PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Armed group raids airport
About 30 heavily armed bandits robbed passengers and ransacked Lae Nadzab Airport yesterday, the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, as it warned travelers to be cautious. The airport in Nadzab was overrun by the group in the morning, with reports saying the robbers held the facility for two hours. Reports said the group was armed with pistols, rifles, homemade guns and machetes, and held about 30 passengers at gunpoint before escaping across the runway. One man was assaulted with a rifle butt as the bandits looted office equipment and food, the Australian Broadcasting Corp reported. “The nine security guards manning the airport said they were outnumbered and ordered at gunpoint to huddle up with the passengers in front of the terminal,” police spokesman David Terry told the broadcaster. He said the men were unable to break into safe of national carrier Air Niugini.
Park furiously rejects rumors
President Park Geun-hye yesterday hit out at “groundless” rumors circling her administration, some of which touch on her personal life. “There have been a lot of groundless allegations. It’s time to reveal the truth so that people should not be thrown into confusion any more,” Park said in televised comments to senior advisers. The latest allegation, made by the Segye Times daily, is that former Park aide Jeong Yun-hoe, who holds no official position, is meddling in state affairs. Citing an internal presidential office document, the newspaper said Jeong received regular briefings from senior presidential officials and had pushed for the dismissal of Park’s chief-of-staff. The Blue House insists the document is inaccurate, but state prosecutors launched a probe into how it was leaked. The officials named as those who briefed Jung have filed a defamation suit against the Segye Times. The report came days after the trial began of a Japanese journalist accused of defaming Park by mentioning local rumors that on the day the Sewol ferry sank, she was conducting a tryst with Jeong.
Anti-China blogger arrested
Police said they have arrested a blogger for posting “bad content” about the government, as part of a long-running crackdown on online dissent. Hong Le Tho, 65, was arrested in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday for posting articles “with bad content and incorrect information that reduce trust in state agencies,” the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement. Tho’s blog, called “Nguoi Lot Gach” — “a brick layer” — has run for at least three years and was regularly updated in Vietnamese, English and French with his commentary on social and political issues. Many of the posts were strongly anti-China, reflecting widespread animosity among many locals, including intellectuals.
Dotcom beats custody bid
US authorities have lost a motion to have cyberfugitive Kim Dotcom remanded in custody before his extradition hearing to face internet piracy charges in the US. An Auckland court yesterday rejected allegations that Dotcom, founder of the Megaupload file storage site, was a flight risk and had broken terms of his bail imposed after the flamboyant Internet entrepreneur was arrested by US and local authorities in 2012. While Dotcom, a German national and local resident, was free to return to his sprawling mansion in Auckland, his bail conditions were tightened to prevent him from traveling by helicopter and require him to report to police twice a week.
Hundreds tie the knot
It was Rio de Janeiro’s biggest mass wedding: a total of 1,960 couples who exchanged vows on Sunday in a hall next to the famous Maracana stadium. The big event brought out a whopping 12,000 people, between brides and grooms, friends and family and authorities — including a pack of judges, a Catholic priest and an Evangelical Christian pastor. Dubbed “I Do Day,” the event was sponsored by authorities to encourage many people who might not be able to afford to marry if they had to pay for licenses and banquet halls. The megacrowd gathered in the venue that is often used for major concerts. Couples tied the knot and friends took in a concert by samba star Dudu Nobre. Guests also got a free ride on local trains — nicknamed the “I Do Day Train” just for the occasion.
Man beaten to death in car
Police in St Louis, Missouri, say they have arrested two juveniles and are seeking two other suspects after a Bosnian man was beaten to death with hammers. Police said 32-year-old Zemir Begic was in his car early on Sunday when several young people approached and began damaging it. He suffered injuries to his head, abdomen, face and mouth in the attack and was pronounced dead at a hospital. About 50 people briefly blocked an intersection on Sunday night to protest the killing of Begic, who moved to St Louis from Miami this year. The Post-Dispatch newspaper reports St Louis police Chief Sam Dotson spoke with residents during the protest. He said the killing did not appear to be motivated by race or ethnicity. A motive has not been released.
Five charred bodies found
Authorities discovered five charred and decapitated bodies on Sunday in the turbulent state of Guerrero, state prosecutors said. The bodies were found early on Sunday morning in the back of a truck near the town of Chilapa, about 330km from Mexico City, a statement from state prosecutors said. Examiners identified the remains as likely those of three businessmen and two architects from the state of Morelos who were reportedly kidnapped on Wednesday last week, a prosecutor said. The grisly discovery comes after authorities found 11 other similarly burned and decapitated bodies in the same town last week.
No bail in boy in wall case
The father and stepmother of a boy who was found behind a fake wall four years after he was reported missing were both denied bail in their initial court appearance on Sunday in Clayton County court in Georgia. Gregory Jean, 37, and Samantha Davis, 42, were charged with obstruction, false imprisonment and child cruelty, local media reported. The couple were arrested, along with three juveniles, on Saturday last week after police found the 13-year-old boy hidden behind a false wall in a linen cupboard of their home in Jonesboro, near Atlanta. Police told Atlanta’s Channel 2 the mother reported the boy missing to child welfare authorities, but not to police, after he went to visit his father in 2010. Clayton County police were called to a house on Friday last week, but the occupants denied any knowledge of the child. Just to be sure, police searched the house. They found nothing, local media said. However, hours later police received another call and this time the boy was able to tell his mother where he was being held. According to the Channel 2, the teen had found a cellphone and downloaded an app through which he contacted his mother, who was in Florida.
‘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