Wed, Oct 01, 2003 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ JapanOrgy complaint probed

Japan's foreign minister said Tuesday officials were checking into complaints that Japanese tourists hired hundreds of prostitutes for an orgy in China on a sensitive World War II anniversary. Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said Tokyo had yet to determine whether the reports that hundreds of Japanese men, believed to be on a company tour, hired as many as 500 prostitutes in the southern city of Zhuhai, near Macau. Chinese news reports said more than 400 Japanese male tourists had sex with Chinese prostitutes at the Zhuhai International Conference Center Hotel from Sept. 16-18, which was the anniversary of an attack by Japanese forces in 1931 that China regards as the start of its World War II occupation. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan has called the case ``extremely odious'' and asked the Japanese government to ``strengthen education of its citizens in this regard.''

■ Indonesia

Sex laws slammed

Indonesian lawyers have criticized plans by the justice ministry to criminalize extramarital sex and some sexual acts by minors, a report said yesterday. Gayus Limbuun, chairman of the Indonesia Bar Association, said the state should not interfere in citizens' sexual behavior. The draft proposes that a couple found guilty of cohabitation be punished by up to two years in jail. A man who impregnates a woman but refuses to marry her could spend five years in prison. For those aged under 18, sodomy and oral sex would be punishable by between three to 12 years in jail and homosexual sex would be liable to punishment of between one and seven years. Sodomy, oral sex and homosexual acts would not be an offence for adults.

■ Australia

First dingo probably a pet

New DNA research has found that Australia's iconic wild dog, the dingo, probably descended from a family pet brought to the continent 5,000 years ago. The research unveiled at a New South Wales University conference and reported in yesterday's press, said the mother of all dingoes may have been a single pregnant female travelling with a group of migrants from what is now Indonesia. "All the dingoes have a very similar DNA type," said Alan Wilton, a molecular biologist and geneticist at the university. "Any variations we find in a population is only a single mutation away from the main type," he said. Dingoes are believed to have been brought by migrants as hunting dogs and "living blankets" for their body warmth at night.

■ Hong Kong

Inmates may make masks

Prisoners in Hong Kong could be used to make surgical masks to help alleviate concerns about a possible shortage should SARS re-emerge, officials said yesterday. Prison bosses have proposed employing 20 to 30 inmates who could produce up to 30,000 masks a day for the Hospital Authority, said Daniel Hui, general manager of the Correctional Services Department's industry division. The prisoners would not make state-of-the art N-95 masks that are used by health professionals in high-risk hospital areas. A supply of 30,000 masks a day is sufficient for public hospitals during normal times and could be used during any rush on masks if the territory is again hit by SARS or some other epidemic, Hui said. Officials will make a decision on the proposal at the end of the month.

■ LiberiaUS military to leave

Saying its mission has "largely been accomplished," the Pentagon is moving three warships away from Liberia as the US winds down its role in the peacekeeping operation, officials said on Monday. Defense officials said the dock-landing ship USS Carter Hall and the amphibious transport dock USS Nashville, together carrying 1,550 navy sailors and Marines, sailed north away from the coast of the west African nation over the weekend. The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima, a helicopter carrier serving as lead vessel in the three-ship Amphibious Ready Group, was slated to sail midweek, perhaps today.

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