Thu, Sep 24, 2015 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take



Trafficking suspects held

Police yesterday announced that last week they arrested six people suspected of being part of a human trafficking network and who may have helped a bomber who killed 20 people at a Bangkok shrine last month escape from Thailand. The suspects joined two people already in detention who might have helped the bomber, who Thai police said was a foreigner of unknown identity, flee the kingdom. Four of the six people are believed to be Uighur Muslims, who come from China’s Xinjiang region, said Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, director of the counterterrorism unit. Ayob said the six were not directly linked to the bombing, but to a human-trafficking gang.


‘Balloongate’ hearing held

A woman yesterday was charged with insulting Prime Minister Najib Razak by dropping balloons bearing pro-democracy messages near him during a public event, her lawyer said. The case against Bilqis Hijjas — dubbed “Balloongate” on social media — has drawn public ridicule as an example of government overkill in pressuring its critics. Bilqis Hijjas, 36, a dance producer, dropped yellow balloons with the words “justice,” “democracy” and “media freedom” from an upper floor of a shopping mall while Najib and his wife attended a function below on Aug. 31. Her protest came one day after a massive rally in Kuala Lumpur was held to back demands that Najib resign over allegations of corruption and abuse of power. She has been charged with “insulting behavior” that could affect public order. The penalty is just 100 ringgit (US$23), but Bilqis’ lawyer said she was contesting it on “principle.”


Typist just wants to work

A streetside typist in Lucknow who became an overnight star when an image of a policeman kicking his typewriter went viral has said he is fed up with all the attention and just wants to go back to typing letters. The photograph of the officer harassing Kishan Kumar, 60, provoked an outpouring of sympathy from people outraged at his treatment. Local authorities reacted swiftly, suspending the officer who destroyed the typewriter and promising compensation of 100,000 rupees (US$1,500) as well as a new machine. However, Kumar said that his new-found celebrity has made it impossible for him to work. “I just can’t work with so many people surrounding me. I haven’t earned a single penny for the past two days,” he said. “What will I feed my family if I do not get to earn?... I come here to work, not to give media interviews.”


Centenarian sets record

A fleet-footed centenarian yesterday raced into the Guinness World Records book and declared himself a “medical marvel” as he continues to stalk sprint king Usain Bolt. Hidekichi Miyazaki, dubbed “Golden Bolt,” clocked 42.22 seconds in Kyoto to set a 100m world record in the over-105 age category — one for which no mark previously existed — a day after reaching the milestone age. “I’m not happy with the time,” the pint-sized Miyazaki said after recovering his breath. “I started shedding tears during the race because I was going so slowly. Perhaps I’m getting old!” He said he could do better. “My brain might not be the sharpest, but physically I’m tip-top. I’ve never had any health problems. The doctors are amazed by me. I can definitely keep on running for another two or three years.”


Buildup for Russia forces?

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