Ness Wadia, business tycoon and heir to the Wadia Group, has been sentenced to a two-year prison term in Japan for possessing drugs. According to a report, Ness was found in possession of 25 grams of cannabis resin in March, for which he has been sentenced. The report further states that Ness was arrested in Japan in March. The Wadia Group has confirmed the sentence and said that the Japanese court did award a jail term to Ness, but the sentence has been suspended. A spokesperson of the Wadia Group said that the development will not impact Ness in the discharge of any of his responsibilities and he will continue to play the role that he has done hitherto, both within the group and outside. Ness is the son and heir to Nusli Wadia's business empire, the Wadia Group.
UAE gives birth certificate to inter-faith PIO couple’s child
In probably for the first time, the UAE has given birth certificate to a nine-month old girl who was born to an Indian Hindu father and a Muslim mother, setting aside the country’s marriage rules for expatriates during the Year of Tolerance, according to a media report. As per the marriage rules for expatriates in UAE, a Muslim man can marry a non-Muslim woman but a Muslim woman can’t marry a non-Muslim man. Sharjah-based expat Kiran Babu and Sanam Saboo Siddique got married in 2016 and their daughter was born in July 2018. “The birth certificate was rejected as I am a Hindu,” Babu said. “I applied for a no-objection certificate through the court. But my case was rejected,” he added. He then pinned his hopes on the amnesty period. The couple was finally given the birth certificate on April 14. “I am told this is the first case where the rule has been amended.”
PIO engineer to run for US Senate in 2020
A 33-year-old Indian-American engineer has announced to challenge the Democratic senator from New Jersey in 2020. Hirsh Singh, known as a supporter of President Donald Trump, will seek the Republican nomination for the US Senate in 2020 against Cory Booker. Singh, an engineer from Atlantic County who works in the aerospace and defence industries, filed his campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission. This will be his third bid for public office. He lost the Republican Party primaries for governor in 2017 and Congress in 2018. He was endorsed by Bill Palatucci, the Republican National Committeeman from New Jersey.
Rajapaksa’s brother says will run for prez
Sri Lanka’s former wartime defence chief, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, said that he would run for the presidential elections this year and would stop the spread of Islamist extremism by rebuilding the intelligence service and surveillance on citizens. Gotabaya, as he is popularly known, is the younger brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the two led the country to a crushing defeat of separatist Tamil rebels a decade ago after a 26-year civil war. Gotabaya said that the Easter Sunday attacks could have been prevented if the island’s current government had not dismantled the intelligence network and extensive surveillance capabilities that he built up during the war. “Because the government was not prepared, that’s why you see a panic situation.” Gotabaya said he would be a candidate “100%”, firming up months of speculation that he plans to run in the elections, which are due by December.
Knife found on Japan king’s grandson’s desk
Japanese police are investigating a knife that was placed on the school desk of Emperor Akihito’s grandson, according to media reports. The incident involving 12-year-old Hisahito, who is in succession line for the throne, comes as Japan prepares for Akihito’s abdication on April 30. Kyodo News said police are investigating CCTV footage. Police declined comment and Ochanomizu University Junior High School did not answer calls. Akihito’s son, Crown Prince Naruhito, is set to become emperor May 1. Hisahito is Naruhito’s nephew.
31 killed in Indonesia floods
At least 31 people were killed and thousands displaced following floods and landslides from torrential rains in Indonesia, the country's disaster agency said. It said 29 people have died in Bengkulu province on the island of Sumatra over the weekend. Two people died from flooding in parts of the capital Jakarta last week and more than 2,000 were displaced. In Bengkulu, 13 people are missing and more than 12,000 have fled their inundated homes, the agency said. Thousands of people are involved in the search and rescue effort, it said, but distribution of aid has been hampered by power cuts, inaccessible roads and large distances between various disaster-hit areas.
The highest number of deaths was in central Bengkulu where a landslide killed nearly two dozen people.
Over 270 election staff die of exhaustion
Ten days after Indonesia held the world’s biggest single-day elections, more than 270 election staff have died, mostly of fatigue-related illnesses caused by long hours of work counting millions of ballot papers by hand, an official said. The April 17 elections were the first time the country of 260 million people combined the presidential vote with national and regional parliamentary ones, with an aim to cut costs. Voting was estimated to have drawn 80% of the total 193 million voters, who each had to punch up to five ballot papers in over 800,000 polling stations. But conducting the eight-hour vote in a country that stretches more than 5,000 km from its western to eastern tips proved to be both a Herculean logistical feat and deadly for officials, who had to count ballot papers by hand. As of Saturday, 272 election officials had died, mostly from overwork-related illnesses, while 1,878 others had fallen ill, said Arief Priyo Susanto, spokesman of General Elections Commission.
Musharraf set for Pak return on May 1
Pakistan’s former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, who is facing a high treason case in a special court, is expected to return to the country on May 1, his counsel said. Speaking to media in Islamabad, Musharraf’s counsel Suleman Safdar said that despite his worsening medical condition, the ex-president is determined to appear before the court that had summoned him for the hearing on May 2. He is suffering from amyloidosis, a rare disease caused by a build-up of an abnormal protein called amyloid in organs and tissues throughout the body. The treason case against Musharraf was filed by the previous Nawaz Sharif-led government over his imposition of emergency in the country in 2007.
Pakistan suspends anti-polio drive
Pakistan has suspended the nation-wide anti-polio campaign after a health worker and two policemen escorting vaccination teams were killed in separate attacks across the country in less than a week. Pakistan is one of three countries in the world where polio is still endemic. The other two are Afghanistan and Nigeria. But militant threats and deep-rooted superstition have spurred many parents to refuse to vaccinate their children. Officials say unidentified gunmen targeted polio workers and accompanying policemen in three separate attacks in the heavily rural western regions bordering Afghanistan, before fleeing. The decision to halt the campaign against the crippling disease comes after two new polio cases were reported in the country's northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
More than 50 dead as heavy rains hit South Africa
More than 50 people were killed in southern and eastern parts of South Africa after heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides, authorities said. Rescue workers were digging through collapsed homes and other buildings in coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal province, where the death toll stood at 51, local officials said. The region has been hit by heavy rains for days, but authorities did not anticipate the extent of the downpour, said Lennox Mabaso, a spokesman for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department. "As a result there was flooding and some structures were undermined and collapsed on people," Mabaso said, adding some people were swept away by the water. Multiple dwellings and houses collapsed in the mudslides, said KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesman Robert McKenzie.
1 killed in US synagogue shooting
A gunman entered a synagogue yelling anti-Semitic slurs, and opened fire with an AR 15-style gun. He paused when the rabbi of the congregation tried to talk with him. But he fired again, shooting the rabbi. His attack left a 60-year-old woman dead, the rabbi wounded and a 34-year-old man and a girl with shrapnel wounds. It was the Sabbath and the last day of Passover, a holiday that celebrates Jewish freedom. The shooting, at Chabad of Poway, about 40 km north of San Diego, is the most recent in a series of attacks at houses of worship, including the mass shooting at mosques in New Zealand last month and the church bombings in Sri Lanka last week. It came exactly six months after one of the worst acts of violence against the American Jewish community in decades left 11 dead in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized
Japanese government apologized to tens of thousands of victims forcibly sterilized under a now-defunct Eugenics Protection Law, which was designed to "prevent the birth of poor-quality descendants," and promised to pay compensation. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he was offering "sincere remorse and heartfelt apology" to the victims. It came after the parliament earlier enacted legislation to provide redress measures, including 3.2 million yen ($28,600) compensation for each victim. An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996. The law allowed doctors to sterilize people with disabilities. It was quietly renamed as the Maternity Protection Law in 1996, when the discriminatory condition was removed.
50 feared dead in Myanmar mine collapse
More than 50 people were feared killed in Myanmar when jade miners and machinery were buried under a mound of refuse, a member of parliament and a rescue worker said. Three bodies had been pulled from the debris, Tin Soe, a lawmaker representing the jade rich Hpakant area of Kachin state, said. Deadly landslides and other accidents are common in the poorly regulated mines of Hpakant. A total of 54 workers were trapped when the large refuse pile collapsed, he said. "They won’t survive. It is not possible because they are buried under mud,” Soe said.
Oz ship sunk by Japanese sub during WWII found
An Australian freighter sunk by a Japanese submarine during World War II has been located “relatively intact” in waters off the country’s southeast coast, archeologists said. The SS Iron Crown was hit by a torpedo on June 4, 1942 while carting ore in waters off Australia’s southern coastline near the state of Victoria. The ship sunk within 60 seconds, killing 38 of the 43 crew members aboard. “Locating the wreck after 77 years will bring closure for relatives and family of those that were lost at sea, as well as for Australia’s maritime community,” Peter Harvey, an archaeologist, said.