‘Sorry’: Alabama governor
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has apologized to India after police seriously injured an Indian grandfather who was visiting relatives. The incident on Feb. 6 in the city of Madison was captured on a police car’s dashcam video and widely seen on the Internet. “I deeply regret the unfortunate use of excessive force by the Madison Police Department on Sureshbhai Patel,” Bentley said in a letter sent Tuesday. “Please accept our sincere apology for this tragic incident to your government, Mr Patel, and the citizens of India who reside and work in our state,” he said in the letter, which was addressed to India’s consul general in Georgia.
Vandalism charges filed
Five teenagers were charged on Wednesday with vandalizing hundreds of Jewish graves last week in a suspected anti-Semitic act that shocked the nation. The boys, aged 15 to 17, were charged with “the desecration of burial places due to the religion of the deceased” and with deliberately vandalizing property on public land, according to prosecutor Philippe Vannier. About 250 tombs were vandalized at a Jewish cemetery in the Sarre-Union, with tombstones pushed over and vaults opened. Vannier said the vandalism appeared to be part of a game that went wrong.
Indian workers win lawsuit
A New Orleans jury on Wednesday awarded US$14 million to five Indian men who were lured to the country and forced to work under inhumane conditions after Hurricane Katrina by a ship repair firm and its codefendants. After a four-week trial, a jury ruled that Alabama-based Signal International was guilty of labor trafficking, fraud, racketeering and discrimination and ordered it to pay US$12 million. Its co-defendants, a New Orleans lawyer and an India-based recruiter, were also found guilty and ordered to pay US$915,000 each. The trial was the first in more than a dozen related lawsuits with more than 200 plaintiffs.
Jenner blamed for crash
Video shows Bruce Jenner started a chain-reaction crash that resulted in a woman’s death on a Malibu highway, a law enforcement official said on Wednesday. Jenner was hauling an off-road vehicle on a trailer behind his Cadillac Escalade on Feb. 7 when he steered to avoid cars slowing for a traffic light in front of him on Pacific Coast Highway, the official said. Jenner’s SUV rear-ended two cars, pushing a Lexus into oncoming traffic, the official added. The driver, Kim Howe, 69, was killed when it was struck head-on by a Hummer. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is investigating the cause of the wreck and will consider whether to issue a citation that could result in criminal charges.
Marijuana tricks brain: study
Using marijuana on a full stomach might still cause the munchies, flipping a switch in the brain that usually tells the body it is not hungry, a study found. The findings were the opposite of what researchers said they expected — the neurons should have been turned off since the mice in the study had just eaten, said senior study author Tamas Horvath, a professor of biomedical research and comparative medicine at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. “It fools the brain’s central feeding system,” he said. The results may provide a way to help cancer patients who lose their appetite during treatment, he said.
China talks planned: report
The government plans to resume security talks with China as early as April after a four-year hiatus amid simmering tensions over territorial disputes, Kyodo News said yesterday. The talks, which will likely focus on maritime issues, will involve top foreign and defense officials from both sides, including Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama, it said. Asked about the report, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters “there is nothing decided at this point.” “It’s important that both countries exchange communications in various fields... as Japan and China are neighbors, whom the global community is watching closely,” he said.
Kim signals more purges
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has signaled he may further purge top cadres, ordering senior Workers’ Party members to carry out a “campaign against abuse of power, bureaucratism, irregularities and corruption.” The party adopted the resolution at a politburo meeting to review his three years in power, the official Korean Central News Agency reported yesterday. The statement called on members to implement the behests of his late father Kim Jong-il, “unconditionally carrying out them to the last without an inch of deflection and a single step of concession.”
Dozens killed in airstrike
At least 36 civilians were killed when a military plane bombed a funeral party in a border village, the government said, in an incident its deputy mayor blamed on the Nigerian air force. The air crew was likely to have mistaken the villagers, who had gathered near a mosque, for Boko Haram militants, Niger military sources in the nearby town of Bosso said. The Nigerian military did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment about Tuesday’s incident, into which the Niger government said it had launched an inquiry. The government decreed three days of national mourning.
PM trashes ‘order to kill’
Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday dismissed as “rubbish” a former police commando’s claim that he was ordered by “important people” to kill a woman linked to highly sensitive corruption allegations. “It’s total rubbish. Total rubbish,” Razak, in a rare comment on the affair, said in a brief remark to reporters, according to news Web site Malaysian Insider. Policeman Sirul Azhar Umar, who fled abroad to avoid being hanged and is now in Australian custody, is a key figure in a scandal relating to the government’s 2002 purchase of French submarines. That deal has long been clouded by accusations of huge kickbacks to Malaysian officials and the murder of a Mongolian woman who purportedly acted as a translator in the negotiations.
Abbott denies being a bully
Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday attempted to play down allegations of bullying Indonesia as a diplomatic rift deepens between the uneasy neighbors over Jakarta’s planned executions of two Australian drug smugglers. Abbott drew strong criticism from Jakarta on Wednesday for linking his pleas for clemency for the pair to Australia’s aid to Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami. He said he was referring to “the obvious strength of the relationship” between the two countries. “I was pointing out the depth of the friendship between Australia and Indonesia and the fact that Australia has been there for Indonesia when Indonesia has been in difficulty,” he said.
India has moved additional troops along its northern border as it prepares for an extended conflict with China, after several rounds of talks failed to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region, an Indian government official said, asking not to be identified, citing rules. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by the Chinese army, the official said. The standoff began on May 5, when troops clashed
CLOSELY TRACKED: A US officer said that the warplanes were watched as they flew from Russia by way of Iran and Syria to Libya and were photographed multiple times The US Africa Command flatly rejected Russian claims that Moscow did not deploy fighter jets to Libya, saying on Friday that the 14 aircraft flown in reflect Russia’s long-term goal to establish a foothold in the region that could threaten NATO allies. US Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, deputy director of intelligence, said that the US tracked the MiG-29s and Su-24 fighter bombers flown in by Russian military, passing through Iran and Syria before landing at Libya’s al-Jufra air base. The base is the main forward airfield for Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army, which has been waging an
Singapore’s otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the COVID-19 lockdown, but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. With the streets empty, the creatures have been spotted hanging out by a shopping center, scampering through the lobby of a hospital and even feasting on pricey fish stolen from a pond. While many think of tiny Singapore as a densely populated concrete jungle, it is also relatively green for a busy Asian city, and has patches of rainforest, fairly clean waterways and abundant wildlife. There are estimated to be about
Indonesian officials are forcing people who break social distancing rules to recite Koran verses, stay in “haunted” houses and submit to public shaming on social media as the country battles to contain surging novel coronavirus infections. The Southeast Asian archipelago began deploying about 340,000 troops across two dozen cities to oversee enforcement of measures aimed at halting transmission of the disease, such as wearing masks in public. However, provincial leaders are buttressing these efforts with their own zealous campaigns to fight the coronavirus. Police in western Bengkulu Province have assembled a 40-person squad to find lockdown scofflaws and force them to wear