Breivik ruling appeal starts
The government yesterday started an appeal against a ruling that it treated mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik inhumanely by placing him in solitary confinement and restricting his movements. The Oslo District Court said that the isolation of the 37-year-old right-wing extremist, who killed 77 people in a bomb and shooting rampage in 2011, breached the European Convention on Human Rights. The government has maintained that Breivik, who is serving a 21-year sentence, is treated humanely despite the severity of his crimes and that he must be separated from other inmates for safety reasons. The appeals case opened yesterday in a makeshift courtroom in Skien prison, where Breivik is incarcerated. Six days have been reserved for the hearings.
Sex slave protester dies
A Buddhist monk has died days after he set himself on fire to protest the nation’s deal with Japan on former Korean sex slaves, Seoul National University Hospital said yesterday. The monk, 64, set himself ablaze on Saturday during rallies against impeached President Park Geun-hye. In his notebook found at the scene, he criticized Park’s 2015 agreement to settle an impasse over Korean women forced to be sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II in return for an apology from the Japanese prime minister and a pledge of millions of US dollars. The monk was pronounced dead on Monday night of multiple organ failures caused by his burns, the hospital said.
Park’s friend snubs trial
President Park Geun-hye’s longtime friend at the center of a massive corruption scandal yesterday refused to testify at Park’s impeachment trial, with lawmakers alleging that it was a stalling tactic. The Constitutional Court had expected to hear from Choi Soon-sil, who is in jail and also on trial for allegedly using her connections with the president to extort money and favors from companies and unlawfully interfere with government affairs. However, Choi submitted documents to the court saying she was unable to testify. Two jailed former presidential aides who purportedly helped Choi also refused to testify, saying they needed to prepare for their own trials. Lawmakers, who function as prosecutors at the impeachment trial, raised suspicions that Park’s lawyers were controlling the witnesses as a stalling tactic.
Tehran open to ‘hajj’ talks
Tehran is ready to “participate in bilateral talks” with Saudi Arabia about this year’s hajj pilgrimage, the IRNA news agency late on Monday quoted Ali Qaziaskar, a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as saying. Like other Islamic nations, Iran has received an invitation letter from Riyadh to discuss the next pilgrimage, he said. Tehran boycotted last year’s hajj after a stampede and crush of pilgrims during the previous year’s pilgrimage killed at least 2,426 people, including 464 Iranians, according to an Associated Press count.
Hicks charged with assault
David Hicks, the first prisoner held at the US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be convicted by a military court, yesterday appeared in a court in Adelaide charged with assaulting his partner. Hicks, 41, appeared at a pretrial conference on a charge that he assaulted his partner in September. He has yet to plea to the charge, which carries a potential two-year sentence. He was released on bail to appear next on Feb. 28.
Troops kill Palestinian
The Israeli military said troops have shot dead a Palestinian attacker who tried to stab soldiers in the West Bank. Israeli forces were on an arrest raid in the Fara Refugee Camp yesterday when the Palestinian charged toward them with a knife, they said. The troops shot him after he ignored warnings to halt. Palestinians said 32-year-old Mohammed al-Salhi was shot dead in his home.
Jolie Pitt and Pitt reach pact
Angelina Jolie Pitt and Brad Pitt have reached an agreement to handle their divorce in a private forum and will work together to reunify their family, the actors announced in a joint statement on Monday. Their statement released on Monday night to The Associated Press said that they will keep future details of their divorce confidential by using a private judge. “The parents are committed to act as a united front to effectuate recovery and reunification,” the statement said. Authorities investigated allegations that Pitt was abusive toward his 15-year-old son on a private flight, but sources familiar with the cases said the actor was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Suspension bridge fails
A suspension bridge popular with tourists in a rural area of central Colombia has failed, killing at least seven people and injuring 14 more. The bridge near Villavicencio is a major tourist attraction. Authorities said it might have turned upside down on Monday due to overload during a busy three-day holiday weekend. Those injured are being treated at a local hospital. Officials said they fear the death toll could rise because the injuries suffered by people spilled 80m into a gorge were severe. Firefighters at the rescue scene said the dead included five adults and two minors.
Chairlift accident probed
Electrical problems caused a chairlift at a small Colorado ski resort to hit a support tower and topple a Texas woman about 7.6m to her death, state investigators said on Monday. According to a report by the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board, problems with the chairlift’s electrical drive/control system “contributed to a rare dynamic event that occurred on the lift at the time of the incident.” The four-person chair carrying Kelly Huber, 40, and her two young daughters hit a support tower at Ski Granby Ranch on Dec. 29, causing the family to fall onto hard-packed snow. The woman died from a ruptured aorta and other traumatic injuries, an autopsy concluded. Her 12-year-old daughter was treated at a local hospital and released, while her 9-year-old daughter was flown to a hospital in Denver.
Arrest in ‘Hollyweed’ case
Zachary Cole Fernandez, 30, was arrested on Monday, just over a week after a prankster used white tarps to make the “Hollywood” sign read “Hollyweed,” the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement. Fernandez turned himself in with his attorney and was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing, police said. The prankster was dressed in black and was recorded by security cameras in the area changing the sign early New Year’s Day. Fernandez, an artist, had already claimed credit for the stunt in a Vice magazine interview, but police had not confirmed his involvement. Fernandez said that he had heard someone pulled the same prank in the 1970s and he sought to repeat it to “bring positivity into the world.”
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
BEYOND CULTURE: The US State Department was expected to announce that the Chinese government-funded institutes would have to register as foreign missions US President Donald Trump’s administration is increasing scrutiny of a long-established Chinese-government funded program that is dedicated to teaching Chinese language and culture in the US and other nations, the latest escalation of tensions with Beijing. The US Department of State was expected to announce as soon as yesterday that Confucius Institutes in the US — many of which are based on college campuses — would have to register as “foreign missions,” according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. The designation would amount to a conclusion that the institutes are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by