Yacht designer macheted
An acclaimed Australian yacht designer was hacked to death inside his residence, police said yesterday. A neighbor found the body of 81-year-old Joe Adams early on Monday and blood scattered on the floor of his two-story house that was left open in the village of Tuding in Benguet Province’s Itogon Township, regional police director Benjamin Magalong said. Hack wounds on Adams’ hands suggest that he tried to fight off attackers armed with a machete, Magalong said. He said police are investigating the motive for the killing and that forensic experts are examining possible fingerprints left by the suspect or suspects. Tuding police investigator Julius Acay said Adams’ valuables were left intact, although his wallet contained no money when it was found, Acay said. The Sydney-born yacht designer was behind the record-breaking Sydney-to-Hobart race winner Helsal in 1973
King’s body on route home
Mourners of the late King Norodom Sihanouk carried flowers and burning incense to the Royal Palace yesterday to pray before his body arrives home from China. More than 1,000 people, some with tears in their eyes, gathered in hot weather, many of them kneeling before a portrait of the late monarch. “I needed to come here today, to pray and see the body of the king because he dies only one time, not twice,” said Khy Sokhan, a 73-year-old woman in a wheelchair outside the palace. In Beijing yesterday morning, traffic authorities cleared several roads and a highway as a bus decorated with yellow flowers and apparently carrying Sihanouk’s body traveled to the airport with a few dozen black cars and minibuses. Chinese state television carried live coverage of the procession while Chinese flags at Tiananmen Square and other key locations in the capital flew at half-staff. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said State Councilor Dai Bingguo (戴秉國) was escorting Sihanouk’s body to Cambodia.
Demolition yields fortune
Construction workers dismantling a vacant house in a rural part of the country discovered the equivalent of US$330,000 in cash stuffed in a tin box underneath the living room floor, press reports said yesterday. The house, in a farming town on the northern island of Hokkaido, had been empty since its elderly male owner died two years ago, the reports said. The cash — about 2,600 notes each worth ￥10,000 (US$127) bundled together or put in envelopes — will be handed over to the dead man’s relatives on the main Japanese island of Honshu, the reports said. “Because the cash was discovered at an individual’s house, it is clear whose money it is,” a local police spokesman said by telephone. “So we don’t treat it as a lost-and-found case.”
Lee’s brother’s house raided
Investigators yesterday raided the home and office of President Lee Myung-bak’s eldest brother as part of a probe into alleged irregularities in a project to build Lee’s retirement home. The raid came a day after a special prosecutor requested that Lee’s only son, Lee Si-hyung, and 10 other people linked to the now-defunct project be barred from leaving the country. Yonhap news agency said the raid was on the home of Lee Sang-eun in eastern Seoul and his office at auto seat maker DAS, where he serves as chairman, in Gyeongju. The controversy centers around the joint purchase last year — by Lee Si-hyung and the presidential security service — of a plot of land on the southern edge of Seoul.
McNamara memoirs for sale
The personal archive of former US secretary of defense Robert McNamara, who served under then-US president John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis 50 years ago, is to be sold at auction later this month, Sotheby’s said on Tuesday. The sale is to be held on Tuesday and will mark the half century anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the US and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war. Items in the auction are to include McNamara’s formal appointment to the defense position signed by Kennedy, which could sell for up to US$15,000, but the top-selling item could be two cabinet room chairs from the Kennedy administration, along with a second signed letter from the then first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, that together are expected to fetch as much as US$250,000. McNamara’s time as secretary of defense was dominated by the Vietnam War, which he later described as “terribly wrong.”
Thieves steal masterpieces
Thieves broke into the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam on Tuesday and walked off with works from the likes of Picasso, Monet, Gauguin and Matisse potentially worth hundreds of millions of euros. Police have not said how they pulled off the early hours heist, but an expert who tracks stolen art said the robbers clearly knew what they were after. “Those thieves got one hell of a haul,” said Chris Marinello, who directs the Art Loss Register. Willem van Hassel, the museum’s chairman, said its security systems are automated, and do not use guards on site. Police arrived at the scene five minutes after an alarm was triggered, he said.
Quake hits southern Maine
An earthquake that hit southern Maine on Tuesday rattled nearby New England states as far as Connecticut, including the Boston area, but caused no injuries or apparent damage. The US Geological Survey at first estimated the quake as a magnitude 4.6, but later downgraded that to 4.0. The epicenter, about 5km west of Hollis Center, Maine, was about 5km deep. The Seabrook Station nuclear plant, about 100km away in New Hampshire, declared an unusual event — the lowest of four emergency classifications, but said it was not affected.
Abortion to be legalized
The country was set yesterday to become only the second country in mostly Catholic South America to legalize abortion, in a shift one top official says makes it a regional health care leader. This sleepy nation of just 3 million sandwiched between Argentina and Brazil, might seem an unlikely trailblazer on the public health front. However, the Senate in the South American nation was expected to vote yesterday to allow women the right, under certain conditions, to end an unwanted pregnancy, and make access to the right part of its healthcare system. The developments come under the government of a president who is a doctor by training, Jose Mujica, and a deputy health minister, Leonel Briozzo, who is an obstetrician. A non-surgical technique employed unofficially in the country makes use of the drug misoprostol, a common ulcer medication, to facilitate expulsion of the fetus. At the moment the drug is only sold on the black market for abortion use, but if yesterday’s vote goes as expected it will soon be available for legal procedures in public health facilities. There are no statistics on illegal abortions in the country, but non-governmental groups estimate their number to be around 30,000 per year.