PM not to face charges
Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama will not face charges over an alleged assault due to double-jeopardy rules, Director of Public Prosecutions Christopher Pryde said yesterday, despite finding that there would be enough evidence to take the case to court. Bainimarama was accused of assaulting opposition lawmaker Pio Tikoduadua outside parliament in August, shortly after the pair had engaged in a heated debate in the chamber. Tikoduadua accused Bainimarama of “thuggery,” saying that the prime minister threatened him and shoved him, breaking his spectacles. Mobile phone footage shared widely online showed an argument between the pair, with Bainimarama advancing on Tikoduadua and appearing to grab his suit jacket. Pryde said he would not press any charges, because parliament’s privileges committee had already dealt with the issue. Pryde said that as the altercation took place on parliamentary grounds, the committee had the power to make a ruling on it and had done so. This meant that pursuing the matter through the criminal courts would expose Bainimarama to double jeopardy, which was against the constitution, he said. “Had the matter not been heard by the privileges committee and dealt with by parliament, there was sufficient evidence for the matter to proceed to court,” Pryde said.
Bus crash kills 35
Authorities said yesterday that 35 people have been killed in a bus crash near Mecca. The Saudi Press Agency reported that four others were injured in the crash. The agency, quoting police in Medina Province, said the crash happened at about 7pm on Wednesday on a road linking Mecca to Medina. The chartered bus carried Asian and Arab nationals, it said, without elaborating. Police were investigating the incident. Authorities gave no immediate cause for the crash.
Protesters block roads
After another night of clashes in Catalonia that left nearly 100 people injured according to emergency services, activists again blocked roads yesterday in the northeastern region. For the third night running, protesters clashed violently with riot police in the Catalan capital of Barcelona on Wednesday night, torching cars and garbage bins, as they expressed their fury over the sentencing of nine Catalan separatist leaders to long jail terms over their role in a failed independence bid. Emergency services said 58 people were injured, including a 17-year-old who was hit by a police van. Another 38 people were injured in protests in other Catalan cities.
Blood floods basement
Blood might be thicker than water, but it can still flood your basement. Nick Lestina found this out the hard way two weeks ago when he discovered 13cm of blood, fat and other animal tissue flooding his family’s basement in Bagley, about 72km northwest of Des Moines, Iowa. He told the Des Moines Register that he has not been able to clean it up because it is still seeping in. The waste is coming from a neighboring meat locker, where blood and tissue from slaughtered animals was washed down a drain. Officials say a clog or break in the pipe sent the waste into Lestina’s basement through a floor drain. A state environmental specialist traced the waste to Dahl’s Custom Meat Locker and says the company is now pumping it into a large tank. The Lestina family has temporarily moved in with a relative.
LIFE GOES ON: After a strict lockdown that left millions on the brink of starvation, Indians embrace work to avoid starvation and get ready for several major festivals India is on course to top the world in COVID-19 cases, but from Maharashtra’s whirring factories to Kolkata’s thronging markets, people are back at work — and eager to forget the pandemic for festival season. After a strict lockdown in March that left millions on the brink of starvation, the government and people of the world’s second-most populous country decided life must go on. Sonali Dange, for instance, has two young daughters and an elderly mother-in-law to look after. She was hospitalized this year in excruciating pain after catching the novel coronavirus. However, after the lockdown exhausted the family’s savings, the 29-year-old had
A COVID-19 outbreak among hundreds of Russian and Ukrainian fishers flown to New Zealand to bolster its struggling deep-sea fishing industry has prompted that country’s largest daily increase in infections in months, authorities said yesterday. More than 230 fishers were flown in from Moscow last week, with 18 of the crew members then testing positive for COVID-19 while in quarantine, New Zealand Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said. The Pacific nation has almost eliminated local transmission of the virus, but regularly records small numbers of new cases in returned travelers. The fishing cluster pushed the daily tally of new infections to 25,
From monitoring vital signs to filtering filthy air and even translating speech into other languages, the COVID-19-fueled boom in mask-wearing has spawned an unusual range of high-tech face coverings. As masks become the norm worldwide, tech companies and researchers are rolling out weird and wonderful models to guard against infection and cash in on a growing trend. One of the wackiest comes from Japan, where start-up Donut Robotics has created a face covering that helps users adhere to social distancing and also acts as a translator. The “C-Face” mask works by transmitting a wearer’s speech to a smartphone via an app, and allows
JAPAN Deer-edible bags invented The deer that roam Nara no longer face discomfort — or far worse — after local firms developed a safe alternative to the plastic packaging discarded by tourists that often ended up in the animals’ stomachs. Last year, several of the 1,300 deer that wander around the ancient capital’s central park were found dead after swallowing plastic bags and food wrappers. Firms collaborated to develop bags that pass safely through the animals’ complex digestive system. The bags are made with recycled pulp from milk cartons and rice bran, one of the main ingredients of the shika senbei savory