Romney to seek Utah seat
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is trying for a political comeback as he launches a Senate campaign in Utah. The former Republican presidential nominee on Friday confirmed his widely anticipated plans in an online video. The announcement features his leadership of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and says the conservative state and its residents can show Washington how to govern respectfully. He is considered a heavy favorite for the seat held by Senator Orrin Hatch, who is retiring.
NYCB’s Martins cleared
A two-month investigation has found no verifiable sexual harassment or physical abuse by former New York City Ballet (NYCB) leader Peter Martins. The New York Times reports that NYCB and its school also have announced new policies to assure that dancers “feel safe, respected” and able to freely voice their concerns. Martins says he was “gratified” by the findings of an outside counsel. Martins, who denied accusations of sexual misconduct, announced last month that he was retiring. He said the scandal had “exacted a painful toll” on him and his family. The findings were denounced on Thursday by two former NYCB dancers who had come forward with accusations.
Facebook loses case
A Brussels court has ordered Facebook to stop collecting data about citizens in the country or face fines for every day it fails to comply, the daily De Standaard reported on Friday. The court upheld a national privacy commission finding that Facebook is collecting data without users’ consent. It said the court concluded that Facebook does not adequately inform users that it is collecting information, what kind of details it keeps and for how long, or what it does with the data. It has ruled that Facebook must destroy any data it has obtained illegally or face fines of 250,000 euros (US$311,500) every day it delays.
Serial killer Michel Fourniret has finally “confessed” to murdering British language student Joanna Parrish nearly three decades ago, the family lawyer said on Friday. Fourniret, who was jailed for life in 2008 for killing seven girls, was interviewed by two instructing magistrates in Paris and, according to lawyer Didier Seban, admitted murdering the 20-year-old Parrish and French teenager Marie-Angele Domece. “He made detailed and repeated confessions. He clearly recognizes, and this several times over, having killed Joanna Parrish and Marie-Angele Domece,” Seban said. “It’s hard [for the family] but the end of a long legal battle.” Fourniret had previously always denied involvement in the two cases. Seban said he hoped a trial would soon go ahead now. Paris prosecutors would not comment on the revelations with investigations under way.
Sobral says voice ‘fragile’
Eurovision Song Contest winner Salvador Sobral says his voice is “fragile” following a heart transplant, but is confident it will return. The 28-year-old singer underwent the operation in December last year, just seven months after winning Eurovision in Kiev. “This has influenced me in a very physical way, the medication and certain things have made my voice a bit fragile, but I think it will return to what it was,” Sobral said, adding that he is not sure if he will perform when his nation hosts this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in May.
Brawling family ejected
Twenty-three members of a family were removed from a cruise ship near Sydney on Friday after a brawl that left several injured, reports said. Police removed the group, which included men, women and children, from the boat after it docked in Sydney on a 10-day South Pacific cruise. Video taken by passengers showed more than a dozen people fighting on the ship as crew members struggled to break up the violence. Other reports said the group had been terrorizing other passengers for days. “People were pulling their children out of the pool because they were crying and scared,” one witness told the Herald Sun newspaper. It said some of the group had been placed under “house arrest” on the ship before being ejected.
Waste facility fire kills nine
Nine people died in a fire early yesterday at a waste processing facility in Guangdong Province’s Qingyuan City, Xinhua news agency said yesterday. One survivor was sent to hospital. Police have detained at least one person in connection with the fire and an investigation is ongoing, Xinhua said. Elsewhere, an explosion at a stall selling fireworks in Yunnan Province killed four people and injured another four at about 11pm on Thursday, authorities said on Friday. The cause is under investigation, the Tonghai County information office said.
Rouhani rails against US
President Hassan Rouhani on Friday slammed the administration of US President Donald Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and urged Muslims to support the Palestinian cause. Rouhani also lashed out at the US for imposing a ban on travelers from six largely Muslim countries. He was addressing a congregation after Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad during a three-day visit to India. Calling for unity, Rouhani said that Shiites, Sunnis and people of other ethnicities coexisted peacefully in Iraq and Syria for centuries until the West created discord there. Rouhani was to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi yesterday.
Seven die of suffocation
Seven workers died of suffocation on Friday while cleaning an underground drainage pit at a poultry farm in Andhra Pradesh state, police said. Deputy Superintendent of Police Chowdesari said the deaths occurred in Morem village. After the first worker entered the drainage pit, he shouted for help because he had difficulty breathing. Chowdesari said the eight other workers entered the pit to help. Four died on the spot and three others succumbed later in a hospital. A large number of villagers gathered outside the poultry farm and demanded the arrest of farm officials. Police said they were investigating the deaths.
Suicide blast kills 18
Three suicide bombers killed 18 people on Friday in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, epicenter of the Boko Haram insurgency, Borno State Police Commissioner Damian Chukwu said yesterday. The attack took place at a fish market on the outskirts of the state capital at about 8pm and also injured other people, he said. In other news, police said gunmen tied to cattle rustlers have shot dead at least 18 people in northwestern Zamfara state. State police spokesman Muhammad Shehu said an armed gang ambushed a group of residents in Birani Village after rustlers were stopped from stealing cows. Some local media reports put the death toll as high as 40.
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
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘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
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread