Horror film banned
A horror film starring Elijah Wood as a scalp-collecting serial killer has been banned because it is too graphic and disturbing for the public. The Office of Film and Literature Classification action means Maniac cannot be screened anywhere other than at film festivals or as part of academic study. DVDs of the film will not be allowed for sale. The government censor said the film’s graphic violence could harm the public. Monster Pictures, distributor of the film for Australia and New Zealand, said yesterday that the decision was a gross overreaction. The remake of a 1980 slasher film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year.
Assange launches party
WikiLeaks frontman Julian Assange yesterday officially launched his political party to contest national elections this year, saying a victory for his candidates would be akin to planting the country’s “best investigative journalists” in the Senate. Assange said the WikiLeaks Party would field seven candidates for upper house Senate seats in the states of New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. Despite being holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than a year, the 42-year-old will run in Victoria, saying he planned to be “an independent scrutineer of government activity.” “WikiLeaks Party’s core values of transparency, accountability and justice are the template against which we will examine any important issues for Australians: tax reform, asylum seekers, climate change policy and more,” he said in an opinion piece in the Australian newspaper.
Corpse seller executed
A man who murdered a pregnant woman in China to sell her corpse as a “ghost bride” has been executed, state media reported yesterday. Wang Hairong was put to death earlier this week, the Legal Daily said, citing a court in Yanan in the northern province of Shaanxi. Wang and two accomplices persuaded a woman, identified only by her surname, Luo (羅), to accept a lift in their car in May 2011 and strangled her, the report said. She was pregnant at the time. They drove to a nearby town and sold Luo’s body for 22,000 yuan (US$3,585) to a family as a bride for their dead son in a “ghost marriage,” it said.
Fugitive principal arrested
Police on Wednesday arrested the head of a school in eastern India where 23 children died after eating a free meal laced with a lethal pesticide, an officer said. The children, aged four to 12, fell ill within minutes of eating the lunch of lentils, potatoes and rice cooked at their primary school in a poverty-stricken village in Bihar state on July 16. “The principal surrendered... and we have arrested her for questioning,” said Sujeet Kumar, police boss of Saran district where the incident occurred. Police have been searching for the teacher, Meena Devi, who apparently fled shortly after the tragedy in Gandaman village, which also left about 30 children ill in hospital and sparked angry street protests.
Boat death toll rises
Rescuers have recovered the bodies of two more asylum seekers who were aboard a boat that sank off Indonesia, bringing the death toll to 11. Cianjur police spokesman Captain Ahmad Suprijatna says the bodies of a five-year-old Sri Lankan girl and a 30-year-old Iranian man were found early yesterday, south of where their overcrowded boat sank Tuesday night off the coast of West Java.