Wednesday, November 7 2018

Gee, that’s wild, Mr Geert Wilders

The Netherlands said its ambassador to Pakistan had faced ‘threats’, reportedly from Islamists angry over anti-Islam tweets by far-right politician Geert Wilders. Wilders in August called off a planned Prophet Mohammed cartoon competition that stirred anger in Pakistan, but the MP has since posted several such images on Twitter. ‘We are dealing with threats to the ambassador’s address,’ the Dutch foreign ministry told AFP. Pakistan’s interior ministry last month wrote a secret memo on plans to ‘target’ the Dutch ambassador by the hardline Islamist Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan party (TLP). The TLP, founded in 2015, led protests in August calling for Pakistan to sever diplomatic relations with The Netherlands over the Wilders cartoon contest. It has been reported that elements associated with TLP are planning to target (the) Dutch ambassador’… to seek revenge for uploading of blasphemous caricatures by Geert Wilders, Dutch parliamentarian, on his personal Twitter account,’ the memo said. The TLP denied making any threats. – AFP

China’s ancient wine is more mature than mature

Archeologists in central China believe they have unearthed a 2,000-year-old pot of wine that had been sealed and buried in a tomb. About 3.5 litres of the yellow liquid, which officials said smelled strongly of Chinese wine when they poured it out, was discovered in a bronze pot in Henan province, the official Xinhua news agency reported. The liquid will be sent for further tests to confirm its alcoholic content, said Shi Jiazhen, head of the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in Luoyang city. The wine is believed to date to back to the Western Han Dynasty (202 BC to AD 8), although the Xinhua report did not detail how it had been sealed and kept from evaporating. – AFP

Superbugs run amok in Europe

Drug-resistant bacteria killed more than 33,000 people in the European Union in 2015, according to new research published this week warning that superbugs were ‘threatening modern healthcare’. In a study published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, an EU-wide team of doctors examined data on more than a dozen combinations of antibiotic-resistant bacteria across the continent, and developed a model for infection and death rates of five types of bug. They found that more than 670,000 people fell ill in 2015 from these five strains, and an estimated 33,110 died as a result. The burden of these deaths in the EU ‘was similar to the cumulative burden of influenza, tuberculosis, and HIV’ during the same timeframe, the authors noted. The majority of deaths were thought to have occurred in infants under 12 months and the over 65s. The mortality burden was highest in Italy and Greece, with Italy alone accounting for more than a third of all EU superbug deaths in the year studied. – AFP

Stir of the nation: Finally, some Botswana drama

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi has used his first state-of-the-nation address to openly attack predecessor Ian Khama in an unprecedented clash for a nation that prides itself on stability. Masisi, who was handpicked by Khama, took power in April when Khama stepped aside. But the two men have since fallen out in a public spat that threatens to undermine Botswana’s reputation for stable government. ‘Batswana are all aware that the transition from the previous administration has not been as smooth as expected,’ Masisi said in a keynote address to parliament. He said he had tried to ‘smoothen the process’ by appointing senior politicians to negotiate with Khama. ‘I regret to announce that their efforts have not borne fruit,’ Masisi said, adding a central cause of friction had been Khama’s retirement entitlements and pension. Khama has reportedly been enraged by Masisi’s refusal to let him use government planes, while state media have been instructed not to feature the former president. The two men have also battled over the former boss of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Isaac Kgosi, who was sacked by Masisi for insubordination. Khama, 65, has sought to employ Kgosi as his private secretary but has been blocked by Masisi.

Axe-wielding Berliner not on boar with the law

An 80-year-old pensioner is facing charges for poaching in the German capital after he killed a wild boar with an axe. ‘If you don’t want to know what an 80-year-old butcher did in a Reinickendorf car park with a hatchet last night, don’t click here,’ Berlin police said in a rather alarming tweet, accompanied by a picture of the dead boar. Although it is a city of 3.5 million people, Berlin includes extensive areas of forest where sightings of wild boar are not unusual. Police were called to a forest near the suburb of Reinickendorf on Sunday evening after a resident reported a suspicious vehicle in a closed supermarket car park. A 75-year-old inside the car said she was waiting for her husband, but when police looked for him they found him hiding in the woods with a freshly slaughtered wild boar. The man told them he was a retired butcher. He said he loved wild boar meat but coudn’t afford it, so had decided to hunt his own. When police found him he had already skinned and partially gutted the animal, and had packed away the entrails and larger pieces of meat to transport home. Hunting is strictly controlled in Germany. – The Daily Telegraph

Queen and duke still up for a ride

At the ages of 92 and 97 respectively, they could be forgiven for picking up a more sedate hobby. But the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh yesterday showed they still know how to enjoy themselves. The royal couple, appearing in robust health, were photographed enjoying the great outdoors at Windsor Castle, she riding her beloved pony, and he driving a carriage. The pony had an unmistakable red rosette of four poppies attached to its bridle, signifying the queen’s dedication to the season of remembrance so important to the royal family. The queen, wrapped up warmly in a navy blue coat and headscarf against the November chill, rode through the castle grounds accompanied as usual by Terry Pendryon, her head groom. The duke, meanwhile, undertook his own journey driving a carriage – the sport he made famous – accompanied in the backseat by two female grooms. – The Daily Telegraph

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