Quake hits Fukushima coast
A magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture early yesterday morning, the US Geological Survey said. The moderate quake hit 34km east of Namie City in the prefecture, where a devastating quake and ensuing tsunami sparked a nuclear disaster and caused massive damage in March 2011. Yesterday’s earthquake occurred at 2:18am off the east coast of Honshu Island, at a depth of 63km, US geologists said in a preliminary report. No tsunami warning has been issued, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, according to the Kyodo News Agency.
Shark attacks fisherman
A man is thought to have been killed by a shark while spear fishing off the southern coast yesterday, officials said. South Australia State Police said in a statement that the 28-year-old was part of a group spear fishing off Yorke Peninsula, west of state capital Adelaide, when witnesses reported seeing a shark attack him at midday. Police and emergency services crews are searching the area around Goldsmith Beach with boats and helicopters, but so far have found no trace of the man.
Australia seizes heroin haul
The Royal Australian Navy yesterday said it seized and destroyed 353kg of heroin with an estimated street value of more than A$700 million (US$627 million) in a mission off the coast of Tanzania. The HMAS Melbourne discovered the haul when its crew boarded a vessel on Wednesday as part of a mission “in support of deterring terrorism and promoting peace and security in the maritime regions of the Middle East and Indian Ocean.” The navy said the material was tested and it returned a positive reading for heroin. A team from the frigate seized the drugs, took samples and destroyed the remainder. “Melbourne has once again demonstrated how beneficial Australia’s commitment is to the Indian Ocean region and the fight against international terrorism and violent extremism,” Australian Commodore Daryl Bates said in a statement. “During her time with Combined Maritime Forces, she has successfully disrupted a piracy attack and conducted four successful narcotics seizures, seizing 23.8kg of methamphetamines and now 353kg of heroin. These seizures have severely impacted the funding network of those terrorist organizations that rely on these shipments for income,” Bates added.
Italian marines escape death
The government on Friday acceded to Italy’s request to not invoke an anti-piracy law carrying the death penalty when it tries two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen. A Ministry of Home Affairs official said the government had decided against invoking the law against the marines, who are awaiting trial. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters. The nation’s top court on Monday had ordered the government to decide within a week if it would invoke the law. Details of what charges the Italians face were not immediately known. The Italians were on anti-pirate duty aboard a cargo ship in 2012 when they fired at the fishermen on an Indian boat, saying they mistook the fishermen for pirates. Italy had objected to plans by India’s anti-terror agency to invoke maritime laws that carry the death penalty. The Press Trust of India news agency said the marines would now be prosecuted under the Suppression of Unlawful Act and face imprisonment up to 10 years each if convicted.
Grisly case calls witnesses
Witnesses will be heard in France and Germany in the case of an ex-porn actor accused of premeditated murder in the grisly killing and dismemberment of a Chinese student, officials said on Friday in Montreal. Luka Rocco Magnotta, 31, is due in court Sept. 15 after pleading not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges, including committing indignities to a body. Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer granted a request to launch a formal request for judicial assistance in Europe, out of concern that French or German witnesses would not respond to a court summons in Canada. “The witnesses have to come forward to testify, which would not have taken place if they had been invited to appear in Canada,” Magnotta’s lawyer Luc Leclair said. Montreal police have said that Magnotta stabbed his victim in 2012 with an ice pick before carving up his body, sexually abusing the corpse, filming the act and posting the video online.
Woody Allen denies abuse
Woody Allen is again denying he molested adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow and is calling ex-partner Mia Farrow vindictive, spiteful and malevolent in an open letter published online on Friday by the New York Times. The filmmaker, 78, says Dylan Farrow’s open letter published last week by the Times includes “creative flourishes that seem to have magically appeared during our 21-year estrangement.” Allen writes: “Of course, I did not molest Dylan … I loved her and hope one day she will grasp how she has been cheated out of having a loving father and exploited by a mother more interested in her own festering anger than her daughter’s well-being.” Allen was investigated for the alleged molestation and never charged. A team of child-abuse specialists brought into the case by prosecutors and police concluded that Dylan Farrow had not been molested.
Band seeks Pentagon payout
A Canadian hard-rock band says it sent the US Pentagon a US$666,000 bill after a former Guantanamo Bay guard alleged that the US military used the band’s music to torture detainees. Skinny Puppy found out their music was blasted out at the detention center in southern Cuba from a former guard who is a fan of the band, keyboardist Cevin Key told Canada’s CTV Television in Montreal. Rights groups say that prison officials subjected Guantanamo’s terror suspects to “deafening loud music,” often featuring violent lyrics, during interrogation. Several other bands, including REM, Rage Against the Machine and Metallica, have denounced the use of their music at Guantanamo. “We sent them an invoice for our musical services considering they had gone ahead and used our music without our knowledge and used it as an actual weapon against somebody,” Key told CTV.
Protesters guilty of arson
A Chicago jury acquitted three NATO summit protesters on Friday of breaking Illinois’ rarely tested state terrorism law, but did convict them on lesser arson counts. Prosecutors described Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Vincent Betterly as dangerous anarchists who were plotting to throw Molotov cocktails at US President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters during the 2012 summit. Undercover officers infiltrated the group and the men were arrested before the summit began. Defense lawyers rejected the portrayal of their clients as terrorists and described them as drunken goofs who were goaded into the plot by the officers.