Two Muslims convicted
A court has found two Muslim women guilty of sparking a recent outbreak of sectarian violence, one of them by bumping into a Buddhist novice monk. Myint Thein of the pro-government National Unity Party, who attended their trial, said on Wednesday the two women in the central township of Okkan were convicted of “insulting religion.” Both were sentenced to two years in prison with hard labor. The verdicts may be seen as offering support for contentions by human rights groups that the court system is biased in favor of the Buddhist majority. Although the vast majority of victims of the violence have been Muslims, most of those convicted have also been Muslims.
Children taught from space
Astronauts struck floating martial arts poses, twirled gyroscopes and manipulated wobbling globes of water during a lecture yesterday from the country’s orbiting space station as part of efforts to popularize the space program among young people. Wang Yaping (王亞平) demonstrated principles of weightlessness and took questions live from among the 330 grade-school children gathered at a Beijing auditorium during the 51-minute class from aboard the Tiangong 1 space station. Her fellow crewmembers Nie Haisheng (聶海勝) and Zhang Xiaoguang (張曉光) answered questions about living, working and staying fit in space. During one playful moment, Nie adopted the mythical cross-legged lotus position familiar to all fans of Chinese martial arts films. “In space, we’re all kung fu masters,” Wang said. Wang injected droplets into an increasingly larger suspended ball of water, drawing exclamations of “wow” and applause from the students, another 60 million of whom were watching the broadcast in their classrooms.
Thief finds corpse, gives in
A terrified burglar handed himself in after breaking into a darkened house and bumping into a hanging corpse, waking neighbors with his blood-curdling screams, police said yesterday. The would-be thief was arrested when he called police in the early hours of Wednesday to report his gruesome encounter in the North Island town of Hamilton, the New Zealand Herald reported. Inspector Greg Nicholls said he believed it would prompt the burglar to mend his ways. “I’m hopeful that this might be a career-changing moment for that burglar,” he told the newspaper. Nicholls said the death of the man found hanging would be investigated.
Dotcom slams ‘massacre’
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom yesterday condemned a Dutch company’s decision to delete millions of files belonging to users of his defunct Web site, calling it “the largest data massacre in the history of the Internet.” “Millions of personal #Megaupload files, petabytes of pictures, backups, personal & business property forever destroyed,” the Internet tycoon tweeted after revealing that Leaseweb had deleted files belonging to Megaupload customers in Europe from its servers. The fate of Megaupload data has been uncertain since January last year, when US authorities shut down the file-sharing site and directed the country’s police to arrest Dotcom for alleged online piracy. Dotcom says most of the data was legitimate, non-copyright material such as personal photographs and business documents that should be returned to users. However, it is stored on rented servers owned by hosting companies such as Haarlem-based Leaseweb, which said it could not hold the data indefinitely with no payment.