Drums target public peeing
Volunteers armed with drums and whistles are to lead a crackdown on going to the toilet in public under a new scheme in the western state of Rajasthan, a report said yesterday. “We are constructing public toilets ... and people will be encouraged to use them,” Ramniwas Jat, head of the state’s Jhunjhunu district council, told the Times of India. “We want to raise awareness against the practice of urinating in public, which gave birth to the idea of beating drums and blowing whistles.” The Times said that volunteers, who will be paid a small wage, would embarrass people caught urinating or defecating by standing behind them and letting loose a barrage of noise. Guilty parties would also have their names read out on public address systems.
Acid attack was ‘fate’: mom
A mother who killed her teenage daughter by dousing her with acid for looking at a boy has told the BBC it was the girl’s destiny to die in this way. Police in Pakistan-administered Kashmir arrested Mohammad Zafar and his wife, Zaheen, for the Oct. 29 attack on their daughter Anusha, 15, who died in hospital two days later after suffering horrific acid burns. Speaking from their police cells, the father told the BBC they had warned Anusha before about looking at boys, while the mother described how her daughter had begged for forgiveness. “She said, ‘I didn’t do it on purpose, I won’t do it again,’” the mother, whose own arm bore an injury from the acid, told the BBC. “By then I had thrown the acid. It was her destiny to die this way.” The parents waited two days to take Anusha to hospital. A doctor said the teenager arrived in a “very critical condition” with almost 70 percent burns.
‘Looted’ auction lots pulled
Two Chinese antiques have been withdrawn from an auction in Britain, the auctioneer said, after the proposed sale sparked fury in China amid claims they were looted from Beijing in the 19th century. Bonhams issued an apology as it confirmed the two jade carvings would not be sold after the owner withdrew them from a planned auction on Thursday to “avoid any possible offence.” The planned sale had sparked a furious reaction from Tan Ping (譚平), an official at China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage, who labeled it “against the spirit of international conventions.” “Bonhams is very sorry to read reports in the Chinese press that offence has been caused in China by the proposed sale of two jade carvings,” Bonhams said in a statement yesterday. “There was never in any way an intention to cause offence, and Bonhams regrets that this interpretation has been published.” In its online description of the Qing dynasty jade disc and jade hanging vase, Bonhams said they were “retrieved from the abandoned Summer Palace in Beijing” in 1860.
Tourists die in snowstorms
Two elderly Japanese tourists died and another was missing after being trapped in sudden heavy snowstorms during a visit to the Great Wall yesterday. Two women, aged 62 and 68, were confirmed dead, and a 76-year-old man remained missing on a snow-covered mountain near the wall in Hebei Province. Another Japanese tourist and a Chinese man who works for a Japanese tour agency were receiving medical treatment at a local clinic. The tourists started to climb the mountain from the Beijing side as part of a tour of the Great Wall on Saturday morning, Xinhua news agency said.
Gangster taken to hospital
Jailed infamous mobster James “Whitey” Bulger was taken to a Boston hospital on Sunday complaining of chest pains, the Boston Globe newspaper reported. The 83-year-old Bulger, who is charged with 19 murders in the 1970s and 1980s in Boston, was arrested last year in California, where he had been living under an assumed name. The Globe, quoting local firefighters, reported that Bulger was taken early on Sunday to the Boston Medical Center. However, a hospital spokesperson said she had “no information” on a patient of that name. Bulger is accused of murdering mob rivals, potential witnesses and others who threatened him. Prosecutors have also accused him of extortion, money laundering and running guns to Northern Ireland’s IRA militants.
Boy dies in Pittsburgh Zoo
A two-year-old boy visiting Pittsburgh Zoo was killed on Sunday morning when he fell off a railing that his mother had put him on top of to view a pack of African painted dogs, which pounced on the child and mauled him, police said. It was not clear whether the boy died from the fall into the wild dog exhibit area or from the attack, said Barbara Baker, president and chief executive of the zoological park. “It was very horrific,” said police lieutenant Kevin Kraus, who added that the dogs attacked “immediately” after the boy fell. Other visitors immediately told staff members of the child’s fall, who responded along with Pittsburgh police. Zoo keepers called off some of the dogs and seven of them immediately went to a back building. Three more eventually were drawn away from the child, but the last dog was aggressive and police had to shoot the animal, officials say.
India aid to be slashed
Intensifying plans are being made to substantially cut the country’s aid budget to India on the grounds that it is difficult to justify spending ￡280 million (US$447.3 million) a year in one of the world’s fastest developing economies. Justine Greening, the international development minister, is working on the plans “as a matter of urgency” to ensure that relations with India are re-focused on trade rather than aid. Greening, who discussed his country’s annual aid budget to New Delhi with Indian officials at the World Bank recently, is due to visit the sub-continent soon. Andrew Mitchell, Greening’s predecessor, said the aid was justified because a larger number of people in India live in poverty than in sub-Saharan Africa.
Chief gives Obama backing
The country’s veteran Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi, linked to former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the 1990s, hopes US President Barack Obama will win a second term today. “Obama of course,” Turabi said when asked about his US presidential preference during an interview. “He’s gentle towards the Muslims generally.” Turabi referred to Obama’s childhood spent in Muslim-majority Indonesia and his Kenyan father who was raised a Muslim. Obama uses the word “terrorism” far less than his predecessor George W. Bush, and his name is a variant of an Arabic word, Turabi said. “You know what ‘Baraka’ means in Arabic? Blessing.” Obama, a Christian, was elected the first African American US president in 2008 and is in a tight race against Republican rival Mitt Romney.