New executions looming
More drug convicts could imminently face the firing squad, after authorities yesterday said they were ready to carry out a new round of executions after a hiatus. A Pakistani death row convict was yesterday sent to Nusakambangan prison island, where Jakarta conducts executions, and an Indonesian woman sentenced to death for narcotics offenses was transferred to the island over the weekend. The Pakistani embassy in Jakarta was notified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday that the Pakistani man, Zulfiqar Ali, would be executed in the near future, Pakistani Deputy Ambassador Syed Zahid Raza said. Such notifications are typically sent out to foreign embassies in the days before inmates are put to death. It was not immediately clear whether more had been issued. Rights groups have claimed Ali, sentenced to death in 2005 for heroin possession, was beaten into confessing. The attorney-general’s office previously said executions would resume after the Eid holiday at the start of this month, and that Indonesians and foreigners would be included, but no Europeans or Australians.
Israeli allegedly gang-raped
A 25-year-old Israeli woman has allegedly been raped by two men in the popular northern Himalayan resort town of Manali, senior local police officers said yesterday. The woman has told police she was attacked early on Sunday morning after flagging down what she thought was a taxi and asking for a lift to a nearby town, superintendent Padam Chand said. “There were six people in the car and two of the occupants raped her, she alleged,” Chand said, and then they fled. The woman had been trying to reunite with friends who had already left for the nearby town of Keylong after they all arrived in Manali a few days earlier. Police were examining CCTV footage from cameras installed on the streets on Manali, popular with holidaying foreigners and Indians, in the hope of identifying the suspects. The woman was being treated in hospital after she reported the attack, which took place at about 3am, at the Manali police station later on Sunday.
Satellite dishes destroyed
Authorities destroyed 100,000 satellite dishes and receivers on Sunday as part of a widespread crackdown against the illegal devices that authorities say are morally damaging, a news Web site reported. The destruction ceremony took place in Tehran in the presence of General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, head of the Basij militia, who warned of the impact that satellite television was having in the conservative country. “The truth is that most satellite channels ... deviate the society’s morality and culture,” he said at the event according to Basij News. “What these televisions really achieve is increased divorce, addiction and insecurity in society.” Naghdi added that a total of 1 million Iranians had already voluntarily handed over their satellite apparatuses to authorities.
Crocodile injures US surfer
A US surfer was being treated in hospital on Sunday after being attacked by a crocodile so severely half a leg had to be amputated, local media reported. The man, identified as Jonathan Becker, 59 and from Arizona, was set upon by the crocodile on Friday while crossing a river between beaches in Tamarindo, in northwestern Costa Rica. He managed to fight the reptile off and make it to shore, where local surfers helped him before he was taken to hospital. The crocodile ripped flesh from the calf of his right leg, resulting in wounds so serious it had to be partially amputated, media reported.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big