■ South Korea Woman cleared of murder \n \nAn American woman accused of killing a fellow US student in South Korea in 2001 was acquitted of homicide charges yesterday. "It feels really, really good," said 22-year-old Kenzi Snider, who cried and hugged her mother, Heath Bozonie, when the verdict was read out in a Seoul courtroom. Snider had been accused of beating to death 21-year-old Jamie Penich, a University of Pittsburgh student, over unwanted sexual advances. Both were exchange students in South Korea at the time of the killing in a Seoul hotel room on March 18, 2001. Judge Jun Bong-jin said that there was a high possibility that someone other than Snider committed the murder. \n \n■ The Philippines \nExecution denied \n \nPhilippine President Gloria Arroyo yesterday denied allegations the country's top terror suspect was executed in cold blood to present a publicity coup ahead of US President George W. Bush's visit. Opposition politicians have reacted with anger and skepticism to government claims Jemaah Islamiyah bombmaker Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi was killed in a shoot-out with the security forces on southern Mindanao island late Sunday. Some opposition figures have alleged Indonesian al-Ghozi was killed to prevent him revealing police complicity in his embarrassing escape from the national police headquarters jail in Manila in July. \n \n■ Pakistan \nMissile test successful \n \nPakistan launched a medium-range missile capable of hitting many targets inside archrival India early yesterday, its third -- and last -- in a series of planned tests which began earlier this month, government officials and Pakistan's army said. Longer-range missiles, however, will be tested in the future, the army said. The medium-range, surface-to-surface Hatf-4, also known as the Shaheen-1, was successfully test fired from an undisclosed location, it said. The missile has a range of 700km. A government official at Pakistan's main nuclear facility said experts are now working to upgrade longer-range missiles. \n \n■ South Korea \nRoh's motives questioned \n \nThe leader of South Korea's main opposition party, which controls parliament, said on yesterday that President Roh Moo-hyun should disclose details of an aide's political funding scandal before a confidence vote on his rule. Roh called on Monday for a Dec. 15 referendum and said he would step down if he lost the vote. He added confusion by at first linking the proposed poll to the financial scandal, then later describing the referendum as a political reform policy. Choe Byung-yul, who heads the main opposition Grand National Party, said more debate was needed on a referendum and on Roh's motives for the unprecedented move. \n \n■ Singapore \nCult classic premieres \n \nThe cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show, which premiered in US theaters almost 30 years ago, will finally make its Singapore debut. Local censors had originally objected to the kinky sexual practices depicted in the science fiction horror film starring Susan Sarandon and pop star Meatloaf. In the 1975 film, a pair of innocent newlyweds stumble upon the secluded home of a homicidal, cross-dressing scientist from outer space and are seduced into wild sex and partying. The risque musical will be screened for the first time in the conservative city-state at an outdoor Halloween party. \n■ United States Siamese twins `doing well' \n \nEgyptian twins Ahmed and Mohamed Ibrahim were doing well, doctors said Monday, despite surgery that separated their heads, but they still needed to be closely watched. The boys are in "truly remarkable condition, considering their ordeal," said James Thomas, chief of critical care services at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, Texas The twins were born two years ago, joined at the crowns of their heads. They endured marathon surgery Saturday and Sunday to separate them and give them a chance at normal development. Both Ahmed and Mohamed were listed in critical but stable condition as of about 2300 GMT Monday. \n \n■ Iraq \nTroops may stay, poll finds \n \nMore than two-thirds of Baghdad residents would like to see US troops stay longer than a few more months, but many still have sharply mixed feelings about the troops, a poll says. The Gallup poll found that 71 percent of the capital city's residents felt US troops should not leave in the next few months. Just 26 percent felt the troops should leave that soon. However, a sizable minority felt there were circumstances in which attacks against those troops could be justified. Almost one in five, 19 percent, said attacks could be justified, and an additional 17 percent said they could be in some situations. These mixed feelings from Baghdad residents come at a time when many in the US are calling for the troops to be brought home soon. \n \n■ United States \nPot messes with sperm \n \nSperm in men who smoke marijuana regularly lose stamina and burn out which may prevent conception, said a study released by the State University of New York in Buffalo, New York on Monday. "The sperm from marijuana smokers were moving too fast too early," said Lani Burkman, lead author of the study, in a statement. "To attach itself to the egg, the sperm has to swim like mad -- that's hyper activation -- and they have to be vigorous at the right time," Burkman said. The study found that men who smoke marijuana have less sperm because of lower quantities of seminal fluid compared to fertile men. \n \n■ Russia \nStain remover wrecks home \n \nA Russian man may wish he had stuck with having dirty trousers after an imaginative attempt to purge a stubborn paint stain on them destroyed his apartment. The unnamed Muscovite added a liter of petrol to his washing machine to help dissolve the stain, Itar-Tass news agency reported on Monday, but the ensuing explosion wrecked his kitchen and demolished two internal walls. Moscow police confirmed there had been an explosion in a south-eastern Moscow apartment, but would not comment on the cause. \n \n■ United Kingdom \nProbe of Tory leader starts \n \nBritain's parliamentary watchdog opened an investigation Monday into allegations that the leader of the main opposition Conservative Party wrongly put his wife on his payroll. Leader Iain Duncan Smith submitted a 40-page rebuttal to the commissioner for parliamentary standards, Sir Philip Mawer, on Monday, responding to a dossier given to Mawer by Michael Crick, an investigative journalist for the BBC. Crick says he has assembled documentation questioning whether Betsy Duncan Smith did the work for which she was paid from her husband's parliamentary allowance. She was on his payroll for 15 months.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up most of the mass of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature. Research published this week revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed. “Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a coauthor of