Prisoners sleep in shifts
A prison in north India is so crowded the prisoners are forced to sleep in two-hour shifts, it was reported yesterday. The jail in Muzzaffarnagar district, about 360km northwest of Uttar Pradesh state capital Lucknow, can accommodate 530 prisoners. It usually has more than 1,100 inmates, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported. A good night's sleep is a dream here, with prisoners woken up every two hours so that another batch can sleep. The state has 60 prisons with a capacity of 34,222, but they are usually filled with more than 50,000 prisoners.
Woman found in cave
A Western woman found in a cave in the Himalayas will be sent to a home for the destitute after an eight-month probe failed to establish where she was from, police said yesterday. The woman, who looks about 50 years old, was found "dishevelled and in shabby clothes" and without a passport in a cave in April near the tourist resort of Manali, local police chief A.P. Singh said. The woman first gave her name as Turin, leading authorities to think she was from Italy. But the Italian Embassy in New Delhi said she could hardly speak any Italian, Singh said. He said authorities also thought she could be American but the US Embassy could not confirm her identity either. "Her problem is she talks very little, despite coaxing," said the police chief.
Loyal dog beaten to death
A faithful but cantankerous dog was beaten to death after it refused to let rescue workers get close to its injured master, state press reported yesterday. The Xiangfan Evening News, cited by the China Daily, said an elderly man named Deng accidentally fell into a lake when playing with his dog in Xiangfan, a city in central Hubei Province. The dog jumped into the water, pulled Deng ashore and stood guard, not letting anyone come close when rescuers arrived. To save the unconscious man in freezing temperatures, police and medical workers said they had no choice but to beat the dog to death. It did not say whether Deng lived, or died like his duty-bound companion.
Maids' deaths spark fears
Twenty Indonesian maids have fallen to their deaths from their employers' apartments in Singapore this year, Indonesia's embassy said yesterday. Most of the deaths were still under investigation, but were largely believed to result from inadequate training, said embassy official Fachry Sulaiman. Some apparently fell while hanging laundry or washing windows in the wealthy city-state's high-rise apartments, home to the majority of Singaporeans. Sulaiman didn't say how many of the deaths, if any, might have been suicides. "Most of the maids [who fell] were new workers," he said. "We urge all employers here and maid agencies here and in Indonesia to prepare all of the maids" for their work.
Cameras to combat betting
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has ordered that video cameras be installed at border crossings to discourage gamblers from playing in neighboring countries during the New Year holidays, a news report said yesterday. "Beware! You may lose your money out there, and even if you win and bring back a lot of money, your cash could be seized. The videos will record your movement," The Nation newspaper quoted Thaksin as saying in his holiday warning to the country's gamblers.