Alerts issued over grenades
More than 460 locations across Bangkok were put on high alert yesterday in response to a series of grenade attacks. Royal palaces, government buildings, power plants and public transport will receive special protection. Thousands of police, soldiers and city officials swelled Bangkok’s security presence so that streets can be patrolled around the clock, starting late yesterday. Bangkok authorities now plan to upgrade thousands of security cameras across the city, boosting storage capacity so that images can be saved for one month.
Minister denies nepotism
Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan faced mounting public anger yesterday after his ministry hired his daughter for a well-paid job, sparking allegations of nepotism at a time of high unemployment. Yu on Friday made a public apology after the presidential Blue House, whose motto is to realize a “fair society,” reportedly called for an explanation from the ministry. Yu denied any undue favor had been shown to his daughter during the hiring process, Yonhap news agency said.
Bomb attack kills 22
A blast ripped through a rally in Quetta yesterday, killing at least 22 people. The attack on a Shiite Muslim rally called to express solidarity with the Palestinian people was the second major attack this week. Akbar Magsi, a senior police office in Quetta, said at least 40 people were injured.
‘Pink Panther’ indicted
Japanese prosecutors yesterday indicted a Montenegrin alleged member of the “Pink Panther” gang of international jewelry thieves over a robbery three years ago in Tokyo. Rifat Hadziahmetovic, whom Japanese police have described as the nation’s most-wanted fugitive, was last month extradited from Spain, where he had been taken into custody over other charges. Tokyo prosecutors alleged that he “robbed a jewelry store in Tokyo of two items, including a tiara, worth ¥284 million [US$3.37 million],” an official statement said. In the heist in the Ginza district on June 14, 2007, Hadziahmetovic and another “Pink Panther” member allegedly sprayed tear gas at store clerks, stole the jewelry and fled on bicycles. The gang is known to have stolen jewelry worth hundreds of millions of dollars in nearly 30 countries over the past decade.
Eleven officers arrested
Police said yesterday they had arrested 11 colleagues over the killing of six people when officers opened fire on a violent mob earlier this week. The arrests came as hundreds of armed police reinforcements fanned out in Buol town on Sulawesi to try to re-establish order after a riot on Wednesday, officials said. The 11 officers were arrested on Thursday and Friday as part of ongoing investigations into the violence, which saw hundreds of furious residents attack a police station with Molotov cocktails after a man died in custody. Provincial police spokesman Kahar Muzakir said the officers were being questioned over the death of the detainee at the station on Tuesday as well as the killing of six rioters outside the station on Wednesday night.
Bride-killer gets 24 years
A former policeman yesterday was jailed for at least 24 years for murdering his new bride by pushing her off a cliff during a camping trip. Desmond Campbell, 52, forced his wife, Janet, over the 50m precipice and then said she slipped in the darkness after leaving their tent to go to the toilet, a court in Sydney heard. Justice Megan Latham said Campbell, who had left the police and was working as a paramedic, killed his wife of six months for her money in an incident in March 2005 which showed “sustained callousness towards her for monetary gain.”
Man mauled by shark
An Australian man was attacked by a shark which mauled his face and neck during a holiday in the Solomon Islands, officials said yesterday. The man, identified by media as 34-year-old Benjamin D’Emden of Sydney, was in stable condition in hospital in the country’s capital Honiara, a foreign affairs spokesman said. Reports said D’Emden was swimming when the shark attacked him from below, biting into his face and leaving him with severe cuts. Doctors were hoping to fly him back to Australia for emergency treatment, the Daily Telegraph said.
Suspect nabbed in job hunt
An Indonesian maid who went on the run after being accused of murdering her Malaysian employer’s baby son has been arrested after coolly lining up an interview for a new job, police said yesterday. Police have been hunting for the 25-year-old woman from Java after the 15-month-old boy died last week and a post-mortem examination indicated foul play. She was arrested after approaching a family in Kuala Lumpur asking for a job. They recognized her from her picture in the newspaper and alerted police, Ampang District police chief Abdul Jalil Hassan said.
Boa smuggler pleads guilty
Keng Liang “Anson” Wong, 52, pleaded guilty to wildlife smuggling after his bag bursting with 95 live boa constrictors, together with a few other snakes and a turtle, broke open on a luggage conveyer belt at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, wildlife department official Shamsuddin Osman said. Wong, who was previously convicted of wildlife trafficking in the US, was charged on Wednesday in a district court with exporting the endangered boas without a permit, Shamsuddin said. The offense carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison and a fine, Shamsuddin said, adding that the court would reconvene on Monday pending Wong’s appointment of a lawyer.
Lawyers fined for appeals
Two lawyers who repeatedly appealed minor traffic violations were fined and handed two-month bans by the highest court on Thursday for making “absurd and abusive accusations” in their defense. The Bavaria-based lawyers, who cannot be named by law, faxed a 1,182-page appeal to the Constitutional Court accusing lower courts of a “maddening ignorance of constitutional rights.” The court ruled that the lawyers, fined 300 euros (US$385) and 1,100 euros respectively, did not have the right to “disrupt its ability to work” by “pointlessly” appealing the convictions.
Oil activists arrested
Four Greenpeace activists who had clung to an oil rig off the west coast with rock-climbing gear were arrested on Thursday after an Arctic storm forced them to abandon their environmental protest. Police spokesman Morten Nielsen said the four men — from the US, Finland, Poland and Germany — faced preliminary charges of violating a 500m security perimeter around the Stena Don rig and trespassing by climbing onto the installation. The activists had been suspended under the rig since Tuesday to protest Scottish company Cairn Energy PLC’s deepwater drilling in the area, saying it could spark an oil rush in sensitive Arctic waters. “Our activists hung there for more than 40 hours but last night, a freezing storm and high waves made them decide it was too risky. So we contacted the police to say we were stopping the action,” Greenpeace spokesman Jon Burgwald said. Nielsen said the four men could face fines, prison terms or deportation.
Zimbabwean amnesty ends
The government is withdrawing the special status granted to illegal Zimbabwean immigrants who fled their country’s economic meltdown and political violence, a spokesman said. Government spokesman Themba Maseko said on Thursday that deportations would begin next year. The announcement brings to an end an amnesty from April last year that allowed Zimbabweans to stay in the country without passports and visas. “After Dec. 31, all undocumented Zimbabweans will be treated like all others and their deportation will resume,” he said.
Westwood store robbed
A gang of thieves on scooters have broken into a Vivienne Westwood store in London and made off with expensive designer handbags. Police said four people on two scooters crashed into the door of the shop in London’s busy West End area late on Wednesday. They said the thieves went into the shop to grab the handbags, which are worth up to £800 (US$1,232) each. Detectives are appealing for people who were at the crime scene to help the investigation.
A Russian businessman who fled the country after being held responsible for the death of 156 people in a nightclub fire has been arrested near his home in Barcelona, Spain, police said on Thursday. Konstantin Mrykhin, the commercial director of the Lame Horse club in the town of Perm, 1,150km east of Moscow, organized a pyrotechnics display last year which turned the disco into an inferno Mrykhin could face a 10-year prison sentence for manslaughter due to gross negligence for his involvement in the blaze, the worst night club fire since nearly 200 people died at a disco in Buenos Aires in 2004.
Goats rescued from perch
Two young goats that wandered onto the 15cm-wide ledge of a railroad bridge in southern Montana and spent two days 18m above a highway were hungry but safe when they were plucked to safety with a towering crane on Wednesday. The young female animals, weighing 13.6kg, mostly stayed on the angled ledge, even though there was a wider surface area on a pillar just a meter away. “The whole time, we thought they were going to fall off,” humane society president Sandy Church. “These guys are just babies.” Church said it wasn’t clear how the nimble-footed animals got into the predicament, but she speculated they wandered onto the ledge at night then froze after the sun rose and they discovered where they were.
Juror ordered to write essay
A Detroit-area woman who was removed from a jury for commenting about the ongoing case on Facebook has a longer writing task ahead: a five-page essay about the constitutional right to a fair trial. A judge ordered the essay on Thursday for Hadley Jons, three weeks after she wrote on Facebook that it was “gonna be fun to tell the defendant they’re GUILTY.” The trial, however, wasn’t over. “I’m sorry, very sorry,” Jons, 20, told Macomb County Circuit Judge Diane Druzinski. The defense team discovered the post on Aug. 11 — before it had even started its case — and Jons was removed from the jury the next day. By Oct. 1, Jons must submit an essay about the 6th Amendment to the US Constitution and pay a US$250 fine.
Tanker runs aground in Arctic
A fuel tanker has run aground in the Northwest Passage, southwest of the town of Gjoa Haven in Nunavut territory, carrying 9 million liters of diesel fuel, but officials said on Thursday none had spilled into the Arctic waters. The ship was carrying fuel to remote communities in the region. Authorities and the ship’s owner Woodward’s Oil would attempt to float it off the sandbar.
Trunk’s owner identified
Investigators have identified the owner of a trunk in which the mummified remains of two babies were found on Aug. 17, bringing them a step closer to solving the intriguing international mystery. The owner of the steamer trunk, abandoned for decades in the basement of a Los Angeles apartment building, was Janet Barrie, a Scottish immigrant who was born in 1897 and worked as a nurse in the city before moving to Canada, where she died, California officials said on Thursday. The coroner’s office has been unable to determine how the babies died, and it may never be known why they were placed in the trunk or who put them there.
Six indicted for labor scheme
The Department of Justice on Thursday announced indictments against six people for luring 400 Thais to work as farm laborers in Hawaii and Washington state in 2004 and 2005. A grand jury in Honolulu indicted Mordechai Orian, Pranee Tubchumpol, Shane Germann and Sam Wongsesanit of the Los Angeles-based company Global Horizons Manpower and Thai labor recruiters Ratawan Chunharutai and Podjanee Sinchai. Upon their arrival in the US, the Thais had their passports taken away and were forced to pay thousands of dollars in recruitment fees for work. If convicted, Orian and Tubchumpol face up to 70 years in prison, and Chunharutai faces up to 65 years in prison, officials said.
POINT-BLANK RANGE: Reporters and camera people from several outlets say police officers in Minneapolis had fired tear gas and rubber bullets directly at them Multiple journalists on the ground in Minnesota said they were teargassed and subject to other attacks by police on Saturday evening, a day after the widely condemned arrest of a CNN reporter live on air. Los Angeles Times journalist Molly Hennessy-Fiske, who was reporting outside the Fifth Precinct in Minneapolis, said she was with a group of about a dozen journalists when the Minnesota State Patrol “fired tear gas canisters on us at point blank range.” “I was saying: ‘Where do we go?’ They did not tell us where to go. They didn’t direct us. They just fired on us,” she said
For nearly a decade, the UN Security Council has been frequently paralyzed by Russia’s obstinacy over the Syrian crisis. Today, however, it is the US-China rivalry that has infected a growing array of issues, according to officials and diplomats. As recently as 2017, an understanding between Washington and Beijing allowed the UN on three occasions — involving separate sets of economic sanctions — to project international unity in the face of the North Korean nuclear threat. Three years later, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a ferocious competition erupt between the UN’s two main contributors, prompting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May
HISTORIC FLIGHT: The astronauts named their capsule ‘Endeavour,’ after the space shuttle on which they both flew, while Elon Musk said he was overcome with emotion Two veteran NASA astronauts headed for the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday after Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Saturday became the first commercial company to launch a rocket carrying humans into orbit, ushering in a new era in space travel. SpaceX’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard blasted off flawlessly in a cloud of bright orange flames and smoke from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a 19-hour voyage to the space station. “Let’s light this candle,” Hurley, the mission commander, told SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California, before liftoff at 3:22pm from NASA’s
INDIA Pride to be preserved The nation would not let its “pride be hurt” in its latest border flare-ups with China, but is determined to settle the dispute through talks, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh said in a television interview late on Saturday. “Situations arise with China. It has happened before,” Singh said, adding that the government was striving to make sure “tension does not escalate.” The government has turned down US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate, he said. IRAN Speaker says talks futile Newly elected Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf yesterday said that any negotiations with the US would be “futile.” The nation’s