Three policemen shot
Three policemen were shot dead in an ambush by suspected Muslim militants in the insurgency-racked far south, an official said yesterday. The three Muslim officers were returning from evening prayers when they were attacked on Thursday night in Krong Pinang District in Yala Province, police said. “It’s the work of militants who want to incite further unrest,” Yala deputy police commander Colonel Banlue Chuwet said by telephone. An imam was shot in the leg in the same attack, he added.
Senator refuses to make plea
A court has entered a not-guilty plea for a senator and dictatorship-era martial law enforcer who has been detained on charges of economic plunder with two other prominent colleagues. The Sandiganbayan Court made the move after ailing Senator Juan Ponce Enrile refused to enter a plea on Friday to the large-scale corruption charge, which he has denied. The 90-year-old legislator was brought to the court in an ambulance from a police hospital, where he has been detained since surrendering last week. Enrile and two other senators were ordered arrested by the court for allegedly receiving huge kickbacks from a scam that diverted millions of dollars from antipoverty and development funds allotted to lawmakers. Enrile was defense minister when former president Ferdinand Marcos placed the nation under martial rule in 1972.
Inter-island ferry sinks
Two people were confirmed dead and another two were missing after an inter-island ferry sank in the Pacific archipelago yesterday, with survivors forced to endure more than six hours adrift, officials said. The ferry carrying 30 passengers and 13 crew sank in the early hours of the morning as it was sailing from Malekula to the capital, Port Vila, Vanuatu Red Cross chief executive Jacqueline De Gaillande said. “The accident happened at 2am this morning [yesterday] and we were aware of it at 8am,” she said. “By 10am the boat had completely sunk in 800 feet [240m] of water... Right now, we have 28 passengers safe and 11 crew. The bodies of two women passengers have been recovered, and there is one crew member and one child missing.” De Gaillande said the cause of the accident was unknown.
Rickshaw takes motorway
A Frenchman pedaling home on a rickshaw took a wrong turn onto a motorway and was stopped by police on Wednesday. The rider, dressed in a straw hat and a gray sweater despite heavy rain, was apprehended near the town of Lewes. “Police helping a lost French man... on his way to Paris on his Rickshaw,” local police wrote on Twitter, with a photo of the man astride his three-wheeled cart. Police escorted the rider to the end of the motorway, where he was able to join a cycle path to continue his journey via the port of Newhaven.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big