■ China \nJail for insulting corpse \nThe manager of a hostel in southern China was sentenced to six months in jail on charges of insulting a corpse after he threw the body of a dead customer in a river to avoid bad publicity, the government said yesterday. The victim, an alleged drug addict surnamed Lin, was found dead in Deng Jincai's hostel in the southern city of Haikou by a woman who had spent the night injecting drugs with him, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Hoping to avoid "ominous implications from the death if made public," Deng wrapped the body in bedding, put it in a cardboard box, carried it on the back of a motorcycle and threw it in a river. \n■ Hong Kong \nWily hostage fakes seizure \nAn Australian man scared off robbers demanding the security number for his ATM card by faking an epileptic seizure, the Sunday Morning Post reported yesterday. Tom Beckett was lured into a dead-end alley by two women who said they would take to him to a DVD shop in Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong. Five robbers showed up and took him hostage in a nearby building, but Beckett, with his mouth taped, feigned an epileptic seizure. The robbers tried to treat him by pouring water over him and massaging his chest -- but only after taking his watch and cash. They then escorted Beckett out of the building and set him free. \n■ China \nHouses buried \nA massive wave of soil and coal mine waste collapsed on a village in western China, burying 24 people and killing at least three, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday. Rescuers pulled three people alive from the wreckage of Saturday afternoon's landslide on the outskirts of the town of Wandong in the Chongqing region, but don't expect to find any more survivors, Xinhua said. The bodies of three dead were also recovered, it said. The collapse sparked by heavy rain sent debris racing 500m and buried 14 homes, the report said. \n■ Australia \nUS charges Australian \nUS officials have presented charges against an Australian detained at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, beginning the process for him to face a military commission, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Sunday. Authorities were to decide whether David Hicks would stand trial on the charges, details of which weren't available. "The latest information I have is that charges against Mr. Hicks by the prosecution have been presented to the appointed authority and that is the first step to the convening of a military commission," Howard said. Hicks' lawyers said the charges were presented months ago, but that Hicks has not yet been formally charged with anything. \n■ China \nFood hygiene lax \nAbout half of China's food export companies failed to meet hygiene and quality standards, state media said in a report that highlights the country's widespread food safety problems.After an investigation into 11,000 food firms, China's certification administration had revoked export rights for nearly 2,600 of them and ordered changes at 3,000 others, China Central Television said on its Web site. The probe aimed to boost the competitiveness of China's food exporters, cctv.com quoted Liu Xiande, the administration's chief of registration, as saying. \n■ Congo \nRebel factions fight \nUN officials said on Saturday ex-rebel fighters now part of Congo's army had forced a rival faction out of the eastern town of Walikale, but it was not clear whether the fighters were allies of insurgents who seized another city this week. UN spokesman in Kinshasa Hamadoun Toure said a UN reconnaissance mission had found no sign of renegade troops movements from Bukavu -- which was overrun by dissident soldiers on Wednesday -- to Walikale, some 150km to the northwest. However, he said former rebel fighters in the town had told the UN team that they were in control of Walikale after clashing with traditional Mai Mai warriors on Friday. \n■ Nigeria \nTroops kill 17 bandits \nNigerian troops killed 17 armed bandits in oil-rich Delta state, as military operations intensified to disarm criminals engaged in oil theft and piracy in the Niger delta, an army general said on Saturday. The killings took place on Friday in the riverine areas around the oil town of Warri, after armed robbers in boats, busy looting two passenger ferries, opened fire on troops, said operation commander Brigadier General Elias Zamani. "In the ensuing gun battle, seventeen sea pirates were killed," he said, before authorizing journalists to see seventeen bullet-ridden bodies in Warri's central hospital. \n■ Canada \nConservatives lead in polls \nThe Conservative Party reacted with glee on Saturday after a poll showed it was leading the ruling Liberals in the crucial province of Ontario. Neither party would win a majority with their current numbers but this is the first time the Conservatives have been riding so high. Prime Minister Paul Martin put a brave face on the latest figures which showed his Liberals leading the Conservatives by just one point nationally and trailing in Ontario for the first time in two decades. Martin said he was sure voters would back the Liberals' agenda of balanced budgets and increased health care spending rather than backing the Conservatives, who want to boost the armed forces while slashing taxes. \n■ United States \n`Republican Survivor' on Web \nWant to vote a Republican off the island? How about all of them? If so, Democratic congress members are here to help with a new Web-based cartoon program, Republican Survivor. President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Representative Katherine Harris and conservative commentator Ann Coulter are the cartoon contestants in a program patterned after the hit reality television show Survivor. The cartoon moderator, no friend of any of them, says the overall instructions are to "lie, cheat, steal, coddle, cuddle and pander. In other words, do what comes naturally to you." \n■ France \nGay couple marry \nA shopkeeper and a male nurse exchanged rings and kisses in France's first gay wedding Saturday, but the conservative government immediately moved to annul what it considered an illegal ceremony and punish the mayor who carried it out. Noel Mamere, mayor of the Bordeaux suburb of Begles and a leading figure in the opposition Greens party, celebrated the wedding of 31-year-old Bertrand Charpentier and 34-year-old Stephane Chapin in a blaze of publicity at the municipal building where he works.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up most of the mass of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature. Research published this week revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed. “Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a coauthor of