PM has hernia procedure
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu underwent successful hernia surgery yesterday and was set to be discharged from hospital the same day, but will require several days rest to make a full recovery, aides and doctors said. During the overnight procedure, Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon temporarily assumed the 63-year-old prime minister’s powers, Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. Yaalon was also slated to head a Cabinet-level meeting yesterday to select Palestinian security prisoners for release as part of US-sponsored peace negotiations, the second round of which are to take place on Wednesday in Jerusalem. Yuval Weiss, director of the Jerusalem hospital where the surgery took place, said the operation was ordered at short notice as a precaution against Netanyahu’s condition deteriorating.
US teacher deported
A US nursery-school teacher has been deported for allegedly writing articles on social media sites linked to radical groups and for violating the terms of her work permit as the kingdom intensifies its crackdown on dissent. The Ministry of State for Communications did not identify the woman, but said she wrote under a pen name and had broken the law by working as an unaccredited journalist. The teacher wrote articles for online publications including As-Safir newspaper, which is linked to the Shiite group Hezbollah, and the outlawed Bahrain Center for Human Rights newsletter, the state news agency said on Saturday. The ministry had received a complaint about the woman who used Twitter and other social media to write articles “deemed to incite hatred against the government and members of the Royal family, as well as spreading misinformation and encouraging divisions in Bahraini society based on religious sect,” it said.
Nation braces for typhoon
Officials say more than 3,000 passengers have been stranded on piers in the northeast of the nation as ferry services were suspended due to an approaching typhoon, the strongest to threaten the country this year. Government forecasters told reporters yesterday that Typhoon Utor, with winds of 150kph gusting up to 185 kph, could gather strength over the Philippine Sea before it slams into northeastern Aurora province today. Utor, moving west-northwest at 19kph, was forecast to dump up to 25mm of rain an hour within a 600km diameter of the typhoon, the bureau said. “Residents in low-lying and mountainous areas ... are alerted against possible flash floods and landslides,” it stated in an advisory. The bureau also warned seafarers to remain at port due to strong waves.
Chinese killed at Kabul party
Police say that three Chinese citizens found dead in an apartment building in Kabul last week were shot to death during a party. General Mohammad Zahir, chief of the criminal department of the Kabul Police, yesterday confirmed reports in the Chinese media that authorities found four bodies, including three Chinese citizens — two women and one man — in an apartment on Thursday. “They had a party and what happened during their party? Who shot and killed four people? We have to find out and we will come up with the answers after we complete our investigation,” he said. Zahir also confirmed that two more Chinese went missing, but one had been found. He said the fourth body was an Afghan, without giving further details.
Ship carried more explosives
Authorities say they have found more explosives aboard a North Korean-flagged ship detained in the Panama Canal for carrying undeclared arms from Cuba. Anti-drug prosecutor Javier Caraballo said on Saturday that inspectors found a kind of “anti-tank RPG [rocket-propelled grenade]” explosive when they opened one of five wooden boxes on the Chong Chon Gang. He said the other boxes were not opened because of security fears. The discovery comes just over a week after authorities said explosive-sniffing dogs had found another batch of ammunition for grenade launchers and other unidentified types of munitions. The ship was seized on July 15 based on intelligence that it may have been carrying drugs. The manifest said it was carrying 10,000 tonnes of sugar, but Cuban military equipment was found beneath the sacks.
Boys killed by python buried
Two young brothers who were killed by a python that had escaped from its quarters were buried in the same coffin on Saturday. Connor and Noah Barthe, aged six and four respectively, were laid to rest in a service attended by about 100 people. They were found dead on Monday last week in an apartment above a pet shop in the town of Campbellton, New Brunswick. “It is a moment of extreme suffering, but there should not be anger or accusations at this time,” military chaplain Maurice Frenette said. The boys had been enjoying a sleepover with a friend, the young son of Jean-Claude Savoie, whose private menagerie of exotic animals included an African rock python. The initial police investigation found that the python probably managed to escape from its terrarium in Savoie’s apartment by nosing through a ventilation duct in the ceiling and dropping into the boys’ bedroom nearby. Animal experts expressed astonishment at the tragedy, many noting that African rock pythons would not normally attack humans.
Lula gets cancer all-clear
Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was given the all clear on Saturday after tests showed no sign of the throat cancer he was diagnosed with two years ago. “The medical team did not notice a return of the disease,” Roberto Kalil Filho of Sao Paulo’s Sirio-libanes hospital told a press conference. Lula underwent a PET/CT tomography scan, a Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan and a laryngoscopy and all three test results were deemed normal, the doctors said.
Kingpin set to be freed
Defense attorneys believe freedom is imminent for a second member of the trio of drug kingpins responsible for the 1985 slaying of a US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent, one of his attorneys said on Saturday. In the US, outrage grew over the surprise decision to overturn drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero’s 40-year sentence for the notorious kidnapping, torture and murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena on procedural grounds after 28 years behind bars, saying he should have originally been prosecuted in state instead of federal court. Also imprisoned in the Camarena case are Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo and Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, two of the founding fathers of modern drug trafficking in the country. Fonseca Carrillo’s attorney, Jose Luis Guizar, said his team had filed an appeal based on the same procedural grounds used by Caro Quintero, and expected him to be freed within 15 days by a different court in Jalisco.
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘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
‘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
CHANGING PERCEPTIONS: In its tender, the Hong Kong administration said that it had failed to ‘mobilise the community to support law enforcement actions’ The Hong Kong government has agreed to pay millions of pounds to a discreet London-based PR firm to counter coverage of the territory in the international media. Consulum, which has also represented Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was on Monday awarded the ￡5 million (US$6.2 million) one-year contract to improve Hong Kong’s reputation — the same day that China passed national security legislation targeting the territory. The Mayfair-based PR business was founded by Tim Ryan and Matthew Gunther Bushell, two former employees of Bell Pottinger, an agency that has been criticized for representing some governments and leaders that other businesses