Mourners, police clash
Angry mourners clashed with riot police at a funeral procession on Sunday, state media said yesterday, in a rare mass protest at alleged impunity for the communist elite. The unrest was triggered by the death of Nguyen Tuan Anh, whose family claims he was killed by the son-in-law of a powerful local official, according to the Tuoi Tre daily. Video clips and photos posted online showed police struggling to contain thousands of mourners as they stormed through the town of Vinh Yen bearing the coffin of Anh, whose disfigured body was pulled from a sewer earlier in the day. Five unidentified people have been arrested in connection with Anh’s death, but police declined to comment on whether the son-in-law of the local official was involved, the Tuoi Tre said. An initial autopsy concluded that Anh drowned, according to another report, but the family has rejected that finding and is calling for a new probe. Local officials could not be reached for comment.
Son charged over killings
Police yesterday said they had charged two men, including a son of an elderly couple who were gruesomely killed, with murder as a search continues for the missing parts of their bodies. The couple’s severed heads were reportedly found by police in a refrigerator at a bloodstained apartment on the outskirts of the territory on Friday. Parts of their arms and legs were found elsewhere in the apartment. The 29-year-old son and a 35-year-old man, who is reportedly his friend, were jointly charged with two counts of murder on Sunday, a police spokeswoman said. The men appeared at a magistrates’ court yesterday, but no plea was recorded, according to public broadcaster RTHK. Local TV showed one of the suspects being brought to court with his face covered by a black hood.
War crimes court strike ends
Employees at the cash-strapped Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal have ended a strike that paralyzed the trial of elderly former regime leaders, the court said yesterday. The resolution follows calls from rights groups and the UN to speed up the trial of the remaining two Khmer Rouge defendants, following the death of regime cofounder Ieng Sary last week. About 20 Cambodian translators and interpreters, who walked out on March 4, have agreed to return to work after they were promised they would receive their wages for December this week, tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra said. “The strike is over for now,” he said, but added that the staff warned that they would walk out again on April 1 if their contracts were not renewed by the end of this month. About 270 Cambodian employees at the UN-backed court, including drivers, prosecutors and judges, have received no wages since November.
Yeoh honored at film awards
Michelle Yeoh (楊紫瓊) is happy to be honored with the “Excellence in Asian Cinema Award,” but says she hopes there is no hidden message. “I hope it’s not their way of telling me that I need to retire,” she said. The star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (臥虎藏龍) and last year’s Aung San Suu Kyi biopic The Lady was to be honored at the Asian Film Awards last night. Speaking to reporters a day earlier, Yeoh said she was happy to receive the award where her career started, in Hong Kong. She also acknowledged she has long heard rumors of a Crouching Tiger sequel, but said she has yet to see a script or other plans on the project. The 2000 original was directed by Ang Lee (李安) and won four Oscar awards.
Helicopter jailbreak staged
Two prisoners staged a daring escape from a Quebec jail using a hijacked helicopter, but one was swiftly rearrested, while the other appears to have been cornered by police, authorities said on Sunday. Police said two accomplices working from outside the Saint-Jerome Prison near Montreal hijacked a helicopter, forced its pilot to hover over the jail and, using a rope ladder, picked up Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau and Danny Provencal from a prison rooftop. The helicopter and its pilot were found later in Mont-Tremblant, police said. The pilot was unharmed, but suffering from shock. Quebec Provincial Police said they detained Hudon-Barbeau, 36, who appeared to be injured, along with his two outside accomplices. Provencal was later found holed up in a rural shack and surrendered, they said. The four involved in the jailbreak were to appear in court in Saint-Jerome yesterday to face charges.
HPV vaccine causes worry
A growing number of parents oppose doctors’ recommendations to vaccinate teenage girls against the human papillomavirus (HPV), the main cause of cervical cancer, a study said yesterday. Parents cited reasons such as their child being too young or not sexually active, concerns about safety and side effects, or lack of knowledge about the vaccine, the study said in the journal Pediatrics. In 2008, 40 percent of parents polled said they did not want the HPV vaccine for their daughters. In 2010, that figure rose to 44 percent. “That’s the opposite direction that rate should be going,” said senior researcher Robert Jacobson, a pediatrician with the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, saying that studies have continually shown the HPV vaccine to be safe and effective. “HPV causes essentially 100 percent of cervical cancer and 50 percent of all Americans get infected at least once with HPV,” he said.
Jet crashes in neighborhood
A private jet apparently experiencing mechanical trouble crashed into an Indiana neighborhood on Sunday, hitting three homes and leaving two passengers dead, authorities said. The crash injured two other people onboard the Beechcraft Premier I twin-jet aricraft and one person on the ground, South Bend Assistant Fire Chief John Corthier said. Corthier said officials believe everyone connected with the damaged homes had been accounted for and there were no known missing people. The jet left Riverside Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Sunday and crashed later that afternoon near South Bend Regional Airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Roland Herwig said.
Missile defense change
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Ryabkov yesterday said that the US’ cancellation of a critical part of its European missile defense system plan does not mollify Moscow’s opposition to the system. Ryabkov was quoted by the Kommersant newspaper yesterday as saying: “We feel no euphoria in connection with what was announced by the US defense secretary and we see no grounds for correcting our position.” US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel last week announced that Washington is abandoning its plans to place missile interceptors in Poland and possibly Romania, and that the interceptors would be placed in Alaska instead. The interceptors were to be the final phase of a program that Russia contends aims to counter its own missiles. Washington says the system is meant to stop missiles coming from Iran and North Korea.