Firm sorry for rape shirts
T-shirt company Solid Gold Bomb yesterday issued an apoloy for advertising tops with slogans such as “Keep Calm and Rape A Lot,” with its founder saying that the firm may go under. The company said the offensive lines were unintentionally created via an automated computer process that relied on online dictionaries to create versions of the British World War II motto “Keep Calm and Carry On.” “I apologize for the offensive response this has created across the world,” company founder Michael Fowler said on the firm’s Web site. Fowler told the Sydney Morning Herald that since the scandal broke sales had dropped from 300 to 1,700 per day to as little as three a day.
Car thief strangles baby
A car thief strangled a two-month-old baby to death after stealing a vehicle with the infant inside, police said yesterday, provoking outrage across the country. The boy was in an SUV stolen by Zhou Xijun, 48, in Jilin Province on Monday, triggering a manhunt involving thousands of police officers and taxi drivers until he handed himself in the following day and confessed, reports said. Zhou “discovered a baby in the back seat of the stolen car, [and] stopped at the side of a road before strangling the baby to death and burying it in the snow,” Jilin police said in an online statement. The parents left the child alone in the car for 10 minutes with the engine running before realizing the vehicle had been stolen, the state-run Global Times said. Netizens expressed their disgust, with many calling for Zhou to be executed. “Killing him once would not be enough,” one Sina Weibo user wrote.
Rangers poach two poachers
Forest rangers in the northeast of the country shot dead two poachers yesterday at a wildlife sanctuary where 13 threatened one-horned rhinos have been killed over the past two months, an official said. Four men entered Kaziranga National Park, 200km from Guwahati in Assam State, yetserday and fired at a rhino, park warden NK Vasu told reporters. The shot missed its target, but alerted forest guards, who rushed to the spot. “A fierce encounter took place between the two sides in which two of the poachers were killed,” Vasu said. A census last year put the number of rhinos in the park at 2,290, out of a global population of 3,300.
Tax hike spurs divorce
Couples are flocking to divorce to evade a new tax on home sales, the Shanghai Daily newspaper reported yesterday. The government issued rules last week to rein in house prices, but a loophole allows divorced couples with two properties who put each house into one person’s name to sell them tax-free, after which they can remarry, the newspaper said. Government marriage registration offices in Shanghai were swamped by scores of couples this week trying to untie the knot, the paper added.
Dead body undetected
The body of a driver lay undetected on the front seat of his car beside one of the nation’s busiest roads for five days, reports said yesterday. Alvin Singh was reported missing on Feb. 22 and his corpse was found in his car near a major intersection on Feb. 27, police told Fairfax Media. CCTV footage shows him pulling over and leaving the car briefly before getting back in, police said. Detective Inspector Mark Gutry said it was unusual for a body to lie undetected for so long. “After that time in a hot car, it wasn’t pleasant,” he added.
Lawmakers to lose immunity
The lower house of Congress on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to strip federal lawmakers of criminal immunity. The vote was 376 in favor to 56 opposed, with five abstentions. The bill aims to amend the country’s constitution to make federal senators and deputies subject to the country’s criminal justice system, but still protect lawmakers from being detained for the duration of their terms in office. The proposal now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Jon Stewart to direct film
Jon Stewart is taking time off from The Daily Show to direct a film based on an Iranian-Canadian journalist’s nightmare in a Tehran jail, the Comedy Channel cable network said on Tuesday. The feature film, Rosewater, grew out of interviews that Maziar Bahari gave The Daily Show after he was detained in solitary confinement and subjected to torture for 118 days during the post-election protests that gripped Iran in 2009. Rosewater will be Stewart’s directorial debut.
US complains of drinking
The US thinks the UN has a drinking problem. Ambassador Joseph M. Torsella, who represents the US on the UN’s budget committee, said on Monday that the tense process of negotiating the world body’s annual budget is made more complicated by the number of diplomats who turn up drunk. The UN budget is finalized in December, when holiday parties apparently lead to some revelry spilling over into budget negotiations. The US is making “the modest proposal that the negotiating rooms should in future be an inebriation-free zone,” Torsella said during a private meeting of the budget committee. The US mission released a transcript of his remarks.
Man sentenced for ‘treason’
A former US security guard has been sentenced to nine years in prison for trying to sell photos and other secret information to China’s Ministry of State Security. US District Court Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle sentenced Bryan Underwood on Tuesday in a case she called “half-baked treason” by a person who was not mentally stable. The Department of Justice says Underwood took photographs of restricted areas at the new US consulate in Guangzhou and planned to use them to help China eavesdrop on US officials.
Kia-militant link denied
Kia’s new concept car, the Provo, is designed to provoke comment. However, to many across Britain and Ireland, the name sounds like a celebration of terrorism. British lawmakers appealed Tuesday in the House of Commons for the South Korean car maker to junk the name of its planned mini sports coupe because “Provo” is the street name for the dominant branch of the outlawed Irish Republican Army (IRA). The Provisional IRA killed nearly 1,800 people during its failed 1970-1997 campaign to force Northern Ireland out of the UK. Kia insisted the Provo was named to suggest “provocative,” not IRA bombings and shootings. And in a follow-up statement, Kia said it would be certain not to market any future car as a Provo in the UK or Republic of Ireland. On an Irish news aggregator called the Broadsheet, posters noted that the car’s detailing was in orange, the favored color of the British Protestant majority. “Does my bomb look big in this?” asked one. Another noted the car needs no satellite navigation system, because the car “already knows where you live.”