Former leader found liable
A judge has ordered a former prime minister to pay several million dollars in compensation for her role in the collapse of a construction company. After serving as the nation’s first female leader from 1997 to 1999, Jenny Shipley in 2004 became board chairwoman of Mainzeal. The company collapsed in 2013, owing creditors NZ$110 million (US$75.68 million). High Court Judge Francis Cooke yesterday found the directors had engaged in reckless trading by using money owed to subcontractors to continue operating over several years. Shipley was ordered to pay NZ$6 million as part of a NZ$36 million finding against the directors.
Coalition backs Nipah vaccine
A global coalition set up to fight emerging epidemics has struck a US$31 million deal with scientists at the University of Tokyo to speed up work on a vaccine against a brain-damaging disease caused by the Nipah virus. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) said that the research team would receive up to US$31 million to advance the development and manufacturing of a shot. “Not only is the case fatality rate for this disease high ... there is a serious risk [it] could become a threat to global health security,” CEPI chief executive officer Richard Hatchett said.
Quake fears stop mining
A southwestern county has ordered a halt to shale gas mining amid fears that it might have helped cause an earthquake in the area that killed two people, the Xinhua news agency reported. The magnitude 4.9 quake hit Sichuan Province’s Rongxian County on Monday afternoon, damaging thousands of buildings, injuring 12 people and affecting more than 13,000 people, Xinhua said, adding that it was the third earthquake above magnitude 4 in two days. “Due to safety reasons and requirements on safe production, shale gas mining companies have suspended mining work,” it quoted the county government as saying.
Buhari has early lead in poll
President Muhammadu Buhari surged to an early lead in election returns on Monday, winning seven of 36 states in Africa’s largest democracy, while the main opposition rejected the count, alleging manipulation. Buhari faced a strong challenge from top opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar. Abubakar’s party chairman, Uche Secondus, accused ruling party agents of hacking into the electoral commission’s computer server and manipulating results. He rejected the count as “incorrect, thus unacceptable.” Final results are expected on Tuesday or Wednesday.
‘Indian jibe’ MP charged
Authorities on Monday charged a prominent ruling party MP, Chishimba Kambwili, with hate speech for allegedly telling an ethnic Indian worker that he was stealing local jobs. Kambwili, a fierce critic of President Edgar Lungu, allegedly told an Indian-origin road worker that his occupation should be reserved for Zambians. A clip purporting to show the incident went viral on social media last week, prompting the government to issue a rebuke. “Police in Lusaka have arrested and charged Chishimba Kambwili with expression or showing hatred, ridicule or contempt for persons because of race, tribe or place of origin,” police spokeswoman Esther Katongo said in a statement. If convicted Kambwili faces up to two years in jail.
Labour open to second vote
The main opposition Labour Party has said that it could support a second Brexit referendum as the EU opened the door to postponing the country’s exit from the bloc beyond the March 29 deadline. The Labour Party on Monday said that it would put forward its own plan for Brexit, adding that if its plan was rejected, it would lend its support to an amendment on holding a second referendum on EU membership. “We are committed to ... putting forward or supporting an amendment in favor of a public vote to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit being forced on the country,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a statement.
Walmart union urges raises
A union representing workers at Walmart’s local unit on Monday said that it would go on strike next month if it does not secure better pay and conditions for thousands of employees. The National Association of Trade and Home Offices, which holds 121 collective contracts in 10 states with Walmart de Mexico y Centroamerica, said that it was seeking a 20 percent salary hike over last year’s wage levels for the 8,000 workers it represents. The union also aims to establish a first-ever sales commission for clerks, to be set at 4 percent. It also said that employees were not properly compensated for working overtime and that some staff suffered abuses, including sexual harassment from superiors.
R Kelly released on bail
R Kelly on Monday walked out of a Chicago jail after posting US$100,000 bail that allows him to go free while awaiting trial on charges that he sexually abused four people dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. Hours earlier, the rhythm and blues star pleaded not guilty to the allegations after spending the weekend behind bars. Court records showed that a 47-year-old woman from the Chicago suburb of Romeoville, Illinois, posted the US$100,000 bail and identified herself on the bond slip as “a friend” of Kelly, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Burch returns from Yemen
US citizen Danny Burch has been reunited with his family after 18 months in captivity in Yemen, President Donald Trump said on Monday. Burch, an oil engineer who grew up in Texas and spent years working in Yemen, was taken hostage in September 2017, his family said at the time, although Reuters reported in January last year that he had been released and taken to Oman. “Today he is safe and secure, and is reunited with his wife and children,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
Pregnant mom to be buried
A funeral is to be held tomorrow for a pregnant mother of six who police said was killed when a driver hit her family outside a convenience store after words were exchanged about his smoking. Melissa Castillo DeLoatch, 32, shielded her youngest child during the incident on Wednesday last week in Haverstraw, New York, police said. Her husband and the children, aged 11 months to 10 years, were treated at regional hospitals. Her husband had argued with Jason Mendez after telling him not to smoke in front of the children, police said. Mendez then “intentionally drove his vehicle across the parking lot ... into a family of eight persons,” a felony complaint said. He then reversed and drove over the family members again, it added.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC) yesterday said that reporters in the territory were experiencing “highly unusual” visas problems, and called on the US and China to stop using the media as a political weapon. Journalists have been caught up in US-China tensions, with both sides placing limits or expelling reporters from their territories in the past few months. Now the spat is filtering into Hong Kong, a regional press hub nominally in charge of its own immigration policies. The FCC said in a statement that multiple media firms had reported delays getting visas in recent months. “The delays have affected journalists