Thursday, June 20, 2024

Pot Pourri


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British taxis to have spy cameras

London: Taxis in the famous British university town of Oxford will now be fitted with spy cameras to record images of passengers.

A total of 652 taxis licensed in the city are to be fitted with CCTV cameras, the Daily Express said.

The city council said the move was in response to an increase in complaints against both cab drivers and passengers. The complaints include over-charging, sexual assaults and attacks on drivers.

“This is an incredible invasion of privacy. Oxford city council has thrown civil liberties out of the window,” said Nick Pickles, director of civil liberties group Big Brother Watch.

A council spokeswoman said: “Oxford city council considers the risk of intrusion is acceptable compared to the public safety benefits. In any event, the level of privacy in a licensed vehicle is far lower than that in one’s own car.” All taxis must have the equipment installed from April next year.

Oxford, which lies about 80 km north-west of London, has a population of around 165,000. (IANS)

 Two men find out they were switched at birth

Buenos Aires: Two men living a few blocks from each other in the Argentine town of Azul learned at the age of 34 that a nurse inadvertently switched them at birth, the mother of one of them said.

The case of Gustavo Germain and Javier Delmasso is now public knowledge three years later, and both are still upset and unable to believe what happened, Marta Delmasso, the biological mother of Gustavo, told EFE.

“The truth is we all feel bad. It’s hard to take. My husband cries all the time. I never saw the real son of my womb when he was born, I saw him for the first time when he was 34 years old. It’s terrible,” she said.

Marta said she never suspected anything, even though she noticed, as did the biological mother of Javier, that when they brought her baby to her in September 1974 after he spent the night in the ward for newborns, he wasn’t wearing the clothes she brought for him.

The nurse immediately apologised and said it was a normal mistake, that she had mixed up his clothes with those of the baby next to him.

Javier was the first who years ago began to have his doubts when he tried to donate blood to his sister and found he had a different blood type than was indicated on his birth certificate.

Added to that episode was a chance meeting with his real biological brother and the father of Gustavo, who was really his own father, in July 2007, when he was amazed by the physical resemblance he had with them, a likeness he never shared with those he always believed to be his family.

For years the two families lived five blocks from each other, so that the two boys “knew each other by sight”, Marta Delmasso said.

In 2009, Javier had DNA testing done with the family he grew up in and then with that of Gustavo, who at first “didn’t want to know anything, he didn’t want to stir up the past” until the situation had gone too far to turn back, the men told the daily Tiempo Argentino.

“There’s a lot of pain in both families”, but “we must learn to add it all up, because the boys have four parents, they’re privileged”, Marta said.

The case is under investigation, but up to now the nurse who switched the babies has not been located. (IANS)

 Woman served arrest warrant for murder of own newborn

Nagasaki: A former staffer of a nursery in Tsushima, Nagasaki Prefecture, was served a fresh arrest warrant today for allegedly killing her newborn girl last year, police said.

Kumi Katsumi, 39, whose statement before her arrest on October 18 led police to find the body of her newborn in a cement-filled bucket at the nursery, has admitted to the allegation, they said. Her arrest last month on suspicion of abandoning the child’s body.

The police believe she killed the girl by covering her mouth and nose in a minicar parked on a road in the island city on March 20 last year, the day she left a local hospital after delivery on March 12, and abandoned the body during the day at the nursery where she was working at the time.

When police investigators contacted her on October 17 following a report from a local welfare body that the girl was missing, she told them that she discarded the body, cemented in a metal bucket, placing it in a cardboard box, according to the police.

She also delivered a boy in April at a hospital in Fukuoka Prefecture, but left him behind, asking a Tsushima welfare officer to take him to a home for children, saying she could not take care of him, the municipal welfare office said earlier. (PTI)

 China gives $750 mn to schools for tuition exemptions

Beijing: The Chinese government has granted over 4.70 billion yuan (about $750 million) as compensation to secondary vocational schools for tuition fees exemptions which they offered to students, Xinhua reported.

Since 2009, students from poor families studying at secondary vocational schools and students studying agriculture-related subjects in such schools have been exempted from paying tuition fees.

“The funds will be offered to secondary vocational or technical schools that have accepted students from poor families or students studying agriculture-related subjects without charging tuition,” the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Friday.

Approximately four million students have enjoyed tuition fees exemptions in China’s secondary vocational schools, the ministry says. (IANS)

 Man creates 240-volt booby trap for tenant

London: A landlord in Britain has been jailed for four years after he attempted to electrocute his lodger with an elaborate booby-trap following a row with him over satellite TV subscriptions.

Thirty-three-year-old Eric Malcolm wrapped a live 240-volt extension cable round a door handle and waited for his victim Tony Gilesnan to walk in, the Daily Express reported.

Gilesnan, luckily, received only a mild shock but Malcolm then struck him over the head with a hammer, Cambridge Crown Court was told.

Their row about the TV bill had escalated after Malcolm mistakenly thought the lodger had used his computer.

Malcolm, of Royston town in Hertfordshire county, admitted causing grievous bodily harm before the court.

Prosecutor Rebecca Smith said the lodger was left with a three-inch cut to his head after the attack that was carried out April 28 this year. (IANS)

 First Lehman Brothers’ share auctioned for USD 33,000

Berlin: The worthless but historic first share issued by collapsed investment bank Lehman Brothers has sold in an auction in Germany for USD 33,000. Auctioneer Michael Schmitt said today the share, issued by the bank when it went public in 1994, used to hang in the office of Lehman Brothers’ then chief executive Richard Fuld, for whom it was issued. Schmitt says the buyer, who wanted to remain anonymous, purchased it for its historic value. Lehman collapsed in 2008 in what is widely seen as a key trigger of the financial crisis. (AP)


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