Tycoon starts political party
Billionaire Clive Palmer, the tycoon who is building a replica of the ill-fated Titanic, yesterday announced he was forming a political party and would run in this year’s elections. The flamboyant mining magnate was a longtime supporter of the opposition Liberal-National coalition, but gave up his membership last year after a bitter and public dispute with the government in his home state of Queensland. He now plans to re-form the United Australia Party, which dissolved in 1945, and contest all 150 lower house seats in the Sept. 14 national polls, as well as seats in the upper house Senate. He joins a growing list of high-profile candidates including Australian-born Julian Assange, who intends to run for the Senate with his WikiLeaks Party. Palmer has been at loggerheads with Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Labor government over its carbon tax, which he says is ill-conceived and will cost companies dear.
Foreigner accused of assault
A foreign guesthouse operator was arrested yesterday after two French tourists complained they had been sexually molested at his guest house, police said. The 44-year-old Olivier Sage, who manages a beach property at Unawatuna, 120km south of Colombo, was to be taken before a magistrate yesterday, senior superintendent Jayantha Wickremasinghe said. “The two French tourists complained that the guest house owner used criminal force on them two days ago,” Wickremasinghe said. He said the man carried a French passport at the time of his arrest and had first arrived in the nation nearly three years ago and later started managing the guest house.
Woman charged with feticide
A Chinese immigrant accused of killing her unborn infant by eating rat poison while pregnant says her life has been difficult since she was charged, but that she stays busy to avoid dwelling on her upcoming murder trial. Beibei Shuai (帥貝貝) was eight months pregnant when she ate rat poison in December 2010 in a suicide attempt after her boyfriend broke up with her. Doctors called authorities when the baby died three days after being delivered prematurely. Prosecutors charged Shuai with murder and feticide in March 2011. She was released on bond in May last year after more than a year in jail following an Indiana Court of Appeals ruling in her favor. The case has attracted attention from reproductive rights advocates around the globe who claim it could set a precedent by which pregnant women could be prosecuted for smoking or other behavior that authorities deem dangerous to their unborn child. Dozens of organizations have filed friend-of-the-court briefs on Shuai’s behalf.
The attorney for a southern California woman charged with severing the penis of her estranged husband said she “had a break from reality” the night of the attack. Orange County Deputy Public Defender Frank Bittar said during closing arguments in court on Thursday that Catherine Kieu had been through a lifetime of trauma and abuse, and snapped the night she drugged her husband, cut off his penis and threw it in the garbage disposal in 2011. The jury is scheduled to begin deliberating on Monday on charges of torture and aggravated mayhem that could get the 50-year-old Kieu life in prison. Prosecutors said in their closing arguments that Kieu was driven by jealous anger, not trauma, and showed her intentions by her thorough planning before the attack.