Eiffel Tower evacuated
The Eiffel Tower was evacuated on Saturday night after an anonymous caller called in a bomb threat, police said. Nearly 1,400 people were sent away from the tourist attraction following a request from tower operators after the warning, a Paris police official said. Police then searched the monument with sniffer dogs, and set up a security perimeter. No explosives were found and the site was reopened after about two-and-a-half hours. The government has stepped up counter-terrorism measures in recent weeks amid heightened concern about threats to France over its military campaign against al-Qaeda-linked fighters in Mali that began more than two months ago. The tower is occasionally evacuated because of such warnings — at least once last year and twice in 2011.
Shroud of Turin displayed
The Shroud of Turin went on display for a special TV appearance on Saturday amid new research disputing claims it is a medieval fake and purporting to date the linen some say was Jesus’ burial cloth to about the time of his death. Pope Francis sent a special video message to the event in Turin’s cathedral, but made no claim that the image on the shroud of a man with wounds similar to those suffered by Christ was really that of Jesus. He called the cloth an “icon,” not a relic — an important distinction. “This image, impressed upon the cloth, speaks to our heart and moves us to climb the hill of Calvary, to look upon the wood of the Cross, and to immerse ourselves in the eloquent silence of love,” he said. “This disfigured face resembles all those faces of men and women marred by a life which does not respect their dignity, by war and violence which afflict the weakest ... And yet, at the same time, the face in the Shroud conveys a great peace; this tortured body expresses a sovereign majesty.” Many experts stand by carbon dating that date it to the 13th or 14th century, but some have suggested the dating results might have been skewed by contamination and have called for a larger sample to be analyzed.
Thief takes Sun King tusk
A man broke into the Paris natural history museum early on Saturday and used a chainsaw to hack off the tusk of an elephant that belonged to King Louis XIV, officials said. Police arrested the man in a nearby street as he was making his escape and recovered the 3kg tusk, museum workers said. The elephant whose skeleton is preserved in the popular museum was given as a gift in 1668 by the king of Portugal to Louis XIV, who was also known as the Sun King. The animal’s tusks are not the original ones, but were added to the skeleton in the 19th century. Police made no immediate comment about why the man tried to steal the tusk, but the incident comes amid a series of thefts in recent years of ivory from European museums and zoos.
Bieber’s monkey seized
Canadian teen heartthrob Justin Bieber had his pet monkey Mally confiscated when he arrived with the animal at Munich airport, officials and media reports said on Saturday. Customs officials put the capuchin monkey in quarantine on Thursday because the 19-year-old pop sensation was unable to present the necessary documents for importing a live animal. Officials declined to confirm the monkey owner’s identity, but several media reports said it was the singer, who is on a tour of Germany and Austria.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year