Plague quarantine lifted
A nine-day quarantine imposed on parts of Yumen, Gansu Province, where a man died of bubonic plague, has been lifted, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday. A total of 151 people were under observation in the city after authorities determined they had come in contact with a man who died of the plague July 16, Xinhua said. It said none of them had reported symptoms of the disease. Investigators believe the 38-year-old man contracted the bacterial infection after contact with a marmot.
Trio lose testicles in attack
A man used a blunt razor to chop off the testicles of three residents of a nursing home in Heilongjiang Province, Xinhua reported yesterday. The suspect, who has been arrested, castrated a mentally disabled man aged 60 and removed one testicle each from two bedridden patients aged 53 and 80 on Tuesday, the agency said. Xinhua cited a member of staff as saying that the suspect, in his 30s, was mentally ill and housed at the home, but patients claimed he was an employee.
Train, bus crash kills 20
A train slammed into a school bus in Telangana state yesterday, killing at least 19 children and the driver, police said. The bus crossed a railway track at an unmanned crossing without stopping to check if the way was clear, Indian Railways spokesman Anil Kumar Saxena said. Police said the bus was carrying 32 children, 12 of whom died on the spot. Seven more died in a nearby hospital, where others are in critical condition.
Rhino poacher gets 77 years
A rhino poacher has been sentenced to 77 years in prison in one of the heaviest penalties aimed at curbing poachers who target rhinos for their horns. The national parks service on Wednesday said that it hopes Tuesday’s sentencing of Mandla Chauke, who was arrested in the Kruger National Park in 2011, will deter other poachers. The parks service says Kruger has lost 370 rhinos to poachers this year and 62 people have been arrested in some of the cases.
Teen has 232 teeth pulled
Surgeons in Mumbai have removed 232 teeth from the mouth of a teenager in what they believe may be a world-record operation, JJ Hospital said yesterday. Ashik Gavai, 17, suffered from “complex odontoma,” head of dentistry Sunanda Dhivare-Palwankar said. “We operated on Monday and it took us almost seven hours. We thought it may be a simple surgery, but once we opened it there were multiple pearl-like teeth inside the jaw bone,” she said. After removing those they also found a larger “marble-like” structure which they struggled to shift and eventually had to “chisel out” and remove in fragments, she added. Dhivare-Palwankar said the literature they had come across on the condition showed a maximum of 37 teeth being removed in such a procedure, whereas she and her team had counted more than 232 taken from Gavai. “I think it could be a world record,” she said.
Special train cars planned
The State Railway of Thailand yesterday said it will relaunch carriages just for women and children on main routes, starting on Aug. 1, after a 13-year-old girl was raped and killed in her berth on an overnight train earlier this month. One railway employee was arrested in the rape and murder and a second was arrested as an accomplice.
Sudanese Christian arrives
A Sudanese woman who was spared a death sentence for converting from Islam to Christianity and then barred from leaving Sudan flew into Rome yesterday on a government plane, officials said. Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, whose sentence and detention triggered international outrage, arrived at Rome’s Ciampino Airport with her family and Italian Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Lapo Pistelli, TV pictures showed. There were no details on what led up to the 27-year-old’s departure from Khartoum, and there was no immediate comment from the Sudanese authorities. Ibrahim’s lawyer Mohaned Mostafa said he had not been told of her departure. “I don’t know anything about such news, but so far the complaint that was filed against Mariam and which prevents her from traveling from Sudan has not been canceled,” Mostafa said.
Opposition leader on trial
Jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez went on trial on Wednesday, accused of masterminding anti-government protests that turned violent and left 43 people dead and almost 900 injured. Days after the demonstrations began in mid-February, Lopez turned himself in to authorities and has been in a military jail since. A Caracas court heard accusations against him of inciting crime and being the intellectual author of damages and arson. Eighty-seven people remain behind bars, including 16 state security officials.
Teen pilot’s dad missing
Rescue workers yesterday searched for the father of a teenager whose plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean as he attempted to set a record for an around-the-world flight with his father accompanying him, authorities said. Family spokeswoman Annie Hayat said the plane flown by 17-year-old Haris Suleman went down shortly after leaving Pago Pago in American Samoa on Tuesday night. Hayat said the body of Haris Suleman had been recovered, but rescue workers were still looking for Pakistani-born Babar Suleman. Haris Suleman had recently obtained his pilot’s license and instrument rating, which authorized him to fly an aircraft over oceans, and planned to be the pilot in command except in an emergency.
Ex-Nazi guard dies
A former Nazi concentration camp guard died hours before a judge on Wednesday ordered his extradition to Germany, where he faced charges of aiding and abetting the deaths of 216,000 Jews. Johann Breyer, 89, who served during World War II as an armed guard at Buchenwald and Auschwitz, and emigrated to Philadelphia in 1952, died overnight, said Jim Burke, a supervisory deputy at the US Marshal’s Service. He said Breyer had been held at a Philadelphia hospital.
Visa database crashes
The State Department’s global database for issuing travel documents has crashed, resulting in major delays for potentially millions of people around the world waiting for US passports and visas, officials said on Wednesday. Unspecified problems in the department’s Consular Consolidated Database have resulted in “significant performance issues, including outages” since Saturday in the processing of applications for passports, visas and reports of Americans born abroad, spokeswoman Marie Harf said. She said the problem is worldwide and not specific to any particular country.
‘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
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
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference