Thai killed by militants
An artillery attack by militants on a controversial hydroelectric project killed one Thai national and prompted the evacuation of dozens of remaining Thais working at the site, a company spokesman said yesterday. The Thai workers were surveying the site in eastern Karen State as part of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand's agreement to build a US$1 billion dam project on the Salween River. Saman Kantameun, 53, was killed on Sunday when "a group of rebels" shelled their camp, authority spokesman Apichart Dilogsopon said.
Woman loses locks on bus
A first-time visitor to the capital traveling on one of its pickpocket-prone buses was stunned to find her wallet safe but her hair snipped off during a ride, a report said yesterday. Nuryamah, 35, felt a tug on the back of her head as she took a mid-morning ride in Jakarta on Monday and realized a thief had cut off 40cm of her lengthy locks, the Jakarta Post reported. "It took me six years to grow this," she sobbed to police as she filed a report to them, according to the daily. A nearby officer nabbed the culprit, Agus Setiawan, who told police he had intended to use the ponytail to make keychains.
Husband found to be female
A court has ordered a couple to separate, declaring their marriage a same-sex union as the husband was a woman, local media reported yesterday. An Islamic court in the Malacca ruled as void the marriage between 40-year-old Mohd Sufian Mohamad and 43-year-old Zaiton Aziz after medical examinations showed Sufian was a woman, the New Straits Times said. Same-sex relationships are not recognized in the country. A mosque official performed the marriage between Sufian and Zaiton in December 2002 but the state religious affairs department refused to register the marriage after becoming suspicious of Sufian's gender.
Eight arrested in bombings
Police have detained at least eight people over bombings in Kathmandu over the weekend, officials said yesterday. Two people were killed and 20 others injured on Sunday, when three near-simultaneous explosions tore through two buses and a busy market. Three little-known groups pushing for more autonomy claimed responsibility. "We have carried out a massive search and detained eight people for interrogation," police spokesman Sushil Barsimha Thapa said. Security has been tightened on all routes into Kathmandu, he said.
Air controllers convicted
A district court in Buelach found four air traffic control employees guilty yesterday on charges related to a mid-air collision over Germany in July 2002. Four other employees of Skyguide, who had also been facing charges of negligent manslaughter, were acquitted by the court, the Swiss news agency ATS reported. Three of the guilty were given suspended jail sentences of a year each, while another was fined, ATS said. The collision of a Russian Bashkirian airlines jet and a DHL cargo plane in Swiss-controlled airspace killed 71 people. The trial of the eight in May -- which followed an air accident inquiry and court cases in Germany -- focused on shortcomings in the Zurich air traffic control room on the night of the disaster over the German town of Ueberlingen.
■ SOUTH AFRICA
Hearse thieves caught
Police in Soweto have arrested two men who stole a hearse with a corpse inside and embarked on a drinking spree near the largest township of Soweto, media reported on Monday. The suspects were caught after their vehicle ran out of gasoline on Sunday, the Sowetan newspaper reported. They had gone into a bar where they met three women and asked them to help push the car to the nearest gasoline station, it said. They told the women the corpse in the coffin belonged to a relative and that they were on their way to bury it at a cemetery.
Rebel clash kills 26
Rival factions of the rebel National Liberation Force clashed in Bujumbura at dawn yesterday, killing 26 people, officials in the capital said. Members of one faction attacked a faction that wants peace, killing 25 rebel fighters, one civilian and wounding six others, Bujumbura Mayor Elias Duregure and a rebel spokesman said. "We were 400 combatants in the barracks [that was attacked], with 30 guns and some grenades," said Godeship Ntakirutimana, a spokesman for the faction that wants peace. "We need protection."
Welfare officer replaced
The senior child welfare official who was to go to London to assess whether Madonna could adopt toddler David Banda has been removed from the case following allegations he solicited money from the singer for the trip. Simon Chisale, the chief social welfare officer, said on Monday the government had gone to court last week to have Penstone Kilembe, the director of the Child Welfare Services, replaced as the assessor in the Madonna adoption. Chisale was now planning to go to London, arriving yesterday to carry out the first assessment of Banda's progress.
Debt transferred to HIV fund
Sofia on Monday formally transferred Libya's decades-old debt of US$56.6 million to an international relief fund for the victims of an HIV epidemic that infected more than 400 Libyan children. The agreement was part of a deal that secured freedom this summer for five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor sentenced to death for allegedly deliberately infecting the children. Deputy Foreign Minister Feim Chaushev said the debt agreement "demonstrates that Bulgaria is a reliable partner and strictly abides by its obligations." The deal was cosigned by the chairman of the Benghazi International Fund for the Libyan AIDS victims, Mark Pierini.
■ UNITED STATES
Cave digging kills boy
A cave that two brothers were digging into the side of a sand dune collapsed, killing the youngest boy, authorities said. The 10-year-old boy and his brother were tunneling under a 12m cypress tree at crowded Salmon Creek State Beach, California, on Sunday, Bodega Bay Fire Chief Sean Grinnell said. The older boy was partially buried but was able to dig himself out, and he ran for help, Grinnell said. It took more than an hour for rescue personnel to pull the 10-year-old out of 2m of sand. His identity was not immediately released.
■ UNITED STATES
State settles with convict
Pennsylvania has agreed to pay a convicted murderer US$35,000 to settle a lawsuit over her allegations that state prison staff raped and assaulted her. In a 1996 lawsuit, Lisa Michelle Lambert, 34, accused administrators at the prison of doing nothing to prevent the assaults. Lambert said the assaults happened while she was serving her life sentence for the 1991 murder of 16-year-old Laurie Show, who she murdered because she thought the teen was romantically involved with her boyfriend. Lambert's lawyer, Angus Love, called the settlement amount "low."
■ UNITED STATES
Truckers end police chase
Three commercial truck drivers put on the brakes to help police stop a man who led authorities on a high-speed chase for more than 80km near Biggs, Oregon. The truckers pulled up alongside each other and slowed to about 8kph, forming a rolling roadblock. The fleeing driver stopped and fled on foot but was quickly captured by officers, authorities said. Trucker Edwin Beach said he had heard police radio messages and said, "OK, where's the high-speed chase at?" He coordinated with two other drivers over his radio and placed his truck in the middle on Interstate 84. "We were all kind of laughing because he was running down the freeway," said Beach. The fleeing car was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run.
■ UNITED STATES
Texas schedules executions
Texas plans to execute five convicted killers this month, with the first scheduled for today in the busiest capital punishment state in the country. The lethal injection of 30-year-old Tony Roach will bring the number of executions in Texas this year to 24, equaling the total for all of last year. One man set to die last week, Kenneth Foster, received a commutation from Governor Rick Perry after supporters and death penalty opponents waged an intense campaign pointing out Foster was not the gunman in the fatal shooting case that resulted in his death sentence. The unusual commutation sent Foster to a life prison term.
■ UNITED STATES
Castlemaker raises ruckus
The man who currently holds the world's record for the tallest sand castle is pouring cold water on an attempt in South Carolina to dethrone him. Ed Jarrett, from Casco, Maine, said the 13m castle built in June in Myrtle Beach failed to follow Guinness World Records guidelines that ban using machinery and require the structure to be taller than it is wide. "Myrtle Beach doesn't meet the criteria," Jarrett said. "You can't just pile up a bunch of sand, build a small castle on top of that pile, and call it a record." He said his nearly 10m tall castle, completed last weekend in Maine, should be the new record holder.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”