Stampede to shrine kills 10
An official said a stampede during a religious ceremony has left at least 10 people dead. Senior police officer Rajesh Vyas said the stampede occurred early yesterday when a large number of people surged forward to gain entry into a Muslim shrine, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. Vyas said some pilgrims fell down and were crushed to death. The shrine is near Ratlam, a town in Madhya Pradesh State, about 760km southwest of New Delhi. Police in the region could not be immediately reached for details. Deadly stampedes are relatively common at religious places in the country, where large crowds gather in tiny areas with no safety measures or crowd control.
Pawnshop fights for gem
A pawnshop that bought a 16-carat yellow diamond is fighting to keep the gem after London jewelers claimed it was stolen from them five years ago, a report said yesterday. The diamond was reportedly snatched from ultra high-end jeweler Graff Diamonds in 2007 after two Bentley-driving robbers pretending to be shoppers raided the shop and got away with a haul worth US$20 million. Its origin was discovered when the Yau On Pawn Shop sent it to a New York gem-grading laboratory for certification, according to the South China Morning Post, prompting a lawsuit from Graff seeking its return. Danny Hung, a director at the pawnshop, told the paper that Yau On paid HK$3 million (US$386,000) for the diamond in November 2010. He said it was bought from a private seller who he described only as a Chinese national.
Airline passenger paid off
A court on Friday ordered Air France to pay 146,000 euros (US$186,000) to compensate a passenger who said he was served poisoned coffee on a domestic flight in 2006. The court ordered the carrier to pay 46,000 euros to the man and 100,000 euros to the health insurer that has been covering his costs after he said he was poisoned with drain cleaner on the Bordeaux to Paris flight. Marc-Fredaine Niazaire was taken ill during the flight and hospitalized on landing. He was operated on for a problem with his esophagus and sued Air France for poisoning him with a “seriously toxic liquid” used to clear drains. A criminal enquiry concluded in 2010 that there was nothing to prosecute, after which Niazaire launched a civil case seeking 680,000 euros in damages. “The symptoms arose at the same time as Mr Niazaire ingested a coffee and biscuit. They appeared suddenly,” the court ruling said, adding that Niazaire had never previously been treated for stomach problems. An Air France spokeswoman said the company would study the ruling and decide whether to appeal.
Rabbits stolen from class
More than a dozen rabbits that were reported stolen the night before a rabbit-cooking class have turned up at an adoption agency in Portland, Oregon. The rabbits were returned to farmer Levi Cole after 17 of them disappeared on Jan. 7. Cole reported the theft on the night before he taught a class on raising, slaughtering and cooking rabbits. Cole said he believed political motivation was behind the theft, although police have no suspects. The rabbits were found at adoption agency Rabbit Advocates, and one had been adopted by the time police arrived. Rabbit Advocates did not return a call on Friday. Portland Meat Collective owner Camas Davis says it was the first time this had happened to the group.