Taiwanese arrested for fraud
Police have arrested 13 more people from Taiwan and China connection with cross-border telephone and Internet fraud, state-linked media said yesterday. The group had fled last month when a police raid netted 99 other Chinese and Taiwanese fraud suspects, Ho Chi Minh City’s Phap Luat newspaper reported. It said the 11 men and two women were arrested late on Friday night in the Mekong Delta province of Can Tho, when police had to force their way in to a rented house and fire tear gas. The report said, the suspects allegedly conned millions of US dollars out of people in China and Taiwan by pretending to be police investigating money laundering. Taiwanese fraud rings have recently relocated to Vietnam after Taiwan’s police joined forces with Chinese and Thai authorities to bust their operations, the Criminal Investigation Bureau said in Taipei earlier.
Chinese ‘The Office’ planned
A Chinese David Brent? British comedian Ricky Gervais says that could soon become a reality as a Chinese version of the television smash hit sitcom The Office is in the works. The British actor shot to fame as co-creator and star of The Office, a comedy filmed in fake documentary style about the day-to-day operations of a paper business where he played Brent, a cringe-inducing, middle-manager. The show has since been recreated in several countries including Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Israel and the US. Gervais joked that the Chinese authorities could baulk when they see his latest project.
Milk powder okay: ministry
Experts investigating a product safety scandal found no link between a brand of milk powder and apparent breast growth in three babies, the Health Ministry announced on Sunday. The ministry launched an investigation following parents’ complaints that the babies developed breasts after drinking formula made by Synutra International. The company has rejected the complaint. Researchers “found nothing abnormal about the amount of hormones contained in milk powder from Synutra and other brands” after testing samples from 14 producers, ministry spokesman, Deng Haihua (鄧海華) said.
Priest suspected of rape
Police are investigating an allegation of rape against a popular Taoist priest, whose thousands of followers include a business tycoon and a pop singer, state media said yesterday. Li Yi (李一) allegedly raped a female college student in 2004 or 2005 and then tried to silence her by paying her 7,000 yuan (US$1,030), local newspapers reported, citing a former student of the priest. Li has a reported 30,000 followers, who include business leaders, such as Jack Ma (馬雲), the founder of Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba.com, and celebrities such as Chinese pop singer Faye Wong (馬雲).
Fireworks blast kills 13
An explosion at a fireworks factory in Yichun, Heilongjiang Province, killed 13 people and injured 148 yesterday, Xinhua news agency reported. The 9:45am blast shattered windows of buildings located 1km away, while shockwaves from the explosion were felt 5km away. More than 2,000 residents were evacuated as more than 550 firefighters and soldiers battled the blaze caused by the blast, the report said. It was not known how many workers were inside the factory at the time of the accident.
Throwing in the towel
It was nicknamed the Gruyere War: a bitter three-year battle between French and Swiss cheesemakers over who made the real celebrated cheese. In the end, the conflict was over before it began after the Swiss — backed by EU experts — emerged victorious. Makers of French Gruyere and Swiss Gruyere, which have a different taste and appearance, had both claimed the prestigious mark of quality the Appellation d’Origine Controlee (AOC) in their respective countries. AOCs are an official mark of quality awarded to regional products with specific characteristics and taste produced with traditional methods, but the French got greedy and sought to have their gruyere recognized more widely with a prestigious Appellation d’Origine Protegee (AOP) handed out by the EU as a mark of international recognition. The Swiss complained, arguing the very name Gruyere comes from one of their towns nestling in the Alpine foothills, and that they had been making the celebrated cheese for centuries. Swiss legend has it that in 161 AD the Roman emperor Antonin the Pious died of indigestion after eating too much Gruyere. The Swiss version, a hard cheese with a nutty, salty flavor and a favorite with chefs, has few if any holes, while French Gruyere is required to have them. The EU was called in to adjudicate and found the French argument had a few holes of its own, namely that it was matured outside of the area it was produced in and so did not appear to qualify for an AOP. Having digested the report, which said the French case was “weak,” Gallic Gruyere makers threw in the towel.
Storms cuts electricity
Tens of thousands in the northwest were left without electricity yesterday when a storm ripped through the region after weeks of drought, with the weather set to hit Moscow later. The emergencies ministry in the Leningrad region around Saint Petersburg said about 100,000 people in 1,500 towns and villages were left without electricity. The storm, which was also felt in Saint Petersburg, saw high winds and driving rain and felled several trees. Weather forecasters warned that the storm front was heading for the Moscow region, with thunder, torrential rain and even hail were expected to fall.
Many die in truck fire
A truck caught fire along with nine other vehicles on Sunday on a road outside Lagos, burning an unspecified number of people to death, police said. Lagos police spokesman Frank Mba was unsure of the number of dead following the accident on a major road linking Lagos to the city of Ibadan. Traffic is often heavy on the road on Sundays due to the large number of evangelical mega-churches along the highway.
US soldier killed
A US soldier was killed in an attack in a central province, the US Army said in a statement yesterday. “One United States Forces — Iraq — soldier was killed when a patrol was attacked in Baqubah, Diyala Province, yesterday [Sunday],” it said, without giving further details. Baqubah is 60km north of Baghdad. The death brought to 4,415 the number of USsoldiers who have died in Iraq since the US-led invasion to oust former president Saddam Hussein in 2003, according to a tally based on the independent Web site www.icasualties.org.
Television station attacked
Unknown assailants hurled explosives early on Sunday at an affiliate of the Televisa network in the northern industrial city of Monterrey, causing damage but no deaths or injuries, police and local media said. It was the third attack in the past three months against an affiliate of Televisa, the country’s leading TV network. The blast shattered some of the building’s windows, a Nuevo Leon State police source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The explosives were thrown under a parked vehicle and also caused damage to another vehicle owned by the network,” the source said. Monterrey police are trying to determine if the explosive was a military-grade hand grenade, as local media reported, or a home-made bomb, the source said.
Violence claims 14 lives
Fourteen people were killed on Sunday in Ciudad Juarez, located on the US border, including 10 partygoers shot dead at two homes, Chihuahua State authorities said. In one attack, gunmen opened fire on a pool party in central Ciudad Juarez “killing three women and a man and wounding five other women, all of whom were wearing swim suits,” the chief prosecutor’s office said in a statement. Two suspects in the attack were arrested later, it added. In another brazen, pre-dawn attack on a private house, a group of gunmen riddled partygoers with bullets, killing six people — three died on scene, three in hospital, the statement said. The bodies of four other men “showing signs of torture, with several shots through the heads,” were found in other parts of the city.
Bones to go on display
The bones of 13 of the country’s founding fathers — and one founding mother — are to be displayed at the National Palace as part of year-long bicentennial celebrations. Hundreds of soldiers accompanied the skeletel remains to the Palace on Sunday from Chapultepec Castle, where experts conducted tests confirming they were indeed those of the heroes of the 1810 to 1821 independence movement. The bones were removed from crypts under Independence Monument in May and will be returned next year.
■ UNITED STATES
Lawyers target ‘God Squad’
A Wisconsin priest has God on his car, but Best Buy’s lawyers on his back. Father Luke Strand in Fond Du Lac says he has received a cease-and-desist letter from the electronics retailer. At issue is Strand’s black Volkswagen Beetle with door stickers bearing the name “God Squad” in a logo similar to that of Best Buy’s Geek Squad, a group of electronics troubleshooters. Strand told the Fond du Lac Reporter newspaper that the car is a creative way to spur discussion and bring his faith to others. Best Buy Co told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that it appreciated what Strand was trying to do, but that it was a bad precedent to let groups violate its trademarks.
■ UNITED STATES
Gabor calls for priest
Zsa Zsa Gabor, the 93-year-old Hollywood star who has been hospitalized because of complications from a broken hip, called a priest into her hospital room on Sunday for her final rites, her publicist said. “Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor has seen a priest and is not doing very well. She’s in serious condition. She asked to see a priest and receive her last rites,” publicist John Blanchette said. Her husband, Frederic von Anhalt, “is at at her side.”
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