Vegan insulted by banker
NatWest has apologized after a customer who called the bank to apply for a loan was told by a member of staff that “all vegans should be punched in the face.” The Bristol woman, who does not wish to be named, was seeking a loan to pay for a ￡400 (US$516) nutrition diploma. She said her application was rejected, but the bank offered compensation of just under ￡200 after listening to a recording of the call. Speaking to BBC Radio Bristol, the woman said the staff member’s outburst came after she told him she was vegan. After he made the comment, he explained it was because vegan activists had chalked pictures of animals and messages such as “friends not food” on pavements near his home, she said. He felt, she added, that “vegans were forcing their beliefs on him.”
Farm leader jailed
A farm leader who helped lead protests last year against President Daniel Ortega was on Monday sentenced to 216 years in prison, days after business leaders asked the government to release inmates considered political prisoners. A judge sentenced Medardo Mairena after he was convicted in December last year of terrorism, murder and organized crime, charges he denied. Before he was arrested in July last year, he was among the opposition members who participated in a failed dialogue with the government. More than 320 people died in the protests last year against Ortega, after government supporters and police opened fire on crowds.
Time’s Up head quits
The president and chief executive of Time’s Up, a group dedicated to fighting sexual discrimination and harassment in the workplace, has resigned to focus on undisclosed family concerns, Time’s Up said on Monday. “It is with deep regret that I must resign from Time’s Up to address family concerns that require my singular focus,” Lisa Borders said in a statement. Chief operating officer Rebecca Goldman is to serve as interim chief executive while Time’s Up searches for a replacement, the group said. Time’s Up was formed in the fall of 2017 amid a wave of media reports about sexual assault and harassment accusations against rich and powerful men in the media, show business and politics.
Stone apologizes to judge
President Donald Trump’s longtime confidant Roger Stone has apologized to the judge presiding over his criminal case for an Instagram post featuring a photograph of her with what appears to be the crosshairs of a gun. Stone and his lawyers on Monday filed a notice saying that Stone recognized that “the photograph and comment today was improper and should not have been posted.” Stone later said that the picture had been “misinterpreted” and that any suggestion he intended to threaten Jackson was “categorically false.”
Rosenstein set to quit
A Department of Justice official said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave his position in the middle of next month. The official spoke on condition of anonymity on Monday. The White House is expected to name a replacement for Rosenstein this week. Rosenstein’s departure had been expected with the confirmation of William Barr as attorney general last week. Rosenstein has been on the job for nearly two years. He oversaw Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation after then-attorney general Jeff Sessions recused himself.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
‘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
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered
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