Man cleared of poison charge
A 33-year-old New Zealander has been cleared of charges that he tried to poison his wife while they had sex. A High Court judge in Hamilton threw out attempted murder charges against Andrew Scott Wright, telling a jury there was no evidence to support claims by his wife Kelly, news reports said yesterday. She claimed that she found a medicine dropper in the bed after they made love which she believed her husband was using to insert something poisonous into her vagina, and that he also tried to poison her coffee. Wright told the New Zealand Herald the police should never have brought the charges, which had cost him his marriage, his job and access to his children.
Journalist on trial in Aceh
An American freelance journalist who traveled with rebels in Indonesia's Aceh for a month before surrendering to government troops went on trial yesterday charged with immigration offences. Wearing a long white-sleeved shirt and blue tie, William Nessen smiled as he entered the court in the provincial capital Banda Aceh. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in jail. "The defendant misused his Indonesian visa," prosecutor Efdal Effendi told the court, adding Nessen's activities were incompatible with the visa. He did not elaborate.
■ The Philippines
Man holds son hostage
A 33-year-old man briefly held hostage his two-year-old son in the Philippines in a desperate bid to escape his nagging wife by landing in jail, police said yesterday. Ramon del Castillo also threatened to commit suicide and kill his son during the one-hour hostage drama in the city of Makati on Tuesday, said police Superintendent Jose Ramon Salido. Salido said del Castillo took his son while his wife was sleeping and forcibly entered a neighbor's house, where he took a knife from the kitchen. The man then climbed to the third floor of the house and tied a rope around his and his son's necks, while poking the knife at anyone who tried to get near them.
■ New Zealand
Asian drivers `the worst'
The case of a 13-year-old Chinese student clocked driving a high-powered car at 132kph on a South Island highway has produced a warning from New Zealand police about young Asian drivers on the nation's roads. "Plenty of young people drive irresponsibly, but it's Asian students who are the worst culprits," Sergeant Wayne Christie, highway patrol chief in Marlborough province, told Radio New Zealand yesterday. He said the 13-year-old and his 18-year-old sister -- who owned the car and was a passenger at the time they were timed at 32kph over the highway speed limit -- had been sent back to their parents in China.
Brass bells kill buffaloes
Thailand's Ministry of Agriculture is urging the country's farmers to stop adorning the necks of their water buffaloes with fashionable new brass bells and go back to traditional wooden ones because too many of the beasts are getting struck down by lightning. "The fashion leads to the deaths of their buffaloes and wastes state money," the Bangkok Post quoted the ministry's deputy permanent secretary, Dhammarong Prakobboon, as saying. He said the ministry had allocated 1.1 million baht (US$26,000) to replace buffaloes that had been killed by lightning bolts in six provinces since the rainy season began in May.