London ‘slave’ identified
The nation’s top police official, Khalid Abu Bakar, yesterday said one of three women allegedly held as slaves in London for 30 years was a Malaysian who went missing in the 1960s. Citing information provided by British police, he confirmed the woman was Siti Aishah Abdul Wahab, the Star newspaper said in a brief report on its Web site. Siti Aishah, who would now be 69, had left to study in Britain about 1968, but her family lost track of her soon after that, relatives said. “I will hug her and cry if she comes back home,” Siti Aishah’s eldest sister, Hasnah Abdul Wahab, 88, said when told of the police announcement. “I thank Allah he has realized my prayers to meet Siti Aishah before I die… We have been looking for her for a long, long time.”
Beijing destroys barbecues
Beijing is waging a war against air pollution and it is doing so one barbecue at a time. City authorities have destroyed more than 500 open-air barbecues collected over the past three months “to cut PM2.5” — the tiny particulate matter in the air that can enter deep into the lungs. Citizens online ridiculed the exercise, suggesting authorities should focus on bigger sources of pollution. “This action will help local residents, but to deal with the bigger air quality problem we need to have priorities and I think one of the major priorities should still be the motor vehicle emissions,” Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs director Ma Jun (馬軍) said.
A mass vaccination program has been launched in communities that were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan to protect children against measles and polio, UNICEF and World Health Organization said yesterday. The campaign began this week with 30,000 children being vaccinated in Tacloban city, one of the places hardest hit on Nov. 8. The UN said the vaccination program would aim to reach 500,000 children across the disaster zone, which covers dozens of ruined towns mainly on Leyte and Samar islands.
High-rise suspect convicted
A Sydney man was found guilty yesterday of throwing his Canadian fiancee off the balcony of their high-rise apartment, ending a murder trial that captivated the nation. Simon Gittany was accused of hurling former ballerina Lisa Harnum from their 15th-floor home in a fit of rage in July 2011 after discovering she planned to leave him. The 40-year-old, supported in court by his new girlfriend, had maintained his innocence throughout the trial, saying Harnum, 30, had slipped and fallen after climbing over a railing and he had tried to save her. Justice Lucy McCallum said the lack of Harnum’s fingerprints on the glass barrier made this scenario implausible. Gittany will be sentenced in February.
Hot sauce must cool off
A California judge has given a dose of cold water to the hot sauce Sriracha, ruling on Tuesday that the factory that manufactures the condiment must partially shut down after neighbors complained of the spicy smells it was producing. Judge Robert O’Brien found in favor of the city of Irwindale, where Sriracha recently relocated, saying sauce maker Huy Fong Foods must stop any operations that could be causing the odors and make changes to mitigate them.
Watkins pleads guilty
Rock singer Ian Watkins, the former frontman of the band Lostprophets, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the attempted rape of a baby and a string of other child sex offenses. Watkins, whose band sold millions of albums around the world, plotted the abuse of two children with their own mothers in a series of text and Internet messages. The heavily tattooed 36-year-old made a last-minute change of plea before his trial started at Cardiff Crown Court in Wales, sparing the jury from seeing what the judge called “extremely graphic and distressing” video footage. He will be sentenced on Dec. 18.
Book fetches record price
The Bay Psalm Book, one of 11 surviving copies of the first book printed in the nation in 1640, sold for US$14.2 million on Tuesday evening at Sotheby’s in New York, setting a new world auction record for any printed book.The book easily surpassed the previous mark of US$11.5 million, paid in December 2010 for John James Audubon’s Birds of America. David Rubenstein, cofounder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group private equity firm, purchased the book. Sotheby’s said Rubenstein plans to loan it to libraries across the nation, before it will be put on long-term loan to one of them. .
Police charged in ‘plebgate’
A policeman was charged on Tuesday with lying and seven others face disciplinary proceedings over the so-called “plebgate” scandal, which brought down a minister. Former Conservative chief whip Andrew Mitchell was involved in an altercation with police as he tried to push his bicycle through the gates at Prime Minister David Cameron’s Downing Street residence. Prosecutors said they had charged a police officer, Keith Wallis, with lying about witnessing the row in September last year, but said there was no evidence of a conspiracy against the former international development minister. Mitchell hit back after the decision, accusing the policeman with whom he had the argument of falsely claiming that the minister had called police “plebs,” a derogatory word used to describe commoners.
Wolf causes panic
An escaped wolf sparked panic in southern England on Tuesday after a pack of five animals escaped from a zoo. The timber wolves got through a damaged fence in their enclosure at Colchester Zoo in the early hours of the morning. Two were shot dead shortly after they escaped, one returned of its own accord and one was shot with an anaesthetic dart and captured, but one animal remained at large in woodland for several hours. People living nearby were reportedly warned to keep small children at home while police used a helicopter to scour the forest. The wolf was later found and destroyed by zoo staff, police tweeted.
Painting thieves sentenced
A Bucharest district court on Tuesday handed down sentences of six years and eight months to Radu Dogaru and Eugen Darie, the ringleaders of a gang who stole seven paintings by Matisse, Monet and Picasso from the Dutch museum Kunsthal in Rotterdam in October last year. The pair, who were not in court to hear the verdict, were ordered to pay 6,000 lei (US$1,830) in court costs. The sentences can be appealed. Dogaru’s mother, Olga, added a twist to the case by telling prosecutors that she burned the paintings — then retracted her statement. She is on trial on charges of destroying the works.