Deal reached on Rohingya
The government and Bangladesh have agreed to work together to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees, officials said, but details remain thin. After talks in the capital, Naypyidaw, on Tuesday, Bangladesh’s Home Ministry said Myanmar had agreed to stop the outflow of Rohingya and take back all refugees. However, the Burmese said only that refugees would need to be scrutinized for proof of their roots in Rakhine state. “We cannot say when we are going to receive [the refugees],” Tin Myint, from the Burmese Home Ministry, told reporters after the meeting.
AISO warns on China
Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (AISO) Director-General Duncan Lewis late on Tuesday said that universities need to be “very conscious” of foreign interference in an apparent reference to China’s perceived undercover influence on campuses. He told politicians in Canberra that espionage and foreign interference were an “insidious threat” and that foreign powers were “clandestinely seeking to shape” the opinion of the public, media organizations and government officials “in order to advance their countries’ own political objectives.” He did not specifically name China in his late night testimony to a parliamentary inquiry, but when questioned about China’s involvement, he said he “strongly identified” with comments made by a senior government official this month that universities should protect themselves from Chinese influence.
‘Ninja’ thief, 74, nabbed
Osaka police have finally nabbed a nimble “ninja” thief who dressed in black and scrambled over walls to commit scores of break-ins over eight years — only to find he was 74. They had been stumped by a string of burglaries in which their only lead was security camera footage showing a thief wearing a black neck-warmer pulled up to the nose and a hood down to the eyebrows. In May the neck warmer slipped and police recognized Mitsuaki Tanigawa, who had a record for thefts. They finally nabbed him returning to his hideout at 4am after robbing a store. Tanigawa said he “hated working and thought stealing is quicker,” police said. He has been charged with more than 254 break-ins and thefts worth ￥30 million (US$260,000).
Pangolins seized in raid
Authorities have seized more than 100 live pangolins during a raid on Tuesday on a fishing boat near Sumatra, an official said yesterday. Authorities were tipped off by local residents who said men were attempting to smuggle the mammals to Malaysia. Two men, aged 22 and 25, were arrested. If found guilty, the pair could face a maximum five years in prison. The pangolins will be released in a national park, an official said.
Fork cancels ‘slurping noise’
Nissin Food Products said it has created the world’s first “noise-canceling” fork to mask the sound made by slurping noodles, dubbed “noodle harassment” on social media. The giant fork — 4.4cm wide and 15.2cm long — has a microphone to detect offending slurps. “We developed a system in which any subtle slurping sound can be detected,” the company said. When a slurp alert is triggered, the fork sends a signal to the user’s mobile phone, which plays the sound of flowing water to mask the noise. Nissin said it would only sell the fork if it receives 5,000 preorders by the middle of next month.
Einstein note sold at auction
While Albert Einstein’s theory of happiness might be relative, it fetched US$1.3 million at a Jerusalem auction on Tuesday. The Nobel-winning scientist’s handwritten note might not be as famous as his groundbreaking theory of relativity, but it still sheds light on one of the great modern minds. Winner’s Auctions & Exhibitions said Einstein was traveling in Japan in 1922 when he was told he would be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. In Tokyo, Einstein scribbled the note in German to a bellboy after he did not have cash to give him a tip. “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness,” it reads. Winner’s CEO Gal Wiener said Einstein told the bellboy that because of his fame, the handwritten note “will probably be worth more than a regular tip.” Wiener said bidding began at US$2,000 and quickly escalated, with the bidding war lasting about 25 minutes.
Leak targets world’s richest
Financial details of some of the world’s richest people are set to be published after a Bermuda-based offshore firm suffered a data breach, the Telegraph reported yesterday. The legal firm, Appleby, said it was bracing for documents to be published after being approached by the media network behind the Panama Papers. The US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and affiliated media raised allegations against the company’s operations and its clients, following information being leaked. “Appleby has thoroughly and vigorously investigated the allegations and we are satisfied that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing, either on the part of ourselves or our clients,” said the law firm, which has multiple offices in locations including Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. “We refute any allegations which may suggest otherwise and we would be happy to cooperate fully with any legitimate and authorized investigation of the allegations by the appropriate and relevant authorities.”
Guillaume dies aged 89
Robert Guillaume, who rose from squalid beginnings in St Louis, Missouri, slums to become a star in stage musicals and win Emmy Awards for his portrayal of the sharp-tongued butler in the TV sitcoms Soap and Benson, on Tuesday died aged 89. Guillaume died at home in Los Angeles, said his widow, Donna Brown Guillaume. He had been battling prostate cancer, she said. Among Guillaume’s achievements was playing Nathan Detroit in the first all-black version of Guys and Dolls, earning him a Tony nomination in 1977. He became the first African-American to sing the title role of Phantom of the Opera and was the voice of the shaman mandrill Rafiki in the film version of The Lion King. Guillaume won a Grammy in 1995 when a read-aloud version of The Lion King, which he narrated, was cited for best spoken word album for children.
Prince’s shoes on display
A pair of floral-patterned satin shoes worn by Prince has stepped into the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The art and design museum said the “exquisitely crafted” shoes illustrate the imagery and industry of Prince, who last year died aged 57. The zippers feature “love symbol #2,” the logo to which Prince changed his name in 1993. The shoes also have metal braces inserted between heel and sole to help support his vigorous leaps. The shoes on Tuesday went on display at the museum, which also holds costumes from Elton John, Mick Jagger and The Beatles.
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
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference