■ Japan Orgy complaint probed \n \nJapan'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.'' \n \n■ Indonesia \nSex laws slammed \n \nIndonesian 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. \n \n■ Australia \nFirst dingo probably a pet \n \nNew 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. \n \n■ Hong Kong \nInmates may make masks \n \nPrisoners 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. \n■ Liberia US military to leave \n \nSaying 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. \n \n■ Italy \nBoy traded for color TV \n \nA pensioner and his wife were being questioned by detectives last night for allegedly buying an Albanian boy whose father had traded him for a color TV set. Police believe a trafficking ring responsible for selling the boy has smuggled more than 60 children into Italy, posing as their parents. The case has once again focused attention on the trafficking of women and children from Albania, amid growing concern across Europe that small mafia-style gangs are generating a lucrative slave trade. Police have evidence that the couple paid 10 million lira three years ago for the child, then three, whom they called Tomaso. The child's father had swapped his youngest son for a color television. \n \n■ Colombia \nRebels claim abduction \n \nThe second-largest rebel group in Colombia said it was holding seven foreign backpackers kidnapped this month from an archaeological site in the mountains. It was the first claim of responsibility for the abduction. The National Liberation Army, known as the ELN, did not make any demands in its statement, but said Monday it was open to negotiations "to find a solution." The group of eight backpackers -- four Israelis, two Britons, a German and a Spaniard -- was abducted by gunmen on Sept. 12 from the Lost City archaeological ruins in the snowcapped Sierra Nevada mountains. \n \n■ Germany \nMarathon saves drug addict \n \nMedics at the Berlin marathon saved the life of a collapsed heroin addict when they mistook him for a competitor. The head of the marathon's medical team said some of his doctors found and resuscitated a 40-year-old man wearing a numbered race bib who had collapsed on a railway platform at the 37km mark of the 42km marathon. "It turned out he was a heroin addict," said Willi Heepe. "He smelled of alcohol, but he was wearing running shoes. We thought he was a runner. The Berlin marathon probably saved his life," said Heepe. \n \n■ United kingdom \nBrits believe Blair lied \n \nNearly 60 percent of Britons believe Prime Minister Tony Blair lied over the threat posed by Iraq in the run-up to the US-led war to oust former president Saddam Hussein, an opinion poll showed yesterday. The NOP poll, published by the Independent newspaper, found 41 percent wanted Blair to resign while 52 percent did not. Fifty-nine percent thought Blair lied over Iraq and 29 percent did not. Other polls have also shown a majority of Britons no longer trust Blair after the failure of US-led forces to find any banned weapons in Iraq, his main justification for the war. The NOP poll suggested that replacing Blair with Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown would not boost the party's appeal significantly.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete