Youths behead man on train
Police were searching yesterday for a gang of knife-wielding youths who beheaded a man on a train in an eastern state in front of horrified passengers. Khokon Ghosh, a 37-year-old sweet seller, was set upon on Monday afternoon near Bazarshau station, about 190km north of Kolkata in West Bengal. “The assailants escaped after the driver stopped the train midway hearing passengers scream,” district police superintendent Humayun Kabir said. “Preliminary investigation has revealed that Ghosh was murdered over some local issues in his village,” he said.
Anti-apartheid activist dies
Academic and distinguished linguist Neville Alexander, who spent time in jail with former president Nelson Mandela, died of cancer aged 75 on Monday, the University of Cape Town said. Born in the southern town of Cradock in 1936, the activist would go on to campaign against apartheid in the 1950s and spend a decade on Robben Island. Alexander obtained his doctorate in German at the University of Tuebingen in then-West Germany in 1961. Three years later he was convicted for conspiracy to commit sabotage against the white minority regime, along with other members of the National Liberation Front, which he co-founded. He spent the next 10 years on Robben Island, a political prison off the coast of Cape Town. One of Alexander’s companions was Mandela, who spent 27 years in various jails before he was released and became the country’s first black president in 1994.
Senator’s wife in court
A senator’s wife appeared in a Saskatoon court on the couple’s one-year wedding anniversary on Monday after spending a long weekend in jail for threatening to down an aircraft. Maygan Sensenberger, 23, was arrested late on Thursday last week for allegedly threatening passengers, swearing and arguing with her much older husband, Senator Rod Zimmer, 69, during an Air Canada flight. Police spokeswoman Alyson Edwards told reporters that Sensenberger “threatened to take down the plane” and to harm her husband during an apparent lovers’ quarrel that began soon after takeoff and escalated throughout the flight. “Attempts by the [flight’s] crew and other passengers to intervene were met with hostility,” Edwards added, citing witness statements to police. Sensenberger, who was granted bail during her brief court appearance in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, faces possible life in prison if convicted of causing a disturbance and endangering an aircraft. Zimmer is a member of the Senate’s human rights and transport and communications committees. His office declined to comment on his wife’s legal woes.
Terrorism sponsor jailed
An Algerian national was jailed for seven years by a Scottish court on Monday for funding a man who carried out the first-ever suicide bombing in Sweden. Nasserdine Menni was convicted of transferring money to sports therapist Taimour Abdulwahab, who blew up his car and then himself in a botched attack near a busy shopping street in Stockholm on Dec. 11, 2010. Abdulwahab killed himself and injured two people in the bombing. Menni sent a total of ￡5,725 (US$9,044) to a bank account in Abdulwahab’s name in the knowledge that it could be used for terrorism purposes, Glasgow High Court heard.
Wild cat claims unfounded
Police said on Monday that they have found no evidence to support area residents’ claims that they had spotted a big cat prowling the countryside near the village of St Osyth, in the southeastern county of Essex. Sunday’s reported sightings alarmed many of the village’s 4,000 people and authorities sent about 40 officers, tranquilizer-toting zoo experts and a pair of heat-seeking helicopters to the area in an effort to find the beast. However, a police spokeswoman said that, after an extensive search, “we’ve found no evidence” of a lion. The creature spotted on Sunday night may have been a large domestic cat or a wildcat, she added. The official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity, demurred, noting that the people interviewed by police were convinced they had spotted a lion. That aside, she said, “we’ve stopped searching for it.” It seems the mysterious “Essex Lion” will join a number of other mythical beasts that at times appear and then disappear into Britain’s forests and seaside — particularly in the dead of summer, when journalists struggle to fill papers and news bulletins.
Catholic bishop in booze rap
The Roman Catholic bishop newly chosen by the Vatican to lead the archdiocese of San Francisco and two other Bay Area counties publicly apologized on Monday after he was arrested and held behind bars over the weekend on suspicion of drunken driving. Salvatore Cordileone, 56, appointed last month by Pope Benedict XVI to preside over more than 500,000 Catholics as metropolitan archbishop of San Francisco, was taken into custody on Saturday near San Diego State University, according to the San Diego Police Department. He was jailed on suspicion of driving under the influence after he was stopped at a police checkpoint and failed a field sobriety test, police spokesman Detective Gary Hassen said. The bishop was released on US$2,500 bail, about 11 hours after his arrest, he said. Cordileone acknowledged that his blood-alcohol level was found to be over the legal limit, apologized for his “error in judgement” and said he felt “shame for the disgrace I have brought upon the church and myself.” Cordileone has been particularly outspoken in church opposition to same-sex matrimony as chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, a role that has put him at odds with many Catholics in the largely gay-friendly Bay area.
Man charged in corpse find
The estranged boyfriend of a Chinese-Canadian woman whose body parts were discovered scattered throughout Toronto has been charged in her killing, police said on Monday. Chun Qi Jiang, 40, a construction worker who moved to Canada in 2002, was arrested in Toronto on Sunday and charged with murder. Peel regional police inspector George Koekkoek told a press conference the victim, Guang Hua Liu, 41, had been dating Jiang. Mid-month police recovered an arm, thigh and two calves from a creek in an eastside suburb of Toronto, as well as a foot, two hands and a head belonging to the victim from a park west of the city. Hikers had stumbled upon a foot floating in the Credit River, triggering a massive search by police divers and sniffer dogs. A passerby, meanwhile, alerted police when he spotted an arm and leg in a creek on the east side of Canada’s largest city. Locating Liu’s remaining body parts is part of the ongoing investigation, Koekkoek said. A forensic examination has not yet determined the cause of death.