Arms merchant arrested
A man who has admitted parachuting arms into the Indian state of West Bengal in 1995 was arrested on Friday after officials in agreed to back his extradition, authorities said. A prosecutor said police had long known that Niels Holcks, 47, was in Denmark, but negotiations over his possible extradition had dragged on for years. “It is correct that we have had knowledge of Niels Holcks’ whereabouts in Denmark since 2001,” Birgitte Bundsgaard said. “The reason why the ministry of justice decided to arrest him today is partly that it has taken several years to negotiate the terms for a potential extradition with Indian authorities.”
Bullet removed from head
A US military doctor removed a live round of ammunition from the head of an Afghan soldier in an unusual and harrowing surgery. Doctors say a 14.5mm unexploded round — more than 5cm long — was removed from the scalp of an Afghan National Army soldier at the Bagram Air Field hospital last month. When the Afghan soldier, in his 20s, arrived at the base, doctors thought it was shrapnel or the spent end of some sort of round, said Lieutenant-Colonel Anthony Terreri, a radiologist deployed from Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. But as he reviewed a CAT scan of the soldier, he realized it was a much bigger problem, an Air Force news release said last week.
Mine death toll mounts
Rescuers recovered yet another body at a coal mine in the north, bringing the death toll from a massive flood to 26, state media reported yesterday. Twelve people still remained unaccounted for at the huge, unfinished Wangjialing mine in Shanxi Province, 13 days after it was flooded in the latest high-profile incident to hit the country’s notoriously dangerous mining sector. The flood left 153 workers trapped underground, but 115 were rescued alive on Monday in what officials called a “miracle.”
Asylum block questioned
A decision to temporarily block asylum-seekers from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka could face a legal challenge, lawyers said yesterday. On Friday, Canberra announced it would immediately stop taking fresh applications from asylum-seekers from those two countries, as it attempts to thwart people smuggling operations. But the Australian Lawyers Alliance said the policy, which means new arrivals from those countries cannot apply for asylum for between three and six months, could breach the law by discriminating against Afghans and Sri Lankans. “The law in Australia and the rule of law is such that laws have to be applied equally, irrespective of where a person comes from or their race,” the alliance’s Greg Barns told ABC Radio.
Cat terrifies postal service
Britain’s postal service says it has suspended deliveries to a woman following repeated attacks by her 19-year-old cat. Royal Mail said on Friday that it had halted deliveries because postal workers had already sustained “nasty injuries” at the address in the town of Farsley, near Leeds in northern Britain. The woman was identified as a 43-year-old pharmacy worker. Media reports say she found it hard to believe that her cat, named “Tiger,” could be behind the attacks. She told two newspapers the animal spent most of its day sleeping and didn’t have the energy to chase postal workers.
China has possibly committed “genocide” in its treatment of Uighurs and other minority Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China said in a report on Thursday. The bipartisan commission said that new evidence had last year emerged that “crimes against humanity — and possibly genocide — are occurring” in Xinjiang. It also accused China of harassing Uighurs in the US. China has been widely condemned for setting up complexes in Xinjiang that it describes as “vocational training centers” to stamp out extremism and give people new skills, which others have called concentration camps. The UN says that
A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 13,000km Pacific Ocean crossing from the US to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it. Kevin Celli-Bird yesterday said he discovered that the exhausted bird that arrived in his Melbourne backyard on Dec. 26 last year had disappeared from a race in the US state of Oregon on Oct. 29. Experts suspect the pigeon that Celli-Bird has named Joe — after US president-elect Joe Biden — hitched a ride on a cargo ship to cross the Pacific. Joe’s feat has attracted the attention
Australian scientists have raised questions over the efficacy of the AstraZeneca and University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in establishing herd immunity, calling for a pause on its widespread rollout as the country recorded one new case of the virus yesterday. Opposition to the vaccine casts a cloud over Australia’s immunization plans, with 53 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab already on hand. “The question is really whether it is able to provide herd immunity. We are playing a long game here. We don’t know how long that will take,” Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology president Stephen Turner said. Turner added
The Polish Supreme Court on Friday quashed a lower court’s green light for the extradition of a businessman to China for alleged fraud, a charge he has denied, saying that he is being targeted for supporting Falun Gong. Polish authorities took Chinese-born Swedish citizen Li Zhihui, now 53, into custody in 2019 on an international warrant issued by China for alleged non-payment in a business deal, Krzysztof Kitajgrodzki, his Polish lawyer, told reporters. Following the Supreme Court ruling, the case would return to a lower appellate court for review. Kitajgrodzki told reporters that it was still not a given that his client