Drug lord repatriated
A suspected Philippine drug lord, whose father was killed in an alleged gunfight in prison, was yesterday repatriated from the United Arab Emirates, promising to tell all he knows about the narcotics trade in a move seen to bolster President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr arrived in handcuffs and flak jacket at Manila’s airport with a police team that fetched him from Abu Dhabi. National police chief Ronald dela Rosa escorted him from the airport to a maximum-security facility at the police headquarters. Espinosa’s father, town mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr, was arrested last month. He had agreed to cooperate with officials, but was killed on Nov. 5 in an alleged gunfight with police inside his jail cell. Senators investigating the case suspect it was an intentional killing. At a news conference at the police headquarters, the younger Espinosa apologized to Duterte and asked for a chance to turn a new leaf.
Drug traffickers executed
The city-state yesterday executed two foreigners convicted of drug trafficking, authorities said, a day after its highest court rejected final bids for both men to escape the gallows. The Nigerian and Malaysian were hanged after their last-minute appeals were thrown out. “A 38-year-old male Nigerian national, Chijioke Stephen Obioha, had his death sentence carried out ... at Changi Prison Complex,” the Central Narcotics Bureau said in a statement. Separately, the bureau also confirmed the execution of 31-year-old Malaysian Devendran Supramaniam, who was convicted of trafficking heroin. He was arrested in May 2011 at the border checkpoint with Malaysia carrying 2.7kg of a powdery substance that contained 83.36g of pure heroin.
Man sets himself on fire
A man set himself on fire in a Melbourne bank yesterday morning, causing an explosion that left himself and five bystanders with serious burns, officials said. Another 21 people ranging from children to adults in their 80s were taken to hospitals with breathing problems following the fire at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia branch in the suburb of Springvale, an ambulance service statement said. The 21-year-old suspect, a local resident, was taken to a hospital in a serious condition, police said. Police Inspector Jacqui Poida said investigators had yet to determine a motive. “He had some sort of accelerant with him in a container,” Poida said. “He walked into the bank and he lighted that accelerant which caused some sort of fire within the bank.”
Skit brings reprimand
Two 10th-grade students at a San Antonio high school and their teacher have been reprimanded for the performance of a skit portraying the assassination of president-elect Donald Trump. The San Antonio Express-News reports the skit, titled “The Assassination of Donald Trump,” was performed last week at Marshall High School. One of the boys used a gunfire sound effect from a cellphone; the other boy, playing Trump, fell to the ground. Barry Perez, spokesman for the Northside Independent School District, said the “appropriate action” had been taken against the three, and that the teacher had apologized. The parents of a student who viewed the skit complained to district officials and said they had hoped for harsher measures.
Thomas praises Scalia
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is calling fellow conservatives to continue the work of former justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February, to keep the power of the courts and other branches of government in check. Thomas told 1,700 people at a dinner in honor of Scalia that the Supreme Court has too often granted rights to people that are not found in the Constitution. He cited last year’s decision that made same-sex marriage legal nationwide. Thomas said he and his longtime friend and colleague formed an “odd couple” of a white New Yorker and a black man from Georgia. He urged the audience to “be dedicated to the unfinished business for which justice Scalia gave his last full measure of devotion.”
Goof mars Grammy award
Mexican singer-songwriter Juan Gabriel on Thursday won the first Latin Grammy Award of his long career, but presenter Andres Ceballos of the Spanish group Dvicio apparently did not realize it was a posthumous prize. “He’s not here,” Ceballos said. “The academy will make sure he receives this award.” Gabriel died in August at age 66. Spanish pop quintet Dvicio was tapped with announcing winners in various categories during the untelevised portion of the ceremony. Ceballos looked confused when Gabriel did not appear to collect the prize for traditional pop vocal album. He also won album of the year.
Dress sells for US$4.8m
The skin-tight dress Marilyn Monroe wore to serenade then-president John F. Kennedy at a 1962 fundraising gala was sold on Thursday for US$4.8 million at an auction in Los Angeles. An unidentified bidder purchased the sequin-covered dress, the Beverly Hills-based Julien’s Auctions said. With its color matching her skin tone, the dress, which was so tight that Monroe had to be sewn into it, gave the impression she was nude.
‘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
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
A squad of gun-toting police officers patrolled Myanmar’s sacred site of Bagan under the cover of night, taking on plunderers snatching relics from temples forsaken by tourists due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each evening as dusk falls, about 100 officers fan out across the plain of Bagan covering 50km2, sweeping flashlights over the crumbling monuments to scour for intruders. “Our security forces are patrolling day and night,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Sein Win told reporters. “We have it under control for the moment, but it’s a challenge.” The central Burmese city is strewn with more than 3,500 ancient monuments — stupas, temples, murals and sculptures