Orchestra fires rude cellist
The Beijing Symphony Orchestra has fired a Russian cellist who was caught on camera verbally abusing a female passenger on a train, sparking an online outcry over the behavior of foreigners in China. The orchestra said its reputation had been “badly damaged” by the actions of Oleg Vedernikov, who was shown rudely insulting a fellow train passenger who repeatedly asked him to take his feet off the back of her seat. Vedernikov has apologized over the May 14 incident in a video posted online. This has done little to dampen the controversy over his actions, shortly after video footage of a British tourist apparently sexually assaulting a Chinese woman in Beijing was posted on the Internet. Many Web users yesterday welcomed the musician’s dismissal.
World’s tallest tower opens
The world’s tallest tower and the country’s biggest new landmark, the Tokyo Skytree, opened to the public yesterday. Nearly 8,000 visitors were expected to take high-speed elevators up to the observation decks of the 634m tower to mark its opening. Some reportedly waited in line more than a week to get the coveted tickets for a panoramic view, though yesterday ended up being cloudy in Tokyo. Skytree is recognized by Guinness World Records as the tallest tower, beating out the Canton Tower in China, which is 600m. The world’s tallest structure is Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which stands 828m.
Passengers burn to death
A passenger train rammed into a freight train before dawn yesterday in the south, killing at least 15 people in a fiery wreck, officials said. The freight train had been stopped at the station near Penukonda in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh State when the Hampi Express slammed into it. Four coaches of the passenger train derailed when the driver applied emergency brakes on seeing the freight train on the same track, district official Durga Das said. One of the coaches caught fire, trapping many passengers in the coach. At least eight people burned to death, said Charu Sinha, a top police official in Anantpur.
Everest death toll rises
A mountaineering official in Nepal says climbers have reported seeing another body on Mount Everest, raising the death toll to four for one of the worst days ever on the world’s highest mountain. Nepali mountaineering official Gyanendra Shrestha said yesterday that the body of Chinese climber Ha Wen-yi was spotted not far from where three other climbers died. Ha and the other victims — German doctor Eberhard Schaaf, Nepal-born Canadian Shriya Shah and South Korean mountaineer Song Won-bin — died on Saturday on their way down from the 8,848m summit.
‘Flight attendants’ in uproar
Airline flight attendants are fuming over nightclubs in the South Korean capital that feature sexy waitresses dressed in skimpy copies of cabin crew uniforms, a newspaper reported yesterday. Outside a subway station in southern Seoul, young women attired like flight attendants handed out leaflets advertising one such “concept” bar, the JoongAng Ilbo daily said on its Web site. “Beautiful flight attendants will provide you with best service,” the leaflets promised. A South Korean airline official said his company had protested to the bars, who promised to stop using such uniforms in future.
Activist worried for helpers