Fewer journalists slain
A total of 102 journalists were killed last year, eight fewer than the year before, the International Press Institute (IPI) said on Monday in its annual World Press Freedom Review. Asia, where 40 reporters were slain, was the most dangerous region in the world for journalists, followed by Latin America where 32 perished, the institute said. Pakistan, with 16 deaths, was the most lethal country in the world. Mexico and Honduras, meanwhile, accounted for almost a quarter of all killings, with 12 and 10 deaths. “Although the number of journalists who died in 2010 represented a drop from 2009’s all-time high [of 110 deaths], it was in some ways worse than previous tallies because no large number could be tied to a major war or a single high-fatality incident,” the Vienna-based IPI, which has kept a so-called death watch since 1997, said in a statement.
Violent protests continue
The government yesterday blamed the opposition for a third night of violent protests over rising prices, the latest round in a long fight between the reformist president and the predecessor whose autocratic 30-year reign he upended. Opposition and government supporters clashed before dawn during street protests which began over the weekend, led by a faction of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party that ruled under former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Police made several arrests and used tear gas to disperse the crowds, spokesman Ahmed Shiyam said. The opposition says it will not stop until President Mohamed Nasheed steps down over skyrocketing prices and plans to float the local currency.
US missile deal reached
Bucharest and the US have agreed to deploy elements of a future missile defense shield at Deveselu airbase in the south, President Traian Basescu said yesterday. The airbase, which will remain under Romanian command, will host an average of 200 US troops and up to a maximum of 500. The two nations have been negotiating for more than a year on the deployment of ballistic missile interceptors, which should be operational by 2015.
Doctors puzzled by needle
Former president Roh Tae-woo was admitted to hospital with a bad cough and ended up on the operating table to remove an acupuncture needle from his right lung. Media reports said Roh, 78, was released from Seoul National University Hospital on Monday after surgery to remove the 6.5cm needle. Doctors are puzzled how the needle ended up in his lung, and acupuncturists say that none of their procedures involved penetrating the lung.
King undergoes spinal tap
King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 83, who has been in hospital since September 2009, underwent a spinal tap to remove cerebrospinal fluid, the Royal Household said in a rare statement on his health on Monday. It said the king had recovered from a lung infection, but continues to stay in hospital for physical rehabilitation and to ensure good nutrition.
Wanted mobster caught
Authorities say police have captured the No. 2 boss of a bloody Camorra crime clan near Caserta after six years on the run. Mario Caterino was arrested on Monday in a house in Casal di Principe. Caterino had been sentenced to life in prison for homicide.
Community takes on loggers
Around 17,000 people from an indigenous group in the west have blocked access to their community and declared a “state of siege” against armed groups protecting illegal loggers, a spokesman said on Monday. “It’s a desperate measure” faced with the lack of security from federal authorities, a spokesman for the Purepecha community told a news conference in Mexico City, wearing a face mask to remain anonymous. It was a “self-imposed state of siege” that started on April 15 in the village of Cheran, in Michoacan State. The community started the blockade after armed men fired on some of its members after they captured illegal loggers to hand them over to the authorities, he added. An armed group entered the community on April 27 and killed two people. Since 2008, nine have been killed and five others have disappeared, he said. Illegal loggers have deforested 80 percent of about 12,000 hectares of the region’s forests in more than three years, according to the community.
Eaters try ‘Lady Cheese’
A New York gallery offered adventurous eaters on Sunday the opportunity to sample cheese made from human breast milk, getting mixed reviews and some puzzled looks. The Lady Cheese Shop is a temporary art installation by Miriam Simun, a graduate student at New York University who hopes to use the craft of cheese-making to raise questions about the ethics of modern biotechnologies. She found three nursing women willing to have their milk turned into cheese. Three varieties were available — West Side Funk, Midtown Smoke, described as “creamy and just pure heaven,” and Wisconsin Chew, the taste of which apparently reflected the vegetable-filled diet of the woman who provided its milk. Frances Anderson sampled the cheese while breastfeeding her infant son Luan. “I’m an adventurous eater,” she said. “I know more about the source of this food than going into a supermarket and picking up cheddar cheese. I don’t know what they pumped into that cow.”
Cars carry radiation
Officials found traces of radioactivity in tests on about 20 used cars on a ship from South Korea that had been in the vicinity of Japan’s damaged Fukushima atomic plant, a report said on Monday. The report in the daily El Mercurio quoted Iquique customs director Raul Barria as saying the radioactivity did not appear to pose a danger.
Group arrested near Nablus
Police yesterday arrested a group of Israelis on an illegal trip to a flashpoint religious site where several Jews were shot by Palestinian police last month. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the group was arrested near the contested Joseph’s Tomb site by the northern West Bank city of Nablus. The group appeared to be extremists who arrived at the tomb shortly after an authorized group of around 200 Jewish worshipers prayed there.
Men stabbed for signing
Police say two hearing-impaired men were stabbed at a bar when their sign language was mistaken for gang signs. Court records show that 45-year-old Barbara Lee and 19-year-old Marco Ibanez are facing aggravated battery charges in the Saturday night attack in Hallandale Beach, Florida. Police say none of their injuries are life-threatening.