■ AustraliaSheep not going to Iraq
A shipment of more than 50,000 sheep from Australia will remain stranded at sea after the government denied reports that it would be unloaded in Iraq on Saturday. ``Reports that a deal has been done and that the Cormo Express will dock in Iraq ... to unload its cargo of live sheep are incorrect,'' Agriculture Minister Warren Truss said in a statement. "The Australian government and industry continue to be involved in a number of sensitive negotiations with a number of countries and organizations in an endeavor to arrange a suitable destination for the sheep as soon as possible." Nearly 4,000 sheep on the vessel have already died.
Harry hides from media
Intense media scrutiny has forced police to remove Prince Harry from the central Australian cattle station he was visiting, according to a news report yesterday. The 19-year-old Harry, third in line to the British throne, was removed from the 16,000-hectare Tooloombilla Station in Queensland state by a police convoy, Australian Associated Press reported. It did not say where Harry was taken. Harry was planning to spend three months working as a jackaroo -- the Australian term for cowboy -- on the ranch as part of his "gap" year between high school and further studies.
■ South Korea
US to deal with North Korea
The US is working on a detailed plan to deal with the North Korean nuclear issue in advance of an expected second round of six-party talks, South Korean Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan said on Friday. "This greatly enhances the prospects of a diplomatic resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue," he told a lunch sponsored by the Asia Society and the Council on Foreign Relations. After months of accelerating weapons program activity, the North attended talks in Beijing last month with China, the US, South Korea, Japan and Russia. The talks, intended to address the crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear program, may resume in November although no date has been agreed.
Couple to be released
The Indonesian military will soon release an Australian couple after detaining them when their sail boat ran aground in a storm in war-ravaged Aceh province, officials said yesterday. Humphrey Jones, 57, and his wife Claire Susan Jones, 58, were detained Thursday on Nasi island, just north of the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, after they sailed ashore to seek refuge from the storm. Authorities holding the pair at an immigration office said they would be released soon but wouldn't say when. "After we questioned them, we decided to let them go. They did not violate any laws because they had no idea that there was a military operation underway," said Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Yani Basuki. "It was just bad luck that they were caught in bad weather."
Monks surf the Internet
The monks of China's Shaolin temple, famous for centuries for their martial-art skills, are also experienced users of the Internet, state media said yesterday. The temple, in central China's Henan province, has had its own Web site since 1997 -- long before the country's major portals started business, the Xinhua news agency reported. The agency, reporting from an IT conference at the temple, also said the Shaolin monks often go online to communicate with the outside world.
■ United StatesRecall boosts porn sales