Shamed boy kills himself
A 10-year-old schoolboy in western China killed himself in shame after a teacher pulled down his trousers and spanked him in front of his classmates, a news report said yesterday. Teacher Zou Weiming meted out the punishment to pupil Chen Cai after accusing him of taking his son's toy at the school in Chongqing, the South China Morning Post reported. The boy killed himself that evening by drinking a tin of pesticide, the newspaper said. The teacher was fired and the incident publicized to educate other teachers.
Pana Wave facilities raided
Police yesterday raided buildings occupied by a doomsday cult in an attempt to gauge the potential threat posed by the white-clad group, media reports said, although the group is being investigated only on suspicion of registering vehicles under a false name. "The search is nationwide, but we cannot link it to any other offences," said a spokesman for Tokyo police. The cult, which calls itself Pana Wave Laboratory, reportedly believes the world will end later this month and that communists are trying to kill its 69-year-old leader by using electromagnetic waves. Earlier this month, National Police Chief Hidehiko Sato referred to the cult's behavior as "grotesque."
■ The Philippines
Noisy burglar caught
A clumsy thief was caught in the Philippines after he made too much noise in carting away his loot and fell off the stairs of the house he was robbing, police said yesterday. Police officer Nick Mangundayao said Cristopher Carvajal was arrested before dawn Monday shortly after attempting to flee the house of his intended victim in Manila's Quiapo district. Mangundayao said the 25-year-old suspect suffered broken bones after he fell from the stairs of the house he was robbing as the owner shouted at him. "The owner was roused from his sleep because of too much noise Carvajal made while trying to cart away several appliances, including a karaoke machine," he said.
Parents jailed for neglect
A mother and father who let their baby boy suffer three months of pain without taking him to see a doctor for his broken limbs were each jailed for nine months, it was reported yesterday. Both the father, Jumaat Muhamad Zin, 34, and mother, Hayati Abdul Hamid, 30, were sentenced for neglect, The Straits Times said. The child, who was never given a name, died when he was seven months old in March 2000 from an acute intestinal obstruction. He was out with his parents when he developed breathing difficulties, and a concerned passerby called emergency services, the district court was told on Tuesday. The broken arm and thigh came to light in the post-mortem that followed.
■ New Zealand
Ban on hitting kids shelved
The New Zealand government has shelved a move to make it illegal for parents to hit their children pending an education campaign on other methods of discipline, it was announced yesterday. The move followed a dispute in Cabinet in which Minister of Youth Affairs John Tamihere, a father of five, stoutly defended the "right of parents to give their kids a slap." Two other ministers, in charge of justice and social services, wanted to change the Crimes Act, which exempts parental smacking from criminal assault charges, following a complaint from the UN.
Looters will be shot
The new US administrator for Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, is preparing a series of security-related measures that include permitting soldiers to shoot looters on sight. Bremer, outlining his approach at a meeting with senior staff members, also said he was eager to hire more police officers and ban Baath Party members from serving above a certain rank in future governments, it was reported. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq's cities have faced widespread looting, and a failure to ensure safety and security are among the chief complaints of Iraqis with US forces.