New Zealand moves mosque shooting trial to avoid Ramadan

Brenton Tarrant has been charged with 51 counts of murder, 40 of attempted murder and engaging in a terrorist act. (File/AFP)
Updated 12 September 2019
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New Zealand moves mosque shooting trial to avoid Ramadan

  • Australian Brenton Tarrant’s trial was due to begin on May 4, 2020, which next year will coincide with Ramadan
  • A statement released by the court said prosecutors were concerned the clash would pose a problem

WELLINGTON: New Zealand’s High Court on Thursday altered next year’s trial dates for the man accused of murdering 51 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch mosques to avoid the hearing clashing with the holy month of Ramadan.
Australian Brenton Tarrant’s trial was due to begin on May 4, 2020, which next year will coincide with Ramadan in the Islamic calendar.
A statement released by the court said prosecutors were concerned the clash would pose a problem.
“A number of the witnesses to be called at trial are of the Islamic faith,” it said.
It said a new June 2 start date for the trial had been confirmed after the defense raised no objection to the change.
The court is scheduled to hold a brief hearing on October 3, when it is expected to make a decision on a request by the defense team to move the trial away from Christchurch.
The South Island city was the scene of the worst mass shooting in modern New Zealand history on March 15, when Tarrant allegedly opened fire at two mosques while livestreaming his actions on social media.
Tarrant, a self-avowed white supremacist, has been charged with 51 counts of murder, 40 of attempted murder and engaging in a terrorist act.


Popular panda on loan from China dies in Thai zoo

Updated 17 September 2019
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Popular panda on loan from China dies in Thai zoo

  • Staff said Tuesday they found no sign of illness or injury on the 19-year-old panda’s body
  • A zoo veterinarian said pandas have a life expectancy of 14-20 years

BANGKOK: Zoo staff in northern Thailand have donned black and white clothing and observed a minute of silence to mourn the sudden death of their popular male giant panda, who was on a long-term loan from China.

Officials said Chuang Chuang collapsed Monday in his enclosure at the Chiang Mai Zoo shortly after standing up following a meal of bamboo leaves.

Staff said Tuesday they found no sign of illness or injury on the 19-year-old panda’s body, and that he had recently passed a health checkup.

A zoo veterinarian said pandas have a life expectancy of 14-20 years. Chuang Chuang and his female mate arrived in Chiang Mai in 2003 on a 10-year loan that was later extended for another 10 years.