Court releases ‘First Lady’
A war crimes court yesterday ordered the release of Ieng Thirith, dubbed the “First Lady” of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime, saying she was unfit to stand trial. “As there is no prospect that the accused can be tried in the foreseeable future, the trial chamber has confirmed the severance of the charges [against the 80-year-old],” a statement from the UN-backed tribunal said. Explaining its decision to stay proceedings against Ieng Thirith — who was the sister-in-law of regime leader Pol Pot — the court said her “cognitive impairment is likely irreversible.” One of only a handful of people ever brought before a court over the 1975-1979 regime, blamed for the deaths of up to 2 million people, Ieng Thirith was accused of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Three other ageing top former regime leaders — including her husband, former foreign minister Ieng Sary — remain on trial.
Transgender show pulled
A TV channel yesterday said it had pulled the plug on a newly launched talk show aimed at the transgender community, following strong objections from viewers. KBS Joy, an entertainment subsidiary of KBS TV, said on its Web site that it had reached the decision after “taking viewers’ opinions into account.” The midnight program, titled XY That Girl, was only launched last week, but the first airing sparked uproar from conservative groups, who staged protests outside the broadcaster and took out newspaper ads denouncing the show. The program invited transgender individuals to appear in person or to phone in to discuss their experiences living in the transgender community. Gay and transgender Koreans remain largely under the radar in a country that remains deeply conservative about matters of sexual identity and where many still regard homosexuality as a foreign phenomenon. Various teacher and parent groups bought a newspaper ad in which they attacked KBS Joy for “fanning” gay sexuality and warned that “children will blindly follow in the steps of transgenders.”
Thief leaves man on tracks
Police are searching for a thief who found an inebriated man unconscious on subway tracks, stole his valuables and then left him there to be hit by a train. A surveillance camera captured the incident at a Stockholm subway station early on Sunday. A video clip broadcast on Wednesday by SVT showed the middle-aged man falling down from the platform. Another man in a blue jacket sees him and jumps down on the tracks, but instead of helping the man, he robs him, climbs back on the platform and walks away. Moments later the man is struck by a train. Police spokesman Dan Ostman said one of the man’s feet was crushed and he was also injured in the face and shoulder, but he survived.
Elephants go for a stroll
Two elephants said goodbye to the circus and took a walk along a Copenhagen street packed with rush-hour traffic on Wednesday, one following the other with trunk linked to tail. Sonia, 31, and Vana Mana, 41, star turns at the Circus Benneweis, strolled down the multi-lane Borups Alle in the Danish capital for about 200m before their trainer caught up with them. “They were walking past the morning traffic trunk-to-tail,” a police officer told Danish news agency Ritzau. Police blocked the road so the elephants could return to the circus site unhurt. “Nobody was hurt, so it was just two elephants out for a stroll,” the police officer said.