Black Hawks grounded
The military has grounded its fleet of Black Hawk helicopters after fractured bolts were found during a routine inspection, the defense ministry said yesterday. The 33-aircraft fleet was temporarily grounded on Thursday for further safety checks, although exceptions were made for three aircraft in East Timor required for medical evacuations, the ministry said in a statement. The defense ministry said the navy’s Seahawk operations had not been suspended because the Seahawk differed significantly in the affected area.
Atheist arrested for FB post
Police said a civil servant who posted: “God does not exist” on Facebook faces a maximum penalty of five years behind bars for blasphemy. Thirty-one-year-old Alexander Aan was taken into police custody on Friday after his remarks triggered a public outcry in West Sumatra Province. He was attacked by a mob on his way to work. The predominantly Muslim nation of 240 million recognizes the right to practice five other religions, but atheism is illegal. Colonel Chairul Azis, police chief in the West Sumatran district of Dharmasraya, said Aan was charged because he used the social networking site to spread beliefs that violate the law. He says Aan also lied on his job application by claiming he was Muslim.
Food vendor killed in Papua
Gunmen shot and killed a man in the latest deadly attack in Papua Province, police said yesterday. The 31-year-old food vendor was shot in the back late on Friday in a village in Puncak Jaya District in central Papua, believed to be a hub of Papuan separatists, local police chief Alex Korwa said “He was shot dead when he was alone in his kiosk. Nobody saw the incident, but locals heard a series of gunshots and reported it to us,” Korwa said, adding that the body has been sent to a nearby hospital.
Ambassador caught fishing
Authorities say the new North Korean ambassador has been caught by police for fishing without a permit in a Berlin river. Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said on Friday that North Korean Ambassador Ri Si-hong enjoys diplomatic immunity, but has probably gotten the message in view of front-page tabloid articles about the incident that “fishing in Germany is a pursuit that is very strictly regulated.” Police said the incident occurred Sunday, and that the suspect was cited for fishing without a license.
Death sentence upheld
A court has upheld a death sentence for an entrepreneur once listed among the country’s richest women after she was convicted of a 380 million yuan (US$60 million) fraud, state media said on Thursday. The supreme court of Zhejiang Province on Wednesday rejected the appeal of former Bense Holding Group owner Wu Ying (吳英), who was convicted for illegal fundraising, the Shanghai Daily said. Wu was the country’s sixth--richest woman in 2006, according to the independent Hurun Report. Her private company, Bense, had business interests ranging from hotels to construction materials, Xinhua news agency said. Wu raised money by promising returns as high as 80 percent annually to investors, but then used the funds to repay other debts. She borrowed more than 700 million yuan from 2005 to 2007. In making the ruling, the court said she deserved “severe” punishment given the amount of funds involved.