Crimewave blamed on drugs
An increase in the smuggling of synthetic drugs like methamphetamine from Southeast Asia has fueled a rise in violent crime in the nation this year, a state-run newspaper reported yesterday. In the first nine months of the year, police recorded more than 100 incidents of violent crime blamed on methamphetamine, more than the total number seen in the previous five years, Liu said. “China is facing a grim task in curbing synthetic drugs, including ‘ice,’ which more and more of China’s drug addicts tend to use,” the official China Daily quoted Liu Yuejin (劉躍進), head of the public security ministry’s Narcotics Control Bureau, as saying, referring to the street name for methamphetamine. “Compared with traditional drugs, such as heroine and opium, methamphetamine can easily lead to mental problems,” Liu added. “Addicts will be prone to extreme and violent behavior, including murder and kidnapping.” Methamphetamine was being smuggled into China’s southwestern province of Yunnan and region of Guangxi, both of which border Southeast Asia, the newspaper said.
Japanese star mourned
The nation yesterday mourned the death of Japanese film star Ken Takakura, in a rare expression of cultural affinity between the Asian rivals. Takakura, best-known in the West for his role as a tough detective in Ridley Scott’s Black Rain, came to prominence in China when Japanese movies were allowed into the country in the late 1970s. He died last week of lymphoma at the age of 83, reports said on Tuesday, after a decades-long acting career dotted with starring roles, often as a mobster or a police officer or other strong, silent types enduring hardship in the pursuit of justice. “Ken Takakura is a witness to the history of friendship between the Chinese and Japanese people,” one user wrote on microblogging Web site Sina Weibo. Others hailed him as “Japan’s last tough guy” and “a Japanese national treasure who loves China.” Xinhua news agency on Tuesday described Takakura as an actor who “helped redefine the image Chinese males hoped to obtain for an entire generation,” adding that Takakura’s 1976 hit Manhunt was among the first Japanese films to be screened in the nation after the Cultural Revolution.
Police search for Uighurs
Authorities on Tuesday said they were searching for about 120 ethnic Uighurs who fled China and were detained in the south by police earlier this year, but escaped this month from a shelter there. The escapees, almost all women and children, left the shelter in several separate groups this month; 21 have been found, leaving an additional 120 or so at large, said Major General Puthishart Aekkashal, deputy police chief of a region in Songkhla Province, where the migrants were initially detained in March. At the time, authorities took into custody 198 Uighurs who had entered the nation voluntarily, the officer said.
Man arrested over dead dogs
Police have arrested a former pet shop worker for allegedly abandoning 80 dogs, dead and alive, in the countryside, officials and reports said yesterday. Masaki Kimura, 39, admitted that he had been paid ￥1 million (US$8,500) by a breeder to dispose of the miniature dachshunds, toy poodles and corgies. He gave them no food or water, Jiji Press reported, and all but eight of the animals died in the wooden crates he was using to transport them.
Pena Nieto defends mansion
President Enrique Pena Nieto on Tuesday defended his wife’s controversial purchase of a mansion owned by a government contractor, saying the former soap opera star would provide her own public explanation. A visibly irate Pena Nieto lashed out at a report of a house purchase that has raised ethical questions about his administration, saying the information was full of “falsehoods.” As he left on a six-day trip to China and Australia last week, the news Web site Aristegui Noticias reported that the property was owned by a firm linked to a Chinese-led consortium that recently won a lucrative bullet train contract. The president abruptly revoked the train contract on Nov. 6, just three days after it was awarded to the sole bidder, a Chinese-Mexican group headed by China Railway Construction Corp.
Search for Ms Honduras on
Officials combed valleys and mountains on Tuesday in a desperate search for the reigning Miss Honduras, Maria Jose Alvarado, who was abducted days before she was to compete in the Miss World contest. Alvarado, 19, and her sister, Sofia Trinidad, disappeared on Thursday last week outside Santa Barbara after a birthday party at a local resort. Police spokesman Jose Coello said officers were scouring river valleys and mountains near the Guatemalan border looking for any trace of the sisters. Alvarado had been set to fly to London yesterday for Miss World.
Hundreds of rapes ignored
The mayor of New Orleans says hundreds of rape and child abuse cases that went largely ignored by five police detectives over a three-year period will be reopened and thoroughly investigated. Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Tuesday said that a special team of police officers would reopen hundreds of mishandled cases uncovered by a city inspector general’s audit that was released last week. The report charged that five detectives failed to do substantial investigation of more than 1,000 sex crimes and child abuse cases. It found that the detectives classified 65 percent of the cases they received as “miscellaneous,” for which no report at all was written. The inspectors said those cases could not be examined due to the “total void of information.”
Marines kill cartel hitman
Marines have killed the chief enforcer of the Knights Templar in the western state of Michoacan, a federal official said on Tuesday, dealing a fresh blow to the drug cartel. Jose Julio Mendoza Roman, alias “El Parotas,” was considered one of the men closest to the cartel’s fugitive leader, said Alfredo Castillo, the government’s special security envoy to Michoacan. Mendoza Roman, 36, and another hitman were killed in a shootout with marines on Saturday after gang suspects fired at a military helicopter that had landed in the town of Tumbiscatio to arrest them, Castillo said.
Mafia initiation filmed
Secret mafia initiation rites have been caught on camera for the first time by police, who on Tuesday arrested 40 suspected gangsters in raids in the north. The arrests, on charges of criminal association, illegal arms sales and extortion, followed a two-year investigation using wiretaps and hidden cameras in locations known to be frequented by mobsters, police said. “For the first time the swearing-in ceremonies have been recorded live,” Milan prosecutor Ilda Boccassini said at a press conference following the raids.
PASTA PUNCHLINE: Billy McLean’s spoof poking fun at misinformation on the coronavirus was meant for friends, but is being eaten up by frazzled Britons It started off as an ad-libbed joke for some friends in a soccer banter group and ended up being heard by vast numbers of Britons within hours. However, the man responsible for a joke WhatsApp audio clip that claimed the UK Ministry of Defence was about to requisition Wembley Stadium to cook the world’s biggest lasagna has said his viral success also shows the risks of believing everything that gets sent to you on the messaging service. Billy McLean, a 29-year-old Londoner who works in software sales, came forward to the Guardian to identify himself as the creator of the much-shared clip
‘AN HONORABLE TASK’: The brigade to Italy is the sixth contingent of doctors the nation has sent abroad to aid governments contending with the COVID-19 pandemic Cuba has dispatched doctors and nurses to Italy for the first time this weekend to help fight COVID-19 at the request of the worst-affected region Lombardy, it said. The Caribbean nation has sent its “armies of white robes” to disaster sites around the world largely in poor countries since its 1959 revolution, with doctors on the front lines in the fight against cholera in Haiti and against ebola in West Africa in the 2010s. Yet with the 52-strong brigade, this is the first time Cuba has sent an emergency contingent to Italy, one of the world’s richest countries, demonstrating the reach of
There are growing concerns for the health of Rokia Traore, a Malian singer who has been on hunger strike at the Fleury-Merogis Prison near Paris since she was arrested on March 10 on allegations of kidnapping her daughter in a child custody dispute. “I am very worried,” said Kenneth Feliho, her lawyer. “She is only drinking. She has not been eating for over a week and her immune system is weak.” Among those calling for the musician’ release are African stars including Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour and Angelique Kidjo. Damon Albarn, who performed with her in the group Africa Express, wrote: “We demand,
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