Aussie arrested after biting
An Australian national has been arrested for biting off part of a waiter’s finger in an argument, police said on Saturday. The incident occurred in Novi Sad on Friday when the 26-year-old, identified only by his initials S.M., entered a cafe with his own bottle of liquor and wanted to drink it, a police statement said. The young man attacked the waiter who asked him to put the bottle away, it added.
Smoking ban takes effect
A law that bans smoking in public places has taken effect, a contentious move in a country with one of the highest smoking rates in the world. The ban, which came into force on Saturday, prohibits smoking in workplaces, schools, universities and on public transportation. More restrictions will be applied next year. Authors of the ban have pointed to the hundreds of thousands of citizens who die of smoking-related illnesses every year. The measure has been approved by both houses of parliament and signed by President Vladimir Putin. Cigarettes are much cheaper than in the US and Europe, with the price of a pack starting at about US$1. About 40 percent of the population smoke.
Bank employee loses cash
A bank employee has found himself in hot water after he unloaded bags containing 90,000 euros (US$117,000) from his car boot to fix a puncture — only to see the money to fall into a river below. The incident reportedly happened on May 7 as the employee was transporting the cash from a small bank branch in Obertauern in Salzburg Province to the main office in Radstadt, the daily Salzburger Nachrichten reported on Saturday. As he was repairing the flat tire, the bags of money which he had placed on a steep slope slipped into the river below, the worker said. The police, fire department and mountain rescue teams conducted a thorough search of the waterway, but were only able to recover 3,000 euros, the Austria Press Agency said. No witnesses have confirmed the employee’s story, but the police said no criminal investigation has been launched.
Drone crashes in Puntland
An official in the semi-autonomous Puntland region said a surveillance drone has crashed. Ports and Anti-piracy Minister Saeed Mohamed Rage said on Saturday the drone crashed in Qaw Village, about 20km west of Bossasso. The US military flies aerial surveillance drones from Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles to monitor piracy off the East African coast, but Rage said it is not clear whose drone crashed. The US also flies drones that occasionally fire at Somalia’s Islamic extremist rebels in south and central Somalia. The al-Shabab rebels on Tuesday posted pictures on Twitter of what they claimed was a surveillance drone that had crashed.
Court convicts lawyer
A court has convicted a Coptic Christian lawyer in Assiut on charges of blasphemy and sentenced him to one year in prison with hard labor. The verdict against Roman Murad Saad was handed down on Saturday. It is the latest in a surge of blasphemy cases following the nation’s 2011 uprising. Saad was sentenced in absentia. If he is arrested or surrenders to authorities, he will be given a retrial and will have to pay 10,000 Egyptians pounds (US$1,400) in fines. Court officials say Saad was found guilty of ridiculing the Koran, at a lawyers’ union library.