Water cannons used on blind
Police spraying water cannons stopped 13 unemployed blind university graduates from setting themselves on fire in Rabat on Wednesday in protest against a public sector hiring freeze. The 13 had tied themselves together with ropes around their necks to block a main street, poured fuel over their clothes and threatened to set themselves on fire. Police moved in quickly to spray the protesters with water cannons to dampen the fuel before chasing them away using batons. Hundreds of chanting protesters demanding jobs in the public sector joined them in support.
Tigers killed for shows
More than 10 tigers have been killed as “visual feasts” to entertain officials and rich businesspeople in Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province, the state-run Nanfang Daily reported on Wednesday. Zhanjiang police seized a freshly slaughtered tiger and multiple tiger products in a raid this month, the paper said. Officials and successful businesspeople gathered to watch the tigers being killed to show off their social stature, it said. Video footage of a killing two years ago showed a tiger in an iron cage having an electrified iron mass prodded into its mouth with a wooden stick and passing out after being electrocuted for more than 10 seconds, the paper said. Police said a butcher hired to cut up the tiger carcasses — who jumped to his death while trying to escape arrest in a raid — had killed more than 10 animals.
Gorilla plan outlined
The Cross River gorilla, the world’s rarest gorilla sub-species, which is believed to be down to less than 300 remaining individuals, can be saved with a US$10.5 million action plan, conservationists say. The gorillas live in a hilly rainforest area along the Nigeria-Cameroon border. World Conservation Society experts believe the sub-species population could remain stable and even increase if a new five-year plan is put into place to protect it from poachers who hunt it for bushmeat, and habitat loss. The plan calls for more research into the gorillas’ distribution, more local-led conservation efforts, monitoring of disease, ecotourism developments and safeguarding of “corridors” between the species’ main sites.
Ebola outbreak contained
Government officials said on Wednesday that an outbreak of Ebola fever has been stopped from spreading beyond the country’s remote southeast, although the number of deaths from suspected infections rose to at least 63. UN agencies and medical charities such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) have scrambled to help the country. An MSF spokesperson said the number of suspected infections had risen by just two from Tuesday to 88, according to government figures.
Kim Dotcom forms party
Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom, who is battling extradition to the US, launched his own political party yesterday to campaign for a “free and fair” society. The flamboyant 40-year-old German-born founder of the Megaupload file-sharing site claimed his Internet Party would “play an important role” in the general election scheduled for September. “This is a movement for the freedom of the Internet and technology, for privacy and political reform,” he said. The party was for “people who haven’t voted before, who have been disappointed by voting, or who don’t like the political choices on offer,” he said.