Five arrested over murder
A woman and her son have been arrested along with three other local suspects for the gun-for-hire murder of her Japanese husband, police said on Saturday. Hideo Niikura was shot dead by a motorcycle-riding gunman in Dasmarinas, a town about 35km south of Manila on Dec. 29, a police statement said. His wife Merlinda Soria, 46, confessed she and an adult son by another man had plotted the killing, the statement said. The son and one of his friends paid a third man 100,000 pesos (US$2,500) to commit the murder, the statement said. Police said the four were detained in separate police raids in Dasmarinas on Friday, along with another male suspect also implicated in the conspiracy. Police seized two semi-automatic pistols from the alleged gunman and the woman’s son, it said. The statement said mother and son plotted to have her husband killed “over money matters and alleged physical abuses.”
Dodgy cocktail kills teenager
A teenager yesterday died in a Perth hospital from methanol poisoning after drinking a contaminated cocktail served him at a bar on the Indonesian island of Lombok. Liam Davies, 19, fell ill on New Year’s Day and was flown back home for treatment. “We would like to make people aware of the risks associated with consuming locally brewed drinks where you cannot be certain of the quality,” his family said in a statement. Davies is the latest holidaymaker to suffer the effects of methanol, a by-product in the distillation of alcoholic cocktails often sold to those visiting Bali and Lombok as Jungle Juice. An 18-year-old nurse holidaying in Bali last month went blind after drinking a local brew laced with methanol. In September 2011, Perth-based New Zealander Michael Denton died in Bali from suspected methanol poisoning.
HIN1 flu strain kills two
Two women have died from the H1N1 flu strain in Beijing in the past 10 days, state media said yesterday, the first reported deaths from the virus in the capital since 2010. A 65-year-old cancer patient died on Friday and a 22-year-old migrant worker died on Dec. 27, the Beijing Daily said on its Web site, citing the city’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu cases in Beijing are at their highest level in five years and the H1N1 strain has become the most dominant, the center’s director Deng Ying said. The rise in cases corresponds with weeks of record low temperatures in Beijing and across much of the nation.
Russian tycoon detained
Russian real estate tycoon Sergei Polonsky has been detained accused of assault and illegal detention after an incident on a boat, authorities said on Saturday. Polonsky, 40, who was worth US$1.2 billion before the global financial crisis, was detained on Tuesday with two other Russians. Military police say they forced some crew to jump off a boat at knifepoint and one boatman was punched. Police spokesman Kheng Tito said the three Russians were still being held and a prosecutor and an investigating judge were working on the case. “The victims said that they were locked up in a toilet and cabin and forced to jump off to swim back to an island, which meant that if they could not make it, they would be drowned,” Kheng Tito said. Kheng Tito said the boatmen were ferrying Polonsky from an island back to a popular seaside town in Preah Sihanouk on the mainland, about 225 km southwest of the capital, Phnom Penh.
Shootout ends confrontation
Four people, including an armed suspect, died in an incident that culminated in an hours-long standoff with police on Saturday at a residence in a Colorado town, authorities said. The shootings occurred about 6.4km southeast of the Aurora Mall, where 12 people were killed and dozens wounded by a gunman at a midnight showing of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises on July 20. An Aurora Police Department special weapons team responded after shots were heard at the home at 3am, Aurora police sergeant Cassidee Carlson said. Investigators said three people, all adults, appeared to have been killed before officers arrived. The suspect shot at police at 8:15am and was killed during a shootout when officers stormed the home about 45 minutes later, Carlson said. It was not known if the police officers shot the suspect or if he shot himself. A fifth person escaped unharmed before the authorities arrived. The sergeant declined to elaborate on the woman’s escape. The motive for the killings is not yet known.
Oscars to honor Bond
Oscar will not be the only chiseled man in the spotlight at the 85th Academy Awards. Producers say the show will feature a celebration of Bond, James Bond. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron on Friday announced that the film awards show will pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise. They call it “the longest-running motion picture franchise in history and a beloved global phenomenon.” The most recent of the iconic British spy films, Skyfall, was released in November last year and has made more than US$1 billion worldwide, setting a franchise record. Nominations for this year’s Academy Awards will be announced on Thursday. The Oscars will be presented on Feb. 24 in Los Angeles.
Depardieu becomes Russian
French actor Gerard Depardieu has received a Russian passport and had dinner with President Vladimir Putin, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said yesterday. Putin had earlier granted citizenship to Depardieu after the French movie star said he was quitting his homeland to avoid paying a new millionaires’ tax. Depardieu “was handed his passport,” Peskov told reporters. However, the president did not personally hand over the document to the actor when the two met on Saturday at Putin’s residence in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, the president’s spokesman said. “There was a short meeting,” he said, but declined to give further details.
Family dies in plane crash
A Moroccan family of five returning home died on Saturday when their plane crashed shortly after taking off from an airport near the French Alps, officials said. The twin-engine plane hit a hill and crashed in a forest in an uninhabited area outside Grenoble, a city that is the gateway to the Alpine resorts in the southeastern part of the country. Local government official Bruno Charlot said that all five passenger onboard died. The pilot was flying his wife and their three children home to Morocco, apparently after taking them on a vacation in the country. The plane took off on Saturday afternoon from Grenoble’s airport and quickly disappeared off the radar. Charlot said the weather had been clear and that an investigation was underway to determine the cause of the crash.