■ Hong Kong Popstar refused appeal bid \n \nCanto popstar Nicholas Tse has been told he cannot appeal against a criminal conviction for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, a Hong Kong news report said yesterday. Tse, 23, was sentenced to 240 hours community service in October 2002 after being found guilty of the charge which followed a car accident involving the star's Ferrari earlier the same year. The court was told the singer had called his driver Shing Kwok-ting following the accident. Shing, who was at home at the time, later falsely claimed it was he and not Tse behind the wheel when the crash happened. \n \n■ Malaysia \nMan guilty of scalping wife \n \nA truck driver in Malaysia pleaded guilty to scalping his wife because she refused to wear a traditional Muslim headscarf and dyed her hair, a news report said yesterday. Mohd Azhar Ngah, 34, told a Malaysian court Friday he attacked his wife with a knife at their home in Kuala Lumpur last week because of her appearance, The Star daily reported. "I cut her scalp because she did not wear a tudung [headscarf] and she had dyed her hair. I did not like it," Azhar was quoted as telling the court. He faces a jail term of up to three years, a fine, and whipping with a cane. \n \n■ Australia \nE-bullying under fire \n \nStudents caught bullying their peers via e-mail or mobile phone text messages may be suspended under new rules being considered by local authorities in New South Wales state, a newspaper reported yesterday. Under new disciplinary guidelines yet to be finalized by the state's education ministry, offenders could be banned from school for four days, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The new disciplinary procedures regulate so-called "e-bullying" and will also include provisions on the illegal use, supply or sale of restricted drugs at school, the newspaper said. \n \n■ China \nTibetan singer arrested \n \nChinese authorities have arrested an up-and-coming Tibetan singer and a monk who composed for him over songs with political overtones, Radio Free Asia reported. Singer Namkha and composer Bakocha were taken into custody in early March in a Tibetan area of Qinghai province in China's remote southwest, Washington-based Radio Free Asia said in a statement received on yesterday. The arrests appeared motivated by the political content of popular tunes, including King's Messenger and Courageous Amdo Man, the broadcaster quoted sources as saying. "There isn't actually any serious [explicit] political content, but it all depends on how you interpret them," one source said. \n \n■ New Zealand \nPolitician gets tricky invite \n \nA white New Zealand politician is going ahead with an invitation to open an art show by a militant Maori activist even though it has a sting in the tail, a newspaper reported yesterday. Gerry Brownlee, spokesman for Maori affairs in the conservative opposition National Party, accepted that he was not aware the opening was being advertised as "Meet the Prick," the New Zealand Herald reported. Brownlee was given responsibility for Maori affairs recently when his party's only Maori member of parliament Georgina Te Heuheu was sacked for refusing to support a new policy that she thought denigrated her people. The MP admitted last week that he was being cold-shouldered by Maoris who were refusing to invite him to functions. \n■ United Kingdom Terror booklets for homes \n \nA booklet instructing people what to do in the event of a terrorist attack is to be sent by the government to every home in Britain, the Financial Times business daily reported Saturday. The move came after pressure from the police and business community, who wanted greater openness about the risk of an atrocity and feared that people were ill-prepared for a possible attack, the Financial Times said. The campaign is to be launched in coming weeks. Leaflets, which were still being prepared, are to give citizens practical advice about what to do in emergencies ranging from floods to a chemical, biological or nuclear attack. \n \n■ United Kingdom \nSubway pusher sentenced \n \nA man who tried to push two women off a London subway platform was found guilty Friday of attempted murder and detained in a mental hospital. Christopher Studders, 40, attacked the women as they waited for a train on the London Underground. He managed to push one woman onto the tracks at Euston station on the Northern Line and tried to grab her again as she clambered back onto the platform. Studders was overpowered by other passengers, after he tried unsuccessfully to push another woman onto the tracks. A jury at London's Old Bailey criminal court found Studders guilty of two counts of attempted murder. \n \n■ Canada \nLottery winner waits a year \n \nA Canadian who waited nearly a year to claim a C$30 million (US$23 million) lottery prize because he didn't want to "do anything rash" was being described as the most patient man in the country on Friday. Raymond Sobeski won the biggest single jackpot in Canadian history last April but only stepped forward to claim his prize 12 days before the ticket's expiration date. "We thought it must be lost because how can someone sit on it for this long?" said Kathy Pittman, a spokeswoman for the Ontario Gaming and Lottery Corp. "After meeting him, it's perfectly clear to me. He is a gentleman who takes his time, care and caution to make any decision. He's a very patient, laid-back man." \n \n■ United States \nLesbian Barbie suit settled \n \nNew York City public schools will allow students to wear clothes with political slogans after settling a lawsuit with a teenage girl who was suspended for wearing a T-shirt that said "Barbie is a Lesbian," her lawyer said on Thursday. The city also agreed to pay US$30,000 to 15-year-old Natalie Young, a lesbian who was suspended in April 2002 when she showed up at her school in the Queens borough wearing her "Barbie is a Lesbian" T-shirt. \n \n■ Sweden \nNorwegian quack praised \n \nA Norwegian medical student posed as a qualified doctor for two years in a small Swedish town and got top marks from senior doctors and his patients after the case was uncovered. "We have studied his journals to check on the patients. He was not a bad doctor," said Leif Spangen, former chief surgeon at a hospital near the town of Torsby where the 34-year-old man had more than 1,200 patients. "Yes, he performed minor surgery such as surgery on skin abnormalities, nail infections and simple extractions," Spangen, who is reviewing the case, said. \n■ Brazil Rabid bats kill 12 \n \nAt least 12 Brazilians died from rabies in the last three weeks after being attacked by rabid bats in the Amazon state of Para, press reports said on Friday. The O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper said the attacks occurred in Portel on a small island in the Marajo archipelago. At least 300 people have been attacked by bats from last month in Marajo, but most have been vaccinated against rabies. Three people were hospitalized in grave condition, the paper said. "My son and my relatives died from this sickness. I'm afraid the rest of us will also die," said farmer Manuel da Silva Souza. \n \n■ United Kingdom \nHigh price for `Titanic' menu \n \nA menu from the first meal served aboard the Titanic sold at auction in Britain on Friday for £51,000 (US$90,000) -- the highest price ever for a piece of memorabilia from the ill-fated cruise liner. The menu was among four collections of memorabilia which went under the hammer during the British Titanic Society Convention in Southampton, the ship's home port. Retired detective David Howard, 44, made a considerable profit at the sale. At a earlier auction in December, he bought a number of items which once belonged to Thomas Mullin, a worker on the Titanic, including a broken silver pocket watch, a leather memo pad and a steward's badge. \n \n■ United Kingdom \nPolice follow leads in Libya \n \nBritish police were to fly to Libya yesterday to pursue leads in the murder of a police officer who was gunned down outside Libya's London embassy in 1984. The killing of Yvonne Fletcher, which British officials blame on gunfire that appeared to come from the embassy, prompted London to cut diplomatic ties with Tripoli four years before the Lockerbie airliner bombing killed 270 people. The move follows a period of rapprochement between the two countries, which British Prime Minister Tony Blair marked last month with a historic meeting with Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. \n \n■ Nigeria \nCoup attempt feared \n \nNigerian army officers and civilians were being investigated on Friday in connection with "serious security breaches" that some officers have privately characterized as a plot to overthrow the government. President Olusegun Obasanjo's spokeswoman Remi Oyo declined to say whether the alleged offenses constituted a coup plot, saying there was "no danger whatsoever; this president is firmly in charge." She added: "It is true that the intelligence community is investigating allegations of ... serious breaches of security on the part of some officers and apparent civilian collaborators." Three military officers said that officials had interrogated 28 mid-ranking army officers. \n \n■ Romania \nPriests deplore `Big Brother' \n \nRomanian priests are campaigning against a reality TV show that has broadcast live sex, Romanian media said on Thursday. The Romanian version of Big Brother was heavily fined by the country's media watchdog last month for broadcasting images of two housemates having sex. Several Christian groups issued a rare joint statement condemning the show as immoral and urging viewers to switch channels. "This program is of very bad taste and an unhappy experiment on humans which morally destroys the youth," said the statement on the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate's Web site.
Japan’s Mount Aso erupted yesterday, spewing a giant column of ash thousands of meters into the sky as hikers rushed away from the popular tourist spot. No injuries were immediately reported after the late-morning eruption in southwest Japan, which sent rocks flying in a dramatic blast captured by nearby CCTV cameras. People were warned not to approach the volcano as it ejected hot gas and ash as high as 3,500m, and sent stones tumbling down its grassy slopes. Authorities were checking if any hikers had been trapped or injured, officials told local media, as TV footage showed dozens of vehicles and tour buses
South Korea yesterday said that it would lift COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings next week as the country prepares to switch to a “living with COVID-19” strategy amid rising vaccination levels. A new panel established this week is drawing up a plan for a gradual lifting of curbs, aiming to lift restrictions and reopen the economy next month on the expectation that 80 percent of the adult population will be fully vaccinated. From Monday, the South Korean government is to allow gatherings of up to four unvaccinated people and ease operating-hour restrictions imposed on venues such as restaurants, cafes and cinemas, South
‘AVOIDABLE SITUATION’: After being tortured in his home country, a Sri Lankan and his family are at risk of deportation from the UK, despite his academic fellowship A scientist conducting groundbreaking research into renewable energy is facing deportation with his family to Sri Lanka, where he was tortured, after receiving contradictory information about his case from the British Home Office. Nadarajah Muhunthan, 47, his wife, Sharmila, 42, and their three children, aged 13, nine and five, went to the UK in 2018 after Muhunthan, who is working on thin-film photovoltaic devices used to generate solar power, was given a prestigious Commonwealth Rutherford fellowship. The award allowed him to reside to the UK for two years to research and develop the technology. His wife obtained a job caring for
A top global law firm is no longer representing the University of Hong Kong (HKU) in seeking the removal of a Tiananmen memorial from its campus after it came under heavy criticism in the US for helping China purge dissent, the Washington Post reported. Mayer Brown is the latest international company to face pressure over how its actions in China contradict its more progressive statements in the West. The 8m high Pillar of Shame sculpture by Danish artist Jens Galschiot has stood on HKU’s campus since 1997, the year the city was handed back to China. It features 50 anguished faces and tortured