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.”