Photos lead to man’s death
A 69-year-old British tourist was trampled to death by an elephant in India on Thursday as he was engrossed in taking photographs, according to reports. The tourist, named by the Press Trust of India (PTI) only as Collins, was near the wildlife resort town of Masinagudi in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. He was taking a photograph of an elephant in a river when two others attacked him from behind, PTI cited police as saying. PTI reported that Collins was “fully focused” on taking pictures and did not hear warnings from other tourists. One of the elephants trampled his legs and abdomen, the report said. He was rushed to hospital, but pronounced dead. Indian elephants can grow up to 6.4m long and 3.5m tall and weigh up to 5 tonnes, according to the WWF.
Murakami is Nobel favorite
Japanese literary superstar Haruki Murakami is favorite for this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature, betting odds showed yesteday, after repeatedly being mentioned as a contender for the prestigious global gong. Online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com was yesterday offering odds of 3 to 1 on the novelist scooping up the prize, which will be announced in Sweden next month. Murakami, who has a large and loyal following worldwide, has been a regular nominee for the prize for many years, and was Ladbrokes’ top bet at one point last year, when he lost out to China’s Mo Yan (莫言). In the odds offered by Ladbrokes, Murakami is followed by US writer Joyce Carol Oates at 6 to 1. Murakami, who spends much of his time in the US, is known for writing lyrically and surreally about Japanese who refuse to toe the line in a homogenous society, peppering his works with pop culture references.
Putin gives Berlusconi tips
Russian President Vladimir Putin rallied behind his old friend Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday, saying the former Italian prime minister would not have faced trial for having sex with a minor if he were gay. “Berlusconi is being tried because he lives with women. If he were homosexual, no one would lift a finger against him,” he told a gathering of journalists and Russia experts. Putin’s comment provoked laughter in the audience over what appeared to be a reference to criticism abroad over a law he signed this year banning the spread of “anti-gay propaganda” among minors.
Blair’s daughter held up
The daughter of former prime minister Tony Blair was held up at gunpoint during an attempted robbery as she was out walking in London, local media said on Thursday. Kathryn Blair, 25, a barrister, was targeted as she walked down a central London street with her boyfriend and a group of friends, the BBC reported. Police confirmed an incident involving two male suspects with a gun took place in central London on Monday evening. “The victims were a man and a woman; the suspects were two males,” they said in a statement, adding the incident was being linked with another attempted robbery nearby 30 minutes earlier. “None of the victims were injured and nothing was stolen,” police said. Investigations were under way, but no arrests had been made, they said.
Renoir items fetch US$1.3m
Nearly US$1.3 million worth of art and personal items belonging to the French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir were sold at a New York City auction. Heritage Auctions says 143 lots were sold on Thursday, including Renoir’s Grande Venus Victorieuse.