Zhou attends event
Former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang (周永康) was all smiles yesterday as he attended an alumni celebration at his former university, his first public appearance since overseas media reported that he was being investigated for corruption. Zhou, 70, one of the most powerful politicians of the past decade, attended an alumni celebration at the China University of Petroleum, according to photographs posted by the university on its Web site. He was seen beaming and shaking hands.
Yoshinoya helps farmers
Fast-food chain Yoshinoya yesterday said it would grow rice and vegetables in Fukushima Prefecture, home to the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Operator Yoshinoya Holdings said it had set up a joint venture with local farmers to grow rice, onions and cabbages in a 4.3 hectare field in Shirakawa, 80km from the plant. It will also build a facility to process vegetables for use in Yoshinoya restaurants, the firm said, adding strict radiation screening measures will be put in place. Farmers across Fukushima, a large area that was mainly unaffected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, have complained about plunging produce prices.
Flood fears voiced
The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department says floods have killed more than 20 people and affected areas across the country in the past two weeks, while concern is growing there could be a repeat of the 2011 floods that killed more than 800 people and devastated wide swathes of the kingdom. The department says 32 out of 77 provinces have seen flooding since the middle of last month and 23 people have been killed.
A court yesterday sentenced the founder of a pro-royalist protest movement to two years in jail for insulting the monarchy by repeating comments deemed offensive made by a political rival. Businessman Sondhi Limthongkul led so-called “yellow shirt” protests from 2005 to 2008 that undermined two governments. “The accused had no reason to repeat comments made by a political rival in a public space as repeating them made those words known to an even wider audience,” a judge told a Bangkok court.
Lawmaker proposes at work
A politician stunned his girlfriend and won new fans with a nationally televised wedding proposal in the House of Representatives. Francisco Ashley Acedillo, 36, got down on bended knee during a break in a budget debate on Friday last week. Acedillo yesterday said he lured his girlfriend of three years, Maria Paz Ocampo, 28, to Congress by telling her he was about to deliver an important speech. Acedillo said he was initially unsure of parliamentary protocol, but the House leadership gave him permission.
An opposition member of parliament was sentenced to death yesterday for war crimes, becoming the first lawmaker to be convicted for offenses committed during the 1971 war of independence. Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a leader of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, was “found guilty of nine charges of war crimes, including genocide” and was sentenced to death, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said.
Knox retrial to see new DNA
A judge presiding over the retrial of US student Amanda Knox on Monday ordered new DNA tests on the knife that prosecutors say was used to kill her British roommate in 2007. Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were found guilty in 2009 of murdering 21-year-old Meredith Kercher. They were acquitted on appeal in 2011, but the acquittal was later quashed by the Supreme Court. Neither appeared in court on Monday for the first hearing in the retrial. Knox, now back home in Seattle, has said she will not be returning to Italy. Judge Alessandro Nencini will also hear new testimony from jailed Naples mafia member Luciano Aviello, who previously said his brother killed Kercher. The new checks on the presumed murder weapon will examine a trace that was not tested because experts said it was too small to produce reliable results.
Keita cuts France trip short
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was to cut short a visit to France yesterday amid renewed fighting between insurgents and the military at home. Insurgents launched a fresh attack against the Malian army in the rebel bastion of Kidal on Monday, the military told reporters, after weekend violence erupted following the breakdown of peace talks. Keita was to meet French President Francois Hollande yesterday morning as scheduled, but will then return home, shortening his trip by two days, a source in his entourage in Paris said.
BASE jumpers baffle police
New York security video footage shows two daredevils dressed in black floating in parachutes from a height of about 40 stories before landing on a street near the World Trade Center and disappearing into the night, police said on Monday. Investigators were studying that video and other footage to try to identify the parachutists and determine which high-rise they leapt from at about 3am. The jumpers landed about two blocks from each other on West Street.
Sentenced man married
The bride wore white; the groom wore shackles. The marriage of Danne Desbrow and his fiancee, Destiny, came just minutes after he was sentenced to 53 years to life in prison for first-degree murder, the Union-Tribune San Diego reported on Monday. San Diego Superior Court Judge Patricia Cookson officiated at both events. She even baked a cake for the Sept. 17 ceremony, the newspaper said. Desbrow was sentenced for the 2003 killing of Kevin Santos. His defense attorney argued Desbrow was defending himself in a fight. During the two-month trial, Desbrow proposed to his girlfriend. The two met in high school, but lost contact after she became pregnant at 16, the paper said. They reunited in January after the mother tracked down Desbrow so their son could meet his father.
Pussy Riot member given IV
Jailed Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been put on an IV drip in hospital on the eighth day of her hunger strike, a prison doctor said on Monday. Tolokonnikova went on hunger strike on Sept. 23, releasing an open letter in which she described harrowing conditions at her prison and claimed she had received death threats over her complaints. The head of her penal colony, Alexander Kulagin, said on state TV that she would be force-fed glucose via her drip if her health worsened. “We are primarily humane people and therefore we will use [this] if her state of health gets worse,” he said.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
SURGE CONTINUES: India recorded its steepest spike of more than 57,000 new virus cases in 24 hours, as Vietnam went from no virus deaths to reporting three South Korean prosecutors yesterday arrested the elderly leader of a secretive religious sect as part of an investigation into allegations that the church hampered the government’s COVID-19 response after thousands of worshipers were infected in February and March. Prosecutors in the central city of Suwon have been questioning 88-year-old Lee Man-hee, chairman of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, over charges that the church hid some members and underreported gatherings to avoid broader quarantines. The Suwon District Court granted prosecutors’ request to arrest Lee over concerns that he could temper with evidence. Lee and his church have steadfastly denied the accusations, saying they are