Wed, Oct 08, 2003 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ JapanGovernment to probe orgy

The Japanese government will investigate reports hundreds of Japanese tourists took part in a sex orgy in a Chinese hotel that stoked anti-Japanese sentiment in China, Japan's top government spokesman said yesterday. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda told reporters the foreign ministry would question employees of a Japanese company who were reported to have taken part in the incident at a five-star hotel in the southern city of Zhuhai last month. According to Chinese media, about 400 Japanese tourists and 500 local prostitutes were involved in the orgy. Chinese officials have detained suspects and closed the hotel in the coastal city in Guangdong Province.

■ Japan

Mad cow checks stepped up

Japan will maintain "extremely strict" inspections of cattle following the confirmation of a new case of mad cow disease, government spokesmen said, adding they believe a new strain of the disease has emerged. "We conduct extremely strict tests on all cows," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda told a news conference yesterday. "The cow in question was found through such testing. We have to check into it thoroughly and find out the cause."

■ North Korea

Kim's wife in hospital

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's wife, Ko Yong-hi, 50, is in critical condition after she sustained a head injury in a traffic accident in late September, a Japanese report said yesterday. The former star actress was traveling in a car when the accident happened, the Sankei Shimbun said, quoting a "Korean Peninsula source." No further details, including the location or cause of the accident, were known, the newspaper said. With speculation mounting that one of her two sons by Kim Jong-il will be named as the successor, North Korean media recently started idolizing Ko, an ethnic Korean who used to live in Japan and went to North Korea in the early 1960s, it said.

■ Hong Kong

Harbor reclamation goes on

The government said yesterday it will restart work on a reclamation project in Hong Kong's famed Victoria Harbor, a day after conservationists failed to persuade a judge to stop it. However, Housing and Planning Secretary Michael Suen said officials will limit their work to dredging and dumping rocks onto the seabed. He said the area near the Central business district could be restored to its current state if appellate courts ultimately rule against the reclamation. "This is a simple procedure that won't cause any major damage to the harbor," Suen said.

■ New Zealand

Ten strip to protest GE crops

A group of 10 men and women stripped off their clothes on the grounds of New Zealand's parliament building in Wellington yesterday to protest genetic engineering (GE) of crops. The 10, joined by a man who kept on his underwear and a woman who stayed clothed, spread themselves on the grass to spell out the words "NO GE." The New Zealand government plans to lift a two-year moratorium on field tests of GE crops on Oct. 29. The protest went a stage further than a group of women who took off their tops to reveal their bras in the public gallery of parliament in another anti-GE demonstration last month. Police took the names of the strippers with a view to issuing trespass notices that would ban them from the parliament grounds.

■ United StatesGraham pulls out of race

Democratic Senator Bob Graham of Florida ended his bid for the White House on Monday night after months of struggling to attract enough money and support to mount a competitive campaign. He is the first of the 10 Democrats in the race to drop out. "I have made the judgment that I cannot be elected president of the United States," Graham said on the Larry King Live show on CNN. The announcement brought a surreal end to a period of intense disarray and confusion at the Graham campaign. The senator once appeared to be among the most formidable contenders, and many Democrats were flummoxed by how a candidacy that had seemed so promising could fail to catch fire.

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