Forced abortion settled
The family of a woman forced to undergo an abortion because she ran afoul of the state’s one child policy has accepted a cash settlement from the government. Feng Jianmei’s (馮建梅) husband, Deng Jiyuan (鄧吉元), yesterday said the family accepted the settlement of 70,600 yuan (US$11,200) because they wanted to return to a normal life. Feng was forced to abort her fetus seven months into her pregnancy because she did not have 40,000 yuan to pay the fine for having a second child. “We are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with the sum,” said Deng, from Shaanxi Province. “It has never been about the money. As ordinary people, we can no longer take the pressure from all sides of the society.”
Migrants die of thirst
Fifty-four migrants trying to reach Italy died of thirst when their inflatable boat ruptured in the Mediterranean, according to testimony from the sole survivor, the UN refugee agency said. The rescued man, who drank sea water to survive, was spotted clinging to a jerry can and the remains of the stricken boat off the Tunisian coast on Monday night by fishermen who alerted the coast guard, the UNHCR said. In his account of the 15-day ordeal, the man from Eritrea said 55 people boarded the boat in Tripoli, late last month and reached the Italian coast a day later. However, high winds forced the vessel back out to sea and within a few days the boat had punctured and air started to leak out, he said. The man is being treated in a Tunisian hospital for exposure and dehydration.
Newborn panda dies
A giant panda born at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo last week died of pneumonia yesterday morning. A zookeeper said it found the six-day-old panda lying belly up, without breathing, on its seven-year-old mother’s chest. The male baby, which hadn’t been named yet, died an hour later despite heart massage. It was the first panda born at the zoo since 1988 and was conceived naturally.
Runaway penguin named
A penguin whose escape from an aquarium gained him a following around the world has been formally named after months of being known just by his number. Previously called Humboldt penguin No. 337, the feisty runaway would be named Sazanami, which means “small waves” in Japanese, Tokyo Sea Life Park said on its Web site. “The penguin came back to the aquarium just as waves ebb and flow, which was another reason for the name,” the aquarium said in a statement on Tuesday.
Court suicide theory aired
Investigators who believe a defendant killed himself in a Phoenix courtroom shortly after a jury found him guilty of arson say their theory is backed up by evidence that includes a canister labeled as cyanide found in his vehicle. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said on Tuesday that the family of Michael Marin, 53, received a delayed e-mail from him the night after his June 28 death in court, which included information about his will in case things went poorly, Arpaio said. After being convicted of deliberately burning down his US$3.5 million Phoenix mansion, Marin collapsed in court and died. Video from inside the courtroom showed him putting his hands over his eyes after the guilty verdict was read and then covering his mouth with both hands.
Climber dies on mountain
The body of a Canadian climber has been recovered from a southwest Colorado mountain after he fell to his death in a rain and hail storm. The La Plata County Sheriff’s Department said a helicopter crew retrieved the body of 45-year-old Martin Pigeon of Quebec on Tuesday. Authorities say Pigeon fell about 70m on the 4,292m Windom Peak on Sunday. He and his climbing partner, Marcoux Yves, also from Quebec, were descending the mountain, but became separated in the storm at about 4pm. When Yves reached their camp, Pigeon was not there. Yves found Pigeon’s body at the base of a cliff at about 8:30pm.