Building falls, killing one
A two-story building housing apartments and garment makers has collapsed near Mumbai, killing one person, police said yesterday — the fifth deadly collapse around the financial capital in the past few months. Rescue teams rushed to the scene late on Wednesday in Bhiwandi City in Maharashtra. “One is dead and two more critical in the building collapse Wednesday midnight,” a police inspector in Bhiwandi said, declining to be named. At least 20 people have already been rescued, he said.
Eight militants killed
Army troops clashed with communist rebels early yesterday and killed eight guerrillas after villagers complained about being abused by them, officials said. Soldiers recovered firearms, explosives and grenade launchers after the fighting with New People’s Army rebels in Sorsogon province, military public affairs chief Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala said, adding that the troops suffered no casualties.
Rocket launches halted
Moscow is suspending the launches of Proton rockets after an unmanned rocket carrier exploded on takeoff this week, a source on the Russian Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan said yesterday. An investigation commission is looking into the causes of the accident on Tuesday, and the rocket launches will only resume after the commission finishes its work, the source said. The next launch was originally set for July 20. Other Proton launches this year were scheduled for the US radio satellite Sirius FM6 on Aug. 14, Russia’s Kosmos military satellite on Sept. 5, Russian communications satellite Ekspress AM5 in October and Turkish Turksat 4A in November, he said.
Saleswoman sues Kanebo
A 61-year-old woman was forced to wear bunny ears as a penalty for missing her sales targets, with photos of her humiliation used in company training programs, reports said. The woman, who was not named, was employed by cosmetics maker Kanebo in Oita. She sued the company claiming mental distress after her bosses instructed her to don costumes if she did not meet her targets, including over-sized rabbit ears on one occasion, several papers reported. The woman had demanded ￥3.3 million (US$33,000) in compensation, the Mainichi Shimbun reported. A court upheld her complaint, but ordered the company to pay just ￥220,000, the Asahi Shimbun said on Tuesday, adding the firm had given her a larger sum than this, according to her lawyer.
‘Shitstorm’ in dictionary
The English profanity “shitstorm” is so widely used by Germans, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, that the nation’s most prestigious dictionary has included it in its latest edition. “Over the last few years, ‘shitstorm’ has entered everyday usage so that’s why it now appears in the new printed edition of the dictionary,” said Nicole Weiffen, head of communications at Duden, which publishes Germany’s standard dictionary. “It is used in a lot of print and online media as well as in a whole host of other contexts so it is really relevant for the German language now.” The Duden dictionary defines the word as “a storm of indignation expressed via the Internet, sometimes accompanied by offensive comments.” That varies slightly from the English meaning, with the Oxford English Dictionary defining a shitstorm as “a situation marked by violent controversy.”
Severed heads found in bags
Police have found seven heads and several other severed body parts in plastic bags in the state of Jalisco, plagued by drug-related violence, prosecutors said. Three alleged kidnappers who were arrested on Tuesday led police to the gruesome find at a farm near Guadalajara, they said in a statement. Coroners in Jalisco will carry out DNA tests to identify the victims. More than 70,000 people have died in drug-related unrest in the country since 2006.
Shooter’s DNA found on gun
The DNA of US teenage shooting victim Trayvon Martin was not found on the grip of the gun of the man accused of killing him, and the accused’s DNA was not found under the teen’s fingernails, a law enforcement expert said yesterday. Prosecutors hope the testimony will disprove George Zimmerman’s claim that he did it in self-defense. The murder trial has drawn national attention to issues of race — 17-year-old victim Martin was black — and self-defense gun laws. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty and says he shot the teen in the chest to protect himself as Martin reached for his gun during a nighttime fight in his Florida gated community.
Real-estate developers using heavy machinery tore down a 6m tall pyramid at the oldest archeological site near Peru’s capital, cultural officials said on Wednesday. Rafael Varon, deputy minister of cultural patrimony, told reporters the destruction occurred over the weekend at the ruins of El Paraiso, a few kilometers north of Lima. The tourism ministry says El Paraiso was built about 4,000 years ago and was a religious and administrative center, long before the rise of the Inca culture encountered by the Spanish conquerors. Marco Guilen, director of an excavation project at El Paraiso, said the people who tore down the pyramid “have committed irreparable damage to a page of Peruvian history.”
Remains found in wall
The remains of a New York schoolteacher who disappeared nearly 28 years ago have been discovered hidden in a false basement wall in the house where she lived with her husband, police said on Tuesday. JoAnn Nichols was 55 years old when her husband, James, reported her missing in 1985, police in Poughkeepsie, New York said. The remains were found when a contractor was asked to clean out the house in Poughkeepsie. The remains were identified as belonging to the missing woman on Monday through dental records. “She was struck in the head,” county medical examiner Kari Reiber said. “It is being ruled a homicide.”
Mouse inventor dies
Douglas Engelbart, who revolutionized computing by inventing the mouse, died in California on Tuesday at the age of 88, the institute bearing his name said on Wednesday. Engelbart studied electrical engineering and computer sciences in the 1950s before joining the Stanford Research Institute. He and his team worked on a number of concepts that have entered the computer mainstream, such as e-mail, video conferencing, hypertext links and ARPAnet. However, he is best remembered for the mouse, which in its original incarnation was a wood box with two metal wheels and was granted a patent in 1970. In 2000 he was presented with the National Medal of Technology, the tech industry’s highest honor.