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Crowds gather to see cherry blossoms in full bloom in Tokyo
Tokyo, April 5: Crowds gathered Friday to enjoy Japan’s famed cherry blossoms in Tokyo, where cold weather has delayed their bloom.
Cherry blossoms, known as “sakura” in Japanese, are the nation’s favorite flower. People often have sakura viewing parties beneath the falling petals, where there are also picnics and sake drinking.
Vidyuth Lakshman, 36, a tourist from Canada, said she’d seen cherry blossoms in her homeland but “not on this scale. The scale here is crazy.” The trees usually are at peak bloom in late March to early April, at the same time the country begins a new school and business year. “They’re really breathtaking,” said Silver Shea, 47, a tourist from the United States, who was visiting Japan for a month with her 11-year-old daughter.
“We leave in about a week, and we were getting nervous that we weren’t going to get to see them blooming.” Others were also worried about missing the blooms.
“Every day we kept waiting for the cherry blossoms,” said Satya Kandula, 30, another tourist from Canada. “We are leaving tomorrow so we’re so happy that on the last day we got to see the full bloom.” (AP)

Flight passenger urinates in a cup, fined
Sydney, April 5: A passenger has been fined for urinating in a cup during a delay in deplaning after landing at Sydney Airport.
The incident, after a 3-hour Air New Zealand flight from Auckland, occurred last December and a Sydney court fined the 53-year-old man 600 Australian dollars (USD 395) for offensive behaviour in February, officials said Friday.
The incident only came to public attention on Friday, when New Zealand news website Stuff reported that a passenger in the same row, identified only as Hollv, said she had reported the behaviour to the air crew.
She said she and her 15-year-old daughter were sitting in the aisle and middle seats when the man in the window seat, whose name has not been released, was urinating in a cup.
Holly said the plane had been on the tarmac for about 20 minutes, waiting for a terminal gate to be allocated, when she heard the unmistakable sound of the passenger urinating in a cup, Stuff reported.
She said the man was “obviously quite drunk” and spilled urine on a flight attendant as he left the plane, it reported.
But the mishap with the attendant wasn’t his crime. Australian Federal Police said in a statement that officers removed him from the plane because he had “urinated into a cup while in his seat.”
Air New Zealand said it does not comment on individual incidents. It said it bans between five and 10 customers each month for disruptive behavior, including intoxication. (AP)

Thieves steal $30 mn from LA vault
Los Angeles, April 5: Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are investigating the theft of as much as $30 million from a money storage facility in Los Angeles, according to local media.
Law enforcement sources told local KABC television station that the burglary happened at a GardaWorld facility in Sylmar, a suburban neighbourhood in the San Fernando Valley, on Easter Sunday.
The thieves broke into the facility undetected — without setting off alarms — by going through the roof and somehow getting into the money storage area, which may have been a vault, said the report, citing officials briefed on the investigation.
The company that owns the building did not discover the massive theft until Monday morning, the report added.
Law enforcement sources were quoted as saying by the major local newspaper, Los Angeles Times, that the break-in was among the largest burglaries in city history when it comes to cash, and the total surpassed any armoured-car heist in the city as well.
The burglary occurred Sunday night at the facility where cash from businesses across the region is handled and stored, said the report, adding that the break-in was described as elaborate and suggested an experienced crew of burglars who knew how to gain entry to a secure facility unnoticed.
The prior largest cash heist in Los Angeles was on September 12, 1997, with the robbery of $18.9 million from the former site of an armoured facility in the city, according to the report of the newspaper. (IANS)


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