Worst airport in the world
The nation’s main airport terminal in Metro Manila has been named the world’s worst for the second year in a row in a survey by an online travel Web site. Officials yesterday dismissed the survey results, insisting conditions were being improved. “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports” Web site said Manila’s crowded Terminal 1 was ranked the world’s worst by travelers based on comfort, convenience, cleanliness and customer service. Reviews posted on the site mentioned “dilapidated facilities,” dishonest airport workers — particularly taxi drivers — long waiting times and rude officials. “These are old issues,” Terminal 1 manager Dante Basanta said, adding that the problems were already being addressed by the government.
US director Bay attacked
Hollywood director Michael Bay was attacked during his stay in the territory to shoot the latest Transformers film, suffering injuries to his face, reports said on Thursday. Police said they had arrested two men in the early hours of Thursday morning after the attack on a 48-year-old man named by local media as the Armageddon director. The two men reportedly confronted Bay and his film crew in the Quarry Bay District, claiming they were owed HK$100,000 (US$12,900) compensation for filming in the area. Police have handed the case to specialist anti-triad units reserved for tackling criminal gangs.
Band member drops plea
Jailed Pussy Riot punk band member Maria Alekhina yesterday withdrew her plea for an early release in a show of support for a bandmate now in hospital after going on hunger strike to protest over prison conditions. Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are serving a two-year sentence for what critics termed a profanity-laden protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s main cathedral. “I do not have any moral right to take part in this court hearing at a time when my friend and fellow convict Nadezhda Tolokonnikova does not have such opportunity,” Alyokhina told the court in the city of Nizhny Novgorod. “She is currently in hospital or back in that same prison which we have heard horrible things about.”
Child sold for iPhone: report
A young couple are facing criminal punishment for “selling” their daughter and using part of the proceeds to buy an Apple iPhone, state media said yesterday. Shanghai prosecutors have brought a case against the couple for human trafficking after they illegally put their third child up for adoption through online postings and accepted money for the baby, the Liberation Daily reported. Investigators said the mother used the money to buy an iPhone, high-end sports shoes and other products, also online, it said. In an incident widely reported last year, a teenager sold his kidney and used the funds to buy an iPhone and an iPad.
Maya Angelou honored
Her body weak, her voice rich and strong, Maya Angelou sang, lectured and reminisced as she accepted a lifetime achievement award on Thursday night from the Norman Mailer Center. The 85-year-old author, poet, dancer and actress was honored during a benefit gala at the New York Public Library, the annual gathering organized by the Mailer Center and writers colony.
Security head named
President Barack Obama was to nominate attorney Jeh Johnson yesterday to be the next secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, a White House official said on Thursday. Johnson, who served as general counsel in the Department of Defense during Obama’s first term, would succeed Janet Napolitano, who stepped down earlier this year. Johnson is now a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He authored a report that helped lead to the 2010 repeal of the “Don’t’ Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.