Students survive trail ordeal
Two 21-year-old US students have walked out of the country’s wilderness after a snowstorm trapped them for nine days. Police say they survived by rationing their meager supplies and warming themselves in hot springs. Alec Brown and Erica Klintworth are both students from University of Wisconsin Stevens Point who are studying abroad. They had planned to hike and camp for a few days at hot springs on the South Island, but authorities say heavy rains and a snowstorm prevented them from being able to cross a river and return. They met up with members of a search team on Sunday — hungry, but otherwise in good shape.
Custody death officer jailed
A court yesterday sentenced a constable to three years in jail over the death in custody of an ethnic Indian man in a case underscoring complaints of police brutality. A. Kugan, 22, died in 2009 at a police station where he had been detained on suspicion of stealing luxury cars, sparking uproar among minority ethnic Indians and activists who allege frequent police corruption and abuse. Constable V. Navindran, who is also an ethnic Indian, was sentenced by a court outside Kuala Lumpur to three years in jail for causing hurt to Kugan to extort a confession, his lawyer said. Another court had earlier acquitted Navindran, who is in his 30s, of causing grievous hurt, but a high court overturned that verdict and sent the case back to the lower court for Navindran to answer lesser charges. Nagarajan is to appeal against the verdict.
Japan climber scales peaks
A Japanese climber who was nearly killed by an avalanche in 2007 has become his country’s first person to scale the world’s 14 tallest mountains, completing his latest climb, mountaineering officials said yesterday. The Nepal Mountaineering Association said Hirotaka Takeuchi ascended the 8,167m-high Mount Dhaulagiri on May 26 to finish his 17-year mission. He was nearly swept to his death five years ago on Mount Ghashabrum. “I have always wanted to climb mountains as long as I remember,” Takeuchi said in an interview in Kathmandu. “It was always my childhood dream to scale high peaks.”
Glacier conflict zone thaws
Indian and Pakistani defence officials held a fresh round of talks yesterday seeking to end decades of dispute over the Siachen Glacier, dubbed the world’s highest battlefield. Army chief of staff General Ashfaq Kayani called for a negotiated end to the stalemate and said the glacier should be demilitarized after a deadly April avalanche which killed 140 people an army camp. Troops have faced off on the glacier since India captured it in 1984. Islamabad has since made unsuccessful attempts to wrest control of the hostile battleground, where sub-zero temperatures and high altitude have caused countless deaths. It is the 13th round of talks between the rivals on Siachen.
Lady Gaga poled on stage
Singer and performer Lady Gaga was struck on the head by a pole on Sunday while performing a concert in Auckland. Clips posted online show a backup performer accidentally striking Gaga with the set prop while removing it from the central stage. Gaga, holding a mock machine gun, staggers and rubs her head before briefly leaving the stage. She continued the show, part of a world tour.