Snow kills one, injures 900
Heavy snow blanketed the east of the country over the holiday weekend, leaving one man dead and 900 others injured. A low-pressure system, dubbed a “bomb cyclone” by the press, dumped 8cm of snow in nine hours, the heaviest snowfall in the region since January 2006, the Meteorological Agency said. It left 13cm of snow in Yokohama, while areas around Tokyo saw up to 30cm. A 71-year-old man in Shiojiri City, in Nagano Prefecture, died after falling into an open drain, a fire service spokesman said. Broadcaster NHK said at least 891 injuries had been recorded in Tokyo and the surrounding area, many of them elderly people who slipped on snowy streets or motorists in accidents.
Child’s rape sparks protest
A seven-year-old girl has been raped in a school toilet in Goa, sparking mass protests and the arrest of her headmistress, police said yesterday. The incident was reported in the city of Vasco da Gama on Monday, sparking a manhunt to find the accused, thought to be in his early 20s. A police official told reporters that the toilet was next to the headmistress’ office at Deepvihar High School, which has a primary-school section. Thousands of people surrounded the school on Monday night, demanding the arrest of headmistress and the accused, who is at large. The headmistress was arrested for alleged negligence of duty, the official said.
Scientist finds new frog
A researcher who discovered a new species of flying frog near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, yesterday said it was a rare find so close to such a big city. Jodi Rowley, an amphibian expert from Sydney’s Australian Museum, found the frog in 2009 in the forests fringing the Vietnamese city. Rowley initially thought the tree-dwelling flying frog was a familiar species. It was not until a later trip, when she saw a specimen of the original type of frog in another part of Vietnam, that she realized her creature was different. Analysis confirmed Rowley’s suspicion and she had the honor of naming the species Rhacophorus helenae, or Helen’s Flying Frog, after her mother, who had been diagnosed with cancer.
Girl in hot water over parody
Authorities have lifted a one-year suspension handed down to an eighth-grade student for posting a parody of a speech by former leader Ho Chi Minh on Facebook. The girl’s post used language from a famous speech by Ho Chi Minh in 1946 to joke about never having to take exams again. Vo Tan Dong, deputy principal of the school in Quang Nam Province, yesterday said the girl deserved punishment, but the school allowed her to return because her family and the local Communist Youth League committed to “educating” her about her wrongdoing.
French pedophile jailed
A court jailed a 52-year-old French pedophile for 14 months yesterday for sexually abusing a teenage boy, prompting rights groups to criticize the prison term as too lenient. Philippe Lauwers was found guilty of “committing an indecent act against an underaged boy in late 2011,” Judge Phong Vann at Kandal Provincial Court told reporters. Lauwers will be free in two months, having already served a year in jail, unless his victim appeals the ruling, the judge added. Samleang Seila, country director for child rights group Action Pour Les Enfants, said Lauwers should have been charged with buying sex, which carries a minimum jail term of seven years.