Father kills daughters
A father murdered two of his infant daughters and badly beat his pregnant wife before killing himself after he learned she was having a fifth girl, police said yesterday. Ou Em, the police chief of Siem Reap Province, said Youen Nil, a 37-year-old father of four daughters, became distraught when his wife told him their unborn fifth child was also a girl. “He first beat the mother, who ran, and then slit the throats of his three and four-year-old before killing himself,” Ou Em said. “The family was very poor and Nil was disappointed he was not having a son. Two other daughters were staying with their grandmother at the time or he would have killed them too.”
Rockets ‘keep’ Beijing dry
Meteorologists dispatched eight planes to release rain dispersal chemicals and fired 241 rockets into incoming clouds to ensure a dry Beijing Olympics closing ceremony, state media said yesterday. Rain clouds from the north of China had started to move towards the capital on Sunday afternoon, Guo Hu, head of the Beijing Observatory, was quoted by the Xinhua news agency as saying. Meteorologists also fired more than 1,000 rockets into clouds on Aug. 8 to prevent showers from ruining the opening ceremony — the biggest-ever operation of its kind by China. China has long dabbled in rain dispersal and rain-making technology, using a vast array of chemicals to either induce or prevent rainfall.
Airport returns to normal
Hong Kong International Airport finally returned to business as normal yesterday, three days after a typhoon scored a direct hit on the bustling territory. More than 400 flights were cancelled or delayed because of Typhoon Nuri, which wreaked havoc across the territory on Friday. Thousands of passengers were held up and forced to stay for one or two nights in the territory of 6.9 million, but airport officials said yesterday afternoon that all backlogs and hold-ups had been cleared. Yesterday morning, however, some passengers claimed they had still not managed to catch delayed flights, with one Taiwanese man reported stuck at the airport for three days.
New PM balances neighbors
The government would maintain equal ties with the world’s most populous nations, neighbors India and China, newly appointed Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav said. Yadav spoke yesterday as Prime Minister Prachanda met with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in Beijing on his first international visit since being elected last week. Prachanda’s decision to go to China prompted criticism at home as India invited him earlier and New Delhi is traditionally a new Nepali leader’s first port of call. The prime minister, whose Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) fought for 10 years to overthrow the monarchy, has called for a review of all treaties with India, including the key 1950 security and trade accord that Prachanda says is unequal.
Quake rattles Leyte island
An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4 struck the island of Leyte at 10:43am, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said in an e-mailed alert. The quake hit 115km south-southeast of the city of Tacloban on Leyte at a depth of 49km, the USGS said. It struck 675km southeast of Manila, the US agency said. The USGS initially gave the quake a magnitude of 6 and put the depth at 80km. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
Bob Marley statue dedicated
A village, Banatski Sokolac, unveiled what it said was Europe’s first statue to the late Jamaican reggae star Bob Marley on Saturday, to promote tolerance in a region still recovering from war. Two Balkan musicians, one from Croatia and one from Serbia, unveiled the monument in the village of Banatski Sokolac at midnight during a gathering of rock bands from the Balkans. “Bob Marley promoted peace and tolerance in his music,” Mirko Miljus, an organizer, said. The event continued a trend of raising monuments to popular Western icons instead of local historical figures. Bosnians have erected a monument to Bruce Lee in the town of Mostar and Serbs have put up a statue to Rocky Balboa in northern Serbia.
Nun pageant to be held
A priest and theologian said on Sunday he is organizing an online beauty pageant for nuns to give them more visibility within the Catholic Church and to fight the stereotype that they are all old and dour. The “Miss Sister 2008” contest will start next month on a blog run by the Reverend Antonio Rungi and will give nuns from around the world a chance to showcase their work and their image. “Nuns are a bit excluded, they are a bit marginalized in ecclesiastical life,” Rungi said after local media carried reports of the idea.
Rebels accuse south Sudan
A spokesman for the country’s fugitive northern rebels accused south Sudanese troops of attacking guerrilla positions on Sunday on the Congo border, preventing a peace meeting. Officials from the South Sudanese Liberation Army (SPLA) could not immediately be reached for comment, and there was no independent confirmation of the clash. “Sometime last week there was a skirmish after SPLA attacked our positions,” David Nyekorach-Matsanga, a spokesman for Lord’s Resistance Army rebels, said by telephone from the south Sudanese capital Juba.
Grenade attack kills 19
A man killed 19 people in Bujumbura when he hurled a grenade into his brother’s wedding party in what police said on Sunday was a land dispute. One person was arrested after the incident on Saturday night in the central Gitega Province. “The grenade was launched into a crowd of people at the wedding ceremony,” police spokesman Pierre Ntarabaganyi said. He said the suspect was a brother of the groom, but that the groom and his wife survived the attack. Dozens of guests were hurt.
Son wants father ‘dead’
A son of notorious Nazi doctor Aribert Heim was quoted as saying on Sunday that he wants his father declared legally dead so he can take control of his money and donate some of it to help document the suffering that occurred at a former concentration camp. Ruediger Heim told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that his father — dubbed “Dr. Death” and atop the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of most-wanted suspected Nazi war criminals — should officially be declared missing and then dead. He reiterated he has not had any contact with his father since the doctor fled Germany in 1962, save two short notes in his family’s mailbox. “Between 1962 and 1967, two notes appeared in our mailbox. There was a single sentence written on them, ‘I am doing fine.’ But if those letters were really from my father, I do not know,” the paper quoted him as saying. Heim also said that he has no idea if his father, who would be 94, is alive or dead.
Three killed by lightning
Rescue officials say lightning has killed three people visiting a tourist area on the Rucu Pichincha volcano near Quito. Fire Department spokesman Cesar Enriquez says officials haven’t yet identified the name or nationality of two men killed in Saturday’s strike, but he says they appear to be foreign tourists. The woman who died apparently was Ecuadorean.
Meat firm chief apologizes
The head of a meat company linked to a deadly bacterial outbreak said that the Toronto plant at the center of the outbreak may reopen as soon as today. Maple Leaf Foods chief executive officer Michael McCain told reporters on Sunday that efforts to sanitize the facility were going well, and the plant could reopen, pending test results. “We have an unwavering commitment to keeping our food safe with the standards that go well beyond regulatory requirements,” he said. “But this week, our best efforts failed and for that, we are deeply sorry.” The outbreak has resulted in 21 confirmed cases of listeriosis, including four deaths. Of the deaths, listeriosis was found to be the cause in three cases and a contributing factor in the remaining case.
Tornadoes hit Colorado
Tornadoes touched down just outside Denver on Sunday amid stormy weather on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, the US National Weather Service said. The service issued tornado warnings for four counties immediately south and east of Denver, but not for the city itself. “Numerous trained weather spotters reported several tornadoes between Parker and Castle Rock,” two towns south of Denver, the service said in a bulletin. It reported a large tornado in southern Arapahoe County, east of Denver, at 5:47pm. Local TV channel KUSA showed a huge funnel cloud touching ground in relative open country around Parker, about 40km southeast of downtown Denver.
Julio sideswipes Baja
Tropical Storm Julio sideswiped the coast of the Baja California peninsula on Sunday, prompting more than 2,500 families who live along riverbeds to evacuate. The center of the storm moved past the resorts of Cabo San Lucas, where many families had moved to shelters, and was hugging the Pacific coast. The possibility of 7.5cm to 15cm of rain in the normally parched peninsula raised fears of flash flooding. The US National Hurricane Center in Miami said Julio was expected to pass over the peninsula’s center yesterday afternoon and it could become a tropical depression by late Monday. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 75kph on Sunday evening and was centered about 60km southwest of the state capital of La Paz.
Madonna may adopt again
Madonna may be trying to adopt a second child from Malawi, her husband Guy Ritchie was quoted as saying in an interview published on Sunday. The Observer Magazine asked the British filmmaker whether there was any truth to tabloid reports that he and Madonna were working to adopt a second child from Malawi. “Possibly,” Ritchie was quoted as saying. The couple’s two-year-old son David Banda, whose adoption was finalized only three months ago, is from Malawi. The Sun has quoted a Malawian official as saying that Madonna’s representatives had been visiting another child and that the government was waiting for her to make a formal application for adoption.