Wild-card heads Labour poll
A left-wing lawmaker who entered the leadership race of Britain’s opposition Labour Party as a wild-card might be on course to win with a commanding lead, a poll showed late on Monday. Support for Jeremy Corbyn, 66, a veteran socialist and anti-nuclear campaigner, has increased to give him the backing of more than half of those eligible to vote in the contest, according to a poll by YouGov. “I would personally be astonished if Corbyn does not end up as Labour’s leader,” YouGov president Peter Kellner wrote, adding that the race could change before voting ends in a month’s time. The poll of 1,411 eligible voters showed Corbyn with 53 percent support, far ahead of his nearest rival, Andy Burnham on 21 percent — a drop of five points. Seen as the most left-wing of the four candidates, Corbyn’s increasing popularity comes despite a series of stark warnings from senior Labour figures that he could damage the party’s chances of beating the ruling center-right Conservative Party in future elections.
Ministers axed in reshuffle
President Denis Sassou Nguesso on Monday announced a major Cabinet reshuffle that excludes two minsters who opposed a change to the constitution that would allow the long-serving head of state to run for a third term. Minister of Commerce Claudine Munari and Minister of the Civil Service Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas were removed from the government, according to a government statement. Last month, the pair joined the main opposition coalition to stand against a constitutional change that would allow Nguesso, 72, to seek a new mandate in next year’s elections. Nguesso had convened a “national dialogue,” which came out “by a large majority” in favor of amending the constitution to remove an upper limit on the age of presidential candidates as well as the number of terms the head of state can serve, effectively paving the way for him to stand for a third term.
Philosophers win Kluge Prize
Two philosophers have been honored with a prize handed out by the Library of Congress for fields not covered by the Nobel prizes. The Library of Congress yesterday announced that Jurgen Habermas and Charles Taylor would share a US$1.5 million John Kluge Prize for humanities. They are the ninth and 10th winners of the prize, which was first awarded in 2000 and was handed out most recently in 2012. It was endowed by philanthropist John Kluge and honors achievement in fields including history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology and religion. Habermas and Taylor are to split the US$1.5 million award. Habermas is an 86-year-old German, whose books include The Theory of Communicative Action. Taylor is an 83-year-old Canadian, whose best-known work is Sources of the Self.
Tower jumpers sentenced
Two men convicted of parachute-jumping from the top of One World Trade Center were on Monday sentenced to community service and each ordered to pay US$2,000 in fines. A judge sentenced James Brady to 250 hours of community service and Andrew Rossig to 200 hours. The men were in June convicted of reckless endangerment and other misdemeanors. Another man, Marko Markovich, also was convicted and is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday.
The government has returned 159 Bangladeshi migrants rescued from boats stranded off its coast in May, officials said yesterday. More than 800 men, women and children were picked up from ships abandoned by smugglers in the Bay of Bengal in recent months, after a Thai crackdown on people-smuggling led gang bosses to abandon their human cargo on land and at sea. It sparked a long verification process between Myanmar and Bangladesh to determine the nationality of the migrants, with neither side showing a willingness to accept them at first. On Monday, Burmese authorities handed over 159 people to their Bangladeshi counterparts, state media said. However, a number of migrants were still undergoing verification. “The remaining 230 Bangladeshi will be transferred as soon as possible. The Bangladesh side are conducting a rigorous verification process,” a government official in Rakhine state said, asking to remain unnamed.
‘Harmful’ songs banned
Authorities have ordered 120 songs to be pulled from the Internet, including tracks titled Don’t Want to Go to School and All Must Die because they promoted sex, violence or “incited law-breaking.” No individual or organization is allowed to provide the songs, which “trumpeted obscenity, violence, crime or harmed social morality,” the Ministry of Culture said in a statement on Monday. Most of the blacklisted tunes were by unknown singers or bands, but had striking titles, including No Money No Friend and Suicide Diary, a list attached to the statement showed. The list provided “specific targets for Internet organizations’ self-censorship,” the ministry said, adding companies should “remove the products accurately, be aware of the bottom line and improve their service.” Anyone who does not comply “will be punished severely according to the law,” it said.
Man faces cocaine charges
A 91-year-old retired surgeon has been charged with importing cocaine hidden in 27 packages of soap, prompting police to warn travelers to beware they are not tricked into becoming drug mules. Victor Twartz, of Sydney, was released on bail when he appeared in Sydney’s Downing Center Local Court charged with importing a commercial quantity of cocaine last month. He did not enter a plea and is to appear in court next on Oct. 6. The retired oral surgeon faces a potential life prison sentence if he is convicted of importing 4.5kg of the drug into Sydney Airport on a July 8 flight from New Delhi. Police say it appears that Twartz was scammed by a group of people he had befriended online before his trip. Federal Police organized crime commander David Stewart declined to say whether Twartz had been promised anything by the group, but said he had been in contact with them over several months.
King had hydrocephalus
King Bhumibol Adulyadej has been treated for hydrocephalus, or “water on the brain,” and a chest infection, the palace revealed in a rare statement, amid public concern over the health of the world’s longest serving monarch. The 87-year-old king has been in Bangkok’s Siriraj Hospital since being readmitted in May, but information on his condition has been scarce. Doctors at the hospital have “reduced the level of water in his brain,” the Royal Household Bureau said in a statement on Monday. “His heart rate had returned to normal after treatment, it added.
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