Leopard runs riot in city
A leopard sparked panic in Meerut, 60km northeast of New Delhi, when it strayed inside a hospital, a cinema and an apartment block before evading captors, an official said yesterday. Authorities closed schools in the city after the leopard was discovered prowling the streets on Sunday, a senior city official said. “Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to track the leopard down. We have launched a massive hunt for the beast,” Additional District Magistrate S.K. Dubey said. The cat was found inside an army hospital on Sunday. Wildlife officers were called and managed to fire a tranquilizer dart into the animal, Dubey said. “But despite that he managed to break [out through] the iron grills and escaped,” he added.
Interim government resigns
The government has resigned, Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi said yesterday, a step likely to pave the way for army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to declare his candidacy for president. Al-Beblawi, who was tasked by interim President Adly Mansour with running the government until polls are held, did not give a clear reason for the move. “This [government resignation] was done as a step that was needed ahead of [al-]Sisi’s announcement that he will run for president,” an official said. For al-Sisi to run, he would first need to quit as defense minister. The official said the Cabinet resigned en masse because al-Sisi did not want to be seen as acting alone.
Dead elephant group found
Seven elephants have been found dead on Sumatra Island and it is thought they were poisoned, a wildlife official said yesterday. Dozens of Sumatran elephants have died after being poisoned in recent years, as they come into conflict with humans due to the rapid expansion of palm oil plantations into their habitat. The latest to die were a female adult, five male teenagers and a male calf believed to be from the same herd, wildlife agency spokesman Muhammad Zanir said. Their remains were found on Feb. 16 outside Tesso Nilo National Park and it is thought they died five months earlier, Zanir said.
Thieves steal giant mango
Thieves armed with heavy machinery and cranes made a daring midnight heist in Queensland, stealing a 10m, 7 tonne mango monument, officials said yesterday. The Big Mango, a towering likeness of the fruit in the statue’s hometown of Bowen, is one of more than 150 “Big Things” erected as kitschy tourist attractions across the country. Bowen Tourism chairman Paul McLaughlin told Australian Broadcasting Corp he thought it was a joke at first, but “I’ve come out and sure enough the mango has disappeared.” McLaughlin said there was surveillance footage of the heist and he was sure the plundered fruit would be found. “At the end of the day it’s a bloody big mango and I’m sure someone will see it and we’ll find it anyway,” he told the Brisbane Times.
Molten metal kills worker
A factory worker has died after 13 tonnes of molten metal tipped over him, police said yesterday. Kazuki Tada, 23, was working on Saturday morning beneath a huge bucket containing an alloy that had been heated to about 1,300?C at a Nippon Denko plant in the country’s southwest. The bucket, which was suspended in mid-air, overbalanced, pouring the molten metal on Tada, police said. An investigation into the accident is underway, a police spokesman said.