Man bites snake to death
A man who was bitten by a cobra bit it back and killed the reptile in a tit-for-tat attack, the Annapurna Post reported yesterday. The daily said Mohamed Salmo Miya chased the snake, which bit him in his rice paddy on Tuesday, caught it and bit it until it died. “I could have killed it with a stick, but bit it with my teeth instead because I was angry,” the 55-year-old Miya, who lives in a village about 200km southeast of Kathmandu, was quoted by the daily as saying.
NZ officer beaten to death
A New Zealand policeman died yesterday from injuries sustained after being beaten in a police cell, with two local officers among those arrested over the death, officials said. Kali Fungavaka, who reportedly had won an award for bravery in 2006, had traveled to the Pacific nation for a funeral and was arrested for “minor drunkenness” on Saturday morning, local police said. Fungavaka was assaulted by another prisoner in the cell and suffered head injuries, with medics turning off life support late yesterday, they said, adding that investigations into his death were continuing.
Army storms Damascus
Government forces backed by tanks stormed Daraya, on the outskirts of Damascus, yesterday after 24 hours of artillery and helicopter bombardment to drive out rebels, opposition sources said. The bombardment killed at least 15 people and wounded 150 in Daraya, the sources said. Troops were conducting house-to-house raids in the conservative Sunni Muslim town and making their way to the town’s center, meeting light resistance from rebels who appear to have largely withdrawn from the area, activists in Damascus said. Other activists said the army was also shelling parts of the suburb from Qasioun, which overlooks Damascus, and from Republican Guard barracks situated near a hilltop presidential palace.
Women need training: Zuma
President Jacob Zuma has provoked anger by claiming that it is “not right” for women to be single and that children are important to give them “extra training.” Zuma has a history of making controversial remarks about gender and sexuality. His latest gaffe came in a TV interview in which he discussed his daughter’s marriage. “Kids are important to a woman because they actually give an extra training to a woman, to be a mother,” he told SABC3. The comments, made during women’s month, have generated anger. Kubi Rama, chief of operations at the nongovernmental organization Gender Links, said: “It raises serious questions about his commitment to equality.”
Donkeys outfitted with Wi-Fi
Call it back to the future: An attraction meant to immerse tourists in a biblical experience has outfitted its donkeys with wireless routers. At the historical park of Kfar Kedem, visitors dressed in biblical robes and headdresses ride donkeys through the rolling hills of the Galilee, learning how people lived in Old Testament times. However, they can also surf the Web while touring the land of the Bible on one of the oldest forms of transportation. The device slung around the donkey’s neck like a feedbag is actually a Wi-Fi router. Park manager Menachem Goldberg said on Wednesday he hoped the melding of old and new would connect the younger generation to ancient Galilee life — while allowing them to share, tweet and snap the experience instantly to friends.
Machu Picchu to get airport
President Ollanta Humala announced plans on Wednesday to build an international airport near the southern city of Cusco to boost tourism to the legendary Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. The current Cusco airport, long unable to handle major flights from abroad, only operates with limited daytime flights and is limited by its location in a city, surrounded by hills. Large aircraft cannot fly into the facility. Humala said the government will invest US$460 million in the project, not including compensation to the farming communities whose land will be seized.
Serial killer house on sale
The childhood home of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is for sale in northern Ohio. The three-bedroom, 202m2 home on a private wooded lot in Bath, near Akron, was the site of Dahmer’s first murder, in 1978. He moved to Wisconsin in 1982 and went on to kill 16 more people before his crimes were discovered in 1991. The current owner is musician Chris Butler. The asking price is US$329,000. Butler believes the right buyer will be someone who appreciates the home’s 1950s vintage style. The ranch-style house was built in 1952, and a year later featured in the Beacon Journal for its modern style, open layout and floor-to-ceiling windows. Butler said he could not understand at first why the house had been on the market for six months at a price that seemed low for the neighborhood.
Columbus made personal
A Japanese artist is inviting the public to have an intimate view of explorer Christopher Columbus high above a busy intersection in Manhattan. Tatzu Nishi is constructing a living room around the statue, which is perched on a six-story column in Columbus Circle, where five busy streets intersect. “Discovering Columbus” will run from Sept. 20 to Nov. 18. Visitors will climb stairs to reach the living room — complete with couch, coffee table and lamps — where they will have a bird’s-eye view of the city and Central Park. However, some Italian-Americans say his new project makes a mockery of Columbus. “Encasing this majestic statue in a cocoon of conceptual art demeans the community and trivializes history,” said Rosario Iaconis, chairman of the Italic Institute of America, an education think tank.
Prisoners grow cannabis
Warders in a French jail where prisoners are allowed to grow their own produce have been left red-faced after the discovery of cannabis plants among the flowers and vegetables. The plants, which had reached a height of around 80cm before being spotted at the weekend, were found in vegetable patches located in the exercise courtyard of the Saint-Martin-de-Re prison in the west of France, regional official of the prison officers’ union Christophe Beaulieu told reporters.
Forbes lists powerful women
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are the world’s most powerful women, according to Forbes magazine’s annual survey. Following the two stateswomen was Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Newcomers to the list included singer Jennifer Lopez, former US Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard Co and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo Inc. Lady Gaga was ranked at 14 and aged 26 is the youngest. The oldest, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, 86, was placed as No. 26.