A lawmaker filmed naked with a woman in his office was forced to undress at gunpoint by a gang who used the footage to extort money from him, police said on Monday. Assistant police commissioner Abdul Ahad said officers had arrested five people, including three women, on charges of blackmailing the lawmaker, who is allied with the government. “They ordered him to strip. One female blackmailer became nude and the others forced the MP to make a video with her,” Ahad said. The incident took place in Dhaka in May and the gang allegedly demanded 5 million taka (US$61,000) from the lawmaker — identified as Abdul Jabbar by the local media — or threatened to release the film on the Internet.
‘Butt cracker’ injures man
A man suffered severe and painful burns to his bottom after he placed a firework between his buttocks in a misconceived party trick, a report said on Monday. Police in the sparsely populated Northern Territory said the man was taken to a hospital after the stunt backfired at Darwin’s Rapid Creek around midnight on Saturday. “It appears that a party was in full progress when a young male decided to place a firework between the cheeks of his bottom and light it,” local police spokesman Garry Smith told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “What must have seemed to be a great idea at the time has obviously backfired and resulted in the male receiving quite severe and painful burns to his cheeks, back and private bits.”
Officials reject US report
Beijing has rejected the latest US report on religious freedom as arrogant and ignorant, saying it is based on rumors and groundless allegations. A commentary published yesterday by the Xinhua news agency said the report was “continuing a notorious practice of blatantly interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.” The annual US Department of State report released on Monday criticized what it called a lack of religious freedom in the Asian giant as well as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea.
Oil prospects offered
Manila offered three oil and gas exploration contracts in the disputed South China Sea yesterday, including two in areas claimed by China, an official said. All three blocs off the coast of Palawan are part of Philippine territory, Energy Undersecretary Jose Layug said, dismissing China’s territorial claims. Tensions between the Manila and China over the South China Sea have been running high because of disputes over the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) to the south of the prospects, and Scarborough Shoal (Huangyan Island, 黃岩島) to the north.
Beijing to probe moon
Beijing will next year attempt to land an exploratory craft on the moon for the first time, state media reported, in the latest project in the country’s ambitious space program. The third lunar probe will blast off in the second half of next year, the Xinhua news agency reported late on Monday. Other reports said it would land and transmit back a survey of the moon’s surface. If successful, the landing would be the country’s first on the lunar surface and mark a new milestone in its space development.
Plea for no contact
President Yoweri Museveni on Monday advised people to avoid shaking hands, casual sex and do-it-yourself burials to reduce the chance of contracting the deadly Ebola virus after an outbreak killed 14 people and put many more at risk. Museveni’s advice came as scared patients and health workers fled a district hospital in the west where several cases of Ebola were being treated and as the authorities tried to alter people’s behavior to stop the virus spreading. “We discourage the shaking of hands because that can cause contact through sweat which can cause problems ... and avoid promiscuity because these sicknesses can also be transmitted through sex,” Museveni said in a public statement. There is no treatment for Ebola. The WHO has said the origin of the latest outbreak has not yet been confirmed, but that 18 of the 21 confirmed cases so far were understood to be linked to one family.