Four aid workers killed
Four members of a polio immunization team have been found murdered after being kidnapped in the southwest, officials said yesterday. Local militants had abducted the vaccination worker, two local tribal policemen and a driver in the Zhob District of Baluchistan Province on Saturday. “Security agencies conducted several operations to recover the polio worker and other team members and finally found their bodies in the mountains on Tuesday,” said Nazar Muhammad Khatran, a senior local administration official in Zhob. Taliban militants claim that the polio vaccination drive is a front for espionage or a conspiracy to sterilize Muslims.
Subhan to be executed
A domestic war crimes tribunal yesterday ordered the execution of a senior Islamist leader after convicting him of atrocities during the 1971 independence war, triggering violence outside the court. Three Molotov cocktails thrown by suspected anti-government activists exploded outside the courthouse in central Dhaka as Abdus Subhan, a vice president of the nation’s largest Islamist party, Jamaat-Islami, was found guilty of murder, genocide and torture. Justice Obaidul Hassan, head of the International Crimes Tribunal, handed down the sentences, saying the 79-year-old leader would be “hanged by the neck until his death.” Defense lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.
Elderly locked and tied
Scores of elderly people living in sheltered accommodation in Tokyo have been routinely tied to their beds or locked in their rooms, officials said yesterday. A Tokyo authority has ordered a care provider to stop the abuse of elderly people in three separate buildings, after inspectors found about 130 people being routinely restrained against their will. The health ministry said in 2001 that bodily restraints should only be used when there is no alternative means of protecting the patient and the care giver. It also said such restraints should only be temporary. “It was difficult for us to see the wrongdoing because these condominiums were not formally registered as residences for the elderly, rather the landlords had insisted that they were being rented out as regular homes,” the Tokyo official said.
Modi to sell ‘ridiculed’ suit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to auction a controversial suit that bears his name in gold pinstripes, which he wore at a meeting with US President Barack Obama, leading to attacks he was out of touch in a nation where many live in extreme poverty. The tailored suit, which was ridiculed by Modi’s political opponents, will be auctioned in the state of Gujarat to raise money for a project he is championing to clean the Ganges river. The auction, which started yesterday, is to last three days.
MILF surrenders 16 rifles
The nation’s largest Muslim rebel group handed in 16 assault rifles taken from police commandos killed in a firefight last month that has jeopardized milestone peace talks, in what the group yesterday said was a show of goodwill. Forty-four police commandos were killed in the Jan. 25 firefight on Mindanao between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and members of the police Special Action Force. Mohagher Iqbal, head of the MILF peace negotiating team, said the group had tracked down the weapons and returned them to show its sincerity and commitment to the peace process.
Pact near on Syrian training
The US and Ankara have reached a tentative agreement to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition fighters and expect to sign the pact soon, officials said on Tuesday. The US military has said it is planning to send more than 400 troops, including special operations forces, to train Syrian moderates at sites outside Syria as part of the fight against the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Three US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the training could begin in middle of next month. The vetted Syrian fighters would be equipped with items including pickup trucks with mounted machine guns, radios and global positioning system trackers, the officials said.
Prosecutor seeks acquittal
A prosecutor on Tuesday called for Dominique Strauss-Kahn to be acquitted of pimping charges in a trial which has seen lurid details of the former IMF managing director’s sex life exposed in court. “Neither the judicial enquiry nor the hearing have established that Mr Strauss-Kahn is guilty” of procuring prostitutes for sex parties he attended in Paris, Brussels and Washington, prosecutor Frederic Fevre said. The economist’s notoriety “should not be a presumption of guilt,” he said. “Our legal system must take pride in never convicting someone if there is any doubt. I therefore request his acquittal, pure and simple.” Meanwhile, two ex-prostitutes who attended orgies that Strauss-Kahn went to have dropped a civil lawsuit against him, with lawyers saying they lacked enough proof to win the case.
Ex-minister wants wallpaper
Former tourism minister Elena Udrea, in detention on corruption charges, has asked to be allowed to wallpaper and paint her cell walls. Udrea’s lawyer, Marius Stribulea, on Tuesday said his client wanted to renovate her current accommodation. “As you know the conditions are not the best,” he said. However, it appears her request was unnecessary. A court late on Tuesday ruled that Udrea would be put under house arrest while being investigated.
Treasure trove discovered
Scuba divers have discovered the largest trove of gold coins ever found off the nation’s Mediterranean coast — about 2,000 pieces dating back more than 1,000 years, the Israel Antiquities Authority said on Tuesday. It was by pure chance that members of a diving club in Caesarea had come across the coins on the seabed of the Roman-era harbor, the authority. It said the cache weighed 9kg, but declined to put a cash value on the coins, which it said had been exposed as a result of winter storms. The coins now belong to the state.
Mayor warns snow jumpers
Boston residents overwhelmed by massive snowfalls the last month have been recording videos of themselves jumping out of windows and into snowbanks, and Mayor Marty Walsh wants them to stop. The Boston Herald reports. The mayor chastised thrill-seekers who have been filming themselves performing the frosty feat and then posting the videos on social media Web sites. “It’s a foolish thing to do, and you could kill yourself,” Walsh said. Boston city workers are struggling to clear snow-clogged streets and deal with snowbanks up to 3m high. The city has scrambled to keep roads clear after the record-breaking snowfalls.
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
Former US vice president Joe Biden on Friday said he “should not have been so cavalier” after he told a radio host that African Americans who back US President Donald Trump “ain’t black.” In a call with the US Black Chamber of Commerce that was added to his public schedule, Biden said he would never “take the African American community for granted.” “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” Biden said. “No one should have to vote for any party based on their race or religion or background.” Biden faced criticism after his comments earlier on Friday on The Breakfast Club, a