■ China \nHome-style toileting \nA man in western China is seeking permission to turn his home into a public toilet as a way of making money for his family, a news report said yesterday. He Ming of Chengdu in Sichuan Province has filed his application with the city's municipal planning department, according to the South China Morning Post. Ming says there are few public toilets in the area where he lives and converting his home into one will raise the family's standard of living. \n■ South Africa \nMan fed to lion \nA game farmer and three other men from northern South Africa were to appear in court yesterday after they allegedly beat up a worker and fed him to a lion, newspaper reports said yesterday. The remains, including a skull and bloodied clothing belonging to 38-year-old Nelson Shisane, were found in the game farm near the town of Hoedspruit bordering Kruger National Park, according to the Star newspaper. "Witnesses say the farmer first severely beat Shisane, before tying him up, driving him 15km to the game farm and throwing him over the fence into a lion enclosure," a police spokesman was quoted as saying. \n■ China \nOld woman sues toddler \nAn 80-year-old woman who sued a three-year-old boy for allegedly causing her to fall and break her leg was awarded 5,000 yuan (US$600) in a Shanghai court, state press reported yesterday. The boy, the city's youngest-ever defendant, was accused of running into the woman in a park early last year, the Shanghai Morning Post reported. One witness, the child's babysitter, said that a small stone had caused the woman to lose her balance as she was trying to stand up to greet the boy, who she had signaled over. \n■ Malaysia \nWives bust husbands \nA group of angry Malaysian wives tipped-off authorities on the existence of an illegal casino after they could no longer tolerate their spouses' gambling habits, it was reported yesterday. Police raided the den, which had been operating at a rented shop lot in the central Selangor state for the past eight months, following a police report lodged by the group of women. \n■ India \nVajpayee relative killed \nPolice have arrested a man accused of throwing a relative of India's prime minister to his death from a moving train, a government official said yesterday. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's grandnephew, Manish Mishra, allegedly was hurled from the train when he tried to stop a group of men from harassing women students on Jan. 24. The 24-year-old's body was later found near the railway tracks. Police said they arrested a jewelry trader, Ramji Verma, 32, in a village in central India where he had hid since learning from newspaper reports that the victim was Vajpayee's relative. \n■ Vietnam \nHelicopter dream grounded \nPolice have confiscated the home-made helicopter made by a farmer and a retired sports coach, police officers said yesterday. Tran Quoc Hai, a 44-year-old retired sports coach, said he has been obsessed with building a home-made flying machine since he lived next to a US military base during the Vietnam War. "I have been dreaming of being able to fly since my family lived in Go Dau district which was next to an American military base," Hai said. \n■ UAE \nPlane crash kills dozens \nAt least 34 people were killed as an Iranian Kish Airline plane with 40 passengers and five crew on board crashed near Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday. The UAE's official news agency, WAM, quoted sources at the scene as saying they could see 33 charred bodies. Another person died at a Sharjah hospital. The agency said the crash occurred as the plane was landing in Sharjah airport at 11am. A doctor at a Sharjah hospital said there were at least three survivors. A passenger list showed that the passengers were from Iran, India, Egypt, Nepal, Nigeria and the Philippines. \n■ Sweden \nKing praises autocrat \nA visit by King Carl XVI Gustaf to the Sultan of Brunei that ended on Monday triggered criticism after the Swedish monarch lauded the sultan's rule, reports said. The king said that the sultan "was very close to his people" and that the oil-rich country was "open," in an interview broadcast by Swedish radio from the capital of Brunei. Though head of state, the king has no formal say on foreign policy and must coordinate with the government and foreign ministry. The foreign ministry's recent annual assessment on human rights said that "the Sultan of Brunei rules in principle with unlimited power." The ministry also said that civil and political rights were restricted and that women were discriminated against. \n■ Brazil \nMinister touts condoms \nHealth Minister Humberto Costa on Monday launched an AIDS prevention campaign promoting the use of condoms. The campaign was geared specifically for carnival festivities, when sexual activity is known to increase. Brazil's powerful Catholic Church has spoken out against the use of condoms in AIDS prevention campaigns. But the government appeared to directly take on church critiques as the campaign slogan, "Nothing passes through the condom," contrasted with a Catholic bishop's remarks that miniscule holes in condoms allow HIV through and, therefore, do not constitute a safeguard against the disease. \n■ Israel \nMilitary secrets stolen \nThieves broke into the Tel Aviv home of a senior Israeli official and stole sensitive military information, Israel's Channel 10 News reported Monday night. The channel said the military censor prevented it from revealing the name of the Israeli, whom it described as "a most senior defense figure," and would not allow the station to detail what had been taken. \n■ United States \nSea lion captured \nA sea lion that apparently swam upriver from the ocean into the inland canals of central California was captured after motorists spotted it flopping along the roadway 105km from the sea. The 135kg animal basked in the sun on the back of a highway patrol cruiser while officers waited for a marine rescue team to fetch him. "We don't think anyone grabbed him. We just think he went all the way through the San Joaquin River, into some canals, and probably got out and started wandering around," said Cynthia Schramm, a spokeswoman for the Sausalito-based Marine Mammal Center. The animal was expected to be held for several days for observation and then released. \n■ United States \nExecution stay confirmed \nThe Supreme Court late Monday let stand an appeals court decision halting \nthe execution of a man convicted of hacking four people to death in 1983 but who insists that a review of the evidence will prove his innocence. The demand by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals that evidence in the case get a fresh look after 18 years of appeals came just hours before Kevin Cooper was to be executed by injection. The Supreme Court later denied a request by the state of California to reverse the appeals court decision. The appeals \ncourt had granted a stay \nto consider whether DNA evidence connecting Cooper to the crime should be retested amid repeated claims that he was framed \nby law enforcement. \n■ United States \nDiet guru's widow peeved \nThe widow of diet guru Robert Atkins, who died \nlast year after a fall, accused "unscrupulous individuals" on Monday of trying to use his history of heart disease to discredit his ideas about healthy eating. Veronica Atkins issued a statement acknowledging that her husband had been diagnosed with a heart condition known as cardiomyopathy about three years before \nhe died, and that he had a cardiac arrest in April 2002. But she said the condition was caused by a viral infection, and rejected any suggestion that he had died of a heart attack. \n■ France \nScarf bill goes to the vote \nFrance forged ahead with \na plan to ban Muslim head scarves in public schools with a parliamentary vote yesterday that was expected to pass comfortably, despite concerns the measure could backfire and strengthen Islamic radicalism. France's conservative government is hoping for broad support \nfor the bill in the 577-seat National Assembly to assure cohesion over a divisive issue and give a strong \nsense of legitimacy to the legislation. The government made a tactical compromise last week with the Socialist opposition and expects that the bill will get a comfortable ride through its first vote in parliament. \n■ Sudan \nPresident offers amnesty \nPresident Omar el-Bashir said on Monday that "major military operations" in western Darfur province had ceased and offered amnesty to rebels who would turn themselves in to authorities. Fighting in the western region has intensified recently, and for the \nlast week the army has announced numerous \nmajor successes over the rebel groups, mostly near \nthe border with Chad. El-Bashir did not say what would happen to those who did not turn themselves in. Rebel groups began an uprising for autonomy last year, and the fighting has killed hundreds of people and caused about 100,000 others to flee to Chad. \n■ United Kingkom \nUK, France form joint force \nBritain and France are to create joint rapid-reaction military units as part of a strategy to beef up Europe's defence, the Financial Times said yesterday. The paper said the plan would be unveiled to EU chiefs later this week. Under the Anglo-French bid, units of 1,500 troops, operating under the UN if needed, could be ready within 15 days for all terrain missions that would last \nno more than one month, \nthe Financial Times said. London and Paris want the plan accepted by all member states by the time the Irish EU presidency ends on June 30 and troops to be available by 2007, it said.
Henry Tong (湯偉雄) and Elaine To (杜依蘭) were preparing to spend their first wedding anniversary in separate prison cells until their acquittal for rioting during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. There were gasps and tears of relief in court on Friday last week as a judge declared prosecutors had failed to prove that the couple took part in clashes with police in July last year. The pair walked free in a ruling that has potential consequences for hundreds of other protesters facing similar charges. However, they have a long journey ahead as they try to rebuild their lives and business. “We have already been punished,”
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
BEIJING REACTS: China announced that Hong Kong’s extradition treaties with Canada, Australia and Britain would be suspended after those nations acted earlier New Zealand yesterday announced that it would suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong. The move came after China passed sweeping new security legislation for the territory. New Zealand is the final member of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance to take such action after the Australia, Britain, Canada and the US previously announced similar measures. New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters said that the new legislation goes against commitments China made to the international community. “New Zealand can no longer trust that Hong Kong’s criminal justice system is sufficiently independent from China,” Peters said. Moreover, Wellington would treat military and technology exports to