Judge sent box of cash
A Supreme Court judge was sent a candy box stuffed with 2 million baht (US$60,150) in cash, delivered by a man claiming to be a lawyer for a politician, a court official said yesterday. The box was brought on Tuesday to the secretariat of the Supreme Court by a lawyer who asked for it to be given to the judge handling his client’s case. When security officers checked the box, they found 2 million baht inside. They then alerted the judge, who called the lawyer to take back the box.
Former PM heads for US
Former prime minister Sheikh Hasina left for the US yesterday for medical treatment a day after she was released from jail pending trial on corruption charges, a party leader said. Hasina boarded a British Airways flight yesterday from Dhaka’s Zia International Airport, ATN Bangla television station reported. Syed Ashraful Islam, a close party colleague, confirmed she had left for the US after seeing her off at the airport. She is to be treated for hearing impairment, eye problem and high blood pressure, her Awami League party said.
Talks reach critical stage
Negotiations for the release of a prominent television journalist and her crew on the southern Philippine island of Jolo have reached a critical stage, sources close to the talks said yesterday. Suspected Muslim extremists seized Ces Drilon, a senior anchorwoman for the ABS-CBN network, two members of her crew and a Muslim academic accompanying them on Sunday. “We know the hostages are all OK,” the source said. “Talks for their safe release have reached a critical stage with the ransom demand going up from 10 to 20 million pesos [US$454,000].” ABS-CBN said in a statement on Wednesday .
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Bomber partner found guilty
The partner of a man who tried to carry out a suicide bombing in London in July 2005 was found guilty on Wednesday of not informing the authorities about his plans and helping him escape justice. Yeshiemebet Girma, 32, was the partner of Hussein Osman, one of four men who unsuccessfully attempted to blow up three underground trains and a bus to replicate attacks two weeks earlier in which suicide bombers killed 52 commuters. The July 21 attack, which authorities said was masterminded by al-Qaeda in Pakistan, only failed because the men’s bombs failed to explode.
Couple repent for booth romp
A couple who were caught having sex in a church confessional box while morning Mass was being said have repented and made peace with the local bishop. The couple, in their early 30s, were detained by police earlier this month after they had made love in the confessional box in the cathedral in northern Cesena. They were cautioned for obscene acts in public and disturbing a religious function. Their lawyer said they had been drinking all night and realized they had gone too far. The lawyer told the area’s local newspaper on Wednesday the couple met with the local bishop on Tuesday night, asked for his forgiveness and that he had given it.
Rudd accused of gender bias
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was accused by a government colleague yesterday of applying a sexist double standard by insisting that a woman lawmaker seek anger management counseling when male politicians’ similar behavior has been overlooked. Rudd took the extraordinary step on Wednesday after the lawmaker Belinda Neal was the focus of a series of media reports alleging threatening or violent behavior. Neal, a 45-year-old former union leader, has been accused of threatening and abusing staff at a nightclub last week and of kicking an opponent during a recent soccer match.
Wiki entry changes banned
Users of the Korean-language version of online encyclopedia Wikipedia have been banned from editing the entry on South Korean President Lee Myung-bak because most comments are too rude. Lee’s popularity has plummeted in the wake of mass protests against a deal to import US beef which his government signed in April. Opponents claims the public will face risks from mad cow disease. Editing is “protected from June 8 to October 8 due to repeated defamation,” the site said yesterday. Wikipedia articles can normally be edited by any Internet user. Dong-A Ilbo newspaper said one online user had accused Lee of being insane and had added: “He will ruin the country.”
Train derailment injures 60
Russian emergency officials say a train derailed in the nation’s far east and 60 people were injured. Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Irina Andriyanova said nobody was killed in the accident yesterday, but 14 of the injured were hospitalized. Russian media reported six were in serious condition. Andriyanova says at least 10 cars from the passenger train went off the rails in the Amur region near the Chinese border. Some of the cars fell on their sides. Russian media said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered transport and emergency officials to take urgent measures to aid the injured and deal with the accident. The train was headed from a city in Russia’s extreme north to Khabarovsk near the Pacific coast.
■ UNITED STATES
Man survives nail in head
George Chandler said he didn’t know a 6cm nail was driven into his skull until his buddy spotted it stuck through his cap. Chandler said he felt only a sting. “It never did really what you call hurt,” the Shawnee, Kansas, man said on Wednesday on NBC’s Today. Chandler said his friend Phil Kern was using a nail gun to mount lattice on Chandler’s deck when a hose on the tool became caught. Chandler said he stood up just as Kern tried to free the gun and it discharged. At first, they couldn’t locate the nail. An emergency room doctor needed a claw hammer to get the nail out and sent Chandler home with a few stitches.
Largest drawing completed
He forgot to eat, sleep or even drink water, but artist Filemon Trevino accomplished his lifelong dream of entering the Guinness Book of World Records. In a news conference on Wednesday, Trevino presented a Guinness certificate declaring his 411m pencil drawing as the world’s largest. The Monterrey artist spent 6,000 hours and used 800 pencils to complete his representation of the heart and circulatory system. He says breaking the record became an obsession that led him to neglect his health. He was hospitalized seven times for dehydration, heart and kidney problems and fainting spells. The work was unveiled in March at the Regiomontana University.
Man walks 40km to court
A man facing sentencing on a drunk-driving conviction couldn’t get a ride to court. So he start walking, and walking. Stephen Shoemaker was scheduled to appear at 9:30am on Tuesday for sentencing. Shoemaker, 33, doesn’t have a car or driver’s license. So he started hoofing it from Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, to the Carlisle courthouse 40km away at dawn. He kept walking in 30°C heat. Shoemaker arrived about 3:30pm — after a detour to a hospital, where he was treated for dehydration. Judge Edward Guido had issued an arrest warrant when Shoemaker failed to appear, but he agreed to defer sentencing until next month.
Obscenity trial delayed
A long-awaited obscenity trial opened on Wednesday and was promptly put on hold after revelations that the top federal judge hearing the case had posted sexually explicit material on the Internet. Judge Alex Kozinski agreed to the prosecution’s request for a 48-hour delay so the Justice Department could look into possible issues of prejudice in the case. The Los Angeles Times said Kozinski posted the explicit material on his Web site. Kozinski said he had been unaware that the pictures could be viewed by the public. The Times said he declined to comment when asked if he felt he should excuse himself from hearing the trial of Ira Isaacs, a filmmaker accused of selling criminally obscene sexual fetish videos depicting bestiality.
Kenyan lions in danger
Conservationists raised the alarm yesterday that lions in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park face extinction within a few years. “The situation has reached a critical level,” said Terry Garcia, executive vice president at National Geographic Society. Fewer than 100 lions are estimated to remain in the region. A major reason for the decline of the lions is spearing and poisoning by local Maasai, whose society depends on raising cattle. National Geographic is donating US$150,000 to the Maasailand Preservation Trust for a compensation fund for herdsmen whose livestock are killed by lions.
POINT-BLANK RANGE: Reporters and camera people from several outlets say police officers in Minneapolis had fired tear gas and rubber bullets directly at them Multiple journalists on the ground in Minnesota said they were teargassed and subject to other attacks by police on Saturday evening, a day after the widely condemned arrest of a CNN reporter live on air. Los Angeles Times journalist Molly Hennessy-Fiske, who was reporting outside the Fifth Precinct in Minneapolis, said she was with a group of about a dozen journalists when the Minnesota State Patrol “fired tear gas canisters on us at point blank range.” “I was saying: ‘Where do we go?’ They did not tell us where to go. They didn’t direct us. They just fired on us,” she said
For nearly a decade, the UN Security Council has been frequently paralyzed by Russia’s obstinacy over the Syrian crisis. Today, however, it is the US-China rivalry that has infected a growing array of issues, according to officials and diplomats. As recently as 2017, an understanding between Washington and Beijing allowed the UN on three occasions — involving separate sets of economic sanctions — to project international unity in the face of the North Korean nuclear threat. Three years later, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a ferocious competition erupt between the UN’s two main contributors, prompting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May
HISTORIC FLIGHT: The astronauts named their capsule ‘Endeavour,’ after the space shuttle on which they both flew, while Elon Musk said he was overcome with emotion Two veteran NASA astronauts headed for the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday after Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Saturday became the first commercial company to launch a rocket carrying humans into orbit, ushering in a new era in space travel. SpaceX’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard blasted off flawlessly in a cloud of bright orange flames and smoke from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a 19-hour voyage to the space station. “Let’s light this candle,” Hurley, the mission commander, told SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California, before liftoff at 3:22pm from NASA’s
INDIA Pride to be preserved The nation would not let its “pride be hurt” in its latest border flare-ups with China, but is determined to settle the dispute through talks, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh said in a television interview late on Saturday. “Situations arise with China. It has happened before,” Singh said, adding that the government was striving to make sure “tension does not escalate.” The government has turned down US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate, he said. IRAN Speaker says talks futile Newly elected Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf yesterday said that any negotiations with the US would be “futile.” The nation’s