Aussie cooperation halted
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said yesterday that the nation is suspending cooperation with Canberra on people smuggling following allegations that Australian spies tried to tap his telephone and those of his inner circle. He told reporters in Jakarta that Jakarta would temporarily halt coordinated military cooperation with Australia, which includes assistance on people smuggling. “You are well aware that we are facing a joint problem of people smuggling that has been a problem for both Australia and Indonesia,” he said. He said that Canberra and Jakarta work together in an area called “coordinated military cooperation,” which involves patrols at sea. “I have asked for that to be halted until everything is clear,” he said.
Jail hunting for escapees
It is 103 and counting — that is the number of prisoners on the loose after escaping Tacloban City Jail when a super typhoon devastated the central Philippines, flooded the prison and smashed open the main gate. The prisoners had been freed from their cells so that they could seek higher ground, but while some rode the water to the safety of the warden’s second-floor office, others followed the water out the front door. “They swam through,” warden Joseph Nunez said. “We are still missing 117.” That number had come down to 103 by late on Tuesday as some inmates turned themselves in and a team of correction officers, armed with M-16 rifles and 9mm handguns, hunted down a handful of others on the streets.
Mandela charges dropped
The state prosecutor announced it had withdrawn charges of grave tampering and bigamy against Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Mandla, on Tuesday because of insufficient evidence. In July, Mandla — embroiled in a bitter family feud — was charged with tampering with the graves of his famous grandfather’s children, after he exhumed them without consent. “We have decided to drop the charges of grave violation because of insufficient evidence,” said Luxolo Tyali, a spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority. Mandla had also faced a long-standing charge of bigamy after his unceremonious separation from his first wife, Thando Mabunu, in 2008. “After studying the police docket on this matter, we also decided not to prosecute,” Tyali said. The 39-year-old is still facing a charge of pulling a gun on a motorist during a road rage incident last month.
Widow sleeps with corpse
A Brussels widow slept next to her mummified husband’s corpse for a year, her landlord said after making the macabre discovery during an eviction, a Belgian daily reported on Tuesday. La Derniere Heure published striking pictures of a shawl-wrapped, emaciated body with a long white mustache, sunken eye sockets and protruding rib-cage, covered in a film of dried skin. The newspaper said the images were of a man who had died at the age of 73 after living in the Anderlecht district of the Belgian capital for a dozen years or so with his wife. According to initial medical tests, he died of natural causes a year ago. The gruesome find emerged because the rent on their apartment had not been paid since November last year and the landlord launched eviction proceedings. “I have seen dead people before ... but never in this condition,” the landlord was quoted as saying. “The lady slept next to her husband’s body.” Neighbors said the widow had told them her husband was away “receiving treatment.”