Woman demolishes factory
It was a daily reminder of the death of her father in an industrial accident, but a mother of two said she felt relief after she was given the chance to demolish the factory where he was killed. Sarah Griffiths won a competition to lead the demolition on Sunday of a tower owned by Campbell’s Soup food manufacturer. It was the site where her father, Mick Locke, was fatally scalded in 1995 in a steam accident. After she triggered the series of explosions which downed the factory in King’s Lynn, England, the 41-year-old Griffiths said the event had given her a “chance of closure.” The site was being cleared for a new commercial and retail development.
Two pandas welcomed
Two Chinese pandas got a red-carpet welcome on Sunday when they arrived in Paris for a new life in a country zoo after Beijing put aside its differences with France and extended the hand of bear diplomacy. The giant black and white bears arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport from Sichuan Province in the “Panda Express,” a Boeing 777 specially decorated with a panda motif. China’s ambassador to Paris, a French MP and zoo staff were on hand to greet the pair before they were whisked off in a truck with a police escort to their new home among the chateaux of the Loire valley. Huan Huan (Happy) and Yuan Zi (Chubby) are the first pandas sent to France since 1973, when Yen Yen — who lived till 2000 — was given to then-president Georges Pompidou along with another panda, which died shortly after arriving.
Naked corpse found
Tokyo police yesterday were investigating after finding the body of a naked man whose genitals had been sliced off with a kitchen knife, media reports said. The corpse of the 49-year-old man, who had been stabbed several times in the chest and stomach, was found lying on a bed in an apartment in the west of the city, NHK reported. The man’s genitals were discovered under the bed and a blood-covered knife was also found in the room, Jiji Press said, citing police sources. A spokeswoman for Tokyo Metropolitan Police confirmed that officers were investigating an unnatural death.
Authorities have released a French-Vietnamese dissident who spent 17 months in jail after being convicted of attempting to overthrow the government. Lawyer Tran Vu Hai said yesterday that 56-year-old Pham Minh Hoang was freed from jail on Friday and would now serve three years of house arrest. Hoang holds dual citizenship. He was sentenced to three years in jail after an August trial in which he was found guilty of posting 33 articles criticizing the one-party Communist system, as well as of holding membership in a banned group and recruiting others to join it. An appeals court in November reduced his sentence to 17 months, citing his cooperation with police and his commitment to renounce the banned group.
Farmer crushed by cow
A farmer has died after being crushed by a cow, authorities in the northwestern Upper Austria province said. The accident happened early on Sunday as the 31-year-old woman worked at her farm, they said. She apparently was crushed against a trough or a wall by the animal and died of her injuries at the scene.
War games postponed
Defense officials say Washington and Jerusalem have postponed their largest-ever war games to avoid aggravating mounting tensions between Iran and the international community. The missile defense exercise, “Austere Challenge 12,” was scheduled for April to improve defense systems and cooperation between the two forces. Defense officials said yesterday the drill would not take place before the second half of this year. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the decision, which they said was taken on Sunday.