Woman rescued from rubble
A woman was rescued yesterday after spending 17 days trapped under the rubble of a factory building that collapsed on April 24, killing more than 1,000 people, police and military officials said. Bangladeshi television channels broadcast live footage of emergency service workers pulling the woman from the collapsed building, as onlookers burst into cheers. The woman, identified by Bangladeshi media only as Reshma, was shown being carried on a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance as a rescue worker applied an oxygen mask to her face. “She had been rescued and taken to a military hospital,” army spokesman Shahinul Islam said.
Poetry rant costs academic
A court ordered a controversial professor who claims descent from the ancient sage Confucius (孔子) to apologize and pay a fine after a heated online row over poetry, local media reported yesterday. Kong Qingdong (孔慶東), a professor at the elite Peking University who sparked an outcry last year by calling Hong Kong people “dogs,” said online that a student was a “dog-like traitor” for criticizing a poem he wrote, the Beijing News reported. The poem was in the style of China’s Tang Dynasty (618-906 AD), but the student said it rhymed incorrectly, the Global Times daily said. “Your talk is not pertinent, you dog-like traitor,” Kong wrote on Sina Weibo, according to the Beijing News report. A court in Beijing ordered him to pay the student 200 yuan (US$33) in damages and make a public apology, the report said. The student said he would appeal for larger damages, and hoped the court would force Kong to apologize on Sina Weibo. Kong is no stranger to controversy. He was reportedly involved in the shadowy “Confucius Peace Prize” that gave Russian President Vladimir Putin its annual award in 2011.
Airline reverses lipstick ban
Turkish Airlines has reversed a ban on air hostesses wearing brightly colored lipstick following accusations it was trying to Islamize the company under government influence. The airline’s chief executive officer Temel Kotil announced the move in the Turkish media accusing overzealous lower-level airline executives of having imposed the ban. “Staff can use the color they want. This measure was not approved by the hierarchy,” Kotilo said, according to Hurriyet and Milliyet newspapers. Earlier this month, the airline defended the ban, saying in a statement that “simple make-up, immaculate and in pastel colors, is preferred for staff working in the service sector.” In recent months the airline — 49 percent state-owned — has also stopped serving alcohol on internal flights.
Lightning injures revelers
Lightning struck a large group celebrating Father’s Day on Thursday, injuring 39 people, eight seriously, police said. However, a police spokesman said the injuries were not life-threatening. Lightning struck several trees, then an electrical box at 1pm near a lake in Dabel, about 70km from the northern coast. Emergency services including several helicopters rushed to the scene and treated the injured for shock or burns. About 500 people had gathered at the lake to celebrate Father’s Day, traditionally celebrated on Ascension Day. In Germany, groups of men tend to celebrate Father’s Day together, often with the help of several beers.
Beware of dogs: police
Authorities in rural Los Angeles County were warning people to be on the lookout for four pit bulls suspected of killing a 63-year-old jogger on Thursday. Sheriff’s Lieutenant John Corina told reporters that a woman in a car saw the dogs attacking the female jogger on Thursday morning. The witness called police and honked her horn to try to get the dogs to stop. “When the first deputy on scene saw one dog still attacking the woman, he tried to chase the dog away,” Corina said. “The dog ran off into the desert, then turned around and attacked the deputy, the deputy fired a round at the dog and tried to kill the dog, and the dog took off into the desert.” The woman died while she was in an ambulance on the way to a hospital, county animal control spokeswoman Evelina Villa said. The coroner’s office was investigating to determine the cause of death. Sheriff’s officials were alerting people in the area to watch for the four tan-colored dogs, and they were using a helicopter to search for them. It was unclear whether the dogs had collars or owners. “In these areas, you might have a situation where people dump animals out in rural areas,” said John Mlynar, a spokesman for the nearby city of Palmdale. He added that he had never heard of an attack like Thursday’s.
Man survives hanging
A man condemned to the gallows for murdering a policeman was pardoned by the victim’s family and his life saved only moments after he was hanged, the Mehr news agency reported on Thursday. Relatives “cried out their pardon after the murderer had already been hanging for a few seconds” the agency said, publishing a photo of people grabbing the man and holding him until they could remove the noose from around his neck. The aborted execution took place in Mashhad. Under Iranian law, the family of a victim is entitled to pardon a criminal and save him from execution. In such cases, a murderer must pay blood money currently set at US$36,000 and serve a prison sentence.
Modern astronomy adopted
Muslim leaders have agreed to end almost 1,400 years of Islamic tradition and use modern astronomy to determine the start of the holy month of Ramadan and other Islamic holidays. The French Muslim Council voted on Thursday to start using astronomical calculations to set the date rather than relying on the naked eye to sight the new crescent moon. Ramadan traditionally begins the morning after the sighting, which has in the past been delayed by a day or even two by weather. Council president Mohammad Moussaoui said the old method played havoc with French Muslims’ schedules for work, school and festivities.