Murder suspect slain in jail
Authorities said a mentally ill man who fatally stabbed his barber after he was teased about his new haircut had been shot dead inside a jail by the victim’s brother. Calinog Mayor Alex Centina said the brother of the slain barber pretended to be bringing food to the detained Benjie Lozada on Tuesday, but then he shot him in the face in front of Lozada’s mother. Lozada had turned himself in last week and confessed to killing the barber and town pastor Charlie Agustino inside his shop after relatives teased him about his haircut. Police said the suspect was on medication for mental illness. The town’s police chief was fired for security lapses.
Police have busted two huge child-trafficking rings that spanned 10 provinces, arresting more than 600 suspects and rescuing 178 children, the Public Security Ministry said yesterday. Police in Sichuan Province had chanced on clues that a child-trafficking gang was operating there when dealing with a traffic accident in May, the ministry said in a statement. Then in August, police in Fujian Province discovered the existence of another gang involved in child trafficking. More than 5,000 police officers from 10 provinces launched a joint offensive on Nov. 30, arresting 608 suspects. The rescued children have been placed in welfare agencies.
Japan returns documents
Japan on Tuesday returned more than 1,000 volumes of historical documents it seized during its colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula in a gesture aimed at improving prickly relations with Seoul. A traditional troupe greeted the arrival of the 1,200 volumes at Incheon airport. After a ceremony attended by officials from both nations, the books were to be transported to a state museum in Seoul. The archives include royal protocols for weddings, funerals, banquets and other events during the Joseon Dynasty, which ruled from the 14th century until Japan took over in 1910.
Lip-synching cop fired
First, police were angry about a young cop’s YouTube lip-synching antics. Then, they championed him for softening the image of an unloved force. Now, after he put stardom over police duty, Norman Kamaru, 26, has been fired. The video of Kamaru trying to lift the spirits of a heartbroken colleague by shimmying and lip-synching to the Bollywood hit Chaiyya Chaiyya went viral in April. Initially, the top brass was furious, but that changed when the public rallied to his support. Kamaru started appearing regularly on TV talk shows in full uniform. When he got a US$100,000 record deal, he told his bosses he wanted out. They said no, and he stopped coming to work. National police spokesman Saud Usman Nasution said Kamaru was dishonorably discharged on Tuesday.
Radiation detector launched
Shanghai officials launched a radiation detection system yesterday at Yangshan port as part of efforts to prevent the smuggling of nuclear materials. The system is meant to provide comprehensive screening as part of the Megaports Initiative, a US Department of Energy effort to provide such scanning systems at 100 of the world’s biggest ports. The Shanghai port shipped 3.86 million containers from January to October this year, with about 18 percent destined for the US. The US department’s National Nuclear Security Administration has faced criticism for delays in installing the detectors.
Rome takes down tree
The Rome city council took down a giant white papier-mache Christmas tree on Tuesday, just one day after putting it up on a main square, following a storm of protests, officials said. “I don’t like it,” Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno said of the conical structure more reminiscent of the Egyptian obelisks that adorn the Eternal City’s many historic squares than of the traditional symbol of the Christmas holiday. The tree was set up on Piazza Venezia, next to the Roman Forum. “I have to admit I don’t like it and I’ve asked for it to be replaced by a normal tree,” Alemanno said, blaming a subcontractor in charge of decorations.
Man sentenced to 500 lashes
An Australian man has been sentenced to 500 lashes and a year in jail after being convicted of blasphemy, officials said yesterday. The 45-year-old man, identified by family members as Mansor Almaribe of southern Victoria State, was detained in the holy city of Medina last month while making the Muslim pilgrimage of hajj. Family members told reporters that officials accused him of insulting the companions of the Prophet Mohammed, a violation of the country’s strict blasphemy laws. Almaribe’s son Jamal told the Age newspaper that his father was reading and praying as part of a group when he was arrested.
Illegal plastics ring arrested
Police said on Tuesday they have arrested 54 people accused of illegally exporting waste plastic to Southeast Asia in a lucrative business of potentially environmentally harmful products. Police seized 114 containers with 2,600 tonnes of waste, including car tires, at the port of Taranto in the south and said they had managed to trace transfers of 6 million euros (US$8 million) between Italy and Asia. The police said in a statement that the people arrested “belonged to a dangerous transnational criminal organization devoted to the illicit trans-border traffic of large quantities of special waste products.”
Palestinian militant killed
A Palestinian medical official in the Gaza Strip says a Palestinian militant has been killed and two others wounded in a clash with Israeli forces. Health Ministry official Adham Abu Salmia says a gunbattle broke out east of Gaza City when Israeli troops moved into a buffer zone along the border. An Israeli aircraft then fired a missile that hit the militants. The Islamic Jihad militant group identified the militants as members. The Israeli military had no comment on the incident, but the military often operates along the volatile border to clear out areas that it says are used by militants to stage attacks.
Military cops arrest vandals
Military police on Tuesday arrested three soldiers for alleged involvement in acts of vandalism against army equipment and Palestinian property, an army spokeswoman said. The soldiers were in custody and being investigated by military police, the spokeswoman added. Right-wing Israelis have been blamed for a variety of acts against Palestinians and their property, including attacking mosques in the West Bank and Israel, in response to the dismantlement of settlement outposts. On Sunday, seven young Israeli women, all but one of them minors, were arrested on suspicion of taking part in the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian olive trees.
Deforestation bill passed
The Senate has passed a preliminary environmental bill that relaxes rules limiting deforestation in the Amazon. The bill passed by a 59-7 vote, but lawmakers still have to vote on 70 amendments that were tacked onto it. Supporters say they will knock down any amendment that makes substantial changes to the original legislation. Any amendments will also have to be voted on by the lower house, which passed the initial bill. President Dilma Rousseff will then have to sign it into law. The legislation would increase areas where planting or grazing is allowed and forgive fines issued to farmers who illegally cleared forests before July 2008. Critics say the bill would rapidly increase deforestation. Backers say it will boost Brazil’s food output.
Mandarin newscast planned
Broadcaster Global TV and cable company Shaw Communications announced on Tuesday the upcoming launch of a newscast in Mandarin Chinese to meet growing demand. The 30-minute evening Global National Mandarin newscast is set to launch during the Lunar New Year, providing viewers with “the biggest news from across Canada and around the world,” the companies said in a joint statement. Initially it will only be aired in Vancouver and Calgary, but it will rely on correspondents in every major Canadian city, as well as Washington, London, Prague and New Delhi. “As multicultural communities in Canada grow, demand for cultural content is on the rise,” Shaw Communications president Peter Bissonnette said. Two competitors, Fairchild and Omni Television, already broadcast in Cantonese and Mandarin in key markets in Ontario and the western of the country.
People rally against rebels
Tens of thousands have marched across the country to denounce leftist rebels for kidnapping civilians, and holding soldiers and police for years as political bargaining chips. The marches were called by relatives of hostages after the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia last month executed four security force members it had held for more than a decade. The government of President Juan Manuel Santos and media firmly backed Tuesday’s marches.
Nation to celebrate jubilee
The government announced on Tuesday C$7.5 million (US$7.36 million) for grassroots celebrations across the country for Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee next year. “The only other time Canada celebrated the diamond jubilee of a reigning sovereign was for Queen Victoria in 1897,” Heritage Minister James Moore said. “By supporting this most historic and significant anniversary, our government is delivering on its commitment to reinforce our heritage through active celebration of our institutions that define who we are as Canadians.”
McDonald’s fined over toys
US fast food giant McDonald’s has been fined US$1.8 million over its “Happy Meal” toys, which consumer advocates say encourage bad eating habits in children, state media has reported. The Foundation for the Protection and Defense of the Consumer in Sao Paulo imposed the fine after a consumer group filed a complaint with it against the global chain. The group filing the complaint accused McDonald’s of “encouraging the formation of distorted values” by using the toys to market meals to children, Agencia Brasil reported on Tuesday.
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable