Tibet protesters arrested
Police arrested 11 people in Kathmandu on suspicion of “anti-China activities” yesterday morning, the anniversary of the 1959 rebellion against China’s rule of Tibet. “Some of the people we arrested were Tibetan but we have not interrogated all of them yet,” police spokesman Uttam Subedi told reporters. Nepal, home to about 20,000 Tibetans, is under intense pressure from Beijing over the exiles. In the lead-up to yesterday’s 54th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising, the Nepalese government re-exerted its security efforts. Nepalese Ministry of Home affairs spokesman Shanker Koirala told local journalists last week that the government was making “necessary security arrangements in areas deemed sensitive, to foil any untoward incidents.” Tibetan anger at Beijing’s control erupted into violent riots against Chinese rule in the Tibetan regional capital Lhasa and adjacent areas in March 2008. Speaking with reporters last week, Tibetan activists in Kathmandu said they had planned subdued protests this year, citing an increased security presence around their community.
City finds dead pigs in river
Officials say they have fished out 900 dead pigs from a Shanghai river that is a water source for city residents. Officials are investigating where the pigs came from. A statement posted on Saturday on the city’s Agriculture Committee’s Web site says they have not found any evidence that the pigs were dumped into the river or of any animal epidemic. The statement said the city and the Songjiang district government started retrieving the pigs on Friday. By Saturday afternoon they had recovered and disposed of more than 900. The statement said the water and environmental protection bureaus are ramping up monitoring of the river’s water quality.
Project unearths Van Dyck
A filthy oil painting locked away in a museum in the northeast of England was on Saturday revealed to be an original masterpiece by Van Dyck. The portrait was spotted when it was photographed for an ambitious project to catalogue every single one of Britain’s oil paintings in public ownership in an online museum. Depicting Olivia Boteler Porter, lady-in-waiting to Henrietta Maria, the wife of English king Charles I, the 17th-century painting had been listed as “a copy after Sir Anthony Van Dyck.” However, when experts took a closer look, they realized that the oval portrait, housed in The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle in County Durham, was an original. “To find a portrait by Van Dyck is rare enough, but to find one of his ‘friendship portraits’ like this, of the wife of his best friend in England [Endymion Porter], is extraordinarily lucky,” said Bendor Grosvenor, an art historian and dealer. He said the painting had been in such a bad state that it would have likely only fetched up to ￡5,000 (US$7,500) at auction as a Van Dyck copy, but now, it could be valued at up to ￡1 million.
Protesting cyclists bare all
Scores of nude cyclists rolled through Sao Paulo on Saturday to call attention to the bare facts: The city is dangerous for bikers, and short on dedicated bike lanes. Some demonstrators did a “Full Monty” ride while others opted for a relatively demure topless protest that was carried out in some other Brazilian cities, like Porto Alegre, and in Peru’s capital, Lima. “When we take it all off, we are showing just how vulnerable we are when we are not in a car,” one demonstrator told local media. In Lima, protesters were demanding bike lanes and better traffic lighting. They said they also were trying to raise awareness of cycling as a healthy and environmentally friendly mode of transport.
King leaves hospital
King Juan Carlos has left a hospital six days after successfully undergoing surgery for herniated discs in his lower spine. The 75-year-old monarch thanked waiting journalists for their patience and said “I’m very well, my back doesn’t hurt or anything,” from the front passenger seat as he was driven home on Saturday. The operation was the head of state’s fourth in 12 months, and the 12th time he has undergone surgery during his lifetime. Juan Carlos had hip surgery in November and has had other health issues in the last two years, including needing knee surgery and the removal of a benign lung tumor.
Genocide trial suspended
An appeals court has suspended the trial date for retired General Efrain Rios Montt, a former dictator accused of genocide. Court officials said on Saturday that the temporary injunction delays the proceedings scheduled to begin on March 19. It would be the first genocide case against a former head of state in Latin America. The injunction was requested by military lawyers challenging Judge Miguel Angel Galvez’s decision to exclude expert witnesses in Rios Montt’s defense. Rios Montt is accused of overseeing the slaughter of at least 1,771 indigenous people between March 23, 1982, and Aug. 8, 1983, while serving as de facto president during the country’s civil war. Defense attorney Moses Galindo calls the judge’s ruling a “gross violation of constitutional rights.”