Gamblers publicly caned
Authorities have publicly caned eight men who were convicted of gambling in conservative Aceh province. About a thousand people watched as the eight men were caned inside a mosque compound after Friday prayers in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh. An official said police arrested nine people who were gambling in July and seized about US$130 in cash from them, but one could not be caned because of his health condition. A state prosecutor read out their punishment and a masked man wearing robes used a thin rattan cane to whip their backs five times each. Indonesia allows Aceh on Sumatra Island to follow a version of Shariah law, which forbids gambling.
Porn purge strikes sites
China’s Cyperspace Administration has closed nearly 1.8 million accounts on social networking and instant messaging services since it launched an anti-pornography campaign in April, state news agency Xinhua reported yesterday. The campaign has been focused on shutting down Web sites showing pornography and services used to solicit prostitution. Most of the accounts closed were associated with microblogs, smartphone app WeChat and the instant messaging service QQ, Xinhua quoted the Cyberspace Administration as saying. Many of the accounts were shut down by the companies owning the apps themselves after public complaints, Xinhua said. There was no immediate comment from any of the companies involved. Beijing regularly launches anti-pornography campaigns because the Chinese Communist Party considers it deeply offensive to public morals. Tencent Holding Ltd’s WeChat is among China’s biggest messaging apps with more than 300 million users.
Massive jade deposit found
A massive deposit of jade weighing about 600 tonnes has been found in northeast China, state media said on Friday. The government in Liaoning Province said miners discovered the deposit while digging in a cave in Kuandian Man Autonomous County last year, Xinhua news agency reported. Jade holds mythical properties in China, where it is believed to ward off evil spirits and bring better health. Wang Xingdong, general manager of the local mining company that found the deposit, said it was priceless, according to the report. There is no international pricing system for jade. Seen as a classier status symbol than gold, values have been increasing since 2005 as the newly-rich in China have bought-up jade products.
Criminal exaggerates death
A French criminal came up with a cunning plan to escape the long arm of the law by announcing his own funeral, which both the police and his unsuspecting granny attended. The 26-year-old, wanted for a long list of offenses including fraud and theft, placed a death notice in the Ouest-France regional paper and online. “His mother, father, brothers, sister and the whole of the family would like to inform you of the death of [Cedric L], who passed away on Thursday, September 11, at the age of 26,” the notice read. “The funeral will be celebrated Tuesday, September 16 at 10:30.” However, police smelt a rat and turned up to the funeral at the appointed time to find neither a body nor a funeral — just a bemused grandmother who was not in on the act. The young man planned the scam with great precision, phoning the funeral service pretending to be his brother and then the paper, which dutifully “confirmed” the information with the funeral home.
Director held for nude scene
A German avant-garde director and his crew spent a night in police custody over a racy nude scene shot in one of Greece’s most famous monuments, a culture ministry source said on Friday. Matthias Langhoff, 73, a naturalized French citizen, ran foul of authorities while filming in the ancient theater of Epidaurus in the Peloponnese late on Wednesday. Site guards intervened after midnight when one of the actresses disrobed and, according to reports, began simulating a sex act in the stands. “A case has been opened by the police, on the charge of insulting a sacred site,” a culture ministry source told reporters. The official added that Langhoff had secured the necessary permission in July to film in the ancient theater after visiting hours, but the nude scene was not part of the script he submitted to authorities.
Cougar shot outside hospital
At least one cougar prompted a lockdown on Thursday at a hospital in the western city of Calgary after it wandered into tall grass nearby for a nap. A Calgary police spokeswoman told reporters one big cat near the hospital’s front entrance was eventually shot dead, and officers were searching for another after several reported sightings. The cougar was “just sitting in the long grass,” the spokeswoman said. Meanwhile “everyone [was] being kept indoors or away, except for medical emergencies.” Fish and wildlife officers had arrived at the scene to try to contain, tranquillize and relocate the animal or animals, but decided to kill the cougar for safety reasons, she said. “It’s likely we’re dealing with [multiple sightings of] only one cougar, but we’re searching the area just to be sure,” the police spokeswoman said.
Flores jailed over bribe
Former president Francisco Flores, accused of embezzling US$15 million donated by Taiwan while in office, was sent to prison on Friday after the court revoked his house arrest. Under heavy elite police guard, the ex-leader was taken from his home in an exclusive residential area in the west of San Salvador and taken in a police car to the Anti-Narcotics Division, where he was confined to a cell, civil police deputy chief Howard Cotto told reporters. On Thursday, the First Criminal Chamber overturned a Sept. 5 court ruling that allowed Flores to remain under house arrest for the duration of the trial. Flores, who was president from 1999 to 2004, is accused of embezzlement, illicit enrichment, and actions detrimental to public administration.
Anti-Islamic ads coming
Anti-Islamic ads will begin appearing on 100 New York City buses and at two subway entrances next week. The six ads include an image of US journalist James Foley, just before he was beheaded, standing next to his masked executioner. The ads are paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative run by anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller. She says the campaign tells truths about Islam and jihad that the government and mainstream media ignore. All the ads feature a disclaimer that says the viewpoints are not endorsed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Under a federal court ruling, the agency is required to run viewpoint ads, but the MTA requires a disclaimer. The American Freedom Defense Initiative has posted ads on New York’s transit system in the past that called enemies of Israel “savages.”
Chmalpahin codex exhibited
Three volumes of hand-written, indigenous accounts that vividly describe pre-Hispanic history are on public display in the country’s capital after returning to the country from London. The Chimalpahin codex was long part of the archives of the British and Foreign Bible Society. However, Christie’s auction house says it facilitated the purchase of the 17th-century manuscript by Mexico’s National Anthropology and History Institute earlier this year. The auction house says the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City began publicly displaying the manuscripts Thursday. Christie’s says the manuscripts are written in Nahuatl and Spanish and contain largely unpublished accounts about native life, society and politics. They belonged to the famed library of Don Carlos Siguenza y Gongora, one of the first great intellectuals born in New Spain.
Hurricane toll rises to three
The death toll from Hurricane Odile rose to three on Friday after the body of a second South Korean man was found floating in a harbor in Mexico’s Los Cabos resort. Authorities also reported that two British citizens were missing, five days after Odile tore across the northwestern Baja California peninsula causing widespread damage to hotels and neighborhoods. The 58-year-old South Korean mining executive’s body was recovered one day after his colleague was found dead from drowning, prosecutors said in a statement. The two men were trying to drive a car across a stream when they were swept away by floods earlier this week. A German man died of a heart attack in a boat. Helicopters were deployed to search for a Scottish man and woman whose boat apparently sank, said state tourism secretary Ruben Reachi Lugo. The hurricane stranded 30,000 tourists in Los Cabos after roads and airports were damaged. An airlift has evacuated 18,000.
On the Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo, enthusiastic slackers share their tips: Fill up a thermos with whiskey, do planks or stretches in the work pantry at regular intervals, drink liters of water to prompt lots of trips to the toilet on work time, and, once there, spend time on social media or playing games on your phone. “Not working hard is everyone’s basic right,” one commenter wrote. “With or without legal protection, everyone has the right to not work hard.” Young Chinese people are pushing back against an engrained culture of overwork, and embracing a philosophy of laziness known as “touching
‘STUNNED’: With help from an official at the US Department of Justice, Donald Trump reportedly planned to oust the acting attorney general in a bid to overturn the election Former US president Donald Trump was at his Florida resort on Saturday, beginning post-presidency life while US President Joe Biden settled into the White House, but in Washington and beyond, the chaos of the 45th president’s final days in office continued to throw out damaging aftershocks. In yet another earth-shaking report, the New York Times said that Trump plotted with an official at the US Department of Justice to fire the acting attorney general, then force Georgia Republicans to overturn his defeat in that state. Meanwhile, former acting US secretary of defense Christopher Miller made an extraordinary admission, telling Vanity Fair that
The Palauan president-elect has vowed to stand up to Chinese “bullying” in the Pacific, saying that the archipelago nation is set to stand by its alliances with “true friends,” Taiwan and the US. Surangel Whipps Jr, 52, a supermarket owner and two-time senator from a prominent Palauan family, is to be sworn in as the new president tomorrow, succeeding his brother-in-law, Tommy Remengesau Jr. In a forthright interview, Whipps said that the US had demonstrated over the years that it was a reliable friend of Palau, most recently shown by its delivery of 6,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. “It’s important for
Boeing set a target of designing and certifying its jetliners to fly on 100 percent sustainable fuels by 2030, amid rising pressure on planemakers to take climate change seriously. Regulators allow a 50-50 blend of sustainable and conventional fuels, and Boeing on Friday said it would work with authorities to raise the limit. Rival Airbus is considering another tack: a futuristic lineup of hydrogen-powered aircraft that would reach the skies by 2035. The aircraft manufacturers face growing public clamor to cut emissions in the aviation industry, which added more than 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in 2019, according to