Lese majeste trial starts
The trial of a Thai man accused of selling video CDs (VCDs) of an Australian TV news segment about the monarchy has begun in Bangkok. Akachai Hongkangwan was arrested in March last year and charged with lese majeste, the crime of defaming the royal family. The VCDs allegedly sold by Akachai contained a segment from the Australian Broadcasting Corp’s Foreign Correspondent series in 2010 that questioned the future of the monarchy. The segment included footage from a private video of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn with his wife-to-be. Akachai was also charged with violating laws governing the distribution of video recordings. His trial began yesterday.
Fukushima reopens beach
Fukushima Prefecture has opened its first beach to swimmers since last year’s nuclear disaster after judging the water to be safe. About 1,000 people on Monday descended on Nakoso beach, about 65km south of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, where three reactors melted down after the earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year. The opening was celebrated with beach volleyball games and hula dancers from a nearby spa. Iwaki City official Joji Kimura said negligible radiation was detected in water at the beach. Airborne radiation was measured at 0.08 microsieverts per hour, far below dangerous levels.
Schoolgirl injured by javelin
A schoolgirl was in intensive care yesterday after being speared in the head by a javelin while taking part in track and field training, an official said. The 2.6m javelin became lodged in the 15-year-old’s head after being thrown by a student on campus at Fukuyama Heisei University in Hiroshima Prefecture on Monday, the university official said. The girl was training at the university with a group of fellow high-school students when the incident happened. Rescuers cut the shaft off the 794g javelin before taking her to hospital.
Bus accident kills nine
A bus swerved off a road before dawn on Monday and plunged into a river, killing nine people, police said — the latest in a string of deadly accidents on the country’s highways. Police said Monday’s deaths occurred when the bus fell 200m down a cliff after the driver was thought to have fallen asleep. “A passenger bus on its way to Kathmandu from Katari slipped off the road at Krishnabhir and fell into the river,” police sub-inspector Narayan Prasad Chalise said. “We recovered six bodies from the accident site and three seriously injured died in hospital in Kathmandu. Another 17 people are injured and are undergoing treatment.”
Hunan urges medical checks
Hunan Province urged parents on Sunday to seek immediate treatment for children showing symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease after official figures showed 112 people died from the illness last month. The disease, to which children are especially vulnerable also infected more than 381,000 people, the Ministry of Health reported last week. The province urged parents and teachers to send children to hospital as soon as they showed symptoms of the disease, including mouth sores, skin rashes or fever. Last month, 34,768 cases were reported and 17 people died from the disease in Hunan, the statement said. According to the Ministry of Health, more than 460,000 people were infected in May, leading to 132 deaths.
Two dead in party shooting
Two people were killed and at least 19 injured in a shooting at an outdoor party in Toronto, police said yesterday, raising fresh fears of a rise in gun crime in the nation’s largest city. Police said it was too early to say what prompted the shooting late on Monday, in which a young man and young woman were killed. Many of those hurt were injured in the panic that ensued after shots were fired. “This is the most serious crime of its kind to ever take place in the city of Toronto,” Toronto police chief Bill Blair told reporters at the scene. The incident occurred barely six weeks after a shooting at a shopping mall that killed one and wounded six.
Hundreds of youths arrested
Police held 226 mostly minors for questioning on Monday after what may have been the nation’s first incidence of flash mob violence. Ninety-one youths were let go during the day for lack of evidence, while the others remained in custody. Mexico City police chief Manuel Mondragon said two young men had called on other people to gather for a concert of reggaeton music on Sunday, but hundreds more people showed up than could fit into the bar where it was being held. Mondragon said as many as 600 angry youths who couldn’t get into the concert went on a rampage at local subway stations, damaging turnstiles and streetlamps, robbing people and tossing fireworks in an area popular among foreign residents and tourists. A police car had its windshield smashed. Mondragon said the people taken into custody were mostly younger than 18.
Bus accident kills 10
Police in the southern state of Parana told local media that 10 people died and 42 were injured when a bus crashed and rolled off the road. The fatal victims of Monday morning’s accident have not been identified. A police spokesman told O Globo newspaper there were 52 passengers in the bus and two drivers. Police said the bus was traveling with two other buses to a conference of the Brazilian Computer Association at the Federal University of Parana, scheduled to start on Monday morning. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
Homicides down: Calderon
Mexican President Felipe Calderon said homicides dropped 15 to 20 percent in the first six months of this year compared with a year ago. In an interview published on Sunday by the Spanish newspaper El Pais, Calderon said: “Violence related to rivalries between criminals is declining. It is higher than when I assumed the presidency, yes, but I insist it is a phenomenon that comes from the brutality and conflicts between cartels, and not precisely from the government’s actions.” Calderon said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last month that drug-related killings had fallen by about 12 percent in the first five months of this year, although his administration has refused to release the actual figures of drug-linked homicides since September.
Chopper crash kills seven
The official news agency said seven army officers were killed when their helicopter crashed over the western region of Darfur. SUNA quoted military spokesman Colonel Sawarmy Khalid Saad as saying on Monday that the helicopter was on an “administrative mission” and that a technical failure caused the crash. Two officers were also injured. The military gave no further details of the crash, the malfunction or the identities of the officers.
STEP TOO FAR? The mandatory COVID-19 app has unprecedented access to users’ location data and forces Android users to give access to their picture and video galleries Privacy concerns over Qatar’s COVID-19 contact tracing app, a tool that is mandatory on pain of prison, have prompted a rare backlash and forced officials to offer reassurance and concessions. Like other governments around the world, Qatar has turned to mobile phones to trace people’s movements and track who they come into contact with, allowing officials to monitor infections and alert people at risk of infection. The apps use Bluetooth to ping nearby devices, which can be contacted subsequently if a user they have been near develops symptoms or tests positive for the virus, but the resultant unprecedented access to users’ location
‘CULTURE ERADICATION’: A US official said that Beijing is trying to stamp out the Uighur culture because it is not what the Chinese Communist Party deems ‘Chinese’ The US Congress on Wednesday authorized sanctions against Chinese officials over the mass incarceration of Muslim Uighurs. The US House of Representatives voted with just one dissent in favor of the Uighur Human Rights Act. Rights groups say that at least 1 million Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region have been incarcerated in what Beijing calls “re-education” camps. “If America does not speak out against human rights [violations] in China because of some commercial interest, then we lose all moral authority to speak out on human rights violations any place in the world,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. House Committee
UNITED STATES SpaceX launch delayed SpaceX’s launch to the International Space Station — the first crewed mission to blast off from US soil in almost a decade — was scrubbed on Wednesday due to fears of a lightning strike. With NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley strapped into the Crew Dragon capsule, the launch pad platform retracted and rocket fueling under way, SpaceX made the call to abort. “We had just simply too much electricity in the atmosphere,” NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said. UNITED STATES Chinese ministry checked Twitter has applied a fact check tag to at least two posts made in March by
Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has admitted damaging ancient Aboriginal rock shelters in Australia’s remote Pilbara region — blasting near the 46,000-year-old heritage site to expand an iron ore mine. Traditional owners said that the culturally significant cave in Juukan Gorge, Western Australia — one of the earliest known sites occupied by Aborigines in Australia — had been destroyed in a “devastating blow” to the community. Explosives were detonated on Sunday near the site in line with state government approvals granted seven years ago, Rio Tinto said in a statement. “In 2013, ministerial consent was granted to allow Rio Tinto to conduct activity