Gold-leaf leader unveiled
The government has unveiled a 21m tall gold-leafed statue of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov seated upon a horse mounted on a towering pile of marble. Officials say the statue in the capital, Ashgabat, was built in response to public demand. The nation is dotted with gold-leaf statues to Berdimuhamedov’s predecessor, but this is the first such monument to him.
Prison tours for officials
Top Hubei Province officials have been sent on prison tours visiting inmates, including former colleagues, as a warning against corruption, the China Daily reported yesterday. More than 70 officials and their spouses spent a day in prison this month, the newspaper said. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said such prison visits have been organized nationwide, the paper said.
‘Strike hard’ success cited
A “strike hard” campaign launched in Xinjiang and beyond a year ago has seen 181 gangs “destroyed,” authorities said yesterday. Scores of people have been sentenced to death as part of the drive, while hundreds have been jailed or detained on terror-related offences. “As of April 30 this year, 181 violent terror gangs have been destroyed, with 96.2 percent being thwarted at the planning phase,” Xinjiang’s government-run Tianshan news site reported, adding that 112 suspects surrendered to the police. Rights groups have said the crackdown is discriminatory.
Backpacker’s rapist jailed
A man who repeatedly raped and degraded a Dutch tourist during a six-week ordeal in 2012, including carving a cross into her forehead, was sentenced yesterday to 17 years in jail. Alfio Anthony Granata, 47, pleaded guilty to 14 charges, including multiple rapes, threats to kill and intentionally causing serious injury. Victorian County Court Judge Frank Gucciardo said Granata’s behavior was “vile and repulsive” and had dehumanized his 21-year-old victim. The harrowing ordeal culminated in the tourist stabbing Granata as he slept and then trying to kill herself.
Deportation order nullified
An autistic Filipino boy whose fight against deportation prompted tens of thousands to petition the government on his behalf will be allowed to stay, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said yesterday. Tyrone Sevilla and his mother Maria Sevilla, a registered nurse, have lived in Townsville for eight years, were denied continuing visas due to the probable cost of providing for Tyrone’s care. Dutton said he had overturned the decision.
Olmert sentenced again
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert was yesterday sentenced to eight months in jail for accepting illegal payments from a US businessman, having previously been given a six-year term in a separate corruption case. A court in March that found that Olmert, while serving as industry and trade minister from 2003 to 2005, accepted cash-filled envelopes from the businessman. The court convicted him of fraud and breach of trust. Olmert’s lawyers said they would appeal the new conviction.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete