Man jailed for rape, murder
A court has sentenced a man to 35 years in prison for the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl, officials said yesterday, in a case that sparked outrage in the Himalayan nation. The girl had gone missing on Feb. 20 near her home in the town of Kalaiya and was found unconscious in a garbage dump the next day. She died in a hospital last week, prompting street protests in the capital, Kathmandu, and her hometown. Late on Tuesday, the Bara District Court sentenced Kanhaiya Gupta to 15 years in prison for the rape and 20 years for the murder after a short trial, the court said in a statement. The sentences are the maximum allowed.
IKEA bans hide and seek
IKEA has a message for people wanting to converge on its stores for giant games of hide and seek — go play someplace else. The phenomenon has taken off online, with 19,000 people signed up to a Facebook group promoting a game at IKEA’s Amsterdam branch next month. Another 13,000 signed up for a game in the IKEA store in the city of Utrecht, but the Swedish retail giant has bad news for folks wanting to hide among its room-like furniture displays — the numbers signing up are getting out of hand and the events have been blocked. “We have contacted these pages on social media and humbly asked them to have their hide and seek games somewhere else,” IKEA spokeswoman Martina Smedberg said in Sweden on Tuesday. “In general we are happy that our customers are playful and want to have fun together with friends and family, but unfortunately this hide and seek phenomenon has reached proportions where we can no longer guarantee the security of those who are playing, or our customers and employees.”
A Zimbabwean woman wrongly accused of killing a young boy was lynched by an angry mob in a shanty town near Pretoria. The woman was burned alive, while another man, also from Zimbabwe, managed to escape after police intervened, officials said on Tuesday. “The woman died when she was burnt alive by a mob, [while] the man was rescued by police and taken to hospital,” police spokeswoman Katlego Mogale said. “He was discharged [on] Monday night.” The incident took place on Friday last week near Pretoria after several days of tensions sparked by the death of an eight-year-old boy. The Zimbabwean pair had been accused of killing him through witchcraft. A probe revealed that the boy had been electrocuted. Three people arrested over the woman’s murder only face charges of public violence because “there were 500 people and more evidence is needed” to accuse the trio of lynching the victim, Mogale said.
Ivory shipment intercepted
Authorities said on Tuesday they had intercepted a Singapore-bound shipment of ivory hidden in metallic drums and labeled as shea butter. Fifty pieces of ivory were discovered in the drums, Wildlife Authority spokesman Jossy Muhangi said, adding that more are expected to be found. It is unclear what the total resale value of the haul was, Muhangi said. “The people who were trying to smuggle the ivory declared it as 1,000kg of shea butter, which they had spread around the pieces to avoid detection,” he added. Shea butter, an extract of the nut of the shea tree, is an ivory-colored fat often used in cosmetics. “The people who delivered the consignment ran away and we are hunting for them,” Muhangi said.
White House sent cyanide
The White House this week was sent a letter that tested positive for cyanide, media reported on Tuesday, in yet another piece of bad news for the Secret Service. “On Monday, March 16, an envelope was received at the White House mail-screening facility. Initial biological testing was negative; however, on March 17, the chemical testing returned a presumptive positive for cyanide,” Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said in a statement on CNN. “The sample was transported to another facility to confirm the results.” Because an investigation is under way, the Secret Service had no additional comment, Leary was quoted as saying. There were no injuries or exposure concerns for the person at the mail-sorting facility — which is not at the White House — who opened the letter, an unidentified law enforcement official told CNN.
‘All Right Now’ writer dies
Andy Fraser, who co-wrote the rousing rock anthem All Right Now when he was the teenage bassist for British rock band Free, has died in California at age 62. Fraser had been living in the desert community of Temecula, where he died on Monday, the Riverside County coroner said in a statement. The cause of death is not yet known and remains under investigation. At age 15, the London-born Fraser briefly became a member of John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. The group functioned as a training ground for young British rockers, including Eric Clapton and Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor. Within a year, Fraser became a founding member of Free. The band’s most prominent member was singer and guitarist Paul Rodgers, who would also go on to front Bad Company and The Firm. The band’s biggest hit by far was 1970’s All Right Now.
Men hide cash in trousers
Police who noticed three men with unusually large legs at Mexico City’s airport made a stunning discovery in their trousers: 2.8 million pesos (US$182,000) in cash. Authorities on Tuesday said that federal officers making random inspections approached the three suspicious-looking men at the baggage claim for national flights. The suspects “showed swelling in their legs,” federal police said in a statement. When they were searched, police found bills totaling 2.8 million pesos stuffed in socks and wrapped around their legs with elastic bandaging. The money was seized by authorities and the men were taken into custody.
Trafficked animals released
An air force plane whose cargo hold looked more like the hull of Noah’s Ark delivered nearly 150 trafficked animals back to the Amazon on Tuesday following months of rehabilitation. The 149 animals — 83 reptiles, 53 birds and 13 mammals, including wild cats and Capuchin monkeys — underwent 10 months of preparation that included surgery to recover skin and plumage, the Valle del Cauca department environmental authority said. Before being released into the wild, the animals went through thorough medical examinations to make sure they would not spread disease back to their natural populations, and were isolated with other members of their species in conditions similar to the jungle. “We selected individual animals that could defend themselves in their environment, who weren’t too far along in adulthood so they wouldn’t fall easy prey,” said Lorena Gomez, a biologist with Valle del Cauca authority.
POINT-BLANK RANGE: Reporters and camera people from several outlets say police officers in Minneapolis had fired tear gas and rubber bullets directly at them Multiple journalists on the ground in Minnesota said they were teargassed and subject to other attacks by police on Saturday evening, a day after the widely condemned arrest of a CNN reporter live on air. Los Angeles Times journalist Molly Hennessy-Fiske, who was reporting outside the Fifth Precinct in Minneapolis, said she was with a group of about a dozen journalists when the Minnesota State Patrol “fired tear gas canisters on us at point blank range.” “I was saying: ‘Where do we go?’ They did not tell us where to go. They didn’t direct us. They just fired on us,” she said
For nearly a decade, the UN Security Council has been frequently paralyzed by Russia’s obstinacy over the Syrian crisis. Today, however, it is the US-China rivalry that has infected a growing array of issues, according to officials and diplomats. As recently as 2017, an understanding between Washington and Beijing allowed the UN on three occasions — involving separate sets of economic sanctions — to project international unity in the face of the North Korean nuclear threat. Three years later, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a ferocious competition erupt between the UN’s two main contributors, prompting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May
INDIA Pride to be preserved The nation would not let its “pride be hurt” in its latest border flare-ups with China, but is determined to settle the dispute through talks, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh said in a television interview late on Saturday. “Situations arise with China. It has happened before,” Singh said, adding that the government was striving to make sure “tension does not escalate.” The government has turned down US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate, he said. IRAN Speaker says talks futile Newly elected Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf yesterday said that any negotiations with the US would be “futile.” The nation’s
PANDEMIC BIGOTRY? The convener of a community group said that COVID-19 did not cause racism in Australia, but the incidents were a symptom of a bigger issue Anti-Discrimination New South Wales (NSW) has recorded a surge in anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state anti-discrimination body said that it received 241 official complaints from Jan. 1 to April 30. Of those, 62 were on the grounds of race — an average of four complaints a week — including reports of people being abused or spat at in public, harassed for wearing a mask and car windows being smashed. Those statistics do not include more serious complaints referred to the NSW police, rather than Anti-Discrimination NSW. Anti-Discrimination NSW president Annabelle Bennett said that the agency had experienced an “increase in