Visit Liu Xia: activist
Chinese activists are urging the public to visit dissident Liu Xiaobo’s (劉曉波) wife to highlight that she has been under house arrest since her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. Activist Hu Jia (胡佳) yesterday said that Chinese citizens and foreign politicians should visit Liu Xia (劉霞) at her guarded Beijing apartment to help her regain freedom. A Hong Kong online newspaper, Mingbao, published a detailed guide for visiting the home. Hu and other activists brushed past a guard to visit the home last week. Hu is taking a cue from an earlier mobilization to visit blind activist Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) in Shandong before he escaped house arrest last spring.
Taliban mock US pullout
The Taliban yesterday likened the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan to its pullout from Vietnam, calling it a “declare victory and run” strategy. A statement from the militant group said the ongoing transfer of security operations from US troops to Afghan forces was a retreat similar to the US withdrawal from South Vietnam prior to the communist victory there in 1975. “They want to flee from Afghanistan just as they turned tail and ran from Vietnam,” the Taliban statement said. “When America faced utter destruction in Vietnam, they came up with the formula ‘declare victory and run’ and want to utilize the formula of ‘transfer security and run’ here in Afghanistan.”
Rain in trouble over photos
Pop star Rain is facing questions after paparazzi photos showed him out on the town with a top actress. The defense ministry yesterday said it was investigating whether Rain broke military rules by meeting actress Kim Tae-hee while on duty. Rain is fulfilling his compulsory army service as an entertainer for the military. He is not allowed to have private meetings while outside his Seoul base for official duties such as recording and performing. The ministry says a brief lockup in a military jail cannot be ruled out as a penalty. Kim’s agency admits that the two have dated for a month. Rain’s agency neither denies nor confirms it. Rain joined the military in October 2011 and is scheduled to be discharged in July.
UK tourist killed at party
Police have arrested a suspect in the death of a British tourist struck by a stray bullet at a New Year’s Eve party on the island of Koh Pa Ngan. Police Colonel Krittakarn Kramomthong yesterday said that 22-year-old Stephen David Ashton was shot in his torso early on Tuesday morning and died in a hospital. He said police arrested a 26-year-old Thai man and confiscated his pistol. The suspect is expected to be charged with manslaughter.
Thousands take icy plunge
A record 40,000 people braved icy temperatures on the North Sea coast on Tuesday to take a cold plunge, setting a new record for the traditional New Year’s Day dip, organizers said. “There were around 10,000 swimmers in Scheveningen and a record number of 40,000 across the Netherlands,” spokeswoman Jiske Barten said. In the resort of Scheveningen, a district of The Hague and the main spot among the 102 nationwide for the growing annual event, many of the bathers wore Christmas hats and sported swimwear in the national orange color as they ran into the sea, screaming and laughing despite the water temperature of 8oC.
Heiress left millions to city
A shy New York woman whom no one took to be wealthy left a shockingly happy surprise when she died: US$20 million in donations to the city’s libraries and main park. Mary McConnell Bailey lived modestly and volunteered at a hospital and schools, before dying at 88 last year, the New York Post newspaper reported on Tuesday. Now, the Post says, it emerges that the New York Public Library and Central Park Conservancy recently received checks from her estate worth US$10 million apiece. “You would have never known” she was rich, the Post quoted her former best friend and neighbor, Lizanne Stoll, as saying. According to the Post, Bailey came from a wealthy family and moved to New York in the 1940s, then inherited a fortune. However, she spent little and lived in a basic Manhattan apartment.
Ten dead in stampede
Ten people, including four children, died and 120 were hurt in a stampede at an evangelical vigil in Luanda on New Year’s Eve, the news agency Angop reported. It quoted civil protection spokesman Faustino Sebastiao as saying the victims were crushed by the crowd and asphyxiated at the entrance to the Cidadela Desportiva stadium after only two of the four gates had been opened. Twelve of the injured were still in hospital on Tuesday. “We were expecting 70,000 people but far more turned up,” said Ferner Batalha, a bishop of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.
Raid triggers confrontation
An raid by undercover soldiers disguised as vegetable vendors ignited rare clashes in the northern West Bank on Tuesday, residents said, leaving at least 10 Palestinians wounded. The clashes began early on Tuesday after special forces troops disguised as merchants in a vegetable truck arrested a man. Regular army forces then entered the town, prompting youths to hurl rocks to try to prevent more arrests. The troops fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition as youths set tires and garbage cans on fire to block the passage of military vehicles. In several hours of clashes, dozens of masked youths hid behind makeshift barriers, hurling rocks and firebombs at soldiers. Tamoun resident Faris Bisharat said 10 men were wounded, some by live fire. Bisharat said the wanted men belong to Islamic Jihad, a violent group sworn to the country’s destruction. It was not clear how many men the troops sought to arrest.
Palestinian numbers surge
The Palestinian statistics bureau estimates that Arabs will outnumber Jews in the country by the end of the decade, a scenario that could have grave implications for the Jewish state. The bureau on Tuesday said 5.8 million Arabs live in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. That compares with about 6 million Jews, according to government data. It said that based on current birth rates, the two populations would be equal in 2016, and in 2020, Arabs would outnumber Jews by 7.2 million to 6.9 million.
Paparazzo hit by car, dies
Police say a paparazzo was hit by a car and killed after taking photographs of Justin Bieber’s white Ferrari in Los Angeles. Los Angeles police officer James Stoughton said the photographer, who was not identified, died at a hospital shortly after the crash on Tuesday evening. Stoughton said Bieber was not in the Ferrari at the time.
Female flight attendants working for Japan Airlines would next month be allowed to wear trousers and abandon high heels, the company said on Thursday, after a feminist campaign took off. The airline became one of the first major Japanese firms to announce the shift after a campaign known as #KuToo last year rejected mandatory high heels at work, drawing more than 32,000 signatures in an online petition. The campaign is part of a wider feminism movement in Japan, with Japan Airlines saying that the new policy was aimed at boosting a “diverse working environment.” PANTS PERMIT “This will be the first time to introduce
FATAL IDEA: The nation’s drugs regulator is curbing use of hydroxychloroquine, which Donald Trump has promoted for its alleged potential to treat COVID-19 Australia’s drug regulator has been forced to restrict powers to prescribe a drug undergoing clinical trials to treat COVID-19, because doctors have been inappropriately prescribing it to themselves and their family members, despite potentially deadly side effects. The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the similar compound chloroquine are currently used mostly for patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but stocks in Australia have been diminished thanks to global publicity — including from US President Donald Trump — about the potential of the drug to treat COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have potentially severe and even deadly side effects if used inappropriately, including
TARGETED: Although hackers are known to be seeking to capitalize on concern over COVID-19, a cybersecurity expert said he had never seen anything to this extent before Elite hackers tried to break into the WHO earlier this month, sources said, part of what a senior agency official said was a more than two-fold increase in cyberattacks. The identity of the hackers was unclear and the effort was unsuccessful, WHO Chief Information Security Officer Flavio Aggio said. However, he warned that hacking attempts against the agency and its partners have soared as they battle to contain COVID-19, which has killed more than 15,000 worldwide. The attempted break-in at the WHO was first flagged to Reuters by Alexander Urbelis, a cybersecurity expert and attorney with the New York-based Blackstone Law Group,
PORNHUB: Campaigners warn that videos of serious crimes, such as rape, are being uploaded to the site, which has failed to ban or moderate illegal content British lawmakers and campaigners are calling for urgent action to stop videos of rape, revenge porn and child abuse being posted on Pornhub as traffic to the site booms amid a worldwide COVID-19 lockdown. Pornhub’s traffic is up a record 12 percent this month compared with last month, as millions of people across the world are told to stay in their homes. Pornhub owner Mindgeek has used the coronavirus lockdowns to promote its site, giving free Premium access to people living in isolation in Italy, Spain and France. The offer has led to a huge increase in visits to the site from affected