Dog diet brings new life
A morbidly obese Texas dachshund once dubbed “Fat Vincent” because his belly was so large it hit the ground when he walked, has found its way out of animal shelter care by dropping half its body weight, and is on track to become healthy enough for a new owner. The seven-year-old canine with a love for fast food weighed 17.24kg with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 60 percent body fat in September last year when he was surrendered to a Houston animal shelter after his elderly owner died, its temporary owner said. His ideal healthy weight is about 7.25kg. “Besides terribly high cholesterol and BMI, Vincent’s back sloped downward in the middle and our vet was fearful that one false move would cause his back to break,” said Melissa Anderson with K-9 Angels Rescue in Houston. Now dubbed “Skinny Vinnie,” the dog weighs 7.9kg due to a healthier diet, swimming with a life jacket in a pool and long walks, Anderson said.
Turtle smuggler sentenced
A Canadian man who repeatedly entered Michigan to buy and ship thousands of turtles to his native China only to be caught with 51 of them strapped to his legs was sentenced on Tuesday to nearly five years in federal prison for smuggling. It was a tough punishment for Kai Xu (徐楷), who has been locked up for 19 months since his arrest and had hoped to be released. The 27-year-old expressed remorse to a judge and thanked agents “for stopping the darkness of my greed and ignorance.” Ahead of the hearing, Xu wrote a letter to District Judge John Corbett O’Meara, saying he sold turtles partly to make money for college. He said he was a semester short of an engineering degree. The government said Xu shipped turtles to China from Canada and the US, or hired people to fly with turtles in their luggage to China, where they are coveted as pets. He was apprehended with 51 of them on his legs at the Ontario, Canada, border in 2014.
Ring stolen from casket
Police in west Texas are searching for a woman seen in a surveillance video at a funeral home in Odessa stealing a ring from the body of an 88-year-old in an open casket. In a video posted on the Facebook page of the Odessa Police Department on Monday, the suspect is seen standing alone in front of the body of an elderly woman for about a minute on Friday last week and apparently twisting the woman’s finger to remove a ring. Police said after stealing the ring, the suspect fled in a car. The daughter of the deceased woman told the Odessa American newspaper that the family did not know the suspect.
‘Black Widow’ re-arrested
An 80-year-old woman dubbed the nation’s “Black Widow” has been arrested after breaching the conditions of her release by using the Internet at a library in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A police spokeswoman said Melissa Ann Shepard was arrested on Monday. Shepard gained notoriety for killing and poisoning several men who were her intimate partners and has a lengthy history of offenses. The arrest came less than a month after Shepard was released from prison. She served just under three years for spiking newlywed husband Fred Weeks’ coffee with tranquilizers in 2012. Weeks survived after falling ill during a trip to Newfoundland. Shepard was convicted of manslaughter and served two years in prison in the early 1990s in the death of her second husband, Gordon Stewart, whom she drugged and ran over twice with a car.
Sex pills for votes probed
Elderly men have allegedly been given erectile dysfunction drugs to buy their votes in legislative elections, prosecutors said on Tuesday, announcing an investigation into the suspected breach. The alleged vote-buying took place in Suwon, 30km south of the capital, Seoul. “We have yet to verify the allegations. If confirmed, this could constitute a breach of election law,” a spokesman for the Suwon Prosecutors’ Office said. Vote-buying carries a sentence of up to five years in prison or a fine of 10 million won (US$8,750). Erectile dysfunction drugs are a prescription medication and prosecutors will investigate how the unnamed candidate was allegedly in possession of so many, the Dong-A Ilbo daily said.
Elderly woman caned
An elderly Christian woman has been caned in a conservative province for selling alcohol, the first time someone from outside the Islamic faith has been punished there under strict religious laws. The 60-year-old was whipped nearly 30 times with a rattan cane before a crowd of hundreds in Aceh Province on Tuesday, an official said, along with a couple who were subjected to 100 lashes for committing adultery. Aceh is the only province in the predominantly Muslim nation that applies Shariah law, and public canings for breaches of Islamic code happen on a regular basis and often attract huge crowds. “This is the first case of a non-Muslim being punished under Islamic criminal bylaw,” an official said.
Minister admits relationship
A minister admitted on Tuesday that he had been in a relationship with a sex worker, but said that he did not know her occupation at the time. Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said that he had broken off the relationship, which occurred before he became a minister, when he found out the woman had tried to sell her story to a newspaper. Whittingdale admitted the affair following reports on online news outlets and it is likely to raise questions about whether his previous role as press regulator was compromised by knowing newspapers had information about his private life. “Between August 2013 and February 2014, I had a relationship with someone who I first met through Match.com. She was a similar age and lived close to me,” he said. “At no time did she give me any indication of her real occupation and I only discovered this when I was made aware that someone was trying to sell a story about me to tabloid newspapers. As soon as I discovered, I ended the relationship.”
Pandas donate droppings
Giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang are taking part in an experiment to find out whether the famously faddy breed really does only eat shoots and leaves. The Edinburgh Zoo pair, whose names mean Sweetie and Sunshine in English, are donating their droppings to enable scientists to discover more about their eating habits and thereby help conserve pandas in the wild. Despite their reputation as picky eaters, previous work has suggested that pandas might enjoy as many as 60 different species of bamboo and could possibly even eat other plant species, fungi and animals. “It is already widely accepted that all species of bamboo are not the same to the giant panda ... and the precise species consumed might vary according to individual requirements, availability, season or location. However, there remains a huge gap in knowledge regarding exactly what they eat and when they eat it,” the zoo said.
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
PLAYING THE VICTIM? A Chinese spokesman sent a statement to Australian media saying that Beijing had ‘irrefutable’ evidence of Canberra’s widescale espionage Australia yesterday unveiled the “largest-ever” boost in cybersecurity spending, days after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke out about a wave of state-sponsored attacks suspected to have been carried out by China. Morrison and government officials said the country would spend an additional A$1.35 billion (US$928 million) on cybersecurity, about a 10 percent hike, taking the budget for the next decade to A$15 billion. The largest chunk of the new money would help create 500 jobs within the Australian Signals Directorate, the government’s communications intelligence agency. Morrison on June 19 said that a “state-based actor” was targeting a host of