■ SOUTH KORE
Police detain protesters
Police detained 37 protesters yesterday during a rally against the government’s decision to resume importing US beef, officials said. The detentions came when police dispersed hundreds of demonstrators who had held a candle-lit vigil in central Seoul amid public concern about the safety of the beef. “We have taken 37 people to nearby police stations as they resisted dispersal,” a police spokesman said. “They are under questioning for illegally occupying streets.” Hundreds of demonstrators, including students, continued to rally at roadsides, denouncing the police action and President Lee Myung-bak.
Painting sets new record
A painting that uses imagery from China’s Cultural Revolution sold for US$9.7 million at an auction, setting yet another new record for Chinese contemporary art. Zeng Fanzhi’s (曾梵志) Mask Series 1996 No.6 sold for HK$74.2 million at the evening sale run by auction house Christie’s on Saturday, a spokeswoman for the event said. The painting pipped the record for Chinese contemporary art set last November in Hong Kong by Cai Guoqiang’s (蔡國強) Set of 14 drawings for Asia-Pacific economic cooperation, which sold for US$9.5 million. The evening sale fetched a total of US$60.1 million.
Cat boosts rail business
Tama, a nine-year-old cat, has become the country’s most famous rail worker. Born and raised at Kishi Station on the provincial Kishigawa Line, Tama wears a formal uniform cap of Wakayama Electric Railway and calmly watches passing passengers who greet her. “Tama is the only stationmaster as we have to reduce personnel costs,” Wakayama Electric spokeswoman Keiko Yamaki said. The company feeds her in lieu of salary. She rose to national stardom in January 2007 as the railway company formally appointed her as “stationmaster.” Her appointment had a positive effect, boosting the number of passengers in January by 17 percent from a year earlier. The company promoted Tama to “super-stationmaster” in January this year, making her “the only female in a managerial position” in the company’s 36-strong workforce.
Border guards exchange fire
Afghan and Pakistani border guards exchanged fire, leaving an Afghan guard and a civilian wounded, officials said yesterday. Saturday’s gunfight forced the closure of the Torkham border for about 90 minutes, a Pakistani official said. The commander of the Afghan border police said the dispute erupted after Pakistan’s guards assaulted a young boy who smuggles sacks of flour across the border every day. One of his men confronted the Pakistanis and they started fighting. Guards exchanged fire and an Afghan was wounded, he said.
Two die in microlight crash
Two men died in an airplane crash yesterday after taking a microlight aircraft on a late-night flight in poor weather conditions. The pair left North Island’s Wairoa Airdrome at 3:15am. The Rescue Coordination Center said conditions at the time were unfavorable, with heavy showers, lightning and patches of fog. The center said a rescue helicopter found the wreckage about 120m from the end of the airstrip at daybreak. Wairoa Aero Club secretary Richard Tollison said he could not understand why the pair would try to fly in poor weather in the middle of the night.
Authorities seize eBay baby