Anti-gay law upheld
A colonial-era law criminalizing homosexuality will remain in effect, the Supreme Court said yesterday, dealing a blow to gay activists. The court threw out a 2009 New Delhi High Court decision that struck down the law as unconstitutional, saying it was for lawmakers — and not the courts — to decide the matter. Lawyers and supporters for gays, lesbians and transsexuals vowed to continue pressing for the removal of a law.
Xi, Abe singled out
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were named “Asians of the Year” yesterday by the Straits Times, which urged them to reach out to each other to avert a conflict. “The recent flare-up of tensions over the announcement of a new air defence identification zone is evidence of the deep-seated anxieties on both sides. These explain, and fuel, nationalistic fervor in both countries, which if not well managed, could give rise to popular pressures that might spiral beyond the control of political leaders,” the newspaper said.
Nineteen LRA rebels nabbed
Ugandan troops have captured 19 Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in the Central African Republic, the African Union said, a sizeable victory in the hunt for the elusive jungle insurgents. The fighters surrendered with their guns and ammunition, the AU said in a statement.
Thousands quizzed on riot
Police have questioned nearly 4,000 foreign workers in a widening crackdown following the first riot in more than 40 years, officials said yesterday. Three more Indian nationals yesterday were charged with rioting, in addition to the 24 charged on Tuesday. About 400 South Asian workers went on the rampage on Sunday night after an Indian worker died after being hit by a private bus. A police spokeswoman said 176 men had been taken to a police complex to have their statements recorded.
Broadcaster shot dead
Gunmen shot dead a broadcaster yesterday, police said, the third such fatal attack in two weeks. Motorcycle-riding gunmen attacked Rogelio Butalib, 44 in the city of Tagum on Mindanao. Butalib was a commentator for the local Radyo Natin station and may have made enemies because of his program that tackled various local issues, including corruption, regional police spokesman Chief Inspector Jed Clamor said. However, the killing could have been politically motivated, because Butalib was also elected to a hotly contested district post in October, he said.
Bomber attacks convoy
A suicide bomber attacked a convoy of German troops near the international airport in Kabul yesterday. “We can confirm reports of a suicide bomber who attempted to attack an ISAF convoy today,” International Security Assistance Force spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Latondra Kinley said. “The attacker was killed and there were no ISAF casualties to report.” The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
White tiger cub has surgery
Veterinarians operated on a rare white tiger cub to fix a congenitally displaced kneecap in its right hind leg. The nine-month-old male was under the knife for five-and-a-half hours on Tuesday at the Nihon University animal hospital, the school said.
Looting mars celebration
People armed and barricaded themselves in their homes and stores in fear of looting mobs on Tuesday as the nation’s celebration of 30 years of democracy was marred by continuing police strikes for higher pay. President Cristina Fernandez sought to contain the crisis on Tuesday night, saying anti-democratic elements were trying to undo the nation’s hard-won gains. Authorities said at least seven people have been killed, including a police officer shot on Tuesday, a store owner whose burned body was found last week and five others who died while looting.
Boy jailed for pro-Morsi sign
Scissors and compasses are seen as the most dangerous items in a student’s pencil case, but for one schoolboy, it is a ruler that allegedly led to his detention in an adult jail. Khaled Bakara, 15, was arrested last month after his teacher spotted a ruler on his desk bearing a symbol indicating opposition to the overthrow of former president Mohamed Morsi, Khaled’s lawyer, Amr Abdel Maqsoud, said. “The teacher was walking around the classroom and saw the ruler on his desk. Then he took Khaled’s bag, started searching it and found two notebooks with the sign on them too,” Maqsoud said. Police then arrested Khaled on suspicion of incitement to violence, slandering the army and belonging to a banned group, the lawyer said. Khaled was detained for 15 days in an adult facility and on Sunday, his detention was renewed for the same period.
Ottawa spied for NSA: CBC
The government has spied abroad on behalf of the US National Security Agency (NSA) according to a classified document cited by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp (CBC) on Tuesday. Ottawa opened up espionage posts overseas at the request of the US agency, the broadcaster said, citing an NSA briefing paper leaked by former US government contractor Edward Snowden. Through its electronic spy agency, Communications Security Establishment Canada, Ottawa worked with the NSA in “approximately 20 high-priority countries,” the document said, the broadcaster said.
Government defends Santa
The government vowed on Tuesday to defend the North Pole and Santa Claus, saying the mythical figure is a Canadian citizen after Russia ordered its military to step up its Arctic presence. Paul Calandra, parliamentary secretary to prime minister Stephen Harper, used Ottawa’s claim to the North Pole to bash an opposition party in parliament. “We know that the [opposition] Liberals do not think that the North Pole or Santa Claus are in Canada. We do,” he said. However, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau agreed, saying: “Everyone knows that Santa Claus is Canadian. His postal code is H0H 0H0,” alluding to a mailing address assigned to Santa by Canada Post.
Missing family found alive
The search for James Glanton, 34, his girlfriend Christina McIntee, 25, and four children ended in relief on Tuesday when rescuers found all six alive and well in the frigid backcountry of Nevada, huddled around a fire near their overturned vehicle. About 200 people began searching on Sunday night after the group failed to return from a day trip near their hometown of Lovelock. “They stayed together and that was the key that allowed them to live through this experience. You don’t see that that often in search-and-rescue,” said Paul Burke, search-and-rescue coordinator for the state.