Mother kills newborn child
A woman in central Vietnam who killed her newborn child has been given a 12-month suspended sentence, state-run media reported yesterday. Y Dua, 32, gave birth to a boy in January and killed him because she feared she would be ousted from her village because she had broken traditional village rules by having a baby outside of marriage, Phap Luat Thanh Ho Chi Minh newspaper reported. Dak To District's People's Court gave Dua a suspended sentence because she was "poorly educated" and committed the crime in a situation where she had few choices, according to the newspaper.
■ North Korea
Japan accused of militarism
North Korea on Saturday accused Japan of trying to "revive militarism" after lawmakers in Tokyo approved a set of bills that give emergency powers to the military and government in times of war. "This clearly shows what a dangerous phase Japan's moves to revive militarism have reached," an unnamed spokesman for North Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the state KCNA news agency. The spokesman said Japan was "obsessed with a vaulting ambition to convert the country into a military power" and accused it of making North Korea "its principal target." Japan's lower house approved the three emergency bills on Thursday. They are expected to be passed into law by the upper house by the end of the current parliamentary session next month.
Firms get tough on SARS
Chinese companies in Hong Kong and the neighbouring city of Shenzhen have adopted tough anti-SARS disciplinary measures, including the sacking of staff if they have visited infected areas. Staff at the Splendid China theme park in Shenzhen were warned a week ago not to visit the Baishizhou and Dachong districts of the city where more than 20 suspected cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, were recently detected, the South China Morning Post reported.
Drug smuggler set free
The High Court in Bangladesh has set free a Nigerian national who spent a decade in jail for smuggling drugs into the country, anti-narcotics officials said yesterday. Nigerian Robert Blackson and his American girlfriend Eliada McCord were caught with more than 3kg of heroin in their possession at the airport in the capital Dhaka in 1992. Both were convicted and given life imprisonment terms by a criminal court under the country's stiff anti-drug laws. McCord was earlier released by the Bangladeshi authorities after her mercy petition and intervention by the US government.
■ The Philippines
Missionary book sells well
Filipinos were snapping up the controversial book of an American missionary held captive for more than one year by Moslem Abu Sayyaf rebels on a southern Philippine island.
Sales of Gracia Burnhams' book, In the Presence of My Enemies, have been brisk since it became available last Tuesday, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The main branch of the bookstore chain Powerbooks ran out of copies to display on the first day of release because most were on hold for early reservations, the Inquirer said. Jane Mendoza, a Powerbooks branch manager, said the store chain sold a total of 194 copies on the first day - "a big quantity" for a book that had no formal launch in the country.
Politicians lie professionally