■ North Korea
More children wanted
The duty of North Korean women is to bear many children and raise them as workers for the state, Pyongyang said yesterday as it celebrated the anniversary of a gender equality law. The population of the state where famine is believed to have killed more than a million people since the mid-1990s has shrunk to about 22.5 million from 22.8 million in 1999, government figures show. Leader Kim Jong-il described the North's 1946 gender equality law as "unthought of in any other country," said the Rodong Sinmun, the daily newspaper of the ruling Workers Party of Korea.
Cannibal to get death
A woman who killed her gambler husband and then cooked and ate part of his body has been sentenced to death in northern China, a news report said yesterday. Zhang Shuzhen clubbed her husband to death in April after arguing with him over how he always left her to play mahjong. She then chopped up his body, cooked the pieces and ate part of it, putting what was left in a pot, according to the South China Morning Post. Zhang, from Jilin province, reportedly told police: "I wanted my husband to be always with me, so I ate part of him."
■ South Korea
Student fined for attack
A South Korean student has been fined 10 million won (US$8,500) for taking part in a group attack on three American soldiers that triggered an official US protest, court officials said yesterday. The 24-year-old was sentenced Thursday for his part in the assault in September 2002. After the attack on a Seoul subway train one of the off-duty soldiers was forcibly detained for several hours by the students and paraded at a memorial ceremony for two girls who were killed in an accident involving a US military vehicle.
Acid thrown on mother, baby
A jealous mistress in Cambodia took revenge by going to the home of her boyfriend's wife and hurling a bottle of acid over her and into the face of her infant son, police said on Friday. The woman had been feeling neglected by her 32-year-old boyfriend since his wife had given birth to their four-month-old son, a deputy provincial police chief said. Police allege that in an act of revenge, the mistress bought some acid and knocked on the family's door in the early hours of Thursday morning. The new mother carried her baby with her on her hip to answer the door and the pair caught the full force of the acid in their faces. Police said the mother and child were not expected to live and that the baby was in a particularly serious condition.
Crash kills 26
A truck collided with a bus in eastern Turkey, triggering a chain-reaction crash that killed 26 people and injured about 30, police said yesterday. An Iranian-registered truck crashed into the intercity bus late Thursday, near the town of Tercan in Erzincan province, some 700km east of Ankara, a police official in Tercan said. A minivan then crashed into the two, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The driver and another passenger in the truck were killed along with the bus' driver and 23 passengers inside, the police official said. Passengers riding in the minivan were injured.
Blast kills at least 15
At least 15 people were killed and 100 injured in a huge explosion at a gas works yesterday outside Brussels, authorities said. The explosion in the industrial area of Ghislenghien, about 30km southeast of Brussels, was felt 10km away, authorities told Belgian media. Jean-Jacques Perrin, police inspector in nearby Ath, told the Belgian news agency Belga that at least 10 people died and others were injured. There were no details on the cause of the blast. The E429 motorway through the area was closed in both directions, with cars forced to exit at Ath or Enghien.
■ Great Britain
Olympic Committee scandal
At least one member of the International Olympic Committee flouted strict rules regarding the selection of the venue for the 2012 Games, the BBC reported yesterday. The British public broadcaster's investigative Panorama television team conducted a year-long probe, in which members of the team posed as consultants acting for clients in London who want the Games to come to the city. London, along with Paris, New York, Madrid and Moscow, are contending to host the Games. Panorama: Buying the Games, will be broadcast on Wednesday evening. The program alleges professional agents promised to secure the votes of some of the 124 voting members in exchange for money.
■ Great Britain
Dead man sailing
A British yachtsman who was presumed to have drowned after his boat smashed onto rocks has returned home safely to his family -- a month after the accident. Police in Dorset, southeast England, have no idea where Justin Griffin has been in the meantime, the Daily Telegraph said yesterday. Griffin went missing on June 28, and later his 6m yacht was found damaged off the shoreline close to his home, the report said. Griffin's wife said at the time that she was "praying for a miracle" -- one that was answered on Wednesday night when he suddenly arrived home.
Crickets not Nice
Millions of crickets have invaded Nice airport in southern France, causing no direct threat to air traffic but attracting birds who could pose a danger, airport officials said. Frederic Gozlan, head of technical services at the airport, said efforts were underway to clear the crickets, which are believed to have flown in from Italy or North Africa. "We have to hunt them down before they eat all the grass by the runways," he said, adding that the grass was needed to hold dust and gravel in place when planes land and take off.
Ex-Black Panther arrested
A former Black Panther who spent 30 years on the run after being charged in the attempted murder of a police officer was awaiting extradition, or possibly deportation, to the US on Thursday, authorities said. The long arm of the law finally caught up with Joseph Pannell late on Tuesday, after he finished up a shift at a reference library in Toronto, Canada, where he had worked for the past 13 years. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested the 55-year-old, who was living under the assumed name Douglas Freeman.
■ United States
Israeli missile tested
A US-Israeli anti-ballistic missile successfully intercepted a Scud missile launched on Thursday in a test-firing off the California coast, the US Missile Defense Agency said. The test of the Arrow missile defense system was based at the Point Mugu Sea Range, about 75km northwest of Los Angeles. The system has been developed by Israel with US funding. "The objective of the test was to demonstrate the Arrow system's improved performance against a target that represents a threat to Israel," the agency said in a press release.
■ United States
There's not much to thongs
Two men who strolled through a supermarket in thongs and T-shirts won't be prosecuted for taking part in what they said was a "triple-dog dare," authorities said. The 30-somethings from Colorado pulled up to a Walmart Superstore in Scottsbluff, western Nebraska, bought a couple of thongs and slipped them on in a changing room. Police arrested the 35- and 36-year-olds for disorderly conduct, but let them go. "There wasn't much to it," said Police Sergeant Tony Straub.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
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
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big
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