Thieves throw feces
Police were hunting yesterday for a gang of Sydney street robbers who throw feces at their victims to distract them before grabbing their money. They have been linked to at least three crimes so far, which involved them hurling the excrement just after people withdraw money from the bank, then offering to help clean it up. While doing so, they steal the cash. In one incident, they made off with A$30,000 (US$30,700), and in another more than A$8,000, police said. “These robberies are vile and sickening in their nature and we are doing everything we can to catch those responsible,” Detective Inspector James Deeley said in a statement, urging people to be extra vigilant.
Pet-eating crocodile caught
A 4.4m crocodile that had eaten up to nine pet dogs has been hauled out of a river in the north, a report said yesterday. The rogue animal was trapped at Daly River community, where it was terrorizing residents and animals, the Northern Territory News said. “Crocs are an ever-present danger but you don’t see them,” police officer Mark Casey said. “They can sit for days on end on the other side of the river and watch you go fishing off the same log or rock — that’s how they hunt. Next thing you know, bang, the dog’s gone.” As the saltwater crocodile got closer to the 500-person settlement, also snatching wallabies, a decision was made to catch it.
TV causes cyclists’ deaths
A truck driver who killed three professional cyclists in a road accident has admitted he was watching a TV mounted on his dashboard at the time, police said on Thursday. Police found the TV switched on when they and other rescuers arrived on Tuesday at the scene of the accident at Euiseong, 330km southeast of Seoul. The 66-year-old trucker surnamed Baek has been detained on suspicion of dangerous driving.
Third Kwok brother arrested
The former chief executive of Hong Kong developer Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd was arrested in a high profile anti-corruption probe that has already targeted his billionaire brothers and a top official. Hong Kong’s biggest property developer said Walter Kwok (郭炳湘) was arrested by anti-corruption police on Thursday night as part of an investigation into alleged bribery. Kwok, who is still a director of Sun Hung Kai, was later released on bail. His brothers Thomas Kwok (郭炳江) and Raymond Kwok (郭炳聯), who are joint chairmen of the company, were arrested in March along with a former chief secretary, but no one has been charged.
Pop star to high-five fans
South Korean entertainer Kim Hyun-joong plans to start his “2012 Asia Fan Meeting Tour” by high-fiving all 3,000 people expected to turn up — a first for a pop star visiting Singapore. Event organizer Running Into The Sun said the original plan was for Kim to high-five 500 fans selected from the audience, but Kim was insisting on high-fiving everyone. “I know it’s not going to be easy and I hope that even if it is a really short moment of high-five, the fans would know how much I appreciate their effort and support,” he said. The tour that starts today includes Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and Thailand. Organizers say Kim will high-five everyone at fan events in Taiwan and Hong Kong, too.
Chavez tweets budget items
President Hugo Chavez, in Cuba for his latest cancer treatment, has been firing off budget announcements via Twitter, adding fodder to opposition claims that he is governing by remote control. Chavez on Thursday announced US$500 million “to equip and modernize the Marine Corps,” US$22.7 million for agricultural development, US$255 million for “staff and operating costs” for the ministry of communications and US$106 million for the production of sugar cane, all via the microblogging Web site. Chavez, long a mainstay on state media, has been communicating almost exclusively via Twitter in recent weeks as he has shuttled back and forth to Cuba for several rounds of cancer treatment, fueling speculation about his health.
Evangelista, Pinault in court
Former supermodel Linda Evangelista clashed in court on Thursday with Frenchman Francois-Henri Pinault over child support for her son fathered by the Gallic tycoon, one of France’s wealthiest men. In what could be one of the most expensive child support cases ever, Evangelista wants US$46,000 a month for five-year-old Augustin, including a bodyguard, a driver and a 24-hour nanny, according to a list from Pinault’s lawyers. Evangelista’s attorney William Beslow disputed the amount, but gave no figure for how much the Canadian ex-model is seeking to support “Augie” from billionaire Pinault, who heads the PPR luxury goods conglomerate and testified for more than an hour.
Blasts kill at least 13
At least 13 people have been killed and scores injured in two powerful explosions in the republic of -Dagestan. Emergency ministry chief physician in Dagestan Kazanfar Kurbanov said yesterday that more than 120 people had been injured and 15 of them were in critical condition. Authorities are treating the blasts on Thursday night as an attack by insurgents. Dagestan is plagued by frequent attacks on police and civilians by Islamist radicals. The insurgency spread to the region from neighboring Chechnya where federal forces have fought two wars with separatists since 1994.
Art forger gets two years
British police said a man has been sentenced to two years in jail for forging up to 1,000 paintings. Scotland Yard said 63-year-old William Mumford imitated artists such as Maqbool Fida Husain, Kyffin Williams and John Tunnard. It said a number of co-conspirators had placed the works for sale on EBay and at British auction houses in exchange for a 20 percent cut. Police said the scam was discovered in 2009 after a major auction house saw that an unusually large number of Husain paintings were offered for sale.
‘Little Prince’ pages shown
Newly discovered draft pages of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince — that may shed new, political insight on the classic book — have been put on display at a Paris auction house for the first time. Following their surprise discovery in private hands two months ago, the hand-written pages about the young, curious prince who embarks on interplanetary adventures will be auctioned off later this month after a rare public viewing. “It is incredible. No one knew they even existed two months ago, and now someone can own them,” auction specialist Benoit Puttemans said on Thursday.