Actress causes disturbance
Bollywood actress Tania Zaetta was arrested yesterday for obstructing police and public nuisance over an alleged disturbance at a Queensland nightclub. Zaetta, who recently moved back to the country after several years based overseas, was detained in Surfers Paradise early yesterday, the Gold Coast Bulletin said. “It seems a 41-year-old woman from New South Wales was arrested for obstructing police and also public nuisance,” said a spokesman for Queensland police, without naming the woman. According to a statement released by her management, Zaetta will “protest her innocence to the charges and strenuously defend the matters in court.” Zaetta has worked on a number of Bollywood productions including the Charlie’s Angels-style hit Mr Black, Mr White and one featuring Indian megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Bunty aur Babli. She is due to appear in court on April 4.
Murder suspect arrested
The suspect in the killing of a 64-year-old British woman is the estranged husband of the victim’s niece, reports said yesterday. Police arrested a 29-year-old man on Saturday in connection with the death of Janet Gilson, who was last seen on Tuesday last week at her niece’s home on Lamma Island. Authorities did not identify the suspect, except to say he was an “expatriate.” However, the South China Morning Post yesterday quoted Gilson’s niece, Julia Fareed, as saying the suspect is her estranged husband. The Standard said he has a history of violence and breached an order banning him from going near his wife’s home on the island. Police declined to confirm the reports and Julia Fareed could not be immediately reached for comment. “We cannot confirm it because we don’t have that information,” a police spokeswoman said. “We just know he is not a local.” Police on Sunday confirmed they made the arrest after discovering the missing woman’s body at Fareed’s residence. Gilson reportedly arrived in the city on March 5.
Death toll at mine rises
The death toll from a coal mine collapse in Sorange district, Balochistan Province, has risen to 24, with another two dozen still missing, officials said yesterday, fearing it will need a “miracle” to find any survivors. The mine in the far-flung troubled southwestern province was poorly ventilated, allowing poisonous gases to accumulate and trigger blasts which led to the collapse on Sunday, officials said. Abdul Raziq, a police officer in Quetta, also said yesterday that the chances of finding the trapped workers alive were slim. The accident took place early on Sunday and rescue work continued overnight, Raisani said. “We are hopeful we will complete it today [Monday],” he added.
Tibet to set timeframe
The Tibetan parliament-in-exile decided yesterday to form a committee to ensure a smooth transition after the Dalai Lama’s resignation from politics. The committee will decide a timeframe for a new prime minister to take over political responsibilities from the Tibetan holy man, Karma Yeshi, a Tibetan lawmaker said. The parliament-in-exile, meeting in the northern town of Dharamsala, decided the committee will examine constitutional changes to grant more powers to the prime minister and decide on the future role of the Dalai Lama. “The committee will prepare its report by April 23 and the parliament will discuss it. If further debate is necessary, parliament will meet again in May,” Yeshi said.
King says foreign plot foiled
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said in Manama that a foreign plot against his kingdom had been foiled and he thanked troops brought in from neighboring countries that helped end increasing unrest after weeks of protests. King Hamad told the forces that if such a plot succeeded in one Gulf Arab country, it could spill into neighboring states, the state news agency BNA said. The ferocity of a crackdown last week by forces, aided by the entrance of troops from Sunni-ruled Gulf countries, stunned the country’s majority Shiites, the main force of the protests, and angered the region’s Shiite power Iran.
Bahraini diplomat expelled
Tehran on Sunday asked a Bahraini diplomat to leave the country in reprisal for the expulsion of one of the Islamic republic’s diplomats from Manama, the official IRNA news agency reported. Tehran on Wednesday recalled its ambassador from Bahrain “in protest at the killing of the people of Bahrain by its government,” a day after Manama recalled its ambassador from Tehran, citing the country’s “blatant interference” in its affairs. Tehran said Manama had made a “strategic mistake” in asking Gulf troops to help quell pro--democracy protests in the tiny kingdom. Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi told the official IRNA news agency that Sunni Muslim-ruled, but Shiite-majority Bahrain had committed a “strategic and political” blunder that would cost its “legitimacy.” At least three people died on Wednesday when security forces firing tear gas and shotguns assaulted a month-old pro-democracy camp in the central Pearl Square roundabout of the Bahraini capital.
AU urges end to Libya action
The African Union’s (AU) panel on Libya in Nouakchott on Sunday called for an “immediate stop” to all attacks after the US, France and Britain launched military action against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s forces. After a more than four-hour meeting in the capital, the body also asked Libyan authorities to ensure “humanitarian aid to those in need,” as well as the “protection of foreigners, including African expatriates living in Libya.” It underscored the need for “necessary political reforms to eliminate the causes of the present crisis.” Libyan generosity and Qaddafi’s role in the creation of the AU could explain the cautious stand, experts said. The AU was born in the 1999 Sirte Declaration, named after a summit hosted by Qaddafi in his hometown on the Libyan coast. The declaration said its authors felt inspired by Qaddafi’s “vision for a strong and united Africa.”
Turkey to contribute in Libya
Ankara said it was ready to contribute to international action in Libya as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday he hoped military operations would be over “as quickly as possible.” A ministry spokesman refused to provide more details when contacted by reporters, but denied that Ankara had already ruled out participating in military operations. Meanwhile, Erdogan said he hoped long-term military action would not be necessary. “If only Libya had launched a process of change, like Tunisia and Egypt, it would not have to pay this price. Unfortunately this isn’t the case, we have arrived at a situation that we did not want,” Erdogan said during a conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the Anatolia news agency reported.
Robbers steal US$13 million
Authorities say armed men have stolen some 157 million pesos from a cash transporting company in the south of the country. The Oaxaca State attorney general’s office said that six gunmen wearing masks and latex gloves broke into the Cometra facility, subdued four guards and made off with about US$13 million. No one was hurt in the heist early on Sunday. The attorney general’s office said the robbers apparently wore Cometra uniforms and drove a vehicle with the company logo. The statement released no other details and it is unclear if authorities suspect the theft was an inside job.
Oily substance found in Gulf
A Louisiana fire chief says a substance found floating in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be weathered oil. The Coast Guard is testing the substance to confirm what it is and determine where it came from. Grand Isle Fire Chief Aubrey Chaisson said he saw the substance up close on Sunday aboard a boat and also viewed it from a helicopter. It looked like “emulsified oil” he said, and covered an area of about 3km to 5km. Coast Guard spokeswoman Casey Ranel said the agency sent out a cutter on Sunday morning to collect samples. The Coast Guard had received reports of an oil sheen, but officials have not confirmed the substance is oil.
Healthcare divisions persist
A year after President Barack Obama signed his healthcare overhaul, the law remains so divisive that people can’t even agree on what to call it. Supporters call it the Affordable Care Act, a shortened version of the official title Democrats gave their massive bill. It may be better known as “Obamacare,” the word used by Republicans seeking its demise. Even so, polls show that about one in eight people believe they have already been personally helped, well before the main push to cover the uninsured scheduled for 2014.Still, issues of affordability and complexity guarantee ongoing problems, even if the Supreme Court upholds the landmark legislation that made health insurance both a right and a responsibility
Contractor’s release sought
Washington is seeking to avoid moves that could jeopardize an American contractor from being released from Cuba after receiving a 15-year prison sentence, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was quoted as saying on Sunday, according to a transcript of a Spanish-language Telemundo interview. Cuba on March 12 found Gross responsible for “acts against the independence or territorial integrity” of the country, saying he was covertly distributing laptops and cellular phones on the island. Gross, 61, was working under contract for the US Department of State when he was arrested for distributing the electronic devices to members of the island’s small Jewish community.
Sausage record beaten
On Sunday, Italy snatched from Romania the record for the world’s longest sausage when a team of pork butchers crafted a delicacy more than half a kilometer long, the ANSA news agency reported. Alberto Della Pelle from Penne, a small town in the center of the country, helped by nine colleagues, created a sausage 597.8m-long in the main street. It was officially measured and declared to have beaten the Romanian record of 392m. The monster sausage will be sliced to fill 6,000 sandwiches which will be sold to raise funds for the charity Caritas.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
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
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