Soldier begins hunger strike
A soldier who has refused to serve in the Palestinian Territories has gone on hunger strike in a military prison in solidarity with Palestinian administrative detainees, a report said on Sunday. The 31-year-old army reservist, Yaniv Mazor, was jailed for 20 days last week for refusing to take part in army duties in protest at the occupation of the Palestinian Territories, Haaretz newspaper said on its Web site. The day after his incarceration, Mazor went on hunger strike, it said, adding he had stressed through his lawyer the protest was not to highlight his own situation, but in solidarity with Palestinians held in administrative detention. About 1,550 imprisoned Palestinians ended a mass hunger strike on May 14 in exchange for a package of measures, which would allow visits from relatives in Gaza and the transfer of detainees out of solitary confinement.
Quake hits off east coast
A magnitude 6.4 undersea earthquake yesterday jolted the sea area off the east coast of Honshu, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said, but no injuries or damage were reported. The USGS said the quake had a depth of 31km and hit at 4:32am about 140km east of the city of Sendai.
Bosom brush draws rebuke
An episode of Thailand’s Got Talent has stirred a morality debate after a contestant painted a canvas using her bare breasts, drawing a rebuke from Minister of Culture Sukumol Kunplome, who called it shocking. Sukumol summoned the show’s producers yesterday, saying that nudity on public television is not considered appropriate in local society. On Sunday evening, the show featured a 23-year-old artist who politely addressed the judges, then turned to face her canvas. She removed her shirt, doused her torso with multicolored paint and used her body as a paintbrush, while dance music played in the background. She advanced to the next round after a female judge rejected her, but two male judges voted her through.
Gunmen, civilian killed
Two gunmen and a civilian were killed yesterday morning during an exchange of fire along the southern border with Egypt in an area that is close to the Gaza Strip, public radio said. Three gunmen, initially believed to be Palestinians, opened fire toward a convoy of vehicles carrying construction workers to the place where they were building part of a vast border fence along the frontier, prompting troops in the area to open fire. Initial reports said two of the gunmen were killed along with one of the construction workers.
Illegal migrants deported
A plane carrying 127 illegal immigrants took off overnight yesterday for the South Sudanese capital of Juba, in the first wave of expulsions of tens of thousands of Africans, the Maariv daily said on its Web site. The first charter flight left Ben Gurion airport carrying 127 men, women and children, Maariv said. Over the past week, Israel has been conducting mass raids to round up illegal immigrants, most of them Africans. Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who has vowed to rid the country of all illegal immigrants from Africa, was on hand at the airport to see them off, the correspondent said. Rising tensions over the growing number of illegal immigrants exploded into violence last month when a protest in Tel Aviv turned ugly, with demonstrators smashing African-run shops and property, chanting “Blacks out!”