Lashed man returns home
A man who received 75 lashes in Saudi Arabia after being convicted of blasphemy has returned home. Mansor Almaribe of Victoria arrived yesterday. He told reporters he was happy to be home, but was tired after his ordeal. Almaribe was detained in the city of Medina in November while making the Muslim pilgrimage of hajj. Family members say Saudi officials accused him of insulting the companions of the Prophet Mohammed. That is considered a violation of Saudi Arabia’s strict blasphemy laws. He was originally sentenced to 500 lashes and a year in a Saudi Arabian jail, but officials pleaded for leniency and the sentence was reduced to 75 lashes.
Beer contest bans women
A woman has been barred from a beer-brewing contest, because she is not a man. Rachel Beer tried to enter the home-brewing competition in the Lake Hayes Agricultural show being held in the South Island adventure tourist center of Queenstown this weekend. However, she was told if she entered a beer it would not be judged because the contest was for “blokes only.” “There’s no point entering a beer if it’s not going to be judged whether it’s gold or mud,” Beer told the Mountain Scene newspaper. “At the end of the day a home brew is a home brew.” Sex discrimination is illegal, but the government agency administering the laws said it would need a complaint before it could act. Beer, whose tipple goes by the name of Beer’s Beer, said she would not make a formal complaint, but press the organizers to change the rules or have a competition for women. “I’m sure the show can make room for it in the next round,” said Mike Smith, president of the show’s organizing committee. The nation was the first Western country to give women the vote in national elections, in 1893. At one stage, the country’s top political, constitutional and judicial posts were all held by women.
Researcher sacked for fraud
A university on Thursday accused one of its researchers of widespread fraud by publishing fake studies that touted the benefits of red wine in as many as 11 scientific journals. Dipak Das, a professor in the department of surgery and director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center, “is guilty of 145 counts of fabrication and falsification of data,” a university statement said. A three-year investigation into Das’ work began in 2008 after an anonymous tip alleging irregularities in his research. The university has sent letters to the 11 journals that published Das’ work and has declined US$890,000 in federal grants awarded to him.
Officers to be tried for killing
The second-in-command of the navy’s flagship and nine other men are to be tried for the murder 16 years ago of a fellow naval officer aboard another vessel, the armed forces said on Thursday. Commodore Reynaldo Lopez has been sacked as executive officer and ordered off the navy flagship Gregorio del Pilar ahead of his trial for the shooting death of the officer, navy spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Omar Tonsay said. Lopez and nine other officers were indicted on Wednesday for the murder of a 24-year-old junior officer, Ensign Philip Pestano, who was found shot dead aboard the Bacolod City on Sept. 27, 1995. Four of the defendants had since retired from the navy, but Tonsay said all 10 would stand trial for murder in a special court.