■ South Korea
Scientists saved in Antarctic
A South Korean scientist
was killed in Antarctica and four were rescued following a freezing swim to shore after their boat capsized in rough waters near their country's polar research station, officials said yesterday. The drama began when three scientists went missing on Sunday as they were returning to South Korea's polar research base on King George Island after seeing off 24 colleagues heading home to Seoul, officials said. A second vessel carrying five people left to search for them and also disappeared. A Russian patrol then found the group that had set out to rescue
the first team, on another nearby island. The fifth person in that group died -- it was not clear how.
`Gasoline boy' returns home
A boy, who was used to pay for three liters of motorbike gasoline by an uncle who had forgotten his wallet, was finally re-united with his family three months later when another uncle claimed him, police said yesterday. Three months ago Dy, 9, was on a trip with his uncle to visit his mother in central Cambodia, said police, but when the uncle filled up his motorbike with gas he realized he had forgotten his wallet. He then convinced gasoline seller Chem Thy, 70, to accept his nephew as collateral while he went to fetch money. Police said the uncle never returned and the woman decided to raise Dy as her own grandson, but then another uncle returned to claim him.
■ Hong Kong
Girl, 11, jumps to her death
An 11-year-old schoolgirl jumped to her death from her family's 11th floor apartment during a row over homework, police said yesterday. Tai Suk-wah is the fourth student to commit suicide within a month in Hong Kong, raising concerns over the pressure school-children in the territory are under. She was taken unconscious to hospital where she was declared dead, a police spokesman said. Twelve schoolchildren killed themselves in the last school year and five have so far killed themselves this academic year.
Woman strips for electricity
A female customer stripped naked in front of staff at a power company in Jilin Province to force them to reconnect her electricity supply, a Hong Kong news-paper reported yesterday. The power company cut off the woman's power over a 13,000 yuan (US$1,570) debt and refused to reconnect her until she paid up, the South China Morning Post reported. She stripped off in front of staff at the com-pany's offices. Staff called police who persuaded the woman to get dressed. As soon as police left, staff proceeded to reconnect her supply without payment, the newspaper said.
Family welcomes bats
A Singapore home sheltering a couple, their two daughters and more than 40 bats is turning into an excursion spot in the city state. Every morning the bats fly in through the front door, zip up three flights of stairs to the master bedroom and exit from the windows, just to hang upside down from the eaves, The Straits Times reported yesterday. Twelve hours later, they fly back
and exit through the main door. Albert and Regina Davamoni, both teachers, said the routine has been going on for years starting with only four bats. Elementary-school students often visit the house, which is also home to 50 birds and a rabbit.
European tourists kidnapped
Three European tourists have been kidnapped in a southeastern province of Iran plagued by rampant drug smuggling, western and Iranian officials said on Monday. The two Germans and an Irish citizen were on a cycling trip in the Sistan-Baluchistan province. It appeared the kidnappers had no political motive and were seeking a large ransom for the release of the tourists, officials said. The hostages were apparently taken by the same bandit groups that kidnapped three Spanish and an Italian tourist in 1999. An Iranian official said that the group Schiruk was demanding a 5 million euro (US$6.1 million) ransom.