‘Noisy’ tribute revived
Horns honked and sirens wailed yesterday as the nation revived a tribute that was silenced for decades to the country’s slain independence hero, the father of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Adding a modern twist, many people played siren-like ringtones on their mobile phones to mark the moment when former general Aung San was assassinated by gunmen on July 19, 1947. State-owned radio stations used to broadcast sirens in Aung San’s honor, but the custom was stopped for many years as part of the former military rulers’ efforts to stem Aung San Suu Kyi’s popularity.
TEPCO puzzled by steam
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant said yesterday it still did not know what caused steam seen inside a reactor building, nor why it was no longer there. Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) spotted water vapor around the fifth floor of the building housing the badly damaged Reactor 3 on Thursday. The company said it was looking at the possibility that accumulated rainwater had been the cause, but admitted yesterday it still did not know for sure. TEPCO, which has faced repeated criticism for playing down problems or not being open about the difficulties it faces at Fukushima, said the steam did not contain an abnormally high level of radiation. The reactor is too dangerous to approach, but a camera feed showed steam was no longer visible on yesterday morning, the utility said.
ICC rejects Qaddafi request
The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday rejected Tripoli’s request to suspend the handover of slain Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam. The Hague-based court’s appeal judges said in a statement that Tripoli remained “obliged” to hand over Saif al-Islam, 40, who served as the late Libyan leader’s de facto prime minister. Tripoli and the ICC have been involved in a legal tug-of-war over where Saif al-Islam and former spy chief Abdullah Senussi should face trial for their roles in trying to put down Libya’s bloody 2011 revolt.
Nazi-themed cafe draws fire
Authorities plan to ask a restaurant owner to explain his reasons for opening a Nazi-themed cafe that has sparked controversy among locals and tourists. Soldatenkaffee includes a wall of Nazi-related memorabilia, including a large swastika flag and a giant picture of Adolf Hitler. Its wait staff dresses in SS, or Schutzstaffel, military uniforms, and can be seen posing in front of the cafe on its Facebook page. Ayi Vivananda, deputy mayor of Bandung, said a letter was sent on Thursday summoning cafe owner Henry Mulyana to meet with officials to discuss his motives for opening the eatery.
More accident victims found
Police on Thursday said four more bodies have been found amid the ruins of Lac-Megantic, the Quebec town devastated when an oil tanker train derailed and exploded on July 6. The latest find brought the body count to 42, although 50 people are believed to have died. Authorities said they are still searching for remains. The coroner said 19 victims have been identified so far.
Migrants killed on train
Authorities say a Honduran migrant was killed and another one was wounded from gunfire while they traveled on a freight train in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz. The state attorney general’s office on Thursday said one of the two male victims was found dead along the railroad tracks in the town of Moloacan. Authorities have not identified or provided the ages of the two migrants attacked on Wednesday night.
Rupert Murdoch says he should not have questioned the competence of police carrying out an investigation into wrongdoing at his newspapers. In a secretly taped recording that emerged earlier this month the media baron called wrongdoing by his local newspapers “next to nothing” and described cops as “totally incompetent.” In a letter responding to a lawmaker’s request to explain his comments, Murdoch said he had used the “wrong adjectives” when voicing his frustration with the investigation. He added that he is “in no position to judge the competence of the investigation and should never have done so,” but that he feels the phone-hacking probe has “gone on too long.”
Tail banned from pool
A Florida woman has been banned from swimming in her community’s pool because she wants to wear a mermaid tail. Jenna Conti had been in the Aquatic Club pool with her custom-made tail once before with the staff’s approval, but on Monday night, the FishHawk Community Development board voted to keep her out of the pool because of the swim fin policy. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Conti’s dream is to swim at the Florida Aquarium, which features mermaid performers.
PM survives vote
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has survived a no confidence vote as he struggles to prevent early elections amid deep differences over the austerity measures the country is pursuing in return for rescue funds. The proposal, pushed in parliament by the Green Party, failed by 131 votes to 87. Coelho, who is leader of the Social Democrats, is negotiating with the junior party in the coalition and the main Socialist opposition to see if an agreement can be cobbled together. A deadline of tomorrow has been set.
A Norwegian black-metal musician was charged with inciting racial hatred on Thursday, but released after police decided he was not planning an attack, an official at the Paris prosecutor’s office said. Kristian “Varg” Vikernes, 40, was arrested with his wife on Tuesday after her recent purchase of four rifles aroused suspicion. The official said Vikernes would be judged over some of his writings, which the prosecutor had decided was an incitement to racial hatred. Vikernes was convicted in 1994 of stabbing a rival musician to death in Oslo and burning down several churches.