Briton charged for molesting
A British man has been charged with molesting underage children, using computer games to lure dozens of boys to his home. Nicholas John Rabet, 56, was detained in Pattaya with 11 game machine consoles, snacks and plastic bags filled with clothes of children who came to play at his place. Rabet offered his house as a free game arcade for children aged between 6-14 on the condition they took off their clothes while playing the games to prevent them from stealing game cassettes. There were about 30 who visited regularly, and would be paid between 500-1,000 baht (US$12-US$24) for performing sex acts on him.
Taliban hang tribal chief
Taliban guerrillas hanged a pro-government tribal chief in the troubled southern Afghan province of Zabul, accusing him of being an American spy. Malik Agha's killing was the fifth in the past six weeks and came as violence mounts in the run up to the Sept. 18 parliamentary elections. Agha was kidnapped on Friday by Taliban as he came out of a mosque in Atghar district of Zabul and was hanged in a tree.
Sports day starts badly
A sports day at a school turned tragic when a starter's pistol turned out to have a live bullet in it. A teacher, Sunthorn Thenglimkul, 41, was supervising the 400m sprint, and fired his gun once to start the race, but had to call the runners back because of a false start. When he fired the gun again for a fresh start, it shot a bullet on a low trajectory, grazing a student and hitting a female teacher, who was hit in the neck and collapsed. She could be paralyzed if she survives. Sunthorn fled, and is being sought by police.
Bus crash kills 17
A bus carrying 55 people, including schoolchildren, plunged into a deep valley in southern China yesterday killing 17 passengers, the Xinhua news agency reported. The accident occurred at about 4am as the bus was en route from Chongqing to Shenzhen. Thirty-eight people were injured and eight were in critical condition, Xinhua said. Most of the 18 children aboard were on summer vacation and going to visit parents working as migrant workers, it said.
■ Hong Kong
Can't count on condoms
More than one in 10 condoms sold in the territory is likely to leak or burst, according to a Consumer Council survey released yesterday. The council tested 28 popular brands of condoms and found three of them failed laboratory pressure tests, including the most expensive brand tested, Infinity condoms, which cost almost US$1 apiece. Many cheaper brands were found to perform better.
IAEA targeting facilities
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) wants to put eight to 10 nuclear facilities, including in Japan, the US, Russia and Finland, under international management, a news report said yesterday. The UN watchdog plans to submit a draft to its board of directors in September and put the idea into practice by 2010, when the next nuclear non-proliferation treaty review conference gathers, Kyodo News quoted diplomatic sources as saying. But the IAEA's plan is opposed by Japan, the US and Iran, who see the move as infringing state sovereignty on the use of nuclear energy, the sources said.
Party makes Uighur a martyr
The Communist Party has posthumously glorified an ethnic Uighur as a model member after he was killed by two fellow Uighurs for enforcing curbs on religion, the Xinjiang Daily said in an edition seen on Friday. Maishalihan Aihemaiti, 52, party secretary of Wuluwati village in Xinjiang's Moyu county, was hacked to death at his home in February by disgruntled villagers after he stopped them from building an unofficial mosque, the daily said. The paper said Aihemaiti had been a member of the Communist Party for 16 years and had resolutely implemented its policies and restrictions on religion, while criticizing villagers for their radical thoughts and remarks.
X-ray dooms thief
A thief who allegedly stole a gold necklace and then swallowed it to hide the evidence was arrested after an X-ray showed the jewelry in his stomach, the New Straits Times said yesterday. The unemployed man and his accomplice snatched the necklace off a 25-year-old woman on Thursday, the paper reported, citing police. Passers-by caught the men but when the police arrived at the scene there was no necklace to be seen. Doctors gave the thief a laxative on Friday after the X-ray confirmed it was in his stomach, the report said.
■ New Zealand
Reformed thief backslides
A woman described as a reformed thief who hosted an anti-crime TV program stole a camera from a shop while the series was being filmed, the New Zealand Herald reported yesterday. Veronica Jacomb, 28, pleaded guilty in the Auckland District Court on April 29 to stealing a digital camera in the final days of filming the series.
■ Hong Kong
Disneyland suicide averted
A fired construction worker at Hong Kong Disneyland climbed to the top of the building housing the Space Mountain roller coaster and threatened to commit suicide, Hong Kong police said yesterday. The labor dispute on Friday dragged on for three hours until the 45-year-old worker climbed down after negotiating with officers, police said. The man was employed by a contractor at the park, scheduled to open on Sept. 12. The park, built on reclaimed land on Hong Kong's Lantau island, is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Co and the Hong Kong government.
■ United Kingdom
10-year-old's killer charged
An 18-year-old from Greater Manchester was charged on Friday with the murder of 10-year old Lauren Pilkington-Smith, police said. Keiron Smith would appear before Wigan magistrates yesterday. The body of the school girl was found in woods close to her home in Leigh, Greater Manchester, on July 8. A post-mortem examination revealed the girl died as a result of multiple blows to the head in an attack police described as "violent and brutal." The last reported sighting of Pilkington-Smith was on the evening of July 7 when she was seen with two boys. She was found early last Friday by her grandfather, 200m from her home.
Stepmother kills toddler
A court in Germany on Friday heard how a stepmother poisoned her new husband's 4-year-old daughter by forcing the girl to eat chocolate pudding laced with a lethal dose of table salt. Prosecutors said the 22-year-old woman put six heaped tablespoons of salt in the dessert pudding which she then forced the child to eat. The girl suffered cerebral seizures and respiratory bleeding and was rushed to a local hospital where she died on March 27. An autopsy revealed her bloodstream contained large quantities of sodium chloride -- the prime element in household table salt. Investigators said only the mother had access to salt, kept in an overhead cupboard.
Meat manager arrested
Police detained the meat manager of a Hungarian supermarket after he allegedly told staff to drastically lower the price of beef tenderloin -- and then told his wife to come in and buy 21.5kg. The manager, who was in custody for suspected fraud, is accused of telling meat-counter staff without a supervisor's approval to put the tenderloin on sale for 899 forints (US$4.40) per kilogram, instead of the usual price of 2,839 forints. A few hours later, the manager's wife showed up at the store in the southern city of Kecskemet and tried to buy the beef at the discounted price. A cashier, aware the meat wasn't on sale, alerted security guards who called the police.
■ United States
Man dies after horse sex
A Seattle man died after engaging in anal sex with a horse at a farm suspected of being a gathering place for people seeking to have sex with livestock. The horse involved in the incident was not harmed, and an autopsy of the unnamed man concluded that "the manner of death was accidental ... due to perforation of the colon," a police spokesman said. "The information that we have is that people would find this place via chat rooms on the Web," Sergeant John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff's department said.
■ United States
Imam, son agree to leave
A Muslim imam and his son arrested amid a terrorism probe focused on their Northern California farming town agreed on Friday to be deported to Pakistan on immigration violations. During a brief court hearing, Mohammad Adil Khan and his son Mohammad Hassan Adil agreed through a Urdu-language translator to the deportations after the US government withdrew a number of charges against them. The men's lawyer described the charges as visa violations. Their lawyer said the pair had nothing to do with the federal criminal probe focused on the town of Lodi. In that case, authorities have charged a different father and son with lying during a government probe into their alleged ties to al-Qaeda training camps in Pakistan.
■ United States
Girl charged for throwing rock
An 11-year-old girl who threw a rock to defend herself as neighborhood boys pelted her with water balloons is being prosecuted on a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon. Maribel Cuevas says she didn't mean to hurt the 9-year-old boy -- who acknowledged to officers that he started the fight. He was released from the hospital after getting his head stitched up. Police sent three squad cars and a helicopter in response to an emergency call. Maribel has spent five days in juvenile hall with only one half-hour visit from her parents, then 30 days under house arrest, wearing a GPS ankle bracelet to monitor her whereabouts.
Inmates beat terror suspect
The suspected leader of al-Qaeda in Spain, accused of aiding the Sept. 11 hijackers, was beaten by a group of prison inmates and had to be taken to hospital. Syrian-born Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, is awaiting a verdict after being tried for "terrorist murder" for allegedly helping the hijackers plan the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. If convicted he could be sentenced to up to 74,000 years in jail. "He was attacked while he was eating breakfast. They started by insulting him. Prison guards warned him to get out but the group jumped him immediately," a prison spokeswoman said. Barakat Yarkas and another defendant, Driss Chebli, are accused of helping prepare a July 2001 meeting in Spain at which, prosecutors say, the Sept. 11 attacks may have been planned.
■ United States
Shuttle launch delayed
NASA said on Friday it would be at least late next week before the first shuttle mission since the 2003 Columbia accident can be launched, after Discovery's liftoff was postponed two days ago because of a fuel sensor problem. The sensors are designed to shut off the shuttle's three main engines before fuel runs out to avoid damaging them. A premature shutdown could force a shuttle to make an emergency landing or prevent it from reaching its desired orbit. While the Kennedy Space Center launch team takes the weekend off, 12 teams of engineers around the US will be analyzing 200 possible scenarios that could explain the problem with one of Discovery's hydrogen fuel sensors. During a routine test before the planned liftoff on Wednesday, one of four sensors located in the hydrogen fuel tank failed.
Hurricane Emily strengthens
The island nation evacuated its old pirate town, Port Royal, and other flood-prone coastal areas on Friday as Hurricane Emily drew closer, the second hurricane to threaten the Caribbean island in 10 days.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big