■ Japan US praises missile move \n \nWashington on Friday welcomed Japan's decision to deploy two US-made anti-missile systems, but declined to comment on its stated motives. Japan said Friday that the deployment would protect it from a possible ballistic missile attack from North Korea. Adam Ereli, deputy spokesman in the US State Department, said: "We welcome the Japanese government's decision to move forward on plans for missile defense." \n \n■ North Korea \nIreland establishes ties \n \nNorth Korea has established diplomatic ties with Ireland, Pyongyang said yesterday, as it seeks to improve ties with the EU despite tensions over its nuclear program. Officials of the two countries met in Pyongyang on Dec. 10 and exchanged documents on the opening of diplomatic relations, North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. "It was agreed to establish the diplomatic relations between the two countries on Dec. 10, 2003," KCNA said. Pyongyang has been seeking to improve relations with EU capitals, especially since 2001 when its ties with Washington hit their nadir over the North's nuclear weapons program. \n \n■ Cambodia \nFishermen nets body \n \nA 60-year old fisherman found the body of a woman stuffed into a suitcase and floating in a river near the southeastern coast, police said yesterday. Pon Sok reportedly found the corpse partly exposed from the suitcase on Thursday in a river near the Gulf of Thailand. A senior police official in Sihanoukville said the woman, aged 25 to 30 years old, was thought to be of Korean or Chinese decent but carried no identification. He said the woman likely died from being struck on the neck, then her body was stuffed into the suitcase and tossed from a bridge spanning the river. The police say they have no leads in the case. \n \n■ Singapore \nWarden jailed for favors \n \nA prison warden ended up in jail for smuggling food in for seven female inmates and giving special treatment to a Colombian inmate. Sandarozlin Anthony, 32, was sentenced to two months in jail. The court heard on Friday she let the Colombian prisoner, Paula Andrea Rendon Cellabos, use her mobile phone to call her mother and let her read an e-mail message from home, The Straits Times said. She also smuggled in a birthday card for Cellabos to write to her son, a box of chicken curry, prawns and rice, a bottle of guava juice, chocolates and sandwiches, which the Colombian shared with another inmate. The warden also sneaked in six curry puffs and gave them to five other inmates. \n \n■ Singapore \nNude photos spark storm \n \nA member of parliament is under investigation by police after his wife complained about photographs she found in their home of him and their Indonesian maid, both naked. Doreen Chia, 31, alleged her husband Steve Chia, 34, had outraged the maid's modesty, The Straits Times reported yesterday. The wife, pregnant with the couple's first child, reported the matter to the police at the end of last month shortly after their seventh wedding anniversary. The maid, in her early 20s, told police she had not been forced into posing for the pictures, according to the paper. Doreen Chia confirmed she had made the police report, but would not explain why. The Indonesian woman is now reportedly staying at a haven for maids who run into problems with their employers. Steve Chia is secretary general of the National Solidarity Party \n■ United States Pilot detained after drinking \n \nA Virgin Atlantic Airways pilot was detained shortly before his flight on Friday night after security screeners detected alcohol on his breath, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Virgin Atlantic Flight 22, scheduled to leave Washington Dulles International Airport for London's Heathrow at 7:15pm, was canceled after the pilot was escorted off the plane by airport police. The pilot had gone through security screening and boarded the plane, said Tara Hamilton, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokeswoman. He was being held and questioned at the airport Friday evening. \n \n■ United States \nThief sells stolen toys \n \nA Christmas grinch was caught trying to sell stolen toys that had been intended for poor children, police said. Police arrested Nathaniel Burroughs, 38, early Friday morning. They allege he stole 500 donated toys, about 100 of which had been recovered by Friday. The Reverend Clifford Davis, of Wesleyan Community Church in Belle Glade, Florida, said he was stunned last Sunday morning when he found about US$1,000 worth of dolls, trucks and other toys missing from the warehouse where he had stored them. Burroughs knew about the donated toys because he had helped unload the delivery truck, Belle Glade police Sergeant Jim Benedict said. \n \n■ United States \nDoctor diluted cancer drug \n \nA Fort Lauderdale, Florida urologist received prison time for giving dozens of prostate cancer patients lowered dosages of medication, then billing them for the full amount. Dr. Victor Souaid was sentenced on Friday to four years and three months in federal prison. He pleaded guilty in September to 59 counts of health care fraud and unlicensed wholesale distribution of a prescription drug, Lupron. Lupron doesn't cure prostate cancer but is supposed to stop the cancer from worsening by halting production of testosterone. Souaid billed his patients' insurance companies for up to four times the amount of the drug he administered. \n \n■ United States \nChristmas bad for trials \n \nBexar County District Attorney Susan Reed is no Grinch, but she does not view the Christmas season as the most wonderful time of the year in her line of work: putting criminals away in Texas. Annually, the Texas criminal prosecutor makes every effort to ensure major cases are not tried during the holiday season, because all of the good spirits are "bad for business," she told a reporter. "Everybody's in the loving, friendly, forgiving, peace and goodwill toward men spirit," Reed said. "Nobody wants to send their fellow man to prison at a time like this." Her favorite time of year to pick juries: income-tax season. \n \n■ Germany \n`Old Europe' a hot favorite \n \n"Old Europe" -- a term US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld used to disparage Germany and France for resisting war in Iraq -- was named phrase of the year in Germany by a panel of language experts. The Wiesbaden-based Society for the German Language (GfdS) made das alte Europa its choice in the annual poll for the expression of the year after Rumsfeld's phrase became a popular rallying cry used proudly by opponents of the war. Other sayings nominated for best of the year included "Agenda 2010" (Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's economic reform program) "SARS" and "embedded journalists." \n■ Qatar New terror tape aired \n \nA man believed to be Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the No. 2 man in the terrorist network al-Qaeda, warned in an audio tape broadcast on Al Jazeera TV that Americans would be targets "in their own home." The tape, which has yet to be verified, was broadcast on Friday on the Qatar-based satellite channel. Al-Zawahiri also said US forces will suffer great losses in Iraq. Al Jazeera said the tape is believed to have been made last month during Ramadan. The voice said al-Qaeda's pursuit of Americans knew no borders, but was taking place in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and the Arab Peninsula in particular. \n \n■ United States \nNASA releases new images \n \nA new space telescope that looks at the cosmos with infrared detectors has lifted the dust veils from newborn stars and a bumptious comet, and revealed detail in the spiral arms of a neighboring galaxy. The first images from the Spitzer Space Telescope were released on Thursday by NASA, showing the nearby galaxy Messier 81, located in the constellation Ursa Major, which includes the Big Dipper. The pictures of the galaxy show its different components in some detail -- including old stars, interstellar dust heated up by star-forming activity and the sites of star formation. Spitzer also captured images of a comet which orbits the sun outside Jupiter, as well as a stellar nursery within the Elephant's Trunk Nebula in the constellation Cepheus. \n \n■ United States \nBeauty queen uses gun \n \nA Georgia man allegedly \nshot by his beauty-queen girlfriend during an argument over another woman died on Friday from the injuries, police said. Sharron Nicole Redmond, who holds the title of Miss Savannah, was expected to turn herself in yesterday to face a murder charge, Savannah-Chatham County police said. Redmond, 21, was charged with aggravated assault after the Tuesday night shooting of 25-year-old Kevin Shorter. The argument was apparently over Shorter dating another woman at the same time he was seeing Redmond. Police said the two argued outside the home of the father of the second woman, whose name has not been released. Shorter was shot in the lower abdomen, then ran back into the house and collapsed. Redmond probably wouldn't lose her crown as Miss Savannah unless she was convicted, said Tim Strickland, co-chairman of the Miss Savannah pageant. \n \n■ Venezuela \nGunmen use beauty queen \n \nUnidentified gunmen briefly kidnapped Miss Venezuela 1997, Veruzhka Ramirez, stole her pickup and forced her to sign copies of her new nude calendar, her agent said on Friday. Agent Luigi Rattino said Ramirez, 24, was forced to drive the offenders around in her just-paid-off truck in Valencia, before they stole her cellphones, clothes and vehicle. "It was an express kidnapping; they didn't do anything to her," Rattino said. But before the curvaceous brunette was sent on her way, she signed 15 copies of her new calendar. At gunpoint. \n \n■ Iraq \nSpanish PM visits troops \n \nSpanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar paid a surprise visit to Iraq yesterday, flying in to inspect Spanish troops deployed in the south of the country, Spanish radio announced. Aznar left Madrid on Friday for Kuwait where he went by helicopter to the Iraqi town of Diwaniyah, the radio correspondent said.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread
RISKY BUSINESS: The Chinese firm has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of 5G equipment not covered by US sanctions, but fears a wider ban could be announced in the UK Huawei Technologies Co believes it can supply 5G hardware unaffected by US sanctions to the UK for the next five years, sidestepping the expected conclusion of British emergency review on Tuesday. The company has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of kit, but fears a wider ban on its equipment is to be unveiled to placate rebel British Conservative Party lawmakers, who say that the Chinese supplier represents a national security risk. The British government on Friday said that it was “very likely” that British Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden would make a statement to parliament on Tuesday