspirin daily — about two regular-strength aspirin — or dummy pills. After more than four years of follow-up, the study did not find a significant difference in how many people in each group developed their first colon cancer. However, they did see one when they looked at long-term participants who regularly took their pills for at least two years. Among the 258 people on aspirin, there were 10 colon cancer cases, compared with 23 in the 250 people on dummy pills.
Charles claims Vlad blood
The truth is out: Prince Charles is related to Vlad the Impaler. The heir to the British throne says he is related to Vlad the Impaler, the cruel 15th-century Romanian warlord who helped inspire Bram Stoker’s 1897 vampire novel Dracula. He makes the comments on an upcoming TV show to promote his interest in protecting the forests of Romania’s Transylvania region. Charles says genealogy shows that he is related to Vlad, giving him a stake in the future of Romania.
Killer guilty of fourth murder
A serial child killer and pedophile already in jail in Northern Ireland for three child murders was convicted of murdering a fourth girl on Thursday, 30 years after she died. A jury in the town of Armagh found Scottish-born Robert Black, 64, guilty of murdering Jennifer Cardy, aged nine. Black denied guilt, but did not take the stand to defend himself. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was already serving a minimum 35 years for three murders — which would have seen him freed in 2029 at the earliest.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Submarine wreck found
Authorities are trying to determine the nationality of a submarine wreck found off the town of Rabaul, which was a major Japanese military base during World War II. The Australian Defense Department said in a statement that the governments of Japan, the US, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand have been informed of Thursday’s find in Simpson Harbor on the South Pacific island nation’s northeast coast. The statement says the wreck is probably World War II vintage, but identification could take days. The discovery was made by Australian and New Zealand warships involved in an operation to clear the Southwest Pacific of World War II-era explosives.
McChrystal to visit Kabul
Former US commander in Afghanistan Stanley McChrystal, who was sacked by President Barack Obama, has accepted an invitation from the Kabul government for a visit, officials said on Thursday. The trip, due next month, will be the retired general’s first visit to the country since he was forced out of his post in June last year following a Rolling Stone magazine article in which his aides displayed disdain for the White House and Obama’s civilian deputies.
‘Kill team’ trial begins
The alleged ringleader of a rogue army unit charged with killing Afghan civilians for fun was to face a court martial yesterday, 18 months after the slayings. Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs’s military trial comes after guilty verdicts were handed down as part of plea deals with three other members of the so-called “kill team.” The previous court hearings exposed grisly evidence about soldiers taking fingers from the bodies as trophies and posing with corpses. Gibbs faces three charges of premeditated murder as well as a string of accusations of assault, making threats, “conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline,” and impeding an investigation, said a statement from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, south of Seattle.
Panetta wins bin Laden bet
California restaurateur Ted Balestreri will think twice the next time he makes a bet with old friend and US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Last year, during Balestreri’s annual New Year’s Eve party at his Monterey restaurant, friends chided him over when he would uncork a US$10,000 bottle from his rare wine collection. Balestreri joked, “If Leon catches Osama bin Laden, we’ll open that bottle.” Panetta, then head of the CIA, jumped up and said: “You’re on!” Balestreri recalled. Balestreri told the Monterey Herald he was kidding, but, five months later, Balestreri got a telephone call from Panetta’s wife. “She said, ‘Ted, get the wine opener ready,”’ Balestreri said. “When I asked why, she said, ‘Go turn on your TV.’” President Barack Obama announced that bin Laden had been killed by US forces in Pakistan. Balestreri plans to uncork the 1870 Chateau Lafite Rothschild at this year’s party in the restaurant’s wine cellar.
Marijuana users sue
Californian medical marijuana advocates asked a federal court on Thursday to halt a crackdown on pot outlets they say penalizes people who use the drug for genuine health reasons. Americans for Safe Access wants to prevent the federal government from moving to close California’s pot dispensaries, which prosecutors accuse of using state law to cover up large-scale for-profit recreational drug sales. In its suit, the Oakland-based advocacy group claims that the Justice Department is trying to dismantle California’s medical marijuana laws with raids and increased criminal prosecutions.
Man confesses to smuggling
An Israeli man pleaded guilty in New Jersey on Thursday to brokering kidney transplants as part of a black market organ business, US prosecutors said. Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, 60, confessed in federal court in Trenton, New Jersey, to three counts of acquiring and transferring human organs and a fourth count of conspiracy. Prosecutors say that between 2006 and 2009, Rosenbaum brokered three kidney transplants between paid donors and New Jersey residents paying between US$120,000 and US$150,000.
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
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC) yesterday said that reporters in the territory were experiencing “highly unusual” visas problems, and called on the US and China to stop using the media as a political weapon. Journalists have been caught up in US-China tensions, with both sides placing limits or expelling reporters from their territories in the past few months. Now the spat is filtering into Hong Kong, a regional press hub nominally in charge of its own immigration policies. The FCC said in a statement that multiple media firms had reported delays getting visas in recent months. “The delays have affected journalists