Wild-card heads Labour poll
A left-wing lawmaker who entered the leadership race of Britain’s opposition Labour Party as a wild-card might be on course to win with a commanding lead, a poll showed late on Monday. Support for Jeremy Corbyn, 66, a veteran socialist and anti-nuclear campaigner, has increased to give him the backing of more than half of those eligible to vote in the contest, according to a poll by YouGov. “I would personally be astonished if Corbyn does not end up as Labour’s leader,” YouGov president Peter Kellner wrote, adding that the race could change before voting ends in a month’s time. The poll of 1,411 eligible voters showed Corbyn with 53 percent support, far ahead of his nearest rival, Andy Burnham on 21 percent — a drop of five points. Seen as the most left-wing of the four candidates, Corbyn’s increasing popularity comes despite a series of stark warnings from senior Labour figures that he could damage the party’s chances of beating the ruling center-right Conservative Party in future elections.
Ministers axed in reshuffle
President Denis Sassou Nguesso on Monday announced a major Cabinet reshuffle that excludes two minsters who opposed a change to the constitution that would allow the long-serving head of state to run for a third term. Minister of Commerce Claudine Munari and Minister of the Civil Service Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas were removed from the government, according to a government statement. Last month, the pair joined the main opposition coalition to stand against a constitutional change that would allow Nguesso, 72, to seek a new mandate in next year’s elections. Nguesso had convened a “national dialogue,” which came out “by a large majority” in favor of amending the constitution to remove an upper limit on the age of presidential candidates as well as the number of terms the head of state can serve, effectively paving the way for him to stand for a third term.
Philosophers win Kluge Prize
Two philosophers have been honored with a prize handed out by the Library of Congress for fields not covered by the Nobel prizes. The Library of Congress yesterday announced that Jurgen Habermas and Charles Taylor would share a US$1.5 million John Kluge Prize for humanities. They are the ninth and 10th winners of the prize, which was first awarded in 2000 and was handed out most recently in 2012. It was endowed by philanthropist John Kluge and honors achievement in fields including history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology and religion. Habermas and Taylor are to split the US$1.5 million award. Habermas is an 86-year-old German, whose books include The Theory of Communicative Action. Taylor is an 83-year-old Canadian, whose best-known work is Sources of the Self.
Tower jumpers sentenced
Two men convicted of parachute-jumping from the top of One World Trade Center were on Monday sentenced to community service and each ordered to pay US$2,000 in fines. A judge sentenced James Brady to 250 hours of community service and Andrew Rossig to 200 hours. The men were in June convicted of reckless endangerment and other misdemeanors. Another man, Marko Markovich, also was convicted and is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday.
The government has returned 159 Bangladeshi migrants rescued from boats stranded off its coast in May, officials said yesterday. More than 800 men, women and children were picked up from ships abandoned by smugglers in the Bay of Bengal in recent months, after a Thai crackdown on people-smuggling led gang bosses to abandon their human cargo on land and at sea. It sparked a long verification process between Myanmar and Bangladesh to determine the nationality of the migrants, with neither side showing a willingness to accept them at first. On Monday, Burmese authorities handed over 159 people to their Bangladeshi counterparts, state media said. However, a number of migrants were still undergoing verification. “The remaining 230 Bangladeshi will be transferred as soon as possible. The Bangladesh side are conducting a rigorous verification process,” a government official in Rakhine state said, asking to remain unnamed.
‘Harmful’ songs banned
Authorities have ordered 120 songs to be pulled from the Internet, including tracks titled Don’t Want to Go to School and All Must Die because they promoted sex, violence or “incited law-breaking.” No individual or organization is allowed to provide the songs, which “trumpeted obscenity, violence, crime or harmed social morality,” the Ministry of Culture said in a statement on Monday. Most of the blacklisted tunes were by unknown singers or bands, but had striking titles, including No Money No Friend and Suicide Diary, a list attached to the statement showed. The list provided “specific targets for Internet organizations’ self-censorship,” the ministry said, adding companies should “remove the products accurately, be aware of the bottom line and improve their service.” Anyone who does not comply “will be punished severely according to the law,” it said.
Man faces cocaine charges
A 91-year-old retired surgeon has been charged with importing cocaine hidden in 27 packages of soap, prompting police to warn travelers to beware they are not tricked into becoming drug mules. Victor Twartz, of Sydney, was released on bail when he appeared in Sydney’s Downing Center Local Court charged with importing a commercial quantity of cocaine last month. He did not enter a plea and is to appear in court next on Oct. 6. The retired oral surgeon faces a potential life prison sentence if he is convicted of importing 4.5kg of the drug into Sydney Airport on a July 8 flight from New Delhi. Police say it appears that Twartz was scammed by a group of people he had befriended online before his trip. Federal Police organized crime commander David Stewart declined to say whether Twartz had been promised anything by the group, but said he had been in contact with them over several months.
King had hydrocephalus
King Bhumibol Adulyadej has been treated for hydrocephalus, or “water on the brain,” and a chest infection, the palace revealed in a rare statement, amid public concern over the health of the world’s longest serving monarch. The 87-year-old king has been in Bangkok’s Siriraj Hospital since being readmitted in May, but information on his condition has been scarce. Doctors at the hospital have “reduced the level of water in his brain,” the Royal Household Bureau said in a statement on Monday. “His heart rate had returned to normal after treatment, it added.
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
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
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
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies