Beware of hookers
Foreign tourists to China should stay away from prostitutes in order to
avoid being either robbed
or kidnapped, state media reported yesterday. The warning comes after a series of cases in which foreign visitors to Guangdong Province were lured by
local sex workers, only to
fall victim to often violent criminals, the China Daily said. Guangdong police counted 484 robberies involving prostitutes and foreign tourists in the first six months of the year and 130 kidnapping cases, a rise of 7.5 percent from the same period last year, according
to the paper. In a recent case, two Hong Kong residents were found naked and tied up in a house in Shenzhen, having been stripped of all their belongings, including their underwear, the paper said.
Strong quake rocks Tibet
An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale rocked a remote region
of Tibet yesterday, China's State Seismological Bureau said, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
The epicenter of the quake
was 100km north of China's border with Nepal and 700km from the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in a sparsely populated area of the Himalayan region, it said.
■ Hong Kong
Pap smear demand surges
Women in Hong Kong yesterday were having to make reservations up to eight months in advance for cervical smear tests after
a huge surge in demand following a pop star's death from cancer. Singer Anita Mui (梅艷芳), 40, a hugely popular entertainer, died
in December, three months after she announced she had cervical cancer. Her death sparked a huge increase in the demand for pap smear tests which has overwhelmed some clinics, which are now taking bookings as far ahead as next February. A year ago, it took only around one week to get a pap smear at one of the seven Family Planning Association clinics in Hong Kong, which test 90,000 to 100,000 women a year.
■ Hong Kong
Woman toe-dials for help
A tree-bound robbery victim jumped up and down to eject a mobile phone hidden in her bra and dialed for help using her toes, a newspaper reported yesterday. The woman and her husband, who are in their 40s, were robbed in a country park
by three knife-wielding men who tied them to two trees, police spokeswoman Trish Leung said. Leung said the woman managed to sneak her mobile phone into her clothing, while the South China Morning Post reported that she hid it in her bra. After the robbers escaped with an ATM card and some cash, the woman leapt up repeatedly until
the phone dropped out, then dialed for help with her toes. The couple managed to free themselves before police arrived, Leung said.
■ New Zealand
Firewalk charity backfires
An attempt on the world firewalking record, intended to raise money for a
Dunedin ambulance service, backfired on the organizers, the New Zealand Herald reported yesterday. The ambulance service spent more than the US$650 raised by the firewalkers treating the 36 who suffered burns
to their feet. However,
341 completed the firewalk which is believed to be a new world record. Organizers will be forwarding details of the event held in Dunedin, in
the southeast of the South Island, to the Guinness Book of Records for ratification.
■ United Kingdom
M15 to watch Muslim youth
Britain is to deploy teams of intelligence officers and surveillance experts in cities where it is feared that extremists are radicalizing Muslim youth, The Times reported yesterday. The internal security service, M15, will discreetly deploy officers in several towns in northwest England within the next couple of months in a bid to snuff out any incipient terrorist threats within the urban Muslim communities, the paper said, citing "govern-ment sources." It is hoped the scheme will greatly improve cooperation between special police services and counter-espionage officers.
Bulls gore eight
Eight people were gored in Spain yesterday and at least six others injured during the sixth running of the bulls at this year's San Fermin festival. It was the worst day for injuries so far. The final bull runs this festival were set for today and tomorrow. Runners were upended from behind, or trampled, along the 850m route from corral to bull ring that animals and runners covered in little more than three minutes. Toward the end of the run, one man was repeatedly caught on a bull's horns during a huge pile-up of fallen runners and animals at the entrance to the bull ring. The man's clothes were ripped to shreds while he attempted to crawl away.
■ The Vatican
Pope to hand over icon
Pope John Paul is to remove one of the Orthodox Church's most revered icons from his private chapel and dispatch it to Moscow in an attempt to improve the Vatican's tense relations with the Russian Orthodox hierarchy. The Madonna of Kazan has been a bone of contention between the two branches of Christianity since it was first hung in the papal apartments 11 years ago. It is to be handed over to the Patriarch of Moscow, Alexis II, at a ceremony in September. Vatican spokes-man Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said the pontiff hoped it would "be a contribution to the greatly to be desired unity between the Catholic and Orthodox churches." The Pope's gesture comes against a background of recently improved relations between the two churches.
Limits set for beaches
Two French islands in the Mediterranean will intro-duce stringent new restric-tions on tourism this week, limiting the number of visitors and imposing a smoking ban as part of a new European effort to tackle the growing problem of ecological damage. The Ile de Porquerolles and Port-Cros, south of Marseille, are to allow no more than 5,000 and 1,500 visitors per day respectively, according to the Iles d'Or national park that admin-isters them. Smoking has been banned to prevent forest fires.
■ United States
Fires rage in Arizona
A pair of wildfires merged as firefighters fought back flames near a mountaintop observatory and nearly 100 summer homes in south-eastern Arizona. Hail and rain fell on Sunday around the Mount Graham Inter-national Observatory, aiding the battle to tame the fires. But lightning started a new blaze on Saturday in the steep terrain on the moun-tain's south side. The big-gest fires, the lightning-sparked Nuttall and Gibson fires, had joined but were 55 percent contained, fire-fighters said. The fires have charred 11,600 hectares since they began late last month.
■ United States
Plan would postpone polls
US officials are considering a proposal to postpone the November presidential election in case of a terrorist attack on US soil shortly before voters will cast their ballots, Newsweek is to report in its July 19 issue. While there is no specific intelligence about an attack to disrupt the election, one unnamed US official told the magazine that the bombing in Madrid, which is believed to have influenced Spain's election, as well as "inter-cepted" al-Qaeda chatter have led administration analysts to conclude that terrorists "want to interfere with the elections."
■ United States
Bush wants more logging
US President George W. Bush's administration will propose a new plan to open up national forests to more commercial logging. Under the plan, which was to be announced by Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman yesterday, governors would have to petition the federal government to block road-building in remote areas of national forests, replacing a national rule against such projects adopted by the Clinton administration. The Bush administration for nearly two years has been considering ways to change the so-called roadless rule, which blocks road-building in nearly a third of national forests to prevent logging and other commercial activity.
Flip-flops cause impotence
Rubber slippers can make men impotent and damage internal organs, a survey claims -- and the most expensive beach shoes fared worse in tests than cheap ones. Researchers found the shoes contain toxic phthalates, chemicals that can cause men to flop in bed. Phthalates are also suspected of acting like hormones and causing damage to the liver, kidneys and reproductive organs. The German Association for Environmental Protection also found high amounts of lead and poisonous zinc and phosphororganic compounds in flip-flops they tested. Levels of the chemicals were much higher than those shown to affect the immune and hormonal systems of animals in tests.
■ United Kingdom
Radio waves to stop cars
A high-tech device that can bring speeding cars to a halt at the flick of a switch is set to become the latest weapon in the fight against crime. Police forces in Britain and the US have ordered tests of the new system, which delivers a blast of radio waves powerful enough to knock out vital engine electronics, making the targeted vehicle stall and slowly come to a stop. Ex-physics professor David Giri is developing a radio-wave vehicle-stopping system for the US Marine Corps and the Los Angeles police department. Tests show that the system could stop various vehicles from up to 50m away.
■ United States
FDA approves leech use
The latest medical device approved by the US Food and Drug Administration has been a doctor's friend for thousands of years -- the blood-sucking leech. The FDA said the French firm Ricarimpex SAS was the first company to request and receive FDA clearance to market leeches as a medical device in the US. Found in fresh water, the creatures are used as medical devices in skin grafts and surgery, restoring blood flow by removing pooled blood so that circulation can develop. Leeches were used for medical purposes in ancient Egypt and their use peaked in the mid-1880s.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference