Khamis, 24 Oktober 2013

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The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

Philippine quake creates wall longer than 5km


MANILA: A deadly earthquake that struck the Philippines last week created a spectacular rocky wall that stretches for kilometres through farmlands, astounded geologists said.

Dramatic pictures of the Earth-altering power of the 7.1-magnitide quake have emerged as the government worked to mend the broken central island of Bohol, ground zero of the destruction.

A "ground rupture" pushed up a stretch of ground by up to 3m, creating a wall of rock above the epicentre, Maria Isabel Abigania, a geologist at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, said.

"Our people have walked 5km so far and not found the end of this wall," she said, as experts from the institute surveyed the damage.

"So far we have not gotten any reports of people getting swallowed up in these cracks."

A photograph on the institute's website showed part of the rock wall grotesquely rising on farmland behind an unscathed bamboo hut.

Another house was shown lodged in a crack of the Earth, while a big hole on the ground opened up at a banana farm.

Renato Solidum, head of the institute, said the ground fissures from the quake, which killed 198 people on Bohol and two nearby islands, were among the largest recorded since the government agency began keeping quake records in 1987.

"Most of our other quake records show a lateral (sideways) tearing of the earth, though we've also had coral reefs rising from the sea," he said.

The Philippines lies on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire made up of chains of islands created by volcanic eruption that are also frequently hit by earthquakes. — AFP

Restaurant owner acquitted of passing off beef as mutton


The proprietor of two restaurants accused of passing off beef as mutton was awarded a discharge amounting to an acquittal by a district court.

Rakesh Kumar, 50, was said to have committed the offences on Oct 17 last year at the Khansama and Jungle Tandoor restaurants in Serangoon Road.

His lawyer Nirmal Singh had argued earlier that the charges were invalid as the law stipulated that Rakesh should be charged no later than 56 days after the food was seized.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) had maintained that the time period applied only to the laboratory testing of the seized food, which had been done on the same day.

At a previous hearing last month, the NEA prosecutor said that the agency wished to consult the Attorney-General's Chambers.

Nirmal said after yesterday's hearing that the summonses against his client were issued only in January this year – long after the deadline of Dec 11.

It is believed that this is the first time the time period had been raised in court.

Nirmal also said the decision to grant Rakesh a discharge amounting to an acquittal could have repercussions on previous cases in which guilty pleas were entered and fines imposed even though the 56-day restriction had been breached.

These could include setting aside convictions and returning the fines paid. — The Straits Times/ Asia News Network

Unrepentant rapist strikes again


SPENDING 20 years in prison for rape and robbery did not stop 43-year-old Razali Osman from risking a climb into a fifth-floor bedroom and trying to force himself on another woman – this time his sister's 31-year-old tenant.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Christine Liu urged the court to send the delivery assistant and part-time cleaner to jail again for between 18 and 20 years, and give him 24 strokes of the cane.

The hearing was adjourned after Razali, who pleaded guilty to one count each of sexual assault, attempted aggravated rape and housebreaking, said he wanted to get a lawyer to deliver his mitigation.

The High Court heard how Razali, who has convictions going back to 1988, was last sent to jail in 1993 for raping three women, including his girlfriend's sister, as well as robbing two of them.

When he was released in February last year, his sister took him in as he had nowhere else to stay. A month later, the victim, a foreigner working here as an administrator, moved into his sister's flat and occupied the room beside his.

He sent the woman flowers and expressed his interest, but she told him she already had a fiance back home.

Rebuffed, Razali became frustrated.

On the night of Oct 20 last year, while the two of them were alone, he hatched a plan to get into her room to "teach her a lesson".

He took a precarious route, climbing out the living room window of the fifth-floor flat and into the window of her bedroom.

Once inside, he covered the victim's mouth and pinned her onto the bed. As they struggled, he violated her and tried to rape her.

He eventually stopped after she repeatedly begged him to.

He told her that he was frustrated after she spurned his affections, and apologised.

The woman later made a police report and moved out of the flat. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network


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