Three Tibetans self-immolate
Three Tibetans have died after setting themselves on fire to protest Beijing’s rule in Aba Prefecture, Sichuan Province, exiled Buddhist monks and reports said yesterday. Two of the three were monks at a monastery in Ruoergai County, according to the exiled monks and the Free Tibet group. The two monks, aged 20 and 23, set themselves on fire in a corner of an assembly hall of the Taktsang Lhamo Kirti monastery, the reports said. US broadcaster Radio Free Asia reported that a 23-year-old Tibetan woman in Rangtang County died after self-immolating on Wednesday.
Man sells baby on Facebook
Police in Ludhiana, Punjab state, said on Wednesday they had arrested a 47-year-old man for selling his newborn grandson to a businessman in a deal that was struck on Facebook. Feroz Khan allegedly kidnapped his grandson shortly after he was born this month. He sought help from two temporary employees at the hospital where his daughter gave birth, who contacted the buyer on Facebook and arranged the deal for 45,000 rupees (US$830). Police have rescued the baby and returned him to his mother, Noori Khan, a divorcee, who had lodged the complaint against her father.
Burglar’s arms cut off
A suspected burglar who crept into a village home to steal was caught red-handed and had both arms severed at the elbow by his would-be victims, police said on Wednesday. Muhammad Tufail, 34, entered a house in Chak Nangar village near the town of Dera Ghazi Khan, local police official Muhammad Ayub said. “The four male family members present in the house severed both Tufail’s arms at the elbow,” Ayub said. Police have arrested two of the accused and the two others have fled, he said. Tufail was taken to a hospital and is in a stable condition, Ayub said.
Cartoonist Leslie Chew, 37, has been arrested for alleged sedition over a satirical comic strip on his Facebook page that appeared to accuse the government of racism, his lawyer said on Wednesday. Chew was released on bail following his arrest on Friday, two days after a complaint was filed about his cartoon strip that lampooned the government for being “racist” toward Malays, lawyer Choo Zheng Xi said. The strip was posted on Chew’s “Demon-cratic Singapore” Facebook page on March 27. “He was released on S$10,000 [US$8,060] bail on Sunday night, and is currently being investigated under the Sedition Act,” Choo said. If convicted, Chew faces a jail term of up to three years or a fine of up to S$5,000 or both.
Shamshad Begum dies
Legendary singer Shamshad Begum died at age 94 on Tuesday in Mumbai. She had been unwell for some time, her daughter Usha Ratra told the Press Trust of India news agency on Wednesday. Begum’s funeral, held early on Wednesday, was attended by close family members and a few friends, Ratra said. She began her singing career on radio in 1947, and became one of the movie industry’s first playback singers, with several well-known actresses of her time lip-syncing to her songs. Her songs from the 1950s to the early 1970s are still popular and continue to be remixed by music directors today.
Two charged over Kate pics
The head of an Italian publishing group and a French photographer were charged this month over the publication of intimate photographs of Prince William’s wife, Catherine, sunbathing topless in Provence that sparked a furor. Sources close to the case said Mondadori Group chief executive Ernesto Mauri and a photographer at daily La Provence were both charged with “invasion of privacy.” Judges in the Paris suburb of Nanterre charged Mauri for allowing the topless shots to be published in Closer on Sept. 14. The identity of the paparazzi who took the photographs remains a mystery. Meanwhile, photographer Valerie Suau was charged for taking photos of Kate in a swimsuit in the same place, which were printed in La Provence on Sept. 7.
US checking arms claims
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday the US effort to determine whether Syria has used chemical weapons is a “serious business” that cannot be decided in a rush just because several countries believe evidence supports that conclusion. “Suspicions are one thing, evidence is another,” Hagel told reporters as he wrapped up a visit to Cairo that included talks about Syria and other regional issues. Hagel rejected suggestions the US was undermining its credibility by saying it was continuing to assess the issue, even as France, Britain and Israel have concluded evidence suggests chemical arms have been used in Syria’s conflict.
Twitter security in question
A hijacked Associated Press (AP) Twitter account that rattled markets with false word of an attack on the White House put the security of social media in the crosshairs on Wednesday. The stock market rebounded from the nosedive triggered on Tuesday by the bogus tweet and the AP posted a message on Twitter that its account “which was suspended after being hacked, has been secured and is back up.” The AP Twitter page indicated more than 1.8 million followers as of early evening in San Francisco. However, questions remained as to whether security was tight enough on Twitter and other popular social networks in an age when people increasingly turn to posts from friends or strangers for reliable news and information. Twitter was firm that evaluating and improving defenses at the service remains an ongoing priority and that the hijacking of the AP account didn’t prompt any immediate moves to toughen security.
State recognizes vigilantes
The southwestern state of Guerrero has officially recognized vigilante groups that emerged this year to defend communities against violent drug gangs. Hundreds of men covered their faces, put up checkpoints and took up machetes and rifles in a rural, mountainous region near Acapulco in January in response to a wave of murders, kidnappings and extortion. The movement began in the municipality of Ayutla de los Libres and then spread elsewhere, as state and federal authorities tolerated their presence in towns where local police have failed to rein in gangs. Guerrero Governor Angel Aguirre said that under the accord reached on Tuesday, the self-defense groups would work under a legal framework, but would not “participate in political events, put up checkpoints and wear masks.” One of the vigilante movement’s leaders, Crisoforo Garcia Rodriguez, said the new force would depend on the state government and would receive salaries, equipment and training.