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.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown