Bombs kill five people
An official said two bomb blasts targeting anti-Taliban tribal elders and security forces have killed five people in the country’s northwest. Tariq Khan said the attacks occurred yesterday in Chamarkand town in the Bajur tribal region. Khan is a senior official in the area. Khan said that in the first attack, a bomb planted alongside a road exploded as two anti-Taliban tribal elders were walking past, killing them both. Khan said a second blast occurred when security forces rushed to the scene, killing two paramilitary soldiers and one police official.
RAB cop nabbed for looting
A security force commander was arrested yesterday over the theft of 20 million taka (US$246,000) of devotees’ donations from a Sufi shrine, police said. Lieutenant Colonel Zulfiqar Ali, 45, is accused of organizing the operation to steal the money from the Talsara Darbar Sharif near Chittagong last year when he was head of the city’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) division. Local media said Ali used the money to buy a luxury apartment in Dhaka. Created in 2004, the paramilitary RAB has a poor public image because of allegations of torture and being a government-controlled “death squad.”
Lost bird blurts out address
A pet parakeet was returned to its owner on Wednesday after the lost bird told police its home address near Tokyo. The male bird had escaped early on Sunday morning from its owner’s home in the city of Sagamihara, west of Tokyo, and remained at large before perching on the shoulder of a guest staying in a nearby hotel. Handed over to local police, the bird did not speak until Tuesday evening, when it blurted out the names of the city and district where its owner’s house is located, a spokesman for the north Sagamihara police station said. It then produced the home’s block and street number as a trio of astonished police officers listened to the now talkative bird. The bird’s owner, a 64-year-old woman, once lost another parakeet after it flew away and was determined to prevent a repeat, the spokesman said. “So the owner decided to teach the address to this parakeet after she bought it at a pet shop two years ago,” he said. “The bird’s name was found to be Piko-chan as it said, ‘You’re pretty, Piko-chan.’”
Giant ‘wombat’ lived in trees
Sheep-sized relatives of modern-day wombats lived in treetops 15 million years ago, a paleontologist said yesterday as she was honored for her discovery. Karen Black, from the University of New South Wales, said her team discovered the world’s largest tree-climbing marsupial among fossils found at the Riversleigh World Heritage Site in Queensland state. The 70kg diprotodontoids were most closely related to wombats, a furry ground-dwelling animal only found on the continent, Black said.
Tourists raped at gunpoint
A man was arrested yesterday after two European tourists were allegedly raped at gunpoint as they slept in their car in the desert town of Alice Springs. Police said the women, whose nationalities were not released, were sleeping in their parked vehicle on Wednesday morning when they were attacked. Commander Michael Murphy said the men allegedly forced the women to have sex with them.
Haggai Amir goes free
The brother and key accomplice of the man who assassinated former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin is to be freed today after more than 16 years in jail, Israel Prison Services spokeswoman Sivan Weizman said yesterday. Haggai Amir “was sentenced to 16 years in prison for complicity in the murder of Rabin, and another six months for death threats he made against former prime minister Ariel Sharon,” she added. Haggai Amir is the brother of Yigal Amir, who shot and fatally wounded Rabin at a Tel Aviv peace rally on Nov. 4, 1995, in a bid to torpedo the Oslo autonomy accords with the Palestinians. He is serving a life term.