PM not to face charges
Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama will not face charges over an alleged assault due to double-jeopardy rules, Director of Public Prosecutions Christopher Pryde said yesterday, despite finding that there would be enough evidence to take the case to court. Bainimarama was accused of assaulting opposition lawmaker Pio Tikoduadua outside parliament in August, shortly after the pair had engaged in a heated debate in the chamber. Tikoduadua accused Bainimarama of “thuggery,” saying that the prime minister threatened him and shoved him, breaking his spectacles. Mobile phone footage shared widely online showed an argument between the pair, with Bainimarama advancing on Tikoduadua and appearing to grab his suit jacket. Pryde said he would not press any charges, because parliament’s privileges committee had already dealt with the issue. Pryde said that as the altercation took place on parliamentary grounds, the committee had the power to make a ruling on it and had done so. This meant that pursuing the matter through the criminal courts would expose Bainimarama to double jeopardy, which was against the constitution, he said. “Had the matter not been heard by the privileges committee and dealt with by parliament, there was sufficient evidence for the matter to proceed to court,” Pryde said.
Bus crash kills 35
Authorities said yesterday that 35 people have been killed in a bus crash near Mecca. The Saudi Press Agency reported that four others were injured in the crash. The agency, quoting police in Medina Province, said the crash happened at about 7pm on Wednesday on a road linking Mecca to Medina. The chartered bus carried Asian and Arab nationals, it said, without elaborating. Police were investigating the incident. Authorities gave no immediate cause for the crash.
Protesters block roads
After another night of clashes in Catalonia that left nearly 100 people injured according to emergency services, activists again blocked roads yesterday in the northeastern region. For the third night running, protesters clashed violently with riot police in the Catalan capital of Barcelona on Wednesday night, torching cars and garbage bins, as they expressed their fury over the sentencing of nine Catalan separatist leaders to long jail terms over their role in a failed independence bid. Emergency services said 58 people were injured, including a 17-year-old who was hit by a police van. Another 38 people were injured in protests in other Catalan cities.
Blood floods basement
Blood might be thicker than water, but it can still flood your basement. Nick Lestina found this out the hard way two weeks ago when he discovered 13cm of blood, fat and other animal tissue flooding his family’s basement in Bagley, about 72km northwest of Des Moines, Iowa. He told the Des Moines Register that he has not been able to clean it up because it is still seeping in. The waste is coming from a neighboring meat locker, where blood and tissue from slaughtered animals was washed down a drain. Officials say a clog or break in the pipe sent the waste into Lestina’s basement through a floor drain. A state environmental specialist traced the waste to Dahl’s Custom Meat Locker and says the company is now pumping it into a large tank. The Lestina family has temporarily moved in with a relative.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
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”