Skippers face manslaughter
Police yesterday charged two captains with manslaughter after a ferry collision last year that claimed 39 lives in the territory’s worst maritime disaster in decades. The two men, 54 and 56, were each charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and were to appear in a magistrates’ court later in the day, police said in a statement. The captains were arrested along with five crew after the Oct. 1 crash between their two boats, with authorities saying human error likely caused the accident. Police said the five, who have been out on bail, would report back to the authorities later this month.
Newspaper editor arrested
Police yesterday arrested the editor of an influential pro-opposition newspaper after he was accused of sedition and inciting religious tension in the Muslim-majority nation. The arrests follow a nationwide crackdown on the opposition, including the detention of more than 200 senior officials of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the entire leadership of the largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami. Police said Mahmudur Rahman, 59, the editor of the Bengali daily Amar Desh, was arrested at the newspaper office. The case against Rahman was related to hacking and publishing of leaked calls between a judge of the country’s controversial war crimes tribunal and an expatriate legal expert, Dhaka police spokesman Masudur Rahman said.
Psy launching new single
Even North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s threats of nuclear war cannot divert world attention from the main event on the Korean Peninsula this week —- the launch of Psy’s hugely anticipated follow-up to his global hit Gangnam Style. The new single, Gentleman, will hit online music stores worldwide today and finally answer the question of whether Gangnam Style and its invisible horse-riding dance was more than just a one-hit wonder. The 35-year-old rapper will follow up the release with a promotional concert in Seoul for 50,000 fans. Little is known about the new single, which will be released in 119 nations, or the crucial music video that will accompany it.
Louvre reopens after strike
Paris’ Louvre museum yesterday reopened its doors to the public after a walkout by some staff in protest at gangs of pickpockets operating at the world-famous art gallery. About 20 police officers have been drafted to patrol the museum in response to staff concerns, Louvre officials said. The museum failed to open on Wednesday when about 200 employees refused to work, saying the museum had become plagued by gangs of increasingly aggressive pickpockets, many of whom were children. Disappointed tourists on Wednesday waited in vain in front of the museum, which receives about 10 million visitors a year. Staff said they had been spat at, insulted and even hit by the pickpockets, who would repeatedly return to the museum even after being ejected by police.
Thousands vie for ‘best jobs’
More than 40,000 people from around the globe have applied for the nation’s six “Best Jobs in the World,” leaving tourism officials with the huge task of paring the list down to 18 finalists. The six-month jobs, which include “Outback Adventurer” and “Chief Funster,” attracted initial interest from more than 330,000 people from nearly 200 countries before applications closed on Wednesday. The 18 finalists will be flown to Australia for interviews. The six winners will be declared on June 21.
Gay marriage bill passed
Lawmakers have voted to legalize gay marriage, making the nation the third country in the Americas after Canada and Argentina to eliminate laws making marriage, adoption and other family rights exclusive to heterosexuals. The law was backed by 71 of the senators in the 92-seat legislature in Wednesday’s vote. The “marriage equality project” was already approved by ample majorities in both houses, but senators made some changes requiring a final vote by the deputies. The law is expected to take effect within 10 days.
Met gets Cubist collection
Cosmetics billionaire Leonard Lauder has given New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art an entire collection of Cubist art that he assembled over four decades. The gift, estimated by the New York Times to be worth US$1 billion, includes 78 works by Picasso, Braque, Gris, and Leger. The museum will also establish a new research center for modern art, supported by a US$22 million endowment created by donors including Lauder. “Leonard’s gift is truly transformational for the Metropolitan Museum,” Met chief executive Thomas Campbell said. The Lauder Collection will be unveiled late next year, the museum said.
Fake Rockefeller convicted
A German-born con man who posed for years as a member of the wealthy Rockefeller family was convicted on Wednesday of the 1985 murder of his California landlady’s son, whose body was found buried in the backyard of a Los Angeles-area home. A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for less than a day before returning a guilty verdict against 52-year-old Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for murdering 27-year-old John Sohus, whose remains were discovered in 1994. Gerhartsreiter’s double life unraveled after he was arrested in 2008 for abducting his young daughter in Boston following a bitter divorce.
Massacre defendants freed
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the immediate release of 15 people imprisoned for a 1997 massacre in an indigenous Tzotzil village, saying evidence used to convict them was tainted. “Their constitutional right to due process was violated, a matter sufficient to declare their immediate liberation,” the court said. The 15 had been sentenced to 36 years in prison after being found guilty of taking part in an attack on the Chiapas State village of Acteal on Dec. 22, 1997. The accused said authorities had showed witnesses photographs of them and identified them as the attackers, thereby violating the principle of presumption of innocence.
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has warned against the dangers of feminism, denouncing “propaganda” that encourages women to take roles beyond rearing children. “I consider the phenomenon called feminism very dangerous,” he said in a speech delivered on Tuesday. “Feminist organizations proclaim a pseudo-freedom of women, which should be manifested outside marriage and family... The man should be focused on matters outside [of the house], he must work and earn money, but the woman is always directed to the inside, toward her children and her home… If that very important function of the woman is broken, then this is followed by the breaking of everything else: family, and in a larger sense, the motherland.”