Police hunt ‘haiku killer’
A poetry-writing suspected killer was being hunted by police yesterday after the bodies of five people were found in a tiny mountain village. The victims represent a third of the population of the hamlet in Yamaguchi Prefecture, where police on Sunday found three corpses after two houses were burned to the ground. Investigators on Monday discovered the bodies of two more people, who reports said appeared to have been battered to death. All five victims were in their 70s or 80s. The chief suspect is a 63-year-old villager at whose home police found a haiku stuck to the window. The haiku reads: “Setting on fire — smoke gives delight — to a country fellow.”
Bus fire kills 19
A double-decker passenger bus caught fire after colliding with a truck on one of the kingdom’s busiest highways early yesterday, killing 19 people and injuring 23, authorities said. The bus drivers and most of the passengers were stuck in the bus when it caught fire, police said. The overnight bus had been heading for Bangkok after leaving Roi Et Province in the northeast on Monday night. Police believed the driver was dozing off when the accident happened.
Greenpeace slams coal firm
A major state-owned coal producer has caused “drastic drops” in groundwater near one of its projects, the environmental group Greenpeace said in a report yesterday. Lakes have shrunk, wells have dried up and sand dunes are spreading near a plant in Inner Mongolia run by coal conglomerate Shenhua Group, the organization said. A lake called Subeinaoer has dropped in surface area by 62 percent from 2004 to 2011, it said. Greenpeace called the project a “classic example of the unchecked expansion of coal-reliant industries that is in growing conflict with China’s water resources.”
Anti-coal activist charged
An anti-coal activist yesterday was charged with issuing a fake press release that temporarily wiped more than A$300 million (US$278 million) from the share price of Whitehaven Coal. Jonathan Moylan, 25, faced a Sydney court on a charge of contravening the Corporations Act by disseminating false information to the market. He faces a maximum 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to A$765,000, or both if convicted. Moylan, from the anti-coal mining group Front Line Action on Coal, allegedly sent a press release in January purporting to be from ANZ Bank, claiming it had withdrawn A$1.2 billion in funding for Whitehaven’s Maules Creek mine. The group accuses Whitehaven of planning to destroy a large tract of koala habitat and force farmers off their land through soil damage from the project.
Cafe dropping swastikas
A controversial Nazi-themed cafe in Bandung would be reopened with a broader World War II theme — without the swastika symbols, but retaining images of Adolf Hitler, the owner’s lawyer said yesterday. The Soldatenkaffee (“The Soldiers’ Cafe”) —- ornamented with Nazi-related memorabilia — was voluntarily shut down on Friday last week following death threats to the owner Henry Mulyana, who is accused of inciting racial hatred. The lawyer did not say when the cafe would be reopened. “So there won’t only be photos of Hitler, but Winston Churchill and Indonesian heroes too. There will be Japanese soldiers, not only German soldiers, and no swastikas,” he said.
Man gets life for killing teen
A 76-year-old man who fatally shot his black 13-year-old neighbor in the chest after accusing the boy of burglary was sentenced on Monday to life in prison with no chance of parole. John Spooner, who was convicted last week of first-degree intentional homicide, acknowledged shooting Darius Simmons last year. He told the jury he suspected Darius had stolen shotguns from his home. Footage from Spooner’s surveillance cameras show him confronting Darius, pointing a gun at the boy’s chest and firing. Darius fled, then collapsed and died in the street as his mother cradled him. Police searched the boy’s home later that day and did not find the weapons.
Man charged in stabbing
A Ukranian man appeared in Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday, charged under terrorism laws with the murder of an elderly British Muslim man in Birmingham and with planting explosive devices at three mosques. Pavlo Lapshyn, a 25-year-old post-graduate student, had been detained last week as part of an investigation into bombings at mosques in Walsall, Wolverhampton and Tipton. No one was injured in the blasts. Mohammed Saleem, 82, was stabbed on April 29 as he walked home after prayers at a mosque.
Redford fights for horses
Robert Redford has joined the fight against the reopening of the country’s first horse slaughter plants. The actor on Monday announced the formation of the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife, whose first act is to join a federal lawsuit filed by the Humane Society and other groups to block the planned Aug. 5 opening of the slaughterhouses. “Horse slaughter has no place in our culture,” Redford said in a statement. Meat from the slaughterhouses would be exported for human consumption and for use as animal food. After lengthy delays and a lawsuit by Valley Meat Co, the Department of Agriculture last month gave the company approval to begin slaughtering horses.
Zimmerman helps in crash
Officials say George Zimmerman helped rescue four people from an overturned vehicle in Orlando last week, just days after he was cleared of all charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Orlando sheriff’s spokeswoman Kim Cannaday said in a statement on Monday that deputies responding to the wreck found Zimmerman and another man had already helped the couple and their two children out of the flipped sports utility vehicle.
Actor Dennis Farina dies
Dennis Farina, a former Chicago cop who played a TV cop on Law & Order, died on Monday morning in a Scottsdale, Arizona, hospital after suffering a blood clot in his lung, said his publicist, Lori De Waal. He was 69. Farina’s many films include Saving Private Ryan, Out Of Sight and his breakout film, Get Shorty. He served with the Chicago Police Department for 18 years before he found his way into acting as he neared his forties.
FARC offers farmers arms
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels offered armed support to a rural protest in Catatumbo in a gesture that could ignite violence. Impoverished farmers in the area have blocked roads and clashed with police in the past month to protest the government’s fumigation of illegal coca crops — the only means of subsistence for many — and a lack of state presence.