Stay of execution granted
A judge has granted a stay of execution to Lisa Montgomery, who yesterday was due to be the first female inmate executed by the federal government in 70 years. Montgomery, 52, has been imprisoned for 16 years after she killed a pregnant woman to steal her fetus. She was scheduled to receive a lethal injection yesterday at a federal penitentiary in Terre-Haute, Indiana, but Judge James Hanlon granted her an 11th-hour stay of execution on Monday. Montgomery’s lawyers had argued that she was too mentally incompetent to be executed. “The record before the Court contains ample evidence that Ms Montgomery’s current mental state is so divorced from reality that she cannot rationally understand the government’s rationale for her execution,” Hanlon wrote in his ruling.
‘Jihad’ attacker gets life
A man who as a teenager fought for a militant group in Libya was on Monday jailed for the rest of his life for murdering three men in a stabbing spree in a park in Reading last year in what the judge said was a terrorist attack. Khairi Saadallah, 26, later told police that what he had done was “jihad” and he would go to paradise as a result, Judge Nigel Sweeney said. “His attack was so swift, ruthless and brutal that none of them had any chance to react, let alone to defend themselves,” Sweeney said. Saadallah in November last year pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder, but his defense team argued that he was suffering from a mental disorder. The judge rejected that claim and said that Saadallah had made crude attempts to portray himself as “mad” in police interviews.
Customs officials have been videoed confiscating sandwiches and other food from passengers on a ferry from the UK, blaming new trade rules. Officers are seen stopping drivers at the Hook of Holland port, in the footage filmed last week by broadcaster Avrotros. “Welcome to the Brexit, sir ... I’m sorry,” one official says as he seizes the foil-wrapped sandwiches of one stunned driver, who is said by the broadcaster to be Polish. The driver asks the customs officer if he can “take off the meat and you leave me the bread?” “No, everything will be confiscated,” the officer replies. Another driver is seen having fish products seized. Drivers cannot say they were not warned: The British government last month gave the example of ham and cheese sandwiches of a food that could not cross to the continent after the UK formally abandoned EU trade rules on Jan. 1.
Manatee culprit sought
Florida and federal wildlife officials are investigating reports of a manatee found with “Trump” drawn on its back in the Homosassa River. The aquatic mammal was spotted over the weekend in the Citrus County river, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said. “West Indian manatees are essential members of the ecosystems in which they inhabit, and are protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act,” USFWS Director Aurelia Skipwith said in a statement. The manatee does not appear to be seriously injured, officials said. It appears that the word was written in algae that had grown on the animal’s back, not scratched into its skin. The Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit group, is offering a US$5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the case.
Travelers need testing
The government is to ask international travelers from most countries to show negative COVID-19 test results before boarding flights to the country as new contagious variants of COVID-19 spread across globally. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that most global air routes will be of critical concern for the foreseeable future,” COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said in a statement.
Gorillas catch COVID-19
Several gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for COVID-19, with some experiencing symptoms, in what is believed to be the first outbreak among such primates in captivity. Park executive director Lisa Peterson told reporters on Monday that eight gorillas who live together at the park are believed to have the virus and several have been coughing. It appears the infection came from a member of the park’s wildlife care team who also tested positive for the virus, but has been asymptomatic.
Man-walking woman fined
Police have fined a woman whose dogged determination to dodge a strict new curfew saw her taking a man for a walk — on a leash. Quebec Province has imposed an 8pm curfew in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19, but residents are allowed to take dogs for walks close to home. Police in Sherbrooke, about 150km east of Montreal, on Saturday stopped a woman who was walking with a man on a leash. When they confronted her, she replied with a straight face “that she was walking her dog.” Sherbrooke police spokeswoman Isabelle Gendron said police believed the woman was “testing us.”
Darknet marketplace shut
Oldenburg police have taken down the “world’s largest” darknet marketplace, whose Australian alleged operator used it to sell drugs, stolen credit card data and malware, prosecutors said yesterday. The police, as part of an international operation, “were able to arrest the alleged operator of suspected world’s largest illegal marketplace on the darknet, the DarkMarket, at the weekend,” they said in a statement. “Investigators were able to shut down the marketplace and turn off the server on Monday.”
Army firm in Ladakh: chief
Army chief of staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane yesterday said that he expected talks with China would lead to an amicable solution to the Himalayan border crisis, but the army is ready to hold its ground for as long as it takes. Local and Chinese troops were holding their positions, although Chinese troops had pulled back from some training areas on the adjacent Tibetan plateau, he said. “If the talks get prolonged, so be it,” he told reporters in an annual briefing on the situation in Ladakh region. “We are prepared to hold our ground where we are, for as long as it takes, to achieve our national goals and interests. Naravane said he expected another round of talks soon.
Opposition decries violence
Opposition figures yesterday criticized widespread violence by security forces ahead of tomorrow’s presidential election, while main challenger Bobi Wine said soldiers who raided his home yesterday morning arrested a security guard and beat two gardeners badly. “The terror, frankly, is unprecedented,” Kizza Besigye, a veteran opposition leader who challenged longtime President Yoweri Museveni in four elections, said at a opposition news conference in Kampala. “Violence, terror seem to be scaled up with every coming election. This election has witnessed untold violence. It gets worse and worse by the day.”
Hunt on for casino official
The Jeju Provincial Police Agency said officers are searching for a female casino executive who disappeared after her employer discovered 14.6 billion won (US$13 million) in cash missing from the resort’s coffer. Hong Kong-based Landing International Development, which operates Jeju Shinhwa World, said on its Web site that it was unable to reach the employee, a Malaysian national, who did not return to work after going on vacation at the end of last month. The missing funds — all in cash — would be too heavy and bulky at about 280kg for one person to carry out of the casino, let alone transport off the Jeje Island. Police secured surveillance camera footage from the casino, but the video around the time the funds might have disappeared was erased, Yonhap News Agency said.
Collar speaks for dogs
A startup has developed an artificial intelligence(AI)-powered dog collar that can detect five emotions in canines by monitoring their barks using voice recognition technology. The Petpuls collar can tell pet owners through a smartphone application if their dogs are happy, relaxed, anxious, angry or sad. It also tracks dogs’ physical activity and rest. “This device gives a dog a voice so that humans can understand,” Petpuls Lab director of global marketing Andrew Gil said. The collar has a 90 percent average accuracy rate of emotional recognition, according to Seoul National University, which tested the device.
On the Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo, enthusiastic slackers share their tips: Fill up a thermos with whiskey, do planks or stretches in the work pantry at regular intervals, drink liters of water to prompt lots of trips to the toilet on work time, and, once there, spend time on social media or playing games on your phone. “Not working hard is everyone’s basic right,” one commenter wrote. “With or without legal protection, everyone has the right to not work hard.” Young Chinese people are pushing back against an engrained culture of overwork, and embracing a philosophy of laziness known as “touching
‘STUNNED’: With help from an official at the US Department of Justice, Donald Trump reportedly planned to oust the acting attorney general in a bid to overturn the election Former US president Donald Trump was at his Florida resort on Saturday, beginning post-presidency life while US President Joe Biden settled into the White House, but in Washington and beyond, the chaos of the 45th president’s final days in office continued to throw out damaging aftershocks. In yet another earth-shaking report, the New York Times said that Trump plotted with an official at the US Department of Justice to fire the acting attorney general, then force Georgia Republicans to overturn his defeat in that state. Meanwhile, former acting US secretary of defense Christopher Miller made an extraordinary admission, telling Vanity Fair that
Boeing set a target of designing and certifying its jetliners to fly on 100 percent sustainable fuels by 2030, amid rising pressure on planemakers to take climate change seriously. Regulators allow a 50-50 blend of sustainable and conventional fuels, and Boeing on Friday said it would work with authorities to raise the limit. Rival Airbus is considering another tack: a futuristic lineup of hydrogen-powered aircraft that would reach the skies by 2035. The aircraft manufacturers face growing public clamor to cut emissions in the aviation industry, which added more than 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in 2019, according to
Mongolian Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh on Thursday resigned following a protest over a hospital’s treatment of a new mother who tested positive for COVID-19. Khurelsukh, whose Mongolian People’s Party holds a strong majority in the parliament known as the State Great Khural, stepped down after accusing Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga of the Democratic Party of orchestrating a political crisis. A small protest broke out in the capital, Ulan Bator, on Wednesday after TV footage appeared of a woman who had just given birth being escorted in slippers and a thin robe from the maternity ward to a special wing for COVID-19 patients