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.
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
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big