Thief foiled by chili
A quick-thinking worker at a takeaway food store in Sydney has stopped an attempted robbery by throwing a bucket of chili at a would-be thief, leaving him with minor burns, police said yesterday. They said a man walked into the store on Sunday and ordered some food, but then argued with staff over payment and walked behind the counter and attempted to open the cash register. He struck a female worker across the chest as she tried to stop him from getting to the money, police said, before she resorted to throwing the chili in his face. “It appears that she just fought back with whatever was close at hand,” Inspector Ralph Deans told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “As you can imagine with a face full of chili, he’s received some burns to his face, and he was quite red-faced at the time police arrived to arrest him.”
China ties never easy: Aso
The nation has never in 1,500 years had a smooth relationship with China, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso was quoted as saying on Saturday during a visit to India. “India shares a land border with China, and Japan has had maritime contacts [with China], but for the past 1,500 years and more there has never been a history when our relations with China went extremely smoothly,” Aso said, according to the Nikkei Shimbun and the Sankei Shimbun. The comments were made at a meeting with Indian business people in New Delhi in response to a suggestion that Tokyo and New Dehli should strengthen defense and maritime cooperation since both have territorial disputes with China, the Sankei said.
Raoul Wallenberg honored
The nation made Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg its first honorary citizen yesterday in recognition of the thousands of Jews he saved from the Holocaust, many of whom came to live in Australia. Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the citizenship was “an expression of deep gratitude for all that our nation gained when so many saved by Wallenberg came to these shores.” She told a ceremony in Canbera that “as the last witnesses to the horrors of World War II leave us, it is vital, it is imperative to keep alive the memory and example of individuals like Raoul Wallenberg.” Wallenberg is believed to have saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews in the final months of the Holocaust by providing them with protective passports. “Some of the individuals whose lives he redeemed became part of our first, great transforming wave of post-war immigration; among the first to pledge themselves to their new home after Australian nationality was formalized in 1949,” Gillard said.
Xi meets Abbas
President Xi Jinping (習近平) met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Beijing yesterday, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to follow him later this week. Abbas’s three-day trip ends today, overlapping with Netanyahu’s five-day visit that began in Shanghai yesterday. State-run media have called Abbas’ trip a state visit, while officials describe Netanyahu’s as an “official visit.” After a full military welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People, Xi told Abbas he had “maintained the strategic choice of peace” and helped “building a country which has received the wide respect and support of the Palestinian people and international society.” The two sides signed cooperation agreements on economic technical cooperation and cultural exchange.
President urges unity
President Enrique Pena Nieto is commemorating Cinco de Mayo by urging his countrymen to tackle current problems with the same “unity and commitment” that defeated the French 151 years ago. Pena Nieto says the holiday celebrates principles that, in his words, “encourage the political forces and federal government to pursue a transformative reform agenda that the country demands and needs.” Cinco de Mayo marks the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, when Mexican troops defeated a French army, then considered the mightiest military in the world. The anniversary was marked on Sunday with a military parade in the city of Puebla, where the battle took place.
Ballistic missile test fails
A test of an M51 submarine-launched ballistic missile failed on Sunday as it self-destructed off the coast of Brittany, officials said. “It was a failure, the reasons will be determined by an investigation,” said Lieutenant Commander Lionel Delort, a spokesman for the Atlantic Naval Prefecture. He said the missile “self-destructed during its first propulsion phase ... for an unknown reason.” The missile was test fired, without a nuclear warhead, from the Vigilant — a strategic nuclear submarine — from the Bay of Audierne and had been due to go down in the isolated north Atlantic. The defense ministry said in a statement that it “was destroyed shortly after launch, over the ocean,” without providing further details.
Freud couch needs therapy
Perhaps the most memorable item of furniture in the world — the couch in Sigmund Freud’s consulting room, sagging under the weight of more than a century of recollected dreams, terrors, traumas and phobias — needs a facelift. The Freud Museum in London has launched an appeal on the 157th anniversary of his birth for funds to reupholster the couch. Many of Freud’s most famous patients, whose psychological traumas helped him to formulate his theories of psychoanalysis, lay on the couch.
Jet crashes at airshow
A historic jet plane crashed into a hangar and exploded in a fireball at an airshow southwest of the Madrid on Sunday, severely injuring its pilot who later died in the hospital, officials said. A spokesman for Spain’s Defense Ministry said the pilot, Ladislao Tejedor Romero, 35, an experienced jet pilot and assistant to Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes, died of his injuries in the serious burns unit of Getafe hospital. About 3,000 people were at Cuatro Vientos airfield watching a showcase of aerial acrobatics and vintage aircraft when the plane crashed, sending a fireball and thick black smoke into the air.
Military to fight crime
The nation’s top security official announced on Sunday that the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will use the military to fight rampant violent crime, raising concerns among activists who warned the initiative could lead to human rights violations. Venezuelan Justice Minister Miguel Rodriguez said personnel from the army, navy and air force will join National Guard troops as part of a forthcoming anti-crime initiative. Rodriguez did not provide details of the plan, but he said tapping the military would give the government “potential that we can use to quickly reduce the crime rate. It will be a good tool that is going to bring peace to citizens,” he said.