Sat, Aug 23, 2003 - Page 5 News List

World News Quick Take

Japan

Defensive missiles sought

Japan's Defense Agency is seeking to purchase US missiles worth Japanese Yen 2 billion (US$17 million) each to help defend the country against a possible attack from North Korea, a major daily reported yesterday. The Mainichi newspaper did not specify how many Standard Missile-3's Japan hopes to buy. But it did quote unnamed agency sources as saying the agency is seeking several hundred billion yen for the missiles as part of its overall Japanese Yen 140 billion (US$1.19 billion) budget for the next fiscal year.

Australia

Howard defends superheroes

Mild-mannered Prime Minister John Howard went into battle yesterday on behalf of superheroes after some Australian childcare centers banned kids from dressing as caped crusaders like Superman and Batman. "That is political correctness gone mad," Howard told Melbourne radio station 3AW. The bespectacled former solicitor and fan of the genteel game of cricket said he had thrown superhero-themed parties for his children when they were young. But some childcare centers in the southern city of Melbourne have banned crime-fighting superheroes including Superman, Batman, Spiderman and the Hulk, saying the costumes encourage aggressive play.

Thailand

Stewardess harassed twice

A Thai Airways International flight attendant who complained of being sexually molested by a Korean passenger was then blackmailed to have sex with a member of an airline committee set up to investigate the incident, a news report said yesterday. Member of Parliament Prachuap Ungphakorn was quoted by The Nation newspaper as saying the Korean passenger touched the flight attendant's breast while pretending to reach for her name tag. The enraged Thai Airways stewardess then removed her name tag and threw it at the groping passenger, prompting the airline's management to set up a committee to investigate the incident. Prachuap said the stewardess, who was not named, was then subjected to a second dose of sexual harassment when an airline executive threatened to find her at fault if she refused to have sex with him.

Cambodia

Sam Rainsy fined

Cambodia's opposition party leader Sam Rainsy was found guilty of vote-buying before the July 27 national election and fined US$2,500 dollars, officials said yesterday. The Provincial Election Committee in Kompong Cham found the opposition party leader guilty of giving some 660,000 riel (US$165) to families in the province two days before the election in violation of election law, election officials said. "A representative of the Sam Rainsy Party admitted that he did this," said Leng Sochea, spokesman for the National Election Committee.

Sri Lanka

Residents urged to eat rice

Rice for breakfast, rice for lunch. That's the new dictate from the Sri Lankan government as it battles a mounting surplus amid a truce in its long-running civil war. Rice is already a staple for most of Sri Lanka's 18.6 million people, but they usually only eat it once a day. But with farmers fearing that a record rice harvest will drive down prices, the government has decided to tackle the surplus by eating it. "We appeal to the people to eat rice for at least two meals in a day," agricultural minister S.B. Dissanayake said Thursday.

United States

City pulls plug on cameras

The city of Tampa has decided to dismantle a system of surveillance cameras put up in the city after admitting that the cameras failed to help solve a single crime. The city put up 36 facial recognition cameras two years ago to take pictures of passers-by so their images could be compared with a database containing the pictures of 30,000 wanted people. A spokesman for the Tampa police department was quoted in Thursday's Washington Times as saying the cameras had not helped in identifying or arresting any criminals.

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