Man stabs five at station
Police yesterday arrested a man who allegedly stabbed five people at a railway station in the southwest, Kyodo news agency reported. The five victims — all men — were taken to hospital, but their injuries did not seem to be life-threatening, the agency said, quoting firefighters. A passerby alerted the fire department to the early morning attack at Hakata railway station in Fukuoka city. Police said they had arrested a man believed to be the attacker, who was quoted as saying he “wanted to stab people,” Kyodo reported.
Bomb kills wedding guests
A roadside bomb tore through a minibus carrying people to a wedding celebration in the north on Friday, killing at least 19 people and wounding 16, authorities said. The bus was taking guests to a wedding celebration in the Dawlat Abad district of the northern Balkh Province, about 450km northwest of the capital, Kabul, police spokesman Shir Jan Durani said. District police commander Bismullah Muslimyar gave the death toll and said six children and seven women were among those killed in the 6am blast. He said a police patrol had passed through the area during the night. Muslimyar said the wedding took place on Thursday, and the party was heading to the groom’s home to congratulate the newlyweds according to tradition.
Sting relocates concert
Sting has moved the location of his “Back to Bass Tour” concert in the Philippines following a petition by environmentalists who said the original venue is owned by a conglomerate that plans to uproot 182 trees for a parking lot and mall expansion in a northern mountain city. The SM Mall of Asia Arena said in a statement yesterday that changing the site of the Dec. 9 concert was “the decision of the artist himself.” The petition said that as a champion of the environment, “Sting can’t be saving rainforests and enabling SM to rape the environment at the same time!” Sting and his wife established The Rainforest Foundation to protect tropical rainforests and their people.
Speeding bus overturns
State radio said a passenger bus full of students overturned yesterday in the southwest due to high speed, killing 21. Senior police official Colonel Mohammad Reza Mehmandar, was quoted as saying that the driver lost control of the bus because of high speed in rainy weather. Mehmandar said 23 others were injured in the accident. They were rushed to hospitals for treatment. The accident took place on Friday evening on the Izeh-Lordegan road, about 500km southwest of the capital, Tehran.
Alleged pirates arrested
Authorities have arrested four Indonesian pirates who tried to hijack a tugboat and barge off Borneo island in the first such attack there this year, an official said yesterday. The machete-wielding men boarded the Malaysian vessel off Sarawak state on Thursday with most of the crew of 10 managing to lock themselves inside the tugboat and raise the alarm, Abim Sungom of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said. Authorities captured four suspects from the barge loaded with containers while several others escaped. None of the crew, comprising four Malaysians, four Indians and two Indonesians was injured, but some valuables, including mobile phones and cash, were stolen, he added.
Thames swimmer gets jail
The Australian activist who halted the university Boat Race by jumping into the River Thames and swimming between the boats was jailed for six months on Friday. Trenton Oldfield, 36, was given a prison sentence at Isleworth Crown Court in west London after being convicted of causing a public nuisance. He claimed it was a protest against elitism. It was the first time in the 158-year history of the race between England’s elite Oxford and Cambridge universities that it was interrupted by a swimmer.
Museum has to cover nudity
A prestigious museum in Vienna has been forced to cover up a graphic poster advertising a new show devoted to male nudity, after protests that it is offensive. The Leopold Museum’s show — Nude Men from 1800 to Today — opened its doors on Friday looking at how artists have dealt with the theme of male nudity over the centuries. About 300 artworks are on display — including the controversial photograph that is raising the ire of Viennese. Vive La France shows three young and athletic men of different races wearing nothing but blue, white and red socks and soccer boots. Swathes of red tape are being used to cover the sensitive parts of the three on posters splashed across the city.
Scrap dealer steals bridge
A scrap metal dealer raised his sights from stealing and illegally selling metal drain covers and made off with an entire iron bridge, local police said on Friday. “A few hours after we were informed about this most unusual crime we detained a suspect, a man of 29, at his home,” Mile Jurosevic of the police in Brcko said. “We also found in the courtyard in front of his house the metal structure of the bridge, cut in two to make it easier to transport.” He said that the bridge, which is 12m long and weighs several tonnes, was stolen on Wednesday night at Dizdarusa, a suburb of Brcko. “The metal structure was unscrewed from its base and dragged several meters to the nearest road” before being loaded on to a truck, he said. The bridge was in a farming area through which a small river runs and was regularly used by several families to reach their fields, Zejneba Pasalic, a local woman, told the press. The bridge was built in the 1980s by local people using scrap railway tracks, she said. Bosnia is one of Europe’s poorest countries with an unemployment rate of 40 percent. Hundreds of people, including entire families, collect scrap metal which can be sold locally for 0.20 euro (US$0.26) a kilogram.
Palestinians go to polls
Palestinians have begun voting for new mayors and local councils, in the first election in six years. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement hope yesterday’s vote in 93 communities will revive flagging popular support. About 515,000 registered voters are eligible and results are expected today. However, there is widespread voter apathy. That is in part because Fatah’s main rival, the Islamic militant Hamas, is boycotting the election and has banned voting in Gaza, the territory it seized from Abbas in 2007. Hamas says the political camps must reconcile ahead of any elections. Even with Hamas out of the picture, Fatah could still lose. In several towns, Fatah renegades are competing against the official Fatah slates. A low turnout would also boost Hamas.
Gun show causes offense
Some Colorado fans are upset after musician and performer Madonna used guns during a concert. Madonna started her show on Thursday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver with a gun scene, which she has used in previous performances. According to KUSA-TV the station received several calls on Friday from concertgoers saying they were offended she used guns and violence as part of her show in light of recent events in the state that included a mass shooting at a theater during a Batman movie on July 20 that left 12 people dead. Madonna and her agent could not be reached for comment.
Plane row man kept in jail
A judge has ordered a Ukrainian man accused of disrupting a Delta Air Lines flight to remain in custody, after prosecutors said that he is a flight risk and a danger to the community. Testimony during a detention hearing on Friday alleged that 46-year-old Anatoliy Baranovich twice attempted to bribe officers to release him and was found with 19 passports. Baranovich is accused of damaging and disabling an aircraft and interfering with a crew aboard the Boston-to-Salt Lake City flight on Monday. Authorities said Baranovich woke up during the plane’s descent and began yelling because he believed the wing of the airplane was on fire. He was restrained by passengers. A criminal complaint said Baranovich was visiting family in the Ukraine and got drunk for 50 days. He was headed to Portland, Oregon. Officials said when they searched his luggage they found the passports — 16 for women, ranging in age from 20s to early 30s and three for men.
Bear abusers fined for cruelty
A shocking photo of firefighters and civil defense personnel holding down a young, bound bear and pulling its ears has sparked outrage in Mexico and prompted fines for those involved. The environmental crimes prosecutor for the northern border state of Coahuila says the three-year-old bear survived the incident, though it suffered wounds to its paws and mouth. Prosecutor Javier de Jesus Rodriguez says a prolonged drought has led increasing numbers of bears into urban areas. Rodriguez said Friday that emergency personnel will be fined about 30,000 pesos (US$2,300) for animal abuse and failure to follow department rules. Rodriguez said the bear will be released and that special dogs are being imported to handle the problem by driving away the bears.
Alleged jihadist extradited
There is enough evidence to extradite a Canadian man to the US to face charges that he helped coordinate Tunisian jihadists believed responsible for separate suicide attacks in Iraq in 2009 that killed five US soldiers outside a US base and seven people at an Iraqi police complex, a judge ruled. Sayfildin Tahir Sharif, who holds dual Canadian/Iraqi citizenship, was arrested last year on a US warrant and has been fighting extradition to New York. The prosecution said intercepted telephone and Internet conversations show Sharif helped jihadists contact members of a terror network as they made their way from Tunisia to Iraq to make the attack. Justice Adam Germain of Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench said on Friday the recorded phone calls and e-mails went far beyond religious enthusiasm. The case will go to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson for a final decision on whether the 40-year-old will be sent to New York to face trial.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
Australia is notorious for its venomous spiders, snakes and sea creatures, but researchers have now identified “scorpion-like” toxins secreted by a tree that can cause excruciating pain for weeks. Split-second contact with the dendrocnide tree, a rainforest nettle known by its Aboriginal name gympie-gympie, delivers a sting far more potent than similar plants found in the US or Europe. A team of Australian scientists said that they now better understand why the gympie-gympie’s sting haunts those unlucky enough to brush up against its leaves. Victims report an initial sting that “feels like fire at first, then subsides over hours to a pain reminiscent