Italian arrested for hoax
An Italian painter has been arrested on the Indonesian resort island of Bali for allegedly making a hoax bomb threat to a flight after his wife failed to get a seat on it, police said yesterday. Andrea Giovanni Sorteni, 48, could be charged with terrorism offenses over the bomb threat, which sparked panic and caused the flight from Yogyakarta in central Java to be delayed by several hours. The artist, who denies making the threat, became upset when his Indonesian wife was not allowed on the flight after low-cost domestic carrier Lion Air said her ticket was out of date, police said. “He was very angry knowing that his wife could not fly back home, and called Lion Air and said there were explosive materials on the flight to Bali,” police spokeswoman Ani Pudjiastuti said. Passengers waiting for the Oct. 14 flight to take off became panicky on hearing about the threat, but a police search of the plane turned up no explosives, she said. Sorteni was arrested on Oct. 17 in Denpasar, Bali, where he was living with his wife, after he was tracked down through the mobile phone he allegedly used to make the threats, police said.
Airline joins Internet age
The world’s only one-star airline, North Korea’s Air Koryo, has finally joined the Internet age with an online booking service, offering flights to and from the isolated state to Beijing and Shenyang, China, as well as Vladivostok, Russia. The Web site says it started operations in August and promises “a convenient reservation ... day and night.” Air Koryo is the only airline ranked as a one-star service by Skytrax global airline ranking, a rating that represents “very poor quality performance.” The airline uses mainly Russian-built Tupolev aircraft on its international flights, although older, Soviet-era aircraft are also still used domestically.
Badger cull postponed
The government on Tuesday postponed a plan to kill thousands of badgers after protests by animal rights groups and concern over the plan’s cost and effectiveness. Farmers had pressed for a badger cull because the creatures can spread bovine tuberculosis, a disease that can devastate herds and hurt farm revenues, but the black and white burrowers have had high-profile supporters such as Queen guitarist Brian May, who campaigned against the cull that was to take place in the southwest of England. The project is now to be put back until next year after a survey found almost twice as many badgers as previously thought — which dramatically raised the cost of the plan. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson told lawmakers that the government remains committed to the idea. May welcomed the reprieve, but said the cull should be scrapped altogether. “This is a scientifically flawed, ethically reprehensible, economically unjustifiable and reckless policy that needs to be abandoned, once and for all,” he said.
Aide fired over murder
An Iowa teacher’s aide has been fired after school officials learned she was the member of an Indianapolis family who tortured and killed a girl in the basement of their home in 1965. School district superintendent Ben Petty said Paula Pace was fired by the school board on Tuesday for providing false information on her job application. The district learned last week from the county sheriff that Pace was Paula Baniszewski, who had been convicted of manslaughter for participating in the torture and murder of 16-year-old Sylvia Likens in 1965.