Bomb targets judge
A bomb targeting a senior judge in Karachi wounded him and killed seven members of the security forces yesterday, a senior government official said. The Taliban took responsibility for the attack. The dead included six policemen and a paramilitary ranger, said Sharjeel Memon, the information minister for Sindh Province, where Karachi is the capital. The explosion also wounded 15 people, including policemen and rangers, as well as the judge, he said. The Sindh High Court judge who was targeted, Maqbool Baqir, was being treated at a private hospital and his condition was stable, Memon said. “We had provided maximum security to Maqbool Baqir and he was wounded in today’s bomb attack at his convoy,” Memon said. Baqir was on his way to court when the bomb exploded, senior police official Ameer Sheik said. The bomb, which was attached to a motorcycle, was so powerful that it damaged some nearby shops. Local TV footage showed authorities transporting victims of the attack to the hospital. Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan claimed responsibility for the Taliban, saying they detonated the bomb by remote control. “We attacked the judge in Karachi as he was taking decisions against Shariah and he was harmful for mujahidin,” he said in a telephone call from an unknown location.
Xinjiang riots kill 27
Riots in restive Xinjiang Province yesterday killed 27 people and left at least three injured, state media said. Xinhua news agency said knife-wielding mobs attacked police stations, a local government building and a construction site yesterday morning in a remote town in the Turkic-speaking region. The unrest in Lukqun, a township in Turpan Prefecture, left 17 people dead, including nine policemen, before police shot and killed 10 rioters, the agency reported. Xinhua cited officials with the region’s Communist Party committee.
Space capsule lands
A space capsule with three astronauts has safely landed on grasslands in the north after a 15-day trip to the country’s prototype space station. The Shenzhou 10’s descent module landed by parachute in Inner Mongolia early yesterday with the three crewmembers reported in good health. The two men and one woman taught lessons to schoolchildren while in space. The country sent its first astronaut into space in 2003, becoming the third nation after Russia and the US to achieve manned space travel independently. The latest mission was the second crewed trip to the Tiangong 1 experimental space station, launched in 2011. It is due to be replaced by a three-module permanent station in 2020.
Australia starts whaling case
Australia is urging the UN’s highest court to ban Japan’s annual whale hunt. Lawyers for Australia were to argue at the International Court of Justice yesterday that Japan harpoons minke whales each year in the icy waters around Antarctica in breach of a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling. Japan is to respond next week by telling judges that the hunt is for scientific research and is allowed under the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. Opponents say the program is a guise for keeping Japan’s dwindling whaling industry alive because the whale meat from the hunt is sold for consumption. The court will take months to issue a final and binding decision.
Trial to be closed to public
Lawyers for the US soldier accused of aiding the enemy by leaking thousands of classified documents raised no objection on Tuesday to a government proposal to temporarily close his trial to the public and press, possibly as early as this week, to protect evidence. As Bradley Manning’s trial entered its fourth week, defense attorney David Coombs told the military judge in Fort Meade, Maryland, that he had no objection to closing the courtroom while prosecutors read aloud the classified sections of written witness statements. Prosecutors have said they expect to present as many as 17 such statements this week. The statements may include evidence about more than 250,000 US Department of State diplomatic cables Manning is accused of stealing from a classified computer database. Manning denies the theft charge, but has acknowledged he sent the cables, along with hundreds of thousands of classified war logs, and some Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield videos, to the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks.
Nine shot in slum violence
Nine people, including one police officer, were fatally shot during gunbattles that erupted in a slum complex near Rio de Janeiro international airport, authorities said in an updated toll on Tuesday. The deaths were not linked to the mass street protests against government waste and corruption currently sweeping the country, but will add to concerns about security in Brazil in the run up to next year’s soccer World Cup finals. “Five suspects, three residents and one elite policeman died in total,” a military police spokeswoman said. At least nine people were injured and nine others detained on Tuesday, including the main suspect in the killing of the police officer, she added. Police said cocaine, marijuana and weapons were also seized.
Tourists trapped on ice floe
Police said a group of tourists on an ice floe in the Canadian Arctic would likely be stranded there until early yesterday morning. They were set adrift when a 50km long slab of ice broke away from Baffin Island sometime between Monday night and early Tuesday, and floated several kilometers out to sea. Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokeswoman Corporal Yvonne Niego said on Tuesday that the 20 people trapped on the ice floe include local guides, and Canadian and foreign tourists. They have a camp, shelter and supplies. Niego said 10 hunters who were also trapped managed to cross over onto land after the chunk of ice split and their end floated close to shore on Tuesday afternoon. The floe the tourists are on remained afloat.
Game lampoons mayor
A mobile game for Google Android devices has been released lampooning Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and the purported video that appears to show him smoking crack cocaine. In Stay Mayor! by Toronto-based app developer Extra! Extra! Games, the player controls a cartoon mayor being pursued by a pack of “bloodthirsty”’ reporters and cameramen. Players must dodge crack pipes littered on the ground while being chased by the media. The player’s mission is to collect US$201,255 to buy the alleged video before gossip Web site Gawker does. In May, Gawker sought US$200,000 in donations to buy the video. The money was raised, but the Web site has been unable to obtain it. Gawker’s editor and two Toronto Star reporters said they had viewed the video. Ford says it does not exist.