Russian trekkers go missing
Police say two Russian trekkers are missing in the northern mountains and rescuers are scouring the area in an attempt to find them. Police official Ram Shrestha says two other Russians were rescued on Thursday and flown to Kathmandu. Two of their colleagues are still missing in the Langtang area, about 100km north of Kathmandu. The last contact with the two who remain missing was made on Tuesday.
Dolphin to be released
A 13-year-old dolphin was yesterday being transported to an ocean pen off an island for training to prepare it for release back into the wild after four years in a Seoul zoo, officials said. The female Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin named Jedol, which had been at Seoul Grand Park Zoo since 2009, was flown by a special charter jet to the southern island of Jeju, accompanied by an 11-member team of veterinarians and zoo keepers. The costs for releasing the dolphin were raised through donations led by animal right activists. Jedol will join two other dolphins in an open ocean cage in Jeju for adjustment training before being set free as early as next month. In March last year, Seoul Grand Park Zoo suspended a popular dolphin show starring Jedol and two other dolphins over claims by activists that they were captured illegally. The zoo decided to return Jedol to the wild, but keep the two others because they were too old and weak to be released.
Coal mine blast kills 12
State media say a coal mine blast in the southwest has left 12 people dead and two injured. Xinhua news agency says the gas explosion occurred on Friday night in Pingba County in Guizhou Province. It says the coal mine was operating illegally and that the operators lied about the number of trapped miners and deaths. An investigation is under way. A work safety official from the city of Anshun, which administers Pingba, says the mine is licensed and operates privately. The official gave only his last name of Lin, as is customary among low-level Chinese government employees. China’s mines are the deadliest in the world.
Police raid ‘baby factory’
Police have found 17 pregnant teenage girls in a raid on a house, and were searching on Friday for a woman suspected of planning to sell their babies, a spokeswoman said. Joy Elomoko of the Imo State police said all the girls were between 14 and 17 years old and that 11 small children were also found in the house. “The girls claimed they were fed once a day and were not allowed to leave the home,” Elomoko said. The girls told police that their babies were to be sold to “willing buyers,” Elomoko added. It was not clear if the girls were brought to the home by force. The girls further told police that they had been impregnated by a 23-year-old man who is currently in custody, along with the security guard who worked at the compound.
Strong quake kills child
A strong 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit the south early yesterday, killing one child and injuring at least 20 in remote, mountainous villages, state TV reported. The US Geological Survey registered the quake at 2:08am GMT, measured at 85km southeast of the town of Minab, located in Hormuzgan Province and off the Strait of Hormuz. The quake was registered at a depth of 36.44km, the USGS said. A local emergency official said a two-year-old died of serious injuries.
Bomber targets intel officer
A suicide bomber yesterday targeted the home of a senior intelligence officer north of Baghdad, killing three people, officials said. The bomber detonated a small tanker truck at the home of police Brigadier General Ismail al-Juburi, a senior officer for Nineveh Province, killing his son, nephew and sister-in-law, and wounding 21 others, police and a doctor said. It was not immediately clear if Juburi was present at the time of the attack, which took place in al-Sharqat.
Police capture fugitive
Police said they had captured a fugitive who escaped from a prison van during an ambush as it was taking him to court. Officers arrested Ryan McDonald, 20, on Friday during a raid at a house in Salford, near the city of Manchester, police said. McDonald and another man were on their way to Manchester Crown Court from a prison on April 30, when three men attacked their van on a busy street and freed them. McDonald was due to be sentenced for conspiracy to commit robbery when he escaped. The court sentenced him to seven years and 10 months in jail in his absence. The other man who escaped, 31-year-old Stevie McMullen, was captured on Sunday.
Zoo seeks mate for rare fish
The London Zoo is urgently seeking a female mate for the last-known males of a critically endangered fish species. Zoo officials said the Mangarahara cichlid is thought to be extinct in the wild and that two of the last known individuals — both male — are in the zoo’s aquarium. A third is in the Berlin zoo. Officials said the species’ habitat in Madagascar has dried up due to dam construction. The zoo on Friday asked aquarium owners and fish collectors to come forward it they know of any living females “so that a vital conservation breeding program can be started.” Officials said a worldwide search of zoo and aquarium organizations has so far proved fruitless.
‘Star Wars’ returns to UK
Filming of the new Star Wars movie will take place in England, returning the franchise to its British roots, Disney’s Lucasfilm said on Friday. “We’ve devoted serious time and attention to revisiting the origins of Star Wars as inspiration for our process on the new movie, and I’m thrilled that returning to the UK for production and utilizing the incredible talent there can be a part of that,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. The six previous Star Wars films were all partly filmed in the UK at famed studios, including Pinewood, Elstree and Shepperton. Star Wars: Episode VII will be directed by J.J. Abrams and is scheduled to be released in 2015.
Highway pedestrians killed
Police said a couple from Romania were killed when they were hit by two vehicles as they attempted to cross one of the country’s main highways on foot. Police in the province of Lower Austria said the accident happened early yesterday on the A1 autobahn near Amstetten, west of Vienna. The 50-year-old man and 40-year-old woman, who were not identified, had stopped at a lay-by across the highway from a service station. Police said they reached the service station by crossing the road on foot and were hit by a van, then run over by a truck as they tried to return. Emergency services were unable to save them.
Rodman to call in Kim favor
Dennis Rodman, the former NBA star who has managed to engage with North Korea’s leader — something US officials have been unable to do — said he planned to revisit the North to try to gain an imprisoned Korean-American’s release, according to a video posted on Friday on the celebrity news Web site TMZ. Rodman, who visited Pyongyang in February, said he planned to return on Aug. 1. The man he hopes to free, Kenneth Bae, was recently sentenced to 15 years of hard labor on charges of committing “hostile acts” against North Korea. This week, Rodman wrote a tweet saying: “I’m calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him ‘Kim,’ to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose.”
Malcolm X’s grandson killed
Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of political activist Malcolm X, died in Mexico City after a violent dispute in a bar, authorities said on Friday. He was 28. Prosecutors are investigating the attack that left Shabazz in hospital, where he died on Thursday. Shabazz spent his youth in and out of trouble. At 12, he set a fire in his grandmother’s apartment, a blaze that resulted in the death of Malcolm X’s widow. After four years in juvenile detention, Shabazz was later sent back to prison on attempted robbery and assault charges. In recent years, the first male heir of Malcolm X seemed to seek redemption, saying he was writing a memoir and traveling the world speaking out against youth violence.
Abuse claims passed to ICC
A civil rights group has asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate alleged physical and psychological abuse of detained protesters at military bases following last month’s disputed presidential election. The alleged abuses included forcing detainees to sing pro-government songs, dousing them with urine and beating them “multiple times with frozen water bottles,” says the complaint filed at the Hague-based court on Wednesday. Tensions are high, with President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Henrique Capriles trading bitter accusations after Maduro’s narrow election win on April 14.
Bombing suspect buried
The remains of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev have been buried in a cemetery outside Virginia’s state capital, Richmond, local media said on Friday. The Richmond Times-Dispatch said Tsarnaev, 26, was buried on Thursday at al-Barzakh cemetery in Doswell. Representatives of Islamic Funeral Service of Virginia, which reportedly handled the burial in conjunction with a Methodist churchgoer in Richmond, could not be reached for comment. However, the churchgoer, Martha Mullen, told the Boston Globe she became involved after learning that Boston and adjacent Cambridge, Massachusetts, would not permit a burial within their city limits. “Jesus says, love our enemies,” the Globe quoted her as saying. “So I was sitting in Starbucks and thought, maybe I’m the one person who needs to do something.”
Sophia top baby girl’s name
Sophia tops the list of names for US baby girls for the second year in a row, while King and Messiah are becoming more popular names for boys, the US Social Security Administration said on Thursday. Jacob has become a standby for boys’ names, topping the category for the 14th straight year.