Radioactive victim dies
Radioactive waste found in a New Delhi scrap metal market earlier this month has killed one person, who died in hospital of multiple organ failure, police said yesterday. Seven people were hospitalized after the discovery on April 12, which caused panic in residential areas surrounding the scrap yard. The six others hospitalized are still in hospitals. Police and a team of experts from an atomic research center took away waste containing cobalt-60, a radioactive metal used in radio therapy machines in hospitals and sterilization in industrial food processes. Search teams have found cobalt-60 in 10 scrap metal shops in the yard but they had yet to establish where the material came from, the police officer said.
Ban on Indian films to stay
The government yesterday abandoned an attempt to lift a ban on the screening of Indian films following furious protests by local actors and directors. The government announced last week that a four-decade-old ban on movies from Bollywood had been lifted in a bid to boost cinema audiences. However, demonstrations by homegrown stars and studio heads claiming that the country’s film business would be swamped by big-budget Indian movies prompted a swift policy U-turn. The number of cinemas in the country has fallen from 1,600 in 2000 to 600 this year.
Cocaine shipment seized
Police said yesterday they had made their largest haul of cocaine yet, seizing 372kg of the drug that local media said might have been shipped to the territory by mistake. A family of eight, ranging in age from 22 to 84, were arrested on Sunday after police raided their home in a New Territories village when searching for a missing person. “Police are still searching for the missing person and investigations by Narcotics Bureau and Crime Headquarters of New Territories South are continuing,” a police statement said. The missing person was reportedly negotiating for the return of the drug shipment, local media reports said. It was unclear how the drugs may have been shipped to the territory by mistake.
Ex-president’s zoo seized
Investigators said yesterday they had seized a private zoo owned by ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, home to several endangered species including rare snow leopards. The animals, discovered during a police raid on a home owned by Bakiyev outside the southern city of Jalalabad, include a pair of Tien Shan snow leopards, bear cubs, an African ostrich, four Indian ducks, golden eagles, falcons and peacocks. The prosecutor’s office said it was still considering how best to ensure the care and safety of the animals.
Chair-sniffer Buswell sacked
A politician who made headlines two years ago for admitting sniffing the chair of a female colleague resigned for a second time yesterday after misusing entitlements to carry on an affair. Troy Buswell stepped down as West Australia’s state treasurer after revealing he used a ministerial car several times to meet Greens Member of Parliament Adele Carles, with whom he had a four-month liaison. Buswell wanted to reimburse the government for the costs of the car and the misuse of a hotel benefit and keep his job, but was told by West Australia Premier Colin Barnett his position was untenable.
Shots fired at mosque
Gunshots were fired at a mosque in the city of Istres, Prime Minister Francois Fillon said on Monday, pledging support to the Muslim community. No one was hurt, and police are investigating. Police say about 30 shots were fired at the mosque’s facade before dawn on Sunday. Mosque officials discovered the damage later. On Saturday night, a butcher’s shop specializing in meats prepared according to Islamic dietary law was also targeted by gunfire in Marseille, police said. No one was hurt.
Top mafia boss arrested
Police have arrested a top mafia boss who was among the country’s 30 most dangerous fugitives, the ANSA news agency reported. Giovanni Tegano, 70, who had been on the run for 17 years, has been sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for murder and mafia association. Interior Minister Roberto Maroni hailed Monday’s arrest, saying it was the “hardest blow that could be dealt today to the ’Ndrangheta, being the No. 1 wanted from Calabria.” Tegano is considered the boss of the ’Ndrina clan of the ’Ndrangheta.
Hostages taken in Niger
The Foreign Ministry said on Monday it is trying to secure the release of a Frenchman kidnapped last week in northern Niger. Algeria confirmed that one of its citizens was taken as well. The kidnapping “occurred in a red zone,” where French authorities firmly advise people not to travel because of security concerns, ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said. Niger authorities said that al-Qaeda-linked militants are suspected in the kidnapping, and that an Algerian man was also taken hostage.
Elephants rumble over bees
The buzz of angry bees can stir elephants to sound a “rumbling” alarm, signaling troop members to flee their attackers, a study released on Monday said. Not only do they run from the sound of bees, they also take cover when the their rumble is played back even in the absence of bees, reseachers from Oxford University, Save the Elephants and Disney’s Animal Kingdom said. The team made the discovery in an ongoing study of elephants in Kenya. “In our experiments we played the sound of angry bees to elephant families and studied their reaction,” said Lucy King of Oxford University’s zoology department and charity Save the Elephants. “Importantly we discovered elephants not only flee from the buzzing sound but make a unique rumbling call as well as shaking their heads.” As well as being a response to threat, the rumble may also be a way of teaching inexperienced young elephants to beware, said the study, which was published in the PLoS One journal. It is yet to be established whether the rumble call is a response to threats other than from bees.
Transport strike snarls cities
Lisbon commuters were bearing the brunt of a strike by public transport workers over a pay freeze yesterday. Train engineers, bus drivers and ferry staff were among the workers walking off the job. Main roads into the city were clogged during the morning rush-hour as commuters chose to head into work by car. Lisbon’s subway system was running, however, and some bus services were in operation as required by law. The Socialist government has introduced a pay freeze for civil servants and staff at publicly owned companies as part of an austerity plan to reduce the country’s debt burden.
Matador on the mend
Top Spanish matador Jose Tomas was showing a “phenomenal” recovery after being gored and hurled into the air by a bull, his agent said on Monday. Tomas, 34, was breathing without help from a respirator and could leave the intensive care ward in the next 24 hours, said Geronimo Aguayo, director of the Miguel Hidalgo hospital in the city of Aguascalientes. Tomas’ condition went “from grave to delicate,” Aguayo told reporters. The bullfighter’s agent, Salvador Boix, said that he spoke to his client, who he said “has made a phenomenal recovery.” Tomas “expects to have a birth certificate from Aguascalientes — because, for him, he was born again Saturday night,” Boix said.
Chocolate sweeter for some
People suffering from depression eat more chocolate, and the amount increases with the severity of their illness, a new study released on Monday found. “Our study confirms long-held suspicions that eating chocolate is something that people do when they are feeling down,” said Beatrice Golomb of the University of California at San Diego, a co-author of the study appearing in Mondays issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers looked at chocolate consumption and mood in about 1,000 adults who were not on anti-depressive medications and did not have heart disease or diabetes. Participants were asked about the amount of chocolate they ate in a week. Their degree of depression was assessed on a scale called the “Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale.” The researchers found that test subjects with the highest rankings — that is, those who were most depressed — consumed almost 12 portions of chocolate (each one about 28g) per month, compared to five a month in the same time period for those with no depression symptoms. Moderately depressed subjects ate eight portions a month. “The findings did not appear to be explained by a general increase in caffeine, fat, carbohydrate or energy intake, suggesting that our findings are specific to chocolate,” Golomb said. Nor was there any difference in consumption of other antioxidant-rich foods, such as fish, coffee, fruits and vegetables between those with depression and those who were not depressed, she said.
Fugitive on hunger strike
A convicted Bosnian murderer is on a hunger strike in an effort to fight deportation to his native country. Elvir Pobric escaped from a Bosnian prison in 1996 where he was serving 20 years for two counts of murder and was arrested in Calgary, Alberta last year. Speaking before Pobric was scheduled to appear at a detention hearing on Monday, Canada Border Service Agency hearings officer Catherine King said Pobric has been on a hunger strike since March 29 without providing details of his condition.
Cop faces drug charges
A fired Vancouver police officer was ordered by a court on Monday to languish behind bars after being arrested last week for allegedly selling marijuana on the job. A British Columbia provincial court ruled Peter Hodson would remain in custody until May 4 as his lawyer, Vincent Michaels, sought a bail hearing for his client. Appearing in court for only a few minutes, Hodson looked anxious as he surveyed a pack of reporters who have documented his alleged actions, providing juicy fodder for the local papers over the past four days. Dubbed a “rogue officer” by Vancouver police chief Jim Chu, the 31-year-old Hodson was arrested and fired last Wednesday.
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