Police arrest 18 for spying
The government arrested 18 people, including an Iranian, a Lebanese and 16 Saudis, for spying, it said on Tuesday. Ministry of the Interior spokesman Mansour al-Turki said on state television the suspects were “involved with a spy network working for a foreign country.” Turki later told media he could not say who the 18 were suspected of spying for, pending further investigation. The spying arrests, the first in recent memory, follow a string of accusations by the government that an unnamed foreign country, widely understood to mean Iran, had instigated local protests. “They were gathering information about installations and vital areas in the country and providing intelligence agencies of that state with it,” al-Turki said.
Qaddafi associates arrested
Police arrested a cousin of late Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, a former Libyan ambassador to Egypt and another ex-Libyan official on Tuesday, a source told media. The source said Ahmed Qaddaf al-Dam, 60, who had been a special Libyan envoy, ex-ambassador Ali Maria and Mohamed Ibrahim Mansour, who headed a Libyan state fund under Qaddafi, had been detained. Interpol’s Web site says that Qaddaf al-Dam was wanted by Libyan authorities for counterfeiting, forgery, fraud and money laundering, while Mansour was wanted for corruption. Details on charges against Ali Maria were not available. Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan welcomed the arrests and called for the immediate handover of the men. “They will face a fair trial here,” Zeidan told a news conference.
Fukushima power glitch fixed
Technicians have restored power to all cooling systems at the reactors of the tsunami-hit Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said yesterday after a blackout sparked a new crisis. Equipment in pools used to cool used fuel became fully operational from 12:12pm, about 30 hours after the blackout, TEPCO said. TEPCO stressed that the glitch was fixed before any lasting damage was caused, saying the temperatures of all the fuel pools were well below the safety limit of 65°C. The company said there was no major change in radioactivity levels at nearby spots.
Grenades hit state buildings
Assailants on Tuesday fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the headquarters of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party and hurled two hand grenades at the Ministry of Justice’s parking lot, slightly wounding one person, officials said. Minister of the Interior Muammer Guler said no one was injured in the attack on the party headquarters, while the spouse of a justice ministry employee was treated for a slight injury in the second assault. Erdogan had left Turkey hours earlier for a visit to Denmark. The minister said a terrorist group was responsible for the attacks, but he declined to identify it.
Opposition leader bit by rat
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille was bitten by a rat outside her home in Cape Town on Tuesday. The Democratic Alliance Party leader posted a picture of her bloody toe on Twitter after the incident. When a reader asked why she did not blame the African National Congress, she replied: “Damn, why didn’t I think of that!!” However, she lost her sense of humor when someone asked if the rat was black or white, replying: “Only in SA [South Africa]!! Just a matter of time b4 someone brought race into it.”
Beach shut after seal abuse
San Diego’s mayor has ordered a two-month nighttime shutdown of a beach after cameras set up to monitor a seal colony captured people kicking, punching and sitting on top of mother seals and their pups. San Diego Mayor Bob Filner said in a statement on Tuesday that the La Jolla beach known as Children’s Pool will be closed between sunset and sunrise until May 15. The 24-hour “seal-cam” was introduced in January and equipped with night vision so researchers and the public could watch the seals give birth during pupping season. However, the camera captured people abusing and harassing the seals and driving them from their resting places.
‘Canadian Psycho’ collapses
A former porn actor accused of murdering and dismembering a Chinese man collapsed in court on Tuesday while evidence was presented against him, witnesses and his lawyer said. Luka Rocco Magnotta, 30, asked for a break in the preliminary hearing, during which a judge must decide if there is enough evidence for a trial, then stood up and collapsed. His lawyer, Luc Leclair, said that Magnotta was “not feeling well” and was not able to continue. Proceedings were adjourned until yesterday, when Magnotta was expected to return after resting, he added. The so-called “Canadian Psycho” has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges, including committing indignities to a body and harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Police have said the man, who had worked as a gay porn actor and sex worker, used an ice pick to stab his 33-year-old victim before carving up his body, sexually abusing the corpse, filming the act and posting it online. The media dubbed Magnotta the “Canadian Psycho.”
Miners rescued after quake
Nineteen miners were pulled alive and well from a copper mine yesterday after a small earthquake trapped them 600m below the surface late the previous night. It took seven hours to tunnel through collapsed rock to reach the miners, who were working at the Rudna copper mine when a small tremor trapped them there at 10:09pm on Tuesday. Two were treated for minor injuries, while the others, shaken up and covered with grime after a grueling night, were on their way home. Families of the miners, who gathered near the mine, cheered when the mine’s operator, KGHM, announced that all 19 were found alive and were slowly being taken out through a hole dug by the rescuers.
Man, 83, kills wife, self
An elderly man who shot and killed his 83-year-old wife in an eastern Pennsylvania hospice unit on Tuesday, and then committed suicide, had apparently decided he could not live without her, authorities said. Staff members heard gunshots on the fourth floor of Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown shortly after 1am. When they entered the room where the shots were fired, they found Mildred Osman dead in her bed, along with the body of 86-year-old Elwood Osman, Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said. James Geiger, senior vice president of the hospital, was asked at a news conference if Mildred Osman’s shooting death appeared to be a “mercy killing.” “It’s a love story,” Geiger responded. “The elderly gentleman could not bear to see his wife suffering, and the family, I believe, have observed that he just could not envision living without her.”
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
‘LIKE A CASSANDRA’: Chinese residents of Prato went into self-imposed lockdown and warned their Italian neighbors about what was coming, but were ignored In the storm of infection and death sweeping Italy, one big community stands out to health officials as remarkably unscathed — the 50,000 ethnic Chinese who live in the town of Prato. Two months ago, the country’s Chinese residents were the target of what Amnesty International described as shameful discrimination, the butt of insults and violent attacks by people who feared that they would spread the coronavirus through Italy. However, in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to Italy’s single biggest Chinese community, the opposite has been true. Once scapegoats, they are now held up by authorities as a model for early,
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500