Club owner dissolved
Seven people who allegedly dissolved the body of a gigolo-club owner using chemicals found in drain cleaner have been arrested by Japanese police, officials and media reports said on Friday. Masamichi Tsuchida, then 43, disappeared from his Tokyo “host club,” where female guests pay to be entertained. The club’s 31-year-old co-owner, a 26-year old former employee, their ex-wives and two relatives were arrested, according to police and a report in the Nikkan Sports tabloid. The gruesome body disposal — a method favored by Walter White in the US TV series Breaking Bad — was uncovered after police found a dental implant in a sewage tank, they said. The Sports Hochi tabloid said the suspects purchased sodium hydroxide after the victim vanished in November 2010. Police believe the body was dissolved in one suspect’s bathroom.
Murder suspect extradited
The FBI has captured a fugitive in the Philippines, 20 years after he allegedly shot his wife’s friend in a US restaurant. Santiago Pedroso, 71, faces murder charges for the death of 41-year-old Delores Alvarez. Pedroso’s estranged wife, Maria Gomez, had moved in with Alvarez shortly before his death in 1992, according to newspaper reports at the time. Pedroso allegedly shot Alvarez five times as his daughter shouted for him to stop, the Philadelphia Inquirer said. Authorities in the Philippines arrested him in Manila on Sept. 9 and deported him. He was arraigned on Friday on charges that include murder and illegal possession of a firearm. Alvarez had recently moved to Philadelphia from California, where she worked for Hughes Aircraft Corp, according to news reports. Pedroso is due in court on Oct. 9.
Maduro touts friendship
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he had arrived in Beijing yesterday after accusing the US of refusing his plane access to its airspace for the journey. “I have just arrived in China to strengthen friendship and cooperation between our two countries,” Maduro, successor to deceased former president Hugo Chavez, said on a newly created account on the Sina Weibo microblogging service. The visit comes amid high tensions between Washington and Caracas, which described as “insulting” on Thursday the US’ alleged decision to refuse Maduro permission to use its airspace. Washington denied the charges on Friday, saying US authorities worked with the Venezuelan embassy to resolve the issue after being given insufficient notice. Maduro, who is in China until Tuesday, is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
US stunt pilot’s body found
Divers have found the body of a missing US stunt pilot whose plane crashed into a lake while attempting a tricky maneuver in the rain, the head of the team searching for him said on Friday. David Riggs, whose US pilot’s license had been suspended, had been missing since Tuesday’s accident outside the city of Shenyang in which his young female Chinese translator died. Riggs was in the country to take part in an air show and was apparently rehearsing one of his tricks when the accident occurred. An official said Riggs’ body was found during a search of the bottom of Lake Caihu by divers from the Dalian branch of the Beihai Rescue Bureau. Riggs’ plane broke into pieces after hitting the lake and some parts had been recovered, including one of its two seats. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
Women wage ‘sex jihad’
Women have traveled to Syria to wage “sex jihad” by comforting Islamist fighters battling the regime there, Interior Minister Lotfi ben Jeddou has said. “They have sexual relations with 20, 30, 100” militants, the minister told members of the National Constituent Assembly on Thursday. “After the sexual liaisons they have there in the name of jihad al-nikah — [‘sexual holy war’] — they come home pregnant,” Ben Jeddou said. Jihad al-nikah, permitting extramarital sexual relations with multiple partners, is considered by some hardline Salafists as a legitimate form of holy war. The minister also did not say how many women were thought to have gone to Syria for such a purpose, although media reports have said hundreds have done so.
No ICC for Simone Gbagbo
The government said on Friday it would not transfer former first lady Simone Gbagbo to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, but would try her at home instead. The decision came 18 months after the ICC issued a warrant for the wife of former president Laurent Gbagbo for suspected crimes against humanity. The Cabinet decided to file a “motion to dismiss” the warrant and not to send Simone Gbagbo to The Hague, where her husband awaits trial over months of deadly violence that followed 2010 polls. “If we had the slightest doubt about the fairness of the Ivorian legal system, we would have extradited her to the Netherlands,” government spokesman Bruno Kone said.
Assault of diplomat probed
The country is probing allegations that a French diplomat was roughed up by its soldiers at a West Bank protest and says it might file a complaint over her involvement. Human Rights Watch cited witnesses as saying that Marion Castaing was taken out of a truck and thrown to the ground. He said she was among European diplomats accompanying the group as it delivered tents to Bedouins whose shacks had been demolished. Bedouins in Khirbet al-Meiteh in the Jordan valley say they have lived there for decades. The government says they built structures there illegally without permits. The military said forces used non-lethal riot dispersal means when the Palestinian protesters assaulted the forces with rocks.
Arctic ice slightly higher
The amount of ice in the Arctic Ocean shrank this summer to the sixth-lowest level, but that is much higher than last year’s record low. The ice cap at the North Pole melts in the summer and grows in winter; its general shrinking trend is a sign of global warming. The National Snow and Ice Data Center said on Friday that Arctic ice was at 5.1 million square kilometers when it stopped melting late last week. It takes scientists several days to confirm sea ice hit reached its lowest level and is growing again. The minimum level reached this summer is about 24 percent below the 20th century average, but 50 percent above last year, when a dramatic melt shattered records that go back to 1979. Center director Mark Serreze says climate change deniers who point to the bounce back from last year — which skewed the trend — would be wrong. “If you threw out last year, this year would be very much in line of what we’ve seen in recent years,” Serreze says. “We are not seeing a long term recovery here. No way.”
Student eats for education
A university student has found a novel way to pay for his education by eating his way through school. Computer engineering student Eric Dahl now ranks third in the world of competitive eating as determined by All Pro Eating rankings. Dahl has earned more than US$18,000 in prize money or merchandise to help pay for his education. “I’m eating for my education,” he said. Dahl was drawn to competitive eating in 2011 at a steakhouse in Wisconsin. Dahl did not want to pay for his meal so he signed up for a challenge: Eat a 1.3kg cheesesteak sandwich in less than 10 minutes and skip the bill. He finished in 5 minutes, 50 seconds. Dahl said he walks a few kilometers a day, lifts weights twice a week and plays soccer and hockey to maintain his 99kg weight. The State Journal reports that he eats no more than 3,100 calories a day of mostly vegetables to maintain his waistline and stretches his stomach by eating 4.5kg of cabbage or broccoli in a single sitting, followed by a lot of water.
Parents fail to see child shot
A California couple did not report that their 10-year-old daughter had been shot for more than five hours because they thought she was bleeding menstrual blood, police said on Friday. The girl was sleeping in her Hayward home at about 2am on Thursday when a stray bullet from drive-by shooting wounded her in the buttocks, Sergeant Mark Ormsby said. When the girl woke up in pain and had blood in her underwear, her parents thought she had started her period, police said. They also found no indication she had been shot when they took her to the bathroom. Ormsby said that when she woke up for school and was still in pain, her parents inspected her bed and saw bullet holes.
Mom fined for ‘Jihad’ shirt
A mother from Nimes, Gard, who sent her three-year-old son to school in a T-shirt reading “I am a bomb” and “Jihad, born on September 11” was given a suspended prison term on Friday for defending crime. Bouchra Bagour said she had simply wanted to mark the birthday of her son, who is named Jihad and was born on Sept. 11, and had not intended any connection with the terrorist attacks made against the US on the same date in 2001. She was acquitted in April by another court on charges of defending terrorism, but prosecutors had appealed the decision. On Friday, a Nimes appeal courts reversed the ruling, fining Bagour US$2,700 and giving her a suspended one-month jail term.
Queen pampers pooches
Queen Elizabeth II is so fond of her corgis that she personally supervises their meals and pours the gravy for them herself, according to a new book on royal pets. In Pets by Royal Appointment, Brian Hoey, who has written about Buckingham Palace for more than 40 years, suggests that the monarch prefers animals to humans. The book says that the royals “are suspicious of practically everyone outside their own family, so the only creatures they really trust are not of the human variety,” according to a statement released with the book’s publication. The book says the dogs’ meals of fillet steak and chicken breast are prepared by a footman and served at 5pm sharp every day, with the 87-year-old queen pouring the gravy on the feast. Elizabeth currently has two corgis and two “dorgis” — a cross with a dachshund — and has had more than 30 corgis during her reign.