400 abducted in Pak

ISLAMABAD: Police say suspected militants have abducted some 400 students, staff members and relatives driving away from a school in a troubled tribal region in northwest Pakistan. Police official Meer Sardar said the mass abduction occurred about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from Razmak Cadet College in North Waziristan. The people were leaving the school area after a phone call from a man they believed to be a political official warned them to get out. A large group of suspected militants forced around 30 vehicles carrying the group to stop before leading them away. Sardar says around 17 people in one vehicle managed to escape and report the incident to the police. — AP

Museum vandalised

ROME: Vandals threw paint-filled balloons at a controversial museum designed by US architect Richard Meier overnight, splashing the red and green colours of the Italian flag against the outside white wall, police said. The vandals also left a porcelain toilet and two packs of toilet paper next to the Ara Pacis museum, which sits on a fascist-era piazza in central Rome, police said. The white, block-like structure has attracted controversy since the project was assigned to Meier in 1998 by the centre-left municipal administration in power at the time. Critics contend the modern building clashes with Rome’s classical architecture. Rome’s right-wing mayor Gianni Alemanno, who last year threatened to move the building because he didn’t like it, condemned what he called an “irresponsible and idiotic” act of vandalism. — AP

Shoe-cide trial

CAMBRIDGE: A German student at Britain’s Cambridge University went on trial on Monday accused of harassing Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao by throwing a shoe at him. Martin Jahnke, 27, a pathology postgraduate, is charged with pitching a trainer at Wen as he spoke at the university on February 2 in an act which went beyond “lawful” protest. Prosecutors say he behaved in a way “likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress” but Jahnke denied a public order offence at a previous hearing. The trial at Cambridge Magistrates Court in eastern England is expected to last for three days. Wen was giving a lecture in Cambridge on February 2 when he was interrupted by a protester shouting “this is a scandal” and branding him a dictator. — AFP