Flag insulter re-captured
Police on Sunday said they had re-captured a man on the run for 19 years after being convicted of insulting the national flag by wrapping meat in it. Ismail Mohammed, 39, escaped after being sentenced to three months in prison in 1990 in the southern state of Kerala, senior police officer Tomin Thachankary said. Mohammed had confessed to using the flag to wrap up meat at his butcher’s shop, in breach of strict rules on treating the national flag with “dignity, loyalty and respect.” He said he was not aware of official regulations that decree exactly when and how the flag can be used — including a ban on its touching the ground or water, or being used as drapery or a table cloth.
Tiger embarrasses politician
The family of the main opposition leader has come under fire for importing a Siberian tiger and housing the animal expensively at a private zoo in the middle of a sizzling summer. A nephew of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and son of the popular chief minister of Punjab Province Shahbaz Sharif imported the tiger last month after obtaining a special permit. The tiger was housed in a special enclosure on the Sharif family farm in Punjab. The cost of the air-conditioning triggered a media uproar because few can afford such luxuries. Sulieman Sharif shipped the animal from Canada after getting the necessary permits despite a ban on the private import of large cats, officials said.
Crackdown helps firm
A crackdown on drink driving is proving a boon to one firm that provides chauffeurs to pick up tipsy drivers and see them and their vehicles safely home. While the country has a tradition of sealing business and political deals with boozy banquets, the public has increasingly called for more severe punishment for drunk drivers following a string of fatalities in recent years. One inebriated driver who killed four people was sentenced to death last month, the first such use of capital punishment in the country.
Family takes KFC to court
A family sued KFC yesterday, claiming their daughter became brain damaged and crippled after eating a chicken wrap tainted with salmonella. Their lawyer told the New South Wales state Supreme Court in an opening statement there was no doubt that Monika Samaan, then seven, developed salmonella poisoning from a chicken wrap bought from a KFC outlet in Sydney in 2005. Officials for KFC, which is operated by Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum Brands Inc, could not immediately be reached for comment. The girl, now 11, attended court in a wheelchair. Bartley said she had acquired spastic quadriplegia and an intellectual disability since the poisoning.
Alleged thief caught napping
Police say they have arrested a suspected car thief whom they caught napping at the wheel of a stolen car. South Australia police say the 30-year-old man drove the Audi convertible into an automatic car wash early yesterday and apparently fell asleep. A service station attendant called the police at 3am when he noticed the car hadn’t moved for an hour. The police said in a statement that the car had two different license plates and that police discovered it had been reported stolen last month. They woke the man and arrested him on charges of illegal use and theft of the car.
Police arrest ‘swindlers’
Two men were arrested in Abu Dhabi for swindling a large number of people with claims they possessed “magic powder” that doubled bank notes, a local newspaper reported on Sunday. The men would show their victims what they said were the supernatural powers of the powder, which if sprinkled over banknotes in a bag, would double the amount, the National cited the interior ministry as saying. After the victims handed over a large number of notes, the “magicians” would swap the money with fake notes covered with the powder, which lab tests showed consisted of flour and washing powder, the paper reported. “A massive number of people, not some, lost to them,” said Colonel Maktoum al-Sharifi, the director of the Criminal and Investigative Directorate, without saying how much money the men had swindled.
Cash for unfulfilled wife
A woman was awarded 50,000 euros (US$70,000) in damages after an accident at work made her husband impotent and left her with an unfulfilled sex life, it was reported on Sunday. “I’d rather stay poor and do without the money, because no money in the world can match good health — but the verdict is just,” the wife was quoted as saying by Publico newspaper. The country’s top court ruled that the husband had suffered fits of jealousy that greatly harmed their marriage since the 2001 accident. The then 29-year-old truck driver was struck by one of his employer’s vehicles — an accident for which he had already received 370,000 euros damages in a separate court case.
Businessman Karlheinz Schreiber was expected to arrive yesterday to face charges related to a party financing scandal surrounding former chancellor Helmut Kohl, after losing a decade-long fight to avoid extradition from Canada. Bavaria’s state Justice Ministry said the 75-year-old would arrive in Munich yesterday morning aboard a flight from Toronto, and would then be taken into custody in Augsburg, where prosecutors accuse him of bribery and tax evasion. Schreiber is viewed as a key figure in a corruption scandal that engulfed Kohl after he left office.
Militants kill five police
An Interior Ministry spokesman said militants in Chechnya had shot dead five police officers and wounded six others in an ambush. Magomed Deniyev of the Interior Ministry’s branch in Chechnya said the attack occurred late on Sunday in the Shatoi region. Deniyev said yesterday that six other police officers were wounded when militants fired at their vehicles as they drove through a narrow mountain gorge. Chechnya has become more stable under the Kremlin-backed regional president Ramzan Kadyrov after two separatist wars over the last 15 years, but Islamic militants have continued to stage regular raids.
Pirates free tugboat, crew
Pirates released a Malaysian tugboat and its 11 Indonesian crew members after a ransom was paid, ending an eight-month ordeal, a Kenya-based maritime watchdog group said yesterday. “The Malaysian tugboat TB Masindra 7 with its attached Indonesian barge ADM1 is free,” the non-governmental organization Ecoterra International said in a statement. “The all-Indonesian crew of 11 seafarers is said to be all right, given the circumstances after the presently second longest sea-jacking case,” it said.
Jobless grad sues college
A New York City woman who says she can’t find a job is suing the college where she earned a bachelor’s degree. Trina Thompson filed a lawsuit last week against Monroe College in Bronx Supreme Court, the New York Post reported. The 27-year-old is seeking the US$70,000 she spent on tuition. Thompson said she has been unable to find gainful employment since she received her information technology degree in April. She says the school’s Office of Career Advancement had not provided her with the leads and career advice it promises. Monroe College spokesman Gary Axelbank said Thompson’s lawsuit is completely without merit. The college insists it helps its graduates find jobs.
Recession Ride pays off
When Eric Hagen started Recession Ride Taxi in Essex, Vermont, he took more questions than fares. Everyone wanted to know if the sign reading “Pay What You Want!” on the back of his taxi was for real. It is, and Hagen says he hasn’t been shortchanged yet. He offers pay-what-you-can bottles of water, Gatorade and soda and a free ride after six paid fares. He tells the Burlington Free Press that business has been good. Most of his transactions are in cash. But he’s also gotten a CD from a musician and a US$10 supermarket card. Hagen has been offering his taxi service Thursday through Sunday nights since June. When he’s not a taxi driver, the 46-year-old Hagen works full time for the American Red Cross.
Palin speaks on gun rights
Sarah Palin made a weekend public appearance after keeping a low profile since she resigned as Alaska governor on July 26. She gave a speech on gun rights on Saturday night at a banquet in Anchorage. The event capped a four-day National Rifle Association (NRA) seminar hosted by the Alaska Gun Collectors Association. NRA director Wayne Anthony Ross said Palin attended the dinner with her husband, Todd.
Prison move mulled
Officials are considering two stateside prisons as possible sites to house terrorism suspects currently being held in a military prison at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Washington Post reported yesterday. Citing unnamed government officials, the newspaper reported that the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, was under consideration along with a prison in Standish, Michigan. Members of Congress have vehemently objected to moving terrorism prisoners from Guantanamo to domestic locations.
Teen dies on flight home
A 15-year-old girl who was suffering flu-like symptoms died on a flight home to Sao Paulo after a group trip to Disneyland in Florida. Jaqueline Ruas came down with flu symptoms a few days before boarding the Copa Airlines flight in Orlando but a check-up by US doctors excluded a swine flu infection, the state news agency Estadao said. She complained of feeling seriously ill on the plane before losing consciousness. Two doctors on board tried in vain to revive her. The travel agency that organized the trip said Ruas and the 30 other people in her group left for the 12-day trip on July 19. She started feeling ill on Thursday, and was admitted to hospital, but she was released after laboratory tests showed she did not have swine flu.
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
Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up most of the mass of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature. Research published this week revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed. “Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a coauthor of