Border help for Solomons
Canberra is to help the Solomon Islands build a border and patrol boat outpost, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his counterpart Manasseh Sogavare said yesterday, as they hailed their nations’ security cooperation and friendship. “Australia’s support for a border and patrol boat outpost will enhance infrastructure and security cooperation between our countries, and support Solomon Islands’ border security,” the leaders said, according to a joint statement released by Morrison’s media office. There was no information provided about potential costs of the project.
Former speaker arrested
Police in Kathmandu have arrested former speaker of parliament Krishna Bahadur Mahara after a female employee of the assembly accused him of rape. A police van arrived at his home late on Sunday and took him into custody after the district court ordered his arrest. Mahara, a senior member of the ruling Nepal Communist Party, has denied the allegation, but stepped down as speaker last week after the woman gave details of the alleged Sept. 29 assault to media and filed a formal complaint on Friday.
Candidates set record
A record 35 candidates yesterday filed nominations for next month’s presidential election, but President Maithripala Sirisena did not pay the mandatory deposit by Sunday’s deadline and so was ineligible to file a nomination. He was considered unlikely to defeat former defense chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who represents a breakaway party of Sirisena’s and has the loyalty of a majority from Sirisena’s party. A record 41 aspirants paid deposits before the deadline, but six later pulled out of the race. Rajapaksa’s main rival appears to be Sajith Premadasa, a son of president Ranasinghe Premadasa, who was assassinated in 1993 by the Tamil Tiger rebels.
Quake victims still afraid
Thousands of people in the Maluku Islands are still in shelters nearly two weeks after the Sept. 26 earthquake that killed dozens of people, the central government said yesterday. Nearly 135,000 people remain in evacuation shelters and tents. Fears about aftershocks have been aggravated by a stream of hoaxes and fake news — mostly on messaging services — that warn a tsunami-generating quake was about to strike. National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Agus Wibowo said the fake news was making a bad situation worse. “People are scared and so they chose to stay in shelters,” he said.
Mumbai tree felling halted
The Supreme Court yesterday issued a stay order to halt the cutting of trees in Mumbai for an ambitious subway project that has sparked protests from activists opposed to the felling of about 2,700 trees to build a train parking shed. Critics say felling the trees would exacerbate Mumbai’s pollution levels. Dozens of people were detained over the weekend after trying to stop officials from cutting the trees.
Taliban members freed
Taliban officials on Sunday said several of the group’s members have been freed from jails, including former shadow governors, just days after a US envoy met top Taliban leaders in the Pakistani capital. The officials also said the Taliban have released three Indian engineers they had been holding, though that has yet to be confirmed.
Jimmy Carter given stitches
Former US president Jimmy Carter had a black eye and was given 14 stitches after falling on Sunday at his home in Plains, Georgia, but made it to an evening concert in Tennessee to rally volunteers ahead of his 36th home-building project for Habitat for Humanity. By Sunday evening, Carter, 95, was on stage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville with his wife, Rosalynn, 92, to talk to volunteers and supporters of the building project that runs through Friday. He told the crowd that he had to go to the hospital and get 14 stitches, “but I had a No. 1 priority and that was to come to Nashville and build houses.”
Diplomat’s wife a suspect
Police chiefs have written to the US embassy in London to demand that immunity be waived for a US diplomat’s wife who is a suspect in a fatal road crash. Northamptonshire Police chief constable Nick Adderley said that US authorities had been appealed to in “the strongest terms” to apply a waiver and “allow the justice process to take place.” His force is leading investigations into a collision that killed Harry Dunn, 19, on Aug. 27. Police said the teenager died after his motorbike collided with a vehicle close to Royal Air Force Croughton in Northamptonshire, a military base used by the US Air Force.
Four killed in bar shooting
Four people — among them two Mexicans — were killed and five wounded early on Sunday in a shooting at a bar in Kansas City, officials said. At the scene of the shooting, which took place at the Tequila KC bar, “we located a total of nine people that had been shot,” Kansas City police said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Four of the victims were found deceased inside of the business and five were found outside with injuries, all due to gunshots,” police said, adding that the wounded were reported to be in stable condition. According to a preliminary police investigation, an “earlier dispute” at the bar led to the shooting, and two suspects armed with handguns fled the scene.
Man admits murder spree
A homeless man who used a metal rod to bludgeon four other homeless men to death in New York was arrested holding the murder weapon covered with blood and hair, and admitted that he was the person in a video of one of the attacks, prosecutors said on Sunday. Randy Santos, 24, was arraigned on charges of murder and attempted murder for the bloody rampage that happened early Saturday in Manhattan’s Chinatown. He did not enter a plea and was ordered held without bail. Santos’ relatives told the New York Daily News he had a history of drug use since his arrival to the US from the Dominican Republic several years ago.
Glastonbury sells in minutes
Tickets for the 50th Glastonbury Festival have sold out in 34 minutes, as a record number of fans tried to secure a ticket for the event at Worthy Farm next June. Co-organizer Emily Eavis confirmed that a record number of people had registered to be eligible for the sale, which started at 9am on Sunday and was finished in little over 30 minutes. A record 2.4 million people signed up to have a chance of securing a ticket. The festival confirmed that 135,000 tickets had been sold, with coach packages selling out on Thursday in 27 minutes. The ticket sale was the second-fastest in the event’s history, with only the 2014 festival selling out a few minutes more quickly.
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference
PAPAL POLITICS? The controversial Australian prelate’s return to Rome comes just days after the pope fired one of his most powerful opponents over a financial scandal Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’ former finance minister, is to soon return to the Vatican during an extraordinary economic scandal for the first time since he was cleared of child abuse allegations in Australia five months ago, a church agency said yesterday. Pell is to fly back to Rome today, CathNews, an information agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said, citing “sources close to” Pell. Pell’s return follows Francis last week firing one of the cardinal’s most powerful opponents, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, over a financial scandal. Pell was regarded as the third-highest-ranking Vatican official and was attempting to wrestle the Holy See’s