India ‘gold man’ batteredto death

PUNE (BBC): An Indian man who bought one of the world’s most expensive shirts made entirely of gold has been allegedly battered to death, police said. Datta Phuge shot into the global limelight in 2013 when he bought a shirt made with more than 3kg of gold and worth $250,000 (£186,943). A money lender based in western Pune, Mr Phuge was called “the gold man”. Four persons have been detained for questioning. Police suspect a dispute over money have led to the murder. The police said some 12 people attacked Mr Phuge, 48, in Pune on Thursday night. One of the suspects had invited Mr Phuge and his 22-year-old son to celebrate a birthday at an open ground in Dighi area when the men attacked him with stones and a sharp weapon. Police said the son had witnessed his father being murdered and had been spared by the alleged killers.

“However, we are investigating how Mr Phuge reached the open ground where he was murdered,” Dighi police station inspector Navnath Ghogare told the Press Trust of India news agency.

Mr Phuge often wore gold all over his body: his knuckles, neck, and wrists were weighed down by signet rings, chunky bracelets, and a medallion.

“Some people ask me why I’m wearing so much gold but it was my dream. People have different aspirations. Some elite people want to own an Audi or Mercedes, and have big cars. I chose gold,” he told the BBC in 2013.



Facebook helps find baby lost in Nice attack

NICE (AFP): An eight-month-old baby boy lost in the chaos after a truck rammed into a crowd in the French Riviera city of Nice killing at least 84 people was tracked down through Facebook on Friday. Tiava Banner - who said she was not the mother of the baby - sent out an appeal on Facebook looking for any information on the whereabouts of the child who had been lost in his blue stroller when the rampaging truck sent hundreds fleeing in panic as they watched Bastille Day fireworks. The post was shared thousands of times until it was updated with: “Found! Thank you Facebook and all those who helped us.” A member of the family contacted by AFP on Friday said: “A young woman found him and took him home with her. She then went online and found the photo of the baby on Facebook.”

The woman then contacted the baby’s parents.

Dozens of other people appealed through social media to find missing loved ones.

“We are worried to death”, “We haven’t heard from him since he went to see the fireworks”, were some of the messages.

Many of the missing were children and teenagers.

Authorities said Friday that two children were among the dead and around 50 children were in hospital.



Thai painter usesbuffalo as canvas

BANGKOK (AFP): Buffalo is a byword for stupidity in Thai culture and an insult often doled out by city dwellers to denigrate their rural compatriots.  But one photographer is taking on the stereotype - and Thailand’s ulcerous social divide - by elevating the beast to art. “Buffalo are the symbol of our country’s labour class, they should be respected,” says Maitree Siriboon, the 33-year-old who has been layering colourful coats of paint on dozens of buffaloes in his rice-farming village. Photos of the lumbering animals, many bearing references to famous works of art, are now on display in an airy Bangkok gallery space.  The exhibit is loaded with symbolism in a country wracked by a political struggle between the urban elite and a rural majority hungry for a greater slice of the economic pie.

Bangkokians have long used “buffalo” as a pejorative term to put down farmers and rural migrants who have flocked to the capital for low-paid work.

“We still use the word buffalo with a rude and negative connotation that means uneducated person,” Maitree told AFP, sporting a traditional sarong from a poor northeast region known as Isaan.

He is hoping to encourage fellow Isaan people to take pride in their distinct dialect and culture, which has closer links with neighbouring Laos.

“From my own experiences, I used to be mocked and looked down on because of my face and flat nose,” he said of his time in Bangkok.

“But people have to understand that Thais come from different ethnicities... we should build our own pride so that the society will accept us.”



Twitter to stream US college sports

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP): Twitter has announced a deal to stream US college sports matches, boosting its live television offerings as it tries to lure more users and revenue. Twitter will be the top streaming partner for PAC-12 Plus, a broadband network of live events produced by the dozen universities in the conference, according to the organization. At least 150 games are to be streamed on Twitter during the coming academic year. “Twitter is the fastest way to find out what is happening in live sports,” Twitter chief financial officer Anthony Noto said in a joint release. “Our partnership with the Pac-12 Networks will give sports fans a great way to view live sporting events along with the live Twitter conversation they are already accustomed to.” The alliance promised to raise the exposure of PAC-12 games, making the events easily available on a service many fans already use, according to PAC-12 Networks president Lydia Murphy-Stephans.

A roster of school-produced events focused on Olympic sports was to include soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, baseball, ice hockey, swimming, track, tennis and water polo.

Matches will continue to be streamed online at

The two most followed sports, basketball and US football, were not mentioned as part of the streaming partnership. Those college sports typically generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from cable or television broadcast contracts.

Twitter has been beefing up its live streaming offerings. Earlier this week it announced that it will livestream Bloomberg financial news offerings and has a deal with CBS to livestream the upcoming Republican and Democratic party conventions.

Twitter collaborated with cable sports powerhouse ESPN on a Wimbledon tennis tournament finals stream last week.

The San Francisco-based company announced a $10-million deal in April with the National Football League to stream professional US football games on Thursday nights.

Twitter is diving deeper into streaming as it strives to boost active user ranks, which stagnated at the start of this year. The company has yet to make a profit.




Unesco adds four new sites to World Heritage list

ISTANBUL (AFP): The UN’s cultural agency on Friday added four new sites in Iran, India, China and Micronesia to its World Heritage list. The sites named by UNESCO include the so-called qanat water systems in Iran, the Zuojiang Huashan rock art cultural landscape in China and the archaeological site of Nalanda Mahavihara in India. The landscape in China is all that remains today of the bronze age culture - known as “bronze drum” after its most characteristic artifacts - once prevalent across the country’s south, the agency said in a statement. The site in Iran is an example of an ancient water-supply system- known as qanat — suited for the most arid areas. The fourth site is Nan Madol - a ceremonial centre of eastern Micronesia in the Federated States of Micronesia containing mediaeval palaces and tombs. The Micronesian site is a series of 99 artificial islets built with walls of basalt and coral boulders. It was, however, immediately placed on UNESCO’s list of heritage-in-danger.

The UN agency warned threats to the site were notably the construction of navigation channels which was leading to the uncontrolled growth of the mangrove, making the historic edifices more fragile.

The heritage-in-danger list is intended to highlight the risks facing world heritage sites that need protection and allows the committee to allocate immediate support from the World Heritage Fund.

UNESCO named the old towns of Djenne in Mali and Shakhrisyabz in Uzbekistan on Wednesday on its heritage-in-danger list during its 40th meeting of its World Heritage Committee in Istanbul.

All five of Libya’s World Heritage sites were named on Thursday by the agency as at risk of damage from the civil war that continues to rage in the country.

Meanwhile, the complex of churches and holy sites in the Georgian town of Mtskheta was removed from the in-danger list, where it had been listed since 2009.

The meeting will end on July 20.