Filipinos to leave daughter
A Filipino couple yesterday agreed to follow a deportation order but will leave their 13-year-old daughter behind in a case that has attracted much public sympathy, their lawyer said. The couple face deportation because they entered the country on false passports nearly 17 years ago, but they had pleaded to be allowed to stay so their daughter could finish her schooling in the country. Authorities have pressed the parents to leave the country. They detained the 36-year-old father Arlan Cruz Calderon this week and warned that all three would be repatriated unless the parents left voluntarily. The daughter, Noriko, who was born in the country and only speaks Japanese, will now stay with the relatives of her mother, while the parents plan to leave on April 13, lawyer Shogo Watanabe said.
Hanoi protests over islands
Hanoi has protested new moves by China and the Philippines asserting sovereignty over the disputed Spratly and Paracel islands in the South China Sea, local press reported yesterday. China announced recently it would allow a tourist agency to offer trips to an island in the Spratly archipelago known in Vietnamese as Phu Lam. “This act seriously infringes upon Vietnam’s territorial sovereignty and is harmful to bilateral negotiations to seek a fundamental and durable solution to the sea issues between the two parties,” the Vietnam news agency quoted government spokesman Le Dung as saying on Thursday. Dung also objected to a law signed by Philippine President Gloria Arroyo on March 10 that claims the Spratlys as part of Philippine territory.
Man shoots ‘monkey’
Police say a man shot his neighbor as she picked sapodilla fruit in his tree, thinking she was a monkey. Police chief in eastern Pahang state Yahaya Othman said Zainab Mohamath Ali was gathering fruit on Thursday when her neighbor shot her. Yahaya said the man came home and saw rustling in the tree and fired into it. “Then there was screaming ... and only then did he know it was his neighbor,” he said, adding that Zainab was hospitalized with a wound to the abdomen but her condition was stable yesterday. He said police were investigating the man, a volunteer security corps member, for illegally discharging a firearm.
Russian finalist investigated
The Brisbane judging panel said on Thursday it was investigating press reports that one of the 50 candidates it shortlisted for the dream job of caretaker on a paradise island in the Great Barrier Reef worked as a porn star. Britain’s scandal-mongering Sun newspaper alleged that Russian police had interviewed Julia Yalovitsyna for her links with erotic film studios in her hometown of Petrazavodsk. An astonishing 34,634 applicants were left clinging to the hope of being the sole wildcard entry when the Top 50 was named last month.
Man fined over sultan insult
A man was fined almost US$3,000 yesterday for insulting a sultan in an online posting, government officials said, the latest in a series of actions against Internet writers. Five others were also charged for “improper use of facilities” by making comments deemed “obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive” on the Web site of the sultan of northern Perak state, representatives of the attorney general’s office said on condition of anonymity citing protocol.
Dead man sent TV bill
A German mathematician who died 450 years ago has been sent a letter demanding that he pay long-overdue television license fees, residents at his former address said on Wednesday. Germany’s GEZ broadcast fee collection office sent the bill to the last home address of Adam Ries, an algebra expert who bought the house in 1525. A club in his honor was set up at the property four centuries later. “We received a letter saying ‘To Mr Adam Ries’ on it, with the request to pay his television and radio fees,” said Annegret Muench, who now heads the club. Muench returned the letter to the GEZ with a note explaining the request had come too late because Ries had died in 1559, centuries before the invention of television and radio. She nonetheless received a reminder a few weeks later.
Chopper fall kills man
The military is investigating how a medic dropped an injured hiker to his death from an army helicopter after rescuing him from a minefield. The 24-year-old man from an Arab village in northern Israel was hiking with some friends on Wednesday when he inadvertently stumbled into a minefield left over from one of Israel’s wars and stepped on a mine. The military sent a helicopter to airlift the seriously injured man to a hospital. But as rescuers were hoisting him into the aircraft at the end of a rope, he fell 20m back into the minefield and died on impact. Video footage of the incident was shown on Israeli TV.
Man recovering from plunge
The man who survived a plunge over Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls and spent about 45 minutes naked in the icy waters below is in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery, Canadian police said on Thursday. The man, who was swept over the roaring 51m falls on Wednesday after jumping into the Niagara River, was treated for hypothermia, shock and cuts to his forehead. He is just the second person to live through an unaided, intentional plunge over the falls. Police said the Canadian man — initially identified as an American tourist — was attempting suicide and no charges will be pressed.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Nagging wife fetches offers
A British man fed up with his wife’s complaints advertised her for sale — and got a number of offers. “Nagging Wife. No Tax, No MOT. Very high maintenance — some rust,” wrote Gary Bates, 38, in a small ad in Trade-It, more usually used to buy and sell cars or household goods. “She was nagging me for doing something small, while she was watching some rubbish on TV. So I just thought I’d put an ad in to get rid of her. I didn’t think anyone would ring up but I’ve had at least nine or 10 people calling about her. It’s gone mad. There was no one I knew — just people asking, ‘Is she still available?’” Bates said.
‘Forbes’ list draws fire
Mexico is decrying Forbes magazine’s decision to include the reputed leader of one of the country’s most violent drug cartels on its list of billionaires. Forbes ranks Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, with an estimated US$1 billion fortune, at No. 701 — between a Swiss oil-trading tycoon and a US chemical heir. Guzman, Mexico’s most-wanted fugitive, is believed to head the Sinaloa cartel. Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora said Forbes is defending crime by “comparing the deplorable activity of a criminal wanted in Mexico and abroad with that of honest businessmen.”
■ UNITED STATES
Obama mulls border force
President Barack Obama is considering deploying troops along the US-Mexico border to stop any spillover of the carnage from the drug wars in its southern neighbor, US newspapers said on Thursday. “We’re going to examine whether and if National Guard deployments would make sense, and under what circumstances they would make sense,” Obama told 14 regional US newspapers in an interview. For the moment however, the US leader said the spiraling border violence does not warrant “militarizing” the region. “We’ve got a very big border with Mexico,” Obama said. “I’m not interested in militarizing the border.” Obama told the Dallas Morning News and 13 other dailies he is keeping a close eye on running gun battles, assassinations, beheadings and other violence that have become an everyday occurrence in northern Mexico.
Terrorist sent to prison
A judge sentenced a Canadian man to 10-and-a-half years in prison on Thursday for plotting with a group of British Muslims to bomb buildings and natural gas lines in the UK. Momim Khawaja is the first person to be sentenced under Canadian anti-terrorism laws passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He was convicted last fall of financing and facilitating terrorism. The Canadian-born Muslim of Pakistani descent was accused of collaborating with Pakistani-Britons in a thwarted 2004 plan to attack a London nightclub, a shopping center and electrical and gas facilities. Five co-conspirators were convicted in London in 2007 and sent to prison for life. Khawaja pleaded not guilty to all charges. The judge ruled Khawaja was aware of the group’s terrorist purpose, but the prosecution failed to prove he knew that the remote-control device he built to set off explosions — called the Hi-Fi Digimonster — was meant to be used in a plot to explode fertilizer bombs in London.
■ UNITED STATES
Sears Tower to be renamed
The tallest building in the US is getting a new name. Chicago’s Sears Tower will be renamed Willis Tower after London-based Willis Group Holdings. The insurance broker announced the name change and other details of its agreement with the building’s owners on Thursday. “It just doesn’t work,” said Robin O’Sullivan, a tourist from Cork, Ireland, as he walked into the Sears Tower’s Skydeck entrance on Thursday. “It’s known worldwide. Everyone in Ireland knows it’s the Sears Tower.” It’s all part of a deal with the London-based Willis Group Holdings. Along with moving 500 employees into 13,000m² on multiple floors of the 110-story building this summer, the Willis Group gets the naming rights as part of its lease agreement with the real estate investment group that owns Sears Tower.
Nail clippers used in escape
Six high-risk prisoners escaped from prison last summer after spending four months chipping a path to freedom with nail clippers and other makeshift tools, a government report released on Thursday said. The prisoners, four of whom faced murder charges, used their tools to remove a heating grill and steel plate and win access to a brick exterior wall at the Regina Correctional Center in Saskatchewan. While some inmates played cards at a carefully positioned table to block the guards’ view, others chipped away at the wall, finally breaking through with a steel shower rod. They then used braided blankets and bedsheets to scale a wall of the compound and escape.
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
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference