Plane mishap causes deaths
Two people were killed and 10 wounded in the northeast yesterday when a passenger plane missed an airport runway in heavy fog and landed in a rice paddy, state TV said. The pilot of the Air Bagan plane touched down beyond Heho airport in Shan State, killing an 11-year-old passenger and a motorcyclist on the ground, MRTV said. Four foreigners and the pilot were among the injured. The plane was carrying 63 passengers, 51 of whom were foreigners, MRTV said.
Abducted children freed
A national operation has uncovered nine child-abduction gangs, arresting 355 suspects and rescuing 89 children. The Ministry of Public Security said on Monday that it conducted the nine-province operation this month after receiving reports of child abductions from Fujian and Yunnan provinces. The ministry said the child-trafficking activities spanned several provinces and that the suspects bought abducted children and transported them to other provinces, where they were sold for huge profits. Xinhua news agency said that in one case, a one-month-old boy from Yunnan Province was sold for 62,800 yuan (US$10,070) to a family in Fujian Province. A baby boy could fetch as much as 90,000 yuan, Xinhua said.
Top rebel leader arrested
A top communist rebel with a US$128,000 bounty on his head was arrested yesterday, the military said. The arrest of Filemon Mendrez, the country’s sixth-most-wanted man, comes amid a Christmas ceasefire. Mendrez, a key New People’s Army rebel leader, is due to stand trial, an army statement said, but details on the criminal cases against him were not disclosed.
Gun buy-back launched
Mexico City is sponsoring a program offering cash, toys and computer equipment in exchange for guns in a rough neighborhood where a 10-year-old boy was killed by a stray bullet as he sat in a movie theater. Borough president Jesus Valencia wrote in his Twitter account on Monday that residents had turned in 27 rifles and 65 pistols. Ten-year-old Hendrik Cuacuas died last month after being hit in the head by a 9mm bullet during the Disney film Wreck-It Ralph.
HBO show most pirated
Game of Thrones was the most-pirated TV show of the year, with a single episode being illegally downloaded by more people than typically watch the hit program in the US. The HBO show knocked off last year’s “winner,” serial killer show Dexter, to be named the most-pirated TV show of this year. The annual report, by news site TorrentFreak, found that one episode of Game of Thrones was downloaded 4.28 million times. A supporting blog post by Ernesto Van Der Sar, founder and editor-in-chief of TorrentFreak, said that the data showed that Australia was responsible for the biggest amount of pirating of Game of Thrones. The US was ranked second and the UK fourth. London was ranked first as the top-ranking city for pirating of the show.
Prosecutor, six others slain
A federal prosecutor and six other people were killed in an attack near the Mexican border blamed on drug traffickers, officials said on Monday. The attackers burned the bodies of their victims, including Chiquimula prosecutor Irma Olivares, a businessman and the director of a regional government social services agency, Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez said. The bodies of three bodyguards were found in another charred vehicle nearby.
King appeals for unity
King Juan Carlos used his annual Christmas Eve message to appeal for national unity to overcome the economic crisis engulfing the country. The message was broadcast on TV and for the first time through YouTube. The 74-year-old king called on politicians to work together to avoid “unnecessary confrontations,” a reference that most will interpret as being aimed at political parties seeking a referendum on whether Catalonia should split from the country.
Two nabbed in death scam
Two people have been arrested for allegedly “borrowing” a corpse from a funeral parlor to complete an elaborate life insurance scam, police said on Monday. After a tip-off, police arrested a 35-year-old woman and a 42-year-old funeral parlor owner as they tried to pick up a body for burial. The pair are accused of creating a fake woman called “Aphiwe Ntombela,” insuring her with three different companies and then declaring her dead. Hoping to claim US$11,000 in life insurance, the unnamed 35-year-old managed to secure a birth certificate, insurance and even pay the premiums on time for the fake Aphiwe. She then approached the funeral parlor owner near Durban and according to her police statement, asked him “to ‘borrow’ her a female body from his mortuary.”