Protesters’ trial delayed
A court yesterday postponed the trial of dozens of royalist activists facing charges relating to their roles in 2008 rallies that paralyzed Bangkok’s main airports, stranding thousands of tourists. Ninety-six members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy “Yellow Shirt” group appeared at the Criminal Court over a wave of demonstrations against allies of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, but the court agreed to wait until July 29 to hear from the defendants, after it emerged that some of those charged did not have legal representation. A total of 114 defendants face charges over the 2008 protests, which included the seizure of two airports, a blockade of parliament and the storming of Government House.
Bishop Jin Luxian dies
Shanghai Bishop Aloyisius Jin Luxian (金魯賢) died on Saturday at age 97. Ordained in 1938, Jin was imprisoned for nearly two decades under former leader Mao Zedong (毛澤東), who ordered Chinese Catholics to cut their ties with the Vatican. Jin was formally released in 1982 and named Shanghai bishop in 1988 by the Chinese Communist Party-controlled Patriotic Catholic Association. His successor, Thaddeus Ma Daqin (馬達欽), was placed under house arrest at the Sheshan Seminary last year after renouncing his membership in the association.
Military plates targeted
The government is banning the use of privileged military license plates on BMWs, Porches and other luxury cars in an attempt to crack down on abuses and reduce corruption. Military plates allow car owners to avoid paying tolls, parking fees and speeding tickets. All vehicles now using military plates must reregister with new ones by tomorrow, but luxury vehicles will be excluded. There has been widespread leasing of military plates or use of fake ones.
Five years after it was burned down in an arson attack, the government yesterday unveiled a newly restored Namdaemun (South Gate) in central Seoul. The 600-year-old gate will reopen to the public on Saturday. The largely wooden structure — which survived the devastation of the Korean War — was reduced to ashes by a disgruntled 69-year-old man with paint thinner and a cigarette lighter on Feb. 10, 2008. The five-year, 27 billion won (US$24 million) reconstruction involved 35,000 people, including more than 1,000 craftsmen who used traditional tools to restore the gate.
Bombing kills eight
A bomb killed eight people yesterday, including the son of an influential Afghan cleric, and wounded about 45 in Peshawar, officials said. The attack appeared to be aimed at the convoy of a city official, police officer Mohammad Ashfaq said. He said most of the people killed and wounded were waiting for a bus.
Dad charged for son’s driving
Police in Kerala State yesterday said charges had been filed against a man who allowed his nine-year-old son to drive his Ferrari. Inspector M.V. Verghese said Mohammed Nisham was charged with endangering the life of a child and allowing a minor to drive. Nisham’s wife filmed the boy driving on his ninth birthday two weeks ago, with his five-year-old brother in the passenger seat. The video went viral on YouTube and caused outrage nationwide.
New government forming
Center-right parties began talks on Sunday to form a new government, promising to end years of austerity and provide debt relief to households, and only arguing about which one of them should lead the government. Fed up with years of belt tightening and soaring debt, voters ousted the Social Democrats on Saturday, handing the biggest defeat to any ruling party since independence from Denmark in 1944 and offering a new chance to the very parties that presided over its economic bubble and collapse.
Choir members stabbed
A man jumped over several pews at a New Mexico Catholic church and stabbed several members in the choir area just as Mass was ending on Sunday, police said. Authorities said Lawrence Capener, 24, walked up to the choir area at St Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church and stabbed churchgoers just as the choir began singing its final hymn. The man continued his attack until other raced to subdue the man until police arrived, police said. Four churchgoers were injured in the attacked and their injuries were not life-threatening, Albuquerque police spokesman Robert Gibbs said. Among those stabbed were choir director Adam Alvarez, flutist Gerald Madrid and two other parishioners before Capener was tackled by several other churchgoers, Gibbs said.
Coast guard rescues Briton
The coast guard rescued a British citizen and was searching on Sunday for another British man who fell overboard in a remote area of the Pacific, officials in Hawaii said. The 35-year-old missing man went overboard about 800km west of the Midway Atoll, but he had not been found more than 15 hours later, coast guard spokesman Petty Officer Eric Chandler said. Officials from the Marine Rescue Coordination Center Falmouth in England reported to the coast guard at about 11:30pm on Saturday that one man from the 12m vessel had fallen overboard, and the one who remained aboard had little sailing experience. Two navy helicopters were sent to search from the Peleliu at about 5am on Sunday. One of them found the boat, lowered a hoist and pulled the man in.
Building collapse kills three
Part of a five-story residential building collapsed in Reims on Sunday, killing three people and injuring 14, officials said. The collapse may have been caused by a gas explosion, regional official Michel Bernard told BFM-TV. The death toll was not likely to rise because the injured people were not at risk and there were no residents unaccounted for, an official at the region’s emergency center said.
Explosion injures 40
An explosion in central Prague, probably caused by gas, injured as many as 40 people yesterday, officials said, and neighboring buildings had to be evacuated. The explosion, in a building facing the Vltava River just a few dozen meters from the 19th-century National Theater, was heard as far away as Prague Castle about 1.6km away. A police spokesman said the blast was probably caused by gas and that there had been about 15 people in the building, which included an office of the International Air Transport Association and an art gallery. “We estimate up to 40 people were injured,” Zdenek Schwarz, the chief of Prague paramedics, said on Czech Television. “These are mostly light injuries, cuts, bruises, injuries from glass.”