Tourist stabbed over singing
A US tourist was stabbed to death in a fight over music at a bar in a beach town, police said. Bobby Ray Carter Jr, 51, died in a hospital after a brawl broke out early on Wednesday at Ao Nang beach in Krabi Province. Carter was intoxicated, began singing with the band and refused to leave the stage to let other customers sing, police said. “Witnesses said Carter got angry when the band played Hotel California instead of the song he requested, and he refused to step down,” Krabi police chief Colonel Taksin Pochakorn said. The band then stopped playing and Carter and his 27-year-old son got into an argument with the musicians, police said. Carter was stabbed in his chest with an iron rod during the fight outside the bar and his son was injured in the head. The three band members were arrested.
Islands to be named
The New Zealand Geographic Board yesterday proposed naming the country’s two main islands, which have never been formally named due to a clerical oversight. The board said the names had appeared on maps since European settlement began in the early 1800s, but had never been formally recognized. The islands are universally known as the North and South Islands. The board is now proposing two names each for the islands, one in English and one in the Maori language. The English versions will be the widely used North and South Islands. The suggested Maori names are Te Waipounamu — meaning rivers of green stone — for the South and Te Ika-a-Maui — the fish of Maui (a Maori god) — for the North. The change is expected to be formally adopted later this year.
Rebels dismiss deadline
Rebels in the east of the country faced a deadline yesterday to lay down their arms, but they have dismissed the UN peacekeepers’ ultimatum as irrelevant. “We consider that this measure does not concern us,” M23 chief Bertrand Bisimwa said. The UN on Tuesday threatened to use force against M23 fighters near Goma if they did not disarm within 48 hours and join a demobilization program. After that, “they will be considered an imminent threat of physical violence to civilians,” the UN mission in the country said.
Funeral held for activist
A funeral was held yesterday for a men’s rights activist who died after jumping in the Han River in Seoul on Friday last week in a publicity stunt gone awry. Sung Jae-gi’s body was found by rescuers on Monday. The 45-year-old Sung pushed for the abolition of the gender ministry and greater compensation for men’s mandatory military service. Rescuers say a recently opened dam and heavy rain created stronger-than-normal currents.
Floods cripple resort site
Severe floods have crippled a ski resort seen as a pet project of leader Kim Jong-un, as workers rushing to repair the site ignored nearby towns, according to reports. South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo daily on Wednesday said several buildings at the Masik resort had been buried in a landslide triggered by torrential rains that have killed 28 people nationwide. According to news site Daily NK, large swathes of farmlands and towns near the resort site were inundated as water and mud flowed down the ski slope. “But soldiers and workers mobilized to fix damages were only sent to the ski resort,” the report said.
Crash driver hung up phone
The driver of a train that crashed killing 79 people said he was talking by telephone to the train’s onboard ticket inspector moments before the accident, but hung up just before the train left the tracks, a court said on Wednesday. Train driver Francisco Jose Garzon Amo went to the court on his own initiative and told the judge he received a call from the ticket inspector about which platform to take on arriving at a station, a court statement said. Garzon told the judge that he hung up “seconds before” the train hurtled off the track. He was apparently consulting a paper document in his cabin while on the telephone with his colleague when the train hurtled off the tracks. Garzon was provisionally charged on Sunday with multiple counts of negligent homicide after his first testimony before the judge.
Probe request rejected
State investigators in Florida have rejected a request for an independent investigation of the fatal shooting of a Chechen man while he was being questioned about his ties to one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. Florida Department of Law Enforcement declined the request by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida to look into the death of Ibragim Todashev. Todashev was killed in May while being questioned by FBI agents and others. “Secrecy fosters suspicion and the people of Florida deserve better than to be left without an explanation from their government about what led to a person being shot to death,” ACLU of Florida director Howard Simon said.
Gay bars dump vodka
Gay rights activists in New York City dumped vodka onto the street on Wednesday to protest new laws in Russia targeting homosexuals, as a growing number of gay bar owners across the nation vowed to stop pouring Russian vodka. “Boycotts are set for a reason. We’re trying to influence change and maybe change what’s happening in Russia,” said Chuck Hyde, general manager of Sidetrack, the largest gay bar in Chicago, which stopped carrying Stolichnaya about a week ago. The boycott was called last week by gay rights activist and Seattle-based sex advice columnist Dan Savage in response to anti-gay violence and laws in Russia.
US drone strike kills four
A US drone killed four al-Qaeda suspects on Thursday, a security official said, the third such strike in five days as the Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi prepared for White House talks. The nation’s US-backed campaign against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Pensinsula was expected to be high on the agenda of Hadi’s meeting with US President Barack Obama yesterday.
Lukashenko trumps Putin
President Alexander Lukashenko on Wednesday boasted he had caught a giant catfish weighing 57kg, almost three times heavier than a fish said to have been hooked by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin’s claim on Friday that Putin managed to catch a 21kg pike in Siberia was ridiculed by bloggers, who argued that such a dense fish should have sunk to the bottom of the lake, but the Belarussian strongman told a government meeting that he had notched up an even greater weight while fishing on the Pripyat river. “I personally caught a 57kg catfish,” Lukashenko said. “That must have been as tall as me,” Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Rusy said. “But maybe not the same weight,” the president shot back.