No drugs, no executions
Hundreds of death row prisoners have been given a reprieve of sorts due to a shortage of the drug used for lethal injections, a newspaper said yesterday. Death by firing squad was replaced by lethal injections to reduce suffering in July last year, but police have failed to execute anyone since. “In the past year, the execution of more than 400 inmates has not been able to go ahead,” Deputy Police Minister Dang Van Hieu was quoted by Tuoi Tre newspaper as saying. He said imports of the unspecified drug “had proved difficult.”
Journalists attacked by gang
Nine journalists were wounded when an unidentified gang wielding machetes stormed the offices of prominent online media outlet bdnews24.com and attacked staff, police said yesterday. About eight young men launched the bloody assault on Monday evening before fleeing the scene, deputy commissioner of Dhaka police Lutful Kabir said. “Three seriously injured people were admitted to a clinic. Their condition is stable,” Kabir said, adding that the motive of the attack was unknown. Bdnews24.com news editor Gazi Nasir Uddin Ahmed said he was uncertain if the the attack was planned.
Six held for prostituting kids
Police have arrested six people for suspected involvement in an under-age prostitution ring and are also seeking to charge a local government official, state media said yesterday. More than 20 school-age children were recruited into the ring in Zhejiang Province’s Yongkang City, according to the China Daily newspaper, which said suspects included a local village leader. A Yongkang police statement said the organizer had been recruiting children to be prostitutes since February last year. Police raided the premises last month, detaining 10 people, the statement said, without saying how many were formally charged. The Global Times newspaper said those involved could be charged with rape because criminal law prohibits sex with a minor under the age of 14.
Police fight tiger poachers
Police said yesterday they had seized three tiger carcasses after being shot at by smugglers who were transporting the dead animals to Hanoi. “We arrested the driver of the car, but his accomplice fled after shooting at us,” said Tran Huu Hong, head of the environmental police office in central Nghe An province, where the tigers were seized on Monday. “We will examine the carcasses of the three tigers to determine their origin,” he said. There are fewer than 50 tigers living wild in remote forests across Vietnam. Worldwide, as few as 3,200 of the big cats remain in the wild.
Phone detects radiation
Mobile phone operator SoftBank Corp said yesterday it would soon start selling smartphones with radiation detectors, tapping into concerns that atomic hotspots remain along the eastern coast more than a year after the Fukushima crisis. “The threat from the nuclear accident cannot be seen by the human eye and continues to be a concern for many people, especially for mothers with small children,” SoftBank founder and president Masayoshi Son said. The smartphone will include customized IC chips made by Sharp Corp that measure radiation levels in microsieverts per hour.
State of emergency called
At least two people were killed when police used tear gas to put down a violent demonstration against Swiss-owned Xstrata staged by striking miners and townspeople, officials said. Prime Minister Oscar Valdes declared a state of emergency late on Monday, saying it was needed to “safeguard public security and allow free transit” after the two were killed and a provincial prosecutor was briefly kidnapped. Valdes said at a press conference in Lima that the 30-day decree limiting personal freedoms was necessary, because “this is not a peaceful demonstration.” Hundreds of demonstrators had lugged tree trunks and boulders into roads in the Espinar area of Cusco in the south to protest what they say is the mining company’s pollution of the Salado and Canipia rivers.