‘Dead’ Briton arrested
A British man who allegedly faked his own death and made off with the life insurance payout has been arrested, federal police said yesterday. Hugo Jose Sanchez, 47, also known as Alfredo, was taken into custody overnight in Sydney, ending a six-year manhunt. Ecuadorian-born Sanchez and his wife, Sophie, allegedly faked his death to claim more than ￡1 million (US$1.6 million) in life insurance in 2005, but the plot reportedly unraveled after his fingerprints were found on his own death certificate. She was arrested after returning to Britain for her sister’s wedding in September last year and was sentenced to two years in jail over the scheme. The pair are not the first Britons to try such a scam — former teacher John Darwin made international headlines after faking his disappearance in a canoe off Hartlepool in 2002 so his wife, Anne, could claim his life insurance. Darwin turned up alive in 2007.
ADFA still sexist: review
A review into the treatment of women at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) yesterday reported “widespread low-level sexual harrassment” after a scandal over an Internet sex broadcast. Human Rights Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick said there was a culture of “accommodating” women rather than including them as equals at the academy, where she investigated claims of a sexist culture. Broderick was asked to examine the treatment of women at the school after a female cadet was unwittingly broadcast having sex with a male colleague online to other classmates, sparking political outrage. The review found that the culture had vastly improved since the last major review of sexual harrassment at the college in 1998, but Broderick said there was still some way to go on addressing gender imbalances. According to one cadet there was a “strong culture of commodification of women, particularly as sexual objects,” with females “often treated as ‘game’ after hours rather than as respected colleagues.”
No fission at reactor
Tokyo Electric Power Co yesterday said radiation detected at the No. 2 reactor at its Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant was not the result of sustained nuclear fission. On Wednesday, the company said it had discovered xenon, a susbstance produced as a byproduct of fission, in the reactor and had poured in a mixture of water and boric acid, an agent that helps prevent nuclear reactions, as a precaution. “Analysis suggests that it was not a criticality,” Ai Tanaka, a spokeswoman for the company, said yesterday.
Final answer revealed
The question that made a poor clerk the first person to win US$1 million on a TV game show has been revealed. It is: “Which colonial power ended its involvement in India by selling the rights to the Nicobar Islands to the British on Oct. 16, 1868?” The answer: Denmark. Last week, it was announced that Sushil Kumar had won the top prize on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, but producers declined to reveal the question until the show aired on Wednesday. When he won, the audience whooped and gave him a standing ovation, while Kumar and his wife wept. His win echoes the 2008 Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.
Putin hails 7 billionth person
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hailed a two-day-old boy as the world’s 7 billionth person on Wednesday, weighing into a bizarre scramble to claim a title that is almost impossible to verify. Russia’s Pyotr Nikolayev was born on Oct. 31, two minutes after midnight in a maternity hospital in Kaliningrad, wedged between Poland and the Baltic Sea. “How did you manage to do it on the very 7 billion mark?” Putin asked the child’s mother in front of a group of television reporters. “It was all down to him. I am just a normal mom,” Yelena Nikolayeva replied as she handed the boy to Putin. The pictures were aired on state television at peak viewing times. The UN says the population reached the 7 billion mark on Oct. 31 — 13 years after reaching 6 billion. Though it is impossible to say which person is the 7 billionth, there have been claims to the title from people in countries such as the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka and Britain.