Dutch activist deported
A Dutch activist blamed for making a policeman cry was deported and permanently banned from the country, the immigration bureau said yesterday. The bureau said Thomas van Beersum was deported on Wednesday after the authorities had picked him out from a photograph that went viral showing him allegedly haranguing a uniformed police officer at an anti-government protest in Manila last month. Van Beersum is an “undesirable alien” who violated the terms of his tourist visa by joining a protest, immigration bureau spokeswoman Antonette Mangrobang said. “The activities he engaged in do not fall under those of a regular tourist, which are health, business or pleasure,” she added. The activist was photographed yelling at a weeping riot policeman at an anti-government protest during President Benigno Aquino III’s annual policy address to parliament on July 22. Photographs of the incident, showing policeman Joselito Sevilla crying as he held back Van Beersum and other activists, spread around the world on the Internet, and provoked heated debates on social media sites. The policeman later said he was crying from exhaustion and hunger after a long stint securing the area for Aquino’s speech.
City trials electrified road
The southern city of Gumi has begun testing an “electrified road” that allows electric public buses to recharge their batteries from buried cables as they travel. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, which developed the system, said yesterday it would be tested over the next four months on a 24km route. Pick-up equipment underneath the bus, or the Online Electric Vehicle, sucks up power through non-contact magnetic charging from strips buried under the road surface. It then distributes the power either to drive the vehicle or for battery storage. As a result it requires a battery only a fifth of the size of conventional electric vehicles.
Zookeeper punches seal
A zoo said on Wednesday it has suspended one of its animal keepers for allegedly punching a seal. The animal, an American fur seal, has been examined by a vet and appears well, but an investigation is under way. The incident occurred at Bristol Zoo in western England while the seal was being weighed, a spokeswoman said, without giving further details. “A senior animal keeper at Bristol Zoo Gardens has been suspended pending further investigation of an alleged animal welfare incident that has recently come to light,” the zoo said in a statement. The zoo’s chief vet Michelle Barrows had examined all the seals “and all individuals are behaving normally, engaging happily and playfully with keepers and guests in their enclosure,” the statement said. The animal remains on full public show.
Opera stars take a dip
A Mozart opera performed at a premier music festival has made an unscheduled splash after a boat carrying three singers overturned and dumped them into a lake. The Bregenz Festival features an open-air stage on Lake Constance and this year’s production of The Magic Flute has the Queen of the Night and two other characters approaching it by boat, but on Tuesday the vessel flipped, dumping the three in shallow water. Nobody was hurt and the opera continued after a short pause. Queen of the Night Kathryn Lewek made light of things, tweeting: “My Bregenz contract stated I must not be afraid of heights and be physically fit — but nothing about swimming.”
Severed foot found in Jersey
New Jersey State Police say a coastal fisherman has found a high-top sneaker on the beach, with the remains of a foot inside. Police said some of the toes still had nail polish on them, but they say the gender and age of the victim have not yet been established. The discovery was made early on Tuesday afternoon at an inlet in Ocean City, about 16km south of Atlantic City. Police said the remains of the right foot have been sent to the state anthropologist for examination.
Teen admits strangling girl
A teenager on Wednesday admitted to strangling a 12-year-old girl who disappeared last fall while out riding her bike, leading to a massive search that ended when her body was found in a recycling bin several blocks from her home in Clayton, 40km south of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Justin Robinson, 16, pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter in the death of Autumn Pasquale after agreeing to have his case moved to adult court. County Prosecutor Warren Faulk said the boy admitted luring the girl to his home to trade bike parts, but declined to discuss a motive. Under a plea agreement, Robinson faces a 17-year prison sentence with no chance of parole for more than 14 years. His brother Dante, who was 17 at the time, is also charged with murder. His case is pending in juvenile court. Authorities credited a tip from the suspects’ mother with helping solve the case. They said she saw something in one of her sons’ Facebook postings that gave her cause to call the police.
Shark found on NY subway
The New York City Transit Authority said a conductor found a small dead shark aboard a subway train in Queens on Wednesday. The conductor asked passengers to leave the car and closed it. The train continued to the end of the line and a supervisor then put the shark in the trash. Photographs on the blog Gothamist depict the shark. It appears to be about 1.2m long, has a cigarette in its mouth with a fare card and Red Bull can nearby. Transit officials say they are aware of the pictures, but are making no effort to find the person who posted them. The transit authority said it has “better things to do.”
Diner finds maggots in meal
A restaurant says it has switched vendors after a customer found a cluster of maggots in his sandwich at the Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia. Weekly traveler Joel Woloshuk told WSB-TV on Tuesday that he bought a sandwich from Cafe Intermezzo and realized the white specks on top of it were maggots — not parmesan — when they began moving. In a statement to WSB-TV, the cafe’s president said the case was isolated and could not have originated at the restaurant. He said the restaurant switched bread vendors and “not a single crumb” from the original bakery remains.
‘Macchiato madam’ sues city
A Seattle woman accused of using her espresso stands as drive-through brothels is suing the city to recover US$250,000 she says was wrongfully seized by police. Carmela Panico owns the Java Juggs and Twin Peaks, where customers are served by “bikini baristas.” She was arrested in June and accused of promoting prostitution, but has not been charged. The cash was seized in a search of her home in Washington State. Coffee shops in the Seattle area introduced bikini baristas several years ago, hiring attractive young women to serve up coffee wearing G-strings and pasties.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting