Gun surprises teacher
Police have arrested a man after a teacher in his son’s school shot a chair in the staffroom with the father’s revolver, officials and reports said yesterday. Staff at the junior high school in Shime confiscated the weapon from the boy on Wednesday last week, believing it to be a dummy, and kept it in the communal office. The unidentified teacher, who reportedly thought the gun was a fake, fired it at the furniture on Saturday, broadcaster NHK and Kyodo News said. Officers arrested the boy’s father on suspicion of possessing a revolver and several bullets in violation of the Firearms and Swords Control Law, a police spokesman said.
Man bitten by tiger
A man was rushed to hospital yesterday after being bitten on the neck by a tiger at Australia Zoo, run by the family of late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin. The man, believed to be a trainer at the zoo north of Brisbane, was in a serious condition. Reports said the man was found with two puncture wounds to his neck and was breathing and conscious. The Australia Zoo is a 40-hectare facility on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast made popular by Irwin, who starred in the hugely successful wildlife documentary series The Crocodile Hunter.
Roof collapse kills nine
A roof collapse probably caused by a blizzard has killed nine people at a food processing factory, state media and an official said yesterday. The nine people were killed during the lunchtime collapse at the plant in Mudanjiang City in Heilongjiang Province on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported. Citing emergency officials, Xinhua said the collapse probably was caused by blizzards. A man from the local emergency response office confirmed the report, and said the plant was a food processing factory. He declined to identify himself, as is common with Chinese officials. Xinhua said local authorities are preparing to carry out a safety check across the city following heavy snowfall. Snow has closed roads and led to flight cancelations in the northeast this week.
Phone thief returns numbers
A thief painstakingly wrote out 11 pages of telephone numbers from a stolen iPhone and sent them to the owner, Xinhua said on Monday. The pickpocket is believed to have taken the Apple handset from Zou Bin when they shared a taxi, Xinhua said. Zou had nearly 1,000 contact numbers in the device and with no backup copy — like millions of other people around the world — he was more concerned about losing the data than the telephone itself, it added. “I know you are the man who sat beside me. I can assure you that I will find you,” he said in a text message to the thief. “Look through the contact numbers in my mobile and you will know what trade I am in... Send me back the phone to the address below if you are sensible.” The tone of the message was unmistakably threatening — Zou works in the pub industry, which is widely held to have links with gangs. Days later he received a parcel containing his SIM card and 11 pages of handwritten contact numbers, Xinhua said, adding that he was “fossilized” by the result — a Chinese colloquialism for astonished. “It would take a while to write from one to 1,000, let alone names and a whole string of digits. I suppose [the thief’s] hand is swelling,” Zou was quoted as saying.
Pensioner opens zoo
A pensioner has opened a zoo like no other: One filled with dozens of abandoned stuffed animals. Tibor Marko, a 70-year-old retired construction worker and grandfather, told reporters the idea behind his inanimate menagerie sprang from his own reluctance to dispose of his adult children’s teddy bears. Then, “about a year-and-a-half ago, a friend gave me an old teddy bear and several other animals, and told me to do something with them. That’s when I thought the old toys could bring joy to other children,” he said. “The first animals got stolen, but now all the neighbors bring me their old toys and my wife helps me arrange them,” he said at the garden where they also tend the flowers. The zoo — which has no cages, fences, entry fees or closing hours — has been a hit with neighbors young and old. “I come here often with my two-year-old daughter, she likes to play with the animals a lot,” local resident Maria said.
More corpses found
The number of bodies found in 22 clandestine graves in the west of the country has risen to 42, after five more corpses were found over the weekend. Many of the bodies have been found bound or gagged. Some showed signs of torture, according to a federal prosecutor who spoke on Monday on condition of anonymity. The graves are in La Barca, in a remote area by Lake Chapala, which is popular among tourists and US retirees. Local police officers who confessed to working with a drug cartel led agents to the mass graves last week near the border between Jalisco and Michoacan states. The area is the site of a turf war between the Knights Templar and the New Generation cartels.
Uranium is from abroad
A kilogram of uranium seized as it was allegedly being sold likely originated from a nuclear enrichment plant outside the continent, the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA) said on Monday. The agency, which tested the material, confirmed that the substance was unenriched uranium and added it likely came from somewhere where enrichment is taking place. “Yes, it is uranium and the tests suggest that it must have come from a country that is dealing with some uranium enrichment at the moment, very, very unlikely [in] Africa,” NECSA spokesman Elliot Mulane said. China, Iran, Japan, North Korea and the US are among more than a dozen countries involved in uranium enrichment. Two men in their early 20s were arrested in possession of the uranium while allegedly trying to sell it in Durban on Nov. 14, officials said.
Gunmen kill instructor
Gunmen on a motorbike shot dead a Belarussian military instructor in the capital yesterday, a police source said. The source said two instructors, who worked with the army, were shot as they left a hotel where they were staying in the southern part of the capital. Dubai-based al-Arabiya TV reported that one adviser was killed and another was wounded in the attack. “Two citizens of Belarus working in Yemen on private contracts were attacked near the entrance of the Amsterdam hotel in central Sana’a,” Russian embassy spokesman Nikolai Lyagushin told Interfax. “One of them was killed and the other seriously injured.” A spokesman for the Belarussian foreign ministry in Minsk said officials were still checking the Russian embassy’s report.
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
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
‘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,