Plastic surgery fuels anger
Hardline Muslims yesterday protested in Jakarta over the investigation of an opposition activist who claimed that bruising on her face was caused by a politically motivated assault, but later admitted that it was due to cosmetic surgery. The furor over 69-year-old Ratna Sarumpaet’s bizarre case has stoked political tensions in Jakarta ahead of next April’s presidential election, which would pit President Joko Widodo against retired army general Prabowo Subianto. Sarumpaet, one of Prabowo’s campaign advisers, has been a strident critic of Widodo. After she claimed last week that she had been attacked by three assailants for her political work, a photograph of her face looking bruised went viral, but police found that Sarumpaet had undergone plastic surgery on her face at a Jakarta hospital and charged her with spreading a hoax, a punishable offence.
Artificial islands to add homes
Artificial islands are to be added to counter a runaway property market that has made the territory the world’s least affordable for housing. The government aims to reclaim 688 hectares off Lantau Island, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) said yesterday in a policy address. “Finding land is the pressing problem that we need to tackle urgently,” Lam told the Legislative Council. “We must make bold decisions.” To mitigate opposition to reclamation, Lam has said most of such land will be earmarked for subsidized housing. As many as 1.1 million people could live on the artificial islands, she said. That is about 15 percent of the territory’s population. The first phase of reclamation work would start in 2025, with people able to move in by 2032, Lam said.
Nineteen given death penalty
A court yesterday sentenced 19 people to death over a 2004 grenade attack on then-opposition leader Sheikh Hasina, who is now prime minister. The attack in Dhaka on a rally by Sheikh Hasina, left her injured and killed 20 people. Tarique Rahman, son of then-prime minister and Hasina’s ally-turned-archrival Khaleda Zia, was among 49 people on trial, with Rahman charged with criminal conspiracy and multiple counts of murder. Rahman, 50, who was tried in absentia after he fled the country for London in 2008, was sentenced to life in prison. “We thank God for the verdict,” prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain told reporters yesterday amid tight security.
Bus crash kills 51 people
Fifty-one people were killed when the bus they were traveling in overturned and its entire roof was ripped off in an accident in the west of the nation early yesterday, police said. “It is unfortunate that we have lost 51 people,” police chief Joseph Boinnet told Capital FM radio. According to police, the bus was traveling from Nairobi to the town of Kakamega and carrying 52 passengers. The Kenyan Red Cross wrote on Twitter that the bus had overturned, but more details on the cause of the accident were not immediately available. Footage from the scene showed the faded red bus lying on its side, with seats and mangled bits of metal exposed to the air and the ripped-off roof lying at a distance. Dozens of people milled around the accident site and goods were strewn over a large area.
States backing more hackers
The latest innovations in cybercrime have shifted from financially motivated actors to state-backed hackers focused on sabotage and intelligence gathering, a cybersecurity firm said on Tuesday. “The focus of innovations and research on the creation of complex malware, as well as organization of multi-layered targeted attacks, has now shifted ... to state-sponsored threat actors,” said Group-IB, a firm that works with Interpol and several other global institutions. In its cybercrime trends report for this year, the group said the top three countries in which state-backed entities operate were China, North Korea and Iran. Most attacks carried out in the second half of last year and the first half of this year targeted the Asia-Pacific region, it said.
Oil refinery blast kills one
A powerful blast that rocked the country’s oil refinery in Brod late on Tuesday has left one worker dead and nine injured, of whom four seriously, officials said yesterday. Firefighters put down the blaze at the plant’s oil and gas processing unit shortly after midnight, and rescuers later discovered one body inside the facility, Brod Mayor Ilija Jovicic said. Previous reports said eight people were injured in the blast.
Man detained in Germany
A Bulgarian man has been detained and charged outside of Hamburg, Germany with the rape and murder of television journalist Viktoria Marinova, officials said yesterday. The suspect was arrested on Tuesday at the request of Sofia, Minister of the Interior Mladen Marinov told reporters at a briefing attended by Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov and Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. The suspect was identified as 21-year-old Severin Krasimirov. “We have collected a lot of evidence which for the time being suggests that the person is guilty. He has been charged in absence for two crimes — rape and premeditated murder with extreme cruelty,” Tsatsarov told a news conference.
Rain kills at least five
At least five people were killed as heavy rains and floods hit Sant Llorenc on the island of Mallorca overnight, emergency services said yesterday. At least another 12 people were still missing after the downpours, local media reported. The regional government called an emergency meeting to coordinate rescue efforts, and authorities said rescue workers and military units were heading to the area to help. “My solidarity and support goes out to the families and friends of victims and all those affected by these tragic floods,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted early yesterday.
Former vice president jailed
A court in Guatemala City on Tuesday sentenced former vice president Roxana Baldetti to 15 years in prison for corruption after a trial lasting four months. Prosecutors said that between 2014 and 2015, a group of officials and business executives directed by Baldetti embezzled about US$2.5 million from the Central American country’s public coffers. The money was part of an US$18 million state fund for anti-pollution treatment at Lake Amatitlan, 20km south of Guatemala City. Baldetti “participated in and directed” the criminal network to “defraud the state of Guatemala,” Judge Pablo Xitumul said when delivering the sentence.
Female flight attendants working for Japan Airlines would next month be allowed to wear trousers and abandon high heels, the company said on Thursday, after a feminist campaign took off. The airline became one of the first major Japanese firms to announce the shift after a campaign known as #KuToo last year rejected mandatory high heels at work, drawing more than 32,000 signatures in an online petition. The campaign is part of a wider feminism movement in Japan, with Japan Airlines saying that the new policy was aimed at boosting a “diverse working environment.” PANTS PERMIT “This will be the first time to introduce
FATAL IDEA: The nation’s drugs regulator is curbing use of hydroxychloroquine, which Donald Trump has promoted for its alleged potential to treat COVID-19 Australia’s drug regulator has been forced to restrict powers to prescribe a drug undergoing clinical trials to treat COVID-19, because doctors have been inappropriately prescribing it to themselves and their family members, despite potentially deadly side effects. The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the similar compound chloroquine are currently used mostly for patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but stocks in Australia have been diminished thanks to global publicity — including from US President Donald Trump — about the potential of the drug to treat COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have potentially severe and even deadly side effects if used inappropriately, including
PORNHUB: Campaigners warn that videos of serious crimes, such as rape, are being uploaded to the site, which has failed to ban or moderate illegal content British lawmakers and campaigners are calling for urgent action to stop videos of rape, revenge porn and child abuse being posted on Pornhub as traffic to the site booms amid a worldwide COVID-19 lockdown. Pornhub’s traffic is up a record 12 percent this month compared with last month, as millions of people across the world are told to stay in their homes. Pornhub owner Mindgeek has used the coronavirus lockdowns to promote its site, giving free Premium access to people living in isolation in Italy, Spain and France. The offer has led to a huge increase in visits to the site from affected
TARGETED: Although hackers are known to be seeking to capitalize on concern over COVID-19, a cybersecurity expert said he had never seen anything to this extent before Elite hackers tried to break into the WHO earlier this month, sources said, part of what a senior agency official said was a more than two-fold increase in cyberattacks. The identity of the hackers was unclear and the effort was unsuccessful, WHO Chief Information Security Officer Flavio Aggio said. However, he warned that hacking attempts against the agency and its partners have soared as they battle to contain COVID-19, which has killed more than 15,000 worldwide. The attempted break-in at the WHO was first flagged to Reuters by Alexander Urbelis, a cybersecurity expert and attorney with the New York-based Blackstone Law Group,