Novice unearths gold nugget
An amateur prospector has made the find of a lifetime, unearthing a gold nugget weighing about 5kg, reports said yesterday. The Y-shaped deposit was found with a hand-held metal detector at a depth of a little more than 60cm, a video posted on YouTube showed. The find, made on Wednesday at a popular prospecting site outside Ballarat, 110km from Melbourne, was confirmed by the owner of the town’s gold shop, Cordell Kent. “A lot of people think Victoria’s goldfields are dead and that there’s none left, but he [the prospector] has worked in an area where a lot of people have worked in the past, but he persisted and he’s been rewarded,” said Kent, of the Mining Exchange Gold Shop. Kent said the 177-ounce nugget, which he was working to find a buyer for, was among the biggest he had seen in 20 years in the gold business.
Waves of Rohingya arrive
More than 130 Rohingya migrants have landed on Thai soil in less than 24 hours, a local official said yesterday, as the kingdom grapples with a flurry of arrivals from the Myanmar minority group. About 88 Rohingya came ashore at Phra Thong Island in the south of the country on Wednesday in full view of TV cameras, Kuraburi District chief for Manit Pienthong said. Another 48 landed on the Andaman sea island yesterday morning claiming they were Royingya, Manit said, adding they were sent to immigration officials in the provincial capital of Phangnga to start the process of returning them to Myanmar.
US ship stuck on reef
The US Navy said one of its ships has run aground on a coral reef, but that the crew is safe. It is not clear if the ship caused damage to the coral reef. The navy says the crew of the minesweeper USS Guardian is working to determine the best method of safely extracting the ship. It got stuck yesterday at the Tubbataha National Marine Park, a World Heritage Site in the Sulu Sea, 640km southeast of Manila. The ship had just completed a port call in Subic Bay, a former US naval base west of the capital. The Guardian is deployed in Japan.
Nuclear reactor shuts down
A nuclear reactor shut down yesterday due to a technical malfunction, the latest in a series of glitches that have raised public safety concerns. The Uljin-1 reactor, 330km southeast of Seoul, was tripped off by what a spokesman for the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co said appeared to be a faulty gauge. It was the second time in less than six months that the same reactor has automatically shut down, and two other reactors at separate plants did the same in October because of unspecified systems malfunctions.
Red Shirt leader jailed
A court has sentenced a leader of the Red Shirt political movement to two years in prison for a speech judged to have insulted the monarchy. The court ruled yesterday that Yoswarit Chuklom, 54, made a speech insulting the monarchy at a political rally in 2010. The Red Shirts took to the streets in 2010 in political protests that ended with deadly clashes with the military. Yoswarit, one of the group’s leaders, is now an adviser to a Cabinet minister. Yoswarit has requested bail and intends to appeal. The country’s lese majeste law has been criticized as a violation of free speech. It mandates a jail term up to 15 years for anyone who “defames, insults, or threatens the king, the queen, the heir-apparent, or the regent.”
Train derails, 19 killed
A train carrying recruits to an army camp derailed in a Cairo suburb on Tuesday, killing 19 people and injuring 107, a health ministry spokesman said. The train was traveling from Upper Egypt to Cairo when it derailed in the Giza neighborhood of Badrashin, a security source said, adding that the train was a military vehicle carrying conscripted youth on their way to an army camp.
Heads found at airport
Investigators probing a shipment of 18 human heads intercepted at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport have determined they came from bodies donated for scientific research and were being transported for disposal, officials said on Tuesday. US Customs agents discovered the grisly package on Monday, which was shipped to Chicago from Italy shortly before Christmas. As the shipment’s paperwork was not in order, agents confiscated the heads and sent them to the Cook County Medical Examiner for safekeeping, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner said. The heads, which had been used by a medical research facility in Rome, were properly embalmed, wrapped and labeled when they arrived at the airport, said Mary Paleologos, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner.
Police get bomb surprise
A man triggered a major security scare in Cyprus on Wednesday when he walked into a police station carrying a bomb he found on his driveway, saying he wanted officers to examine it. Police said the 33-year old man discovered a suspicious device on the back window of his car and decided to take it to a police station in the capital Nicosia for further scrutiny by experts. Police discovered it was a makeshift bomb which had failed to go off, triggering the evacuation of the complex. “He obviously didn’t know what it was,” a police source said.
Archbishop a cover boy
Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Pope Benedict XVI’s private secretary, dubbed “Gorgeous George” by the Italian media, is now a real-life cover boy after featuring on the cover of Vanity Fair. The cover on the Italian edition of the magazine shows the 56-year-old smiling above a headline that reads “Father Georg — It’s not a sin to be beautiful.” The magazine calls Ganswein “The George Clooney of St Peter’s” and says it dedicated a cover story to honor his recent promotion to archbishop and as recognition of his growing power in the Church. A spokeswoman for the magazine said Ganswein was not interviewed for the article and did not pose for the photo, which was a close-up of an existing picture.
Marine admits desecration
A Marine who pleaded guilty to urinating on the corpse of a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan will likely be demoted one rank under a plea agreement, although a military judge called for a much harsher sentence. Staff Sergeant Edward Deptola pleaded guilty on Wednesday to multiple charges at court-martial, including that of violating orders by desecrating remains and posing for photographs with the corpses; and dereliction of duty by failing to properly supervise junior marines. The judge, Lieutenant Colonel Nicole Hudspeth, said she would have sentenced him to six months confinement, a US$5,000 fine, demotion to private and a bad-conduct discharge. However, she was bound by terms of the plea agreement the sergeant reached with military prosecutors.