Aussie arrested for burglary
An Australian woman is facing up to nine years in jail after she was arrested on Bali accused of teaming up with a gang to burgle her former boyfriend’s house and steal his car, police said on Wednesday. Sandra Sheed, 42, who has lived on the resort island for more than 20 years, allegedly used a duplicate key last month to get into the property of fellow Australian Stephen Blackwell, 46, accompanied by five men, local police chief Ambariyadi Wijaya said. They took “a car, a television, a DVD player and many other things,” he said, adding that Blackwell’s maid was in the house at the time of the burglary and alerted her boss, who was away in Australia. Sheed was arrested on Saturday. The five men are still on the run and Sheed has refused to identify them, he said.
Historic flight marked
The grandson of one of the first men to fly over Mount Everest said he marked the 80th anniversary of the pioneering flight by flying to the world’s highest mountain. Charles Douglas Hamilton said he flew as a passenger in a modern plane to the Everest region on Wednesday. His grandfather, Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, and three other men flew over Everest on April 3, 1933, in two open-cockpit planes, wearing heated suits and battling harsh weather conditions as they crossed over the 8,850m peak. Charles Douglas Hamilton, who is not a pilot, said he did not fly over Everest like his grandfather, but he was able to see the mountain from the plane, which got about 13km from Everest, flying at about 7,163m.
Chef auction a success
An auction offering the chance to dine with world-renowned Spanish chef Ferran Adria, known for his revolutionary “molecular cuisine,” has fetched a winning bid of more than US$28,000, Sotheby’s said yesterday. The “vigorous” bidding war started with an offer of HK$40,000 (US$5,000) and ended with a winning bid of HK$220,500 when the hammer fell on Wednesday, the auction house said. The winner and three companions will be dining at Tickets Restaurant in Barcelona, Spain, the hometown of the famous chef, who ran the Michelin three-star elBulli restaurant in Spain until it closed in 2011.
Police arrest 42 for unrest
Police said at least 42 people have been arrested and may face trial for their roles in an outbreak of sectarian violence last month. Police officer Kyi Shein said 30 Buddhists are among those who have been detained for alleged links to unrest that hit the central town of Meikhtila for several days. Kyi Shein said yesterday by telephone from Meikhtila that no trial dates have been set because investigations are continuing. He said among those detained was the Muslim owner of a gold shop, where troubles first began, and those who allegedly killed a Buddhist monk, whose death prompted angry Buddhists to take to the streets.
Navy officers reassigned
Four officers of a US Navy minesweeper that ran aground on a coral reef in the Philippines are being relieved of their duties. The US Pacific Fleet said in a statement on Wednesday that initial findings indicate all four failed to adhere to standard navigation procedures at the time of the Jan. 17 grounding of the Guardian. The sailors are the commanding officer, the executive officer and navigator, the assistant navigator and the officer of the deck. They have been reassigned.
Court orders paralysis
Amnesty International has condemned a reported court ruling that a young man should be paralyzed as punishment for a crime he committed 10 years ago, which resulted in the victim requiring a wheelchair to get around. The London-based human rights group said Ali al-Khawaher, 24, was reported to have spent 10 years in jail waiting to be paralyzed surgically unless his family pays one million Saudi riyals (US$270,000) to the victim.
Author Banks has cancer
Scottish writer Iain Banks, 59, said on Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with late-stage gall bladder cancer and has just months to live. Banks says it is “extremely unlikely” he will live more than a year and that his latest novel, The Quarry, will likely be his last. “As a result, I’ve asked my partner Adele if she will do me the honor of becoming my widow. Sorry — but we find ghoulish humor helps,” Banks said in a statement posted on his publisher’s Web site. Banks writes general fiction and science fiction — the latter under the name Iain M. Banks. Banks published his first novel, The Wasp Factory, in 1984. His first science fiction novel, Consider Phlebas, was published in 1987. In 2008, he was named one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945 in a list compiled by the Times of London.
Nobel Peace Prize stolen
Police say thieves have stolen a gold Nobel Peace Prize awarded in the 1930s. Northumbria Police say burglars broke into the cellar of the Newcastle Lord Mayor’s house overnight between Monday and Tuesday, and stole “a number” of very uncommon items valued at about ￡150,000 (US$225,749). Police say the thieves made off with a large amount of antique silverware in addition to the Nobel, which was awarded in 1934 to former British foreign secretary Arthur Henderson for his work on international disarmament.
Tutu gets religion prize
The John Templeton Foundation says it has awarded archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu one of the world’s leading religion prizes. The organization says Tutu, 81, is the winner of the 2013 Templeton Prize for his “lifelong work in advancing spiritual principles.” The honor comes with a ￡1.1 million (US$1.5 million) award. The foundation said yesterday that Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, will receive the prize at a ceremony at the Guildhall in London on May 21.
Grimaldis save elephants
They once faced imminent death, but have now been offered princely accommodation — two zoo elephants who had been ordered put down are moving to a ranch belonging to Monaco’s ruling Grimaldi family. Baby, 42, and Nepal, 43, had faced an execution order since last year over a suspected tuberculosis infection deemed a threat to the health of other animals and visitors to the Tete d’Or zoo in the city of Lyon. However, after a nationwide outcry — spearheaded by animal rights defender and ex-cinema icon Brigitte Bardot — the threat of execution was lifted in February. Rhone region prefect Jean-Francois Carenco said he had met Princess Stephanie of Monaco last month, who had promised him she would take care of the two elephants. Baby and Nepal will move to the Grimaldi family’s property Roc Agel in the Alpes Maritimes.
Obama returns 5% of salary
The White House says President Barack Obama will return 5 percent of his salary to the Treasury in light of automatic spending cuts that have led to furloughs for thousands of government workers. A White House official says Obama decided to return part of his salary each month for the rest of the year to share in the sacrifice that government employees are making. Obama makes US$400,000 per year. A 5 percent pay cut amounts to a little less than US$1,700 per month. The decision is retroactive to the beginning of last month, when US$85 billion in federal spending cuts kicked in after lawmakers failed to agree on a plan to undo them.
Oscar winner Jhabvala dies
Oscar-winning screenwriter and novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has died at age 85. Firoza Jhabvala on Wednesday said her mother died in New York after a long illness. The German-born Jhabvala was a longtime member of Merchant Ivory Productions, writing 22 films over four decades. She won two Academy Awards for her adaptations of the E.M. Forster novels Howards End and A Room With a View. She also received Britain’s highest literary honor for her 1975 novel, Heat and Dust.
Fatal shooting at Fort Knox
The Department of Defense says a civilian employee has died following a shooting in a Fort Knox parking lot. The victim was an employee of the Army Human Resources Command and the shooting occurred outside the command. He was pronounced dead at a Kentucky hospital. Chris Grey, a spokesman for the Army Criminal Investigative Command, says authorities “are investigating a personal incident and not a random act of violence.”
Seven ballet dancers defect
Seven members of the National Ballet of Cuba defected last month when the troupe toured Mexico, a spokesman for the ballet said on Wednesday. The Miami-based Web site www.cafefuerte.com, said six of the dancers are in Miami, while one stayed in Mexico. It identified the dancers as two men and five women between the ages of 20 and 24.
Murder suspects on trial
Three men suspected of killing a pair of Amazon activists have gone on trial. Jose Rodrigues Moreira is being tried on charges of allegedly ordering the May 2011 killing of Jose Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife, Maria. Lindonjonson Silva Rocha and Alberto Lopes do Nascimento are on trial as the alleged gunmen. Moreira allegedly ordered the killings because the Silvas opposed the eviction of three families that occupied his land in the Nova Ipixuna reserve.
Suspect has schizophrenia
A former porn actor accused of murdering and dismembering a Chinese man had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2005, documents released on Wednesday show. Luka Rocco Magnotta, 30, was treated for “a major psychiatric disorder” in 2005 when he was convicted of fraud, according to a doctor’s letter filed with the Ontario Court of Justice in June 2005. Magnotta was treated with antipsychotic medications, as well as drugs to reduce anxiety and help him sleep, according to the Globe and Mail. “As long as Mr Newman continues to take the medications regularly, and attends the outpatient department as advised, the prognosis is fair,” psychiatrist Thuraisamy Sooriabalan wrote.