No shack jobs for foreigners
The holiday state of Goa says it has banned foreigners from working in beach shack bars and restaurants after receiving several complaints of discrimination against domestic tourists. The policy stops any foreigner from owning, running or even working in beach shacks serving food and drink, irrespective of whether they hold Indian employment visas. “There will be regular checking of the shacks to ensure that it is not sub-let by the original licensee to a foreigner,” Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters in the state capital Panaji on Wednesday as he announced the new measure. He said the government had received complaints of discrimination against Indians in shacks run by foreigners.
Turbulence leaves 50 hurt
More than 50 passengers and crew were injured yesterday when a Thai Airways A380 superjumbo hit severe turbulence during a flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong, the carrier said. One stewardess suffered a broken collarbone, while the other injuries were minor such as bruises, a Thai Airways official who did not want to be named said. About 500 passengers were on board the plane at the time of the incident, which happened as it was preparing to land at Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport shortly after midday. The injured — 37 passengers and 15 crew members — were sent to hospital for treatment, with 22 already discharged, the official said.
‘Birdcage’ to be dismantled
A giant steel and mesh “birdcage” that caps the uppermost level of a building has been ordered dismantled, state media reported, in the latest rooftop architectural oddity in the country. The structure wraps around the fourth story of the building in the city of Guangzhou, complete with a giant hook coming out of the top, and with what appears to be a rock cliff to one side. Local officials in Bantang district ordered it demolished, the Nanfang Daily newspaper reported, adding the building was only authorized to be three levels high and neighbors had expressed concerns about falling stones.
Nobel laureate poet dies
Poet Seamus Heaney, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, died yesterday at age 74. Heaney’s family and publisher, Faber & Faber, said in a statement that Heaney died in a Dublin hospital. He had been recuperating from a stroke since 2006. The Northern Ireland-born Heaney was widely considered the nation’s greatest poet since William Butler Yeats. He published his first major collection of poems, Death of a Naturalist, in 1966. He wrote 13 collections of poetry, two plays, four prose works on the process of poetry and many other works. He was the third Irishman to win a Nobel for literature, joining Yeats and Samuel Beckett.
Drug mule’s sentence upheld
The nation’s highest court has upheld the death sentence for a British woman convicted of smuggling US$2.5 million worth of cocaine into the resort island of Bali, a court official said yesterday. The three-member judge panel unanimously rejected Lindsay Sandiford’s appeal on Thursday, said Supreme Court spokesman Ridwan Mansur. Sandiford, 57, was arrested last year when 3.8kg of cocaine was discovered stuffed inside the lining of her luggage at Bali’s airport. During the trial, she said she was forced to carry the drugs by a gang that threatened to hurt her children. She was found guilty in January by a district court and sentenced to face a firing squad. She lost an appeal three months later after the Bali High Court upheld the lower court’s ruling. Prosecutors had initially sought 15 years in prison for Sandiford, but the court surprised many by issuing a death sentence. She still has the opportunity under the nation’s law to seek a judicial review of her case and a final legal effort by appealing for presidential clemency.
Father to become dad
A priest stunned his parishioners by announcing during Mass that he would soon become the father of a little girl and leave the priesthood. Father Geronimo Moreira, from the small town of Gaviao in Bahia state, said he fell in love with a local girl and got her pregnant. Moreira met the young lady, who is now 23, in 2007 when he was still at seminary. He told G1 Web site that after the announcement “I was very emotional and cried a lot, and virtually the entire congregation cried as well.” The couple plan to have a Catholic wedding, but this will require permission from Pope Francis, who visited Brazil last month to attend World Youth Day.
Drivers undergo crucifixion
Eight bus drivers and one of their wives have undergone crucifixion in a gruesome protest after the drivers were sacked, a reporter witnessed on Thursday. The protesters had nails driven into the flesh between their middle and index fingers and into lengths of wood. They vowed to continue their protest near the bus terminal at Luque, 12km outside Asuncion, until they are given their jobs back. Each protester has been positioned next to an empty coffin. Juan Villalba, a local union leader and one of those crucified, said the demonstrators would continue “to the end.” “Our position is clear: We want the eight drivers to be reinstated with all employee benefits. Otherwise the strike is not lifted,” he said. Villalba’s wife, Maria Concepcion Candia, 39, joined her husband in getting crucified on Wednesday. Villalba said that some of his fellow protesters were suffering health problems, ranging from high fever, stomach and chest pains.
Kittens shut down subway
Two kittens that shut down a New York City subway line for more than an hour have been found and rescued from the tracks. Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokeswoman Julie Glave said the kittens were discovered on Thursday evening under the third rail of an above-ground express track in Brooklyn. Glave said MTA workers and police officers removed the kittens in crates. Earlier on Thursday transit officials cut power to the B and Q lines in Brooklyn for more than an hour after reports the kittens were on the loose in the subway system. Transit workers were dispatched onto the tracks to try to corral the kittens.