Three British troops killed
Three NATO troops killed by a roadside bomb were British, officials said yesterday. The three soldiers from the Royal Highland Fusiliers died on Tuesday when their vehicle was hit on a routine patrol in the district of Nahr-e Saraj, part of Helmand Province. The British Ministry of Defence said that security in Helmand, a hotbed of the Taliban insurgency, was improving, but that it remained a risky and dangerous environment for British troops.
Psy immortalized in print
The story of rap sensation Psy’s ascent to global stardom with his megahit Gangnam Style has now been immortalized in full color in a comic book. Fame:Psy, which went on sale in the US and South Korea yesterday, focuses mainly on what went into making Gangnam Style, which catapulted the singer to global fame and became YouTube’s most popular song ever with more than 1.5 billion hits. “Has he fallen from the sky? Has he risen from the earth?” the comic begins, with illustrations showing Psy — in the suits he made famous in Gangnam Style and striking poses from his “Horse Riding Dance” — descending from heaven and bursting through the earth.
Mount Fuji in line for honor
The iconic Mount Fuji will likely win recognition as a World Heritage site. The Agency for Cultural Affairs issued a notice yesterday saying it had received notification that the site was recommended for World Heritage status by the International Council on Monuments and Sites, a body affiliated with UNESCO. Formal approval is expected in June at a meeting in Cambodia. Mount Fuji would be the country’s 13th cultural World Heritage site.
Iconic banknote on auction
The nation’s first banknote, printed 100 years ago and found in a letter in England in 1999, has gone on sale for A$3.5 million (US$3.6 million), auctioneers said yesterday. The 10 shilling note, with the serial number M000001, was issued on May 1, 1913, and presented by then-prime minister Andrew Fisher to Judith Denman, the five-year-old daughter of the governor-general at the time, Lord Denman. It was discovered in 1999, nearly 12 years after Denman died, when her effects were being sorted out.
Fair elections under threat
Opposition and clean-polls activists said yesterday that the integrity of this weekend’s elections was in doubt after revelations that indelible ink meant to prevent fraud was easily washed off. The country’s long-ruling government is introducing indelible ink in Sunday’s vote. However, reports say that security personnel who took part in early voting had easily been able to clean off the ink, which is applied to a person’s finger to show they had voted and is supposed to remain visible for at least a week.
One dead in fresh unrest
One person was killed and nine injured after mobs attacked mosques and burned homes in central parts, authorities said yesterday, in the latest religious unrest to erupt in the nation. Riots sparked on Tuesday in the small town of Oakkan, around 100km north of Yangon after a woman accidentally knocked into a young monk, authorities said, amid acute Buddhist-Muslim tensions following a series of attacks in March.
Suspected juice spiker jailed
A northern California woman has been arrested on suspicion of spiking orange juice bottles with a deadly dose of rubbing alcohol and stocking the bottles at a Starbucks coffee shop, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday. Ramineh Behbehanian, 50, was arrested at her San Jose home on Monday night and booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on charges of attempted murder and poisoning, San Jose Police Sergeant Jason Dwyer said.
Thief mails back ashes
A thief with a soft-hearted streak, who inadvertently nabbed some cremated remains along with thousands of rare gems in a truck burglary in Washington state, has anonymously mailed back the ashes to their owner, police said on Wednesday. The truck owner had been golfing in a Tacoma suburb when his vehicle was broken into by a thief, who stole a briefcase filled with 3,000 prized Oregon sunstone gems, more than 30 silver and gold sunstone rings, and a bracelet with 34 multi-hued stones, Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
Roth honored for advocacy
Philip Roth’s latest honor was as much for what he has done for other writers as for his own work. On Tuesday night, Roth received the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award. He was cited for such novels as Sabbath’s Theater and American Pastoral, but also for his advocacy in the 1970s and 1980s for writers in then-Czechoslovakia and other Eastern bloc countries during the Cold War. PEN is an international writers’ organization that advocates for human rights and free speech. The 80-year-old Roth spoke before hundreds gathered for the PEN Literary Gala at the Museum of Natural History in New York. Attendees included Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie and Jay McInerney.
Police officer shot dead
A police officer was killed on Tuesday when security forces clashed with opponents of a Canadian-owned gold and silver mine project, who had taken 23 officers hostage in the southeast of the country. The officer was shot in the chest and died on the spot near the mine run by Tahoe Resources in the rural town of San Rafael Las Flores, 105km southeast of Guatemala City, Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez said. Five others were wounded. The battle took place when security forces were sent in to free 23 police officers who had been taken hostage and disarmed by hundreds of townspeople the previous day. The hostages were freed. Residents fear the mine will destroy a mountain and drain their water resources.
Ambassador in shop fracas
A supermarket altercation involving the Ecuadoran ambassador to Peru has many Peruvians calling for the envoy’s expulsion. Ambassador Rodrigo Riofrio allegedly struck and kicked a Peruvian mother and daughter after accusing the two of cutting into a line. The mother said he called them “ignorant Peruvians” and made a disparaging reference to the country’s indigenous population. She told a TV channel that Riofrio hit and kicked her and her daughter on Saturday in front of dozens of witnesses. However, she did admit that her daughter had struck the first blow, slapping Riofrio’s wife in the face after she insulted her. Video taken afterwards showed Riofrio being harangued by witnesses. Ecuador’s embassy issued an apology on Monday, but said it does not accept the women’s version of events.