■ China \nInternet purity drive begins \nChina is working with its top two search engines to crack down on Internet pornography by restricting the use of keywords, Xinhua news agency said on Monday. A recent survey of Internet use in China showed that 70 percent of surfers used Chinese search engines such as Baidu and 3721 and US-based Google Inc to look for information. Baidu has barred 40,000 keywords. "It means about half a million porn pages can't be clicked open as in the past," Baidu head Bi Sheng told Xinhua. China began its crackdown on porn sites last month and closed 700 Web sites in the first 10 days of the campaign, Xinhua said. The country has 87 million Internet users, over 50 percent of whom are under 24 and approximately 18 percent are minors, Xinhua said. \n■ Malaysia \nMan dies after sly romp \nA Malaysian man died after having his penis nearly hacked off by his neighbor when he was caught having sex with the suspect's wife, news reports said yesterday. The 39-year old man and 34-year-old woman were allegedly in the midst of an act of passion at a deserted housing estate late Saturday when the woman's enraged husband suddenly appeared, the official Bernama news agency reported. The suspect allegedly slashed at his neighbor's penis until it was nearly severed. The woman attempted to bring her lover to a clinic, but was involved in a minor car accident on the way. The victim died from blood loss. \n■ Australia \nKidnapped baby returned \nAn ambulance crew responding to an anonymous call yesterday found a 3-week-old baby girl who was snatched from her mother in a weekend attack at a Melbourne shopping mall, and two suspects in the kidnapping later turned themselves in. Paramedics found Montana Barbaro abandoned at a rundown house and she was reunited with her parents at a hospital, police spokeswoman Cathy Heycock said, one day after the mother, Anita Ciancio, 27, made a tearful public plea for the baby's return. Later yesterday, police said they detained a couple who turned themselves into a police station in Ballarat, a town outside the southern city of Melbourne where the baby was kidnapped. \n■ Hong Kong \nOfficers raid bootleggers \nHong Kong customs officers have smashed an illegal Chinese liquor syndicate which bottled hooch in filthy conditions and even left cockroaches in some drinks, the government said yesterday. During a four-day operation, customs officers raided two factories illegally producing liquor, containing snake and herbal extracts, that retailed at 110 outlets. They seized a total over 10,000 bottles or about 6,000 liters of liquor, worth about HK$200,000 (US$25,600). Five Hong Kong men were arrested. \n■ Japan \nTalks with N Korea to begin \nJapanese and North Korean diplomats will meet in Beijing this week for working-level talks aimed at resolving a dispute over the North's kidnapping of Japanese nationals decades ago and the North's nuclear programs, Japan's Foreign Ministry said yesterday. The two-day meetings, starting tomorrow, would be the first since Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi flew to Pyongyang on May 22 for a summit with North Korea's reclusive leader Kim Jong-il. The two sides, which have never had diplomatic relations, have said they eventually hope to establish ties. \n■ France \nRugby star held for murder \nFrance's former rugby captain was under arrest for murder on Sunday after allegedly shooting his wife at a party on Saturday night. About 60 fellow guests, who had gathered in Bourgoin-Jallieu, near Lyon, to celebrate the end of the rugby season, were reported to have witnessed Marc Cecillon shoot his wife Chantal three or four times, just before midnight. She died after being hit in the head and throat. "He had a row with friends, left the party and returned half an hour later with a pistol, and began to shoot," one guest told reporters. \n■ Mexico \nIndian mob locks mayor up \nHundreds of enraged residents of the impoverished Indian community of San Juan Chamula, located just outside San Cristobal, locked the mayor and three other municipal officials in jail on Sunday, accusing the men of embezzling funds from public works projects. The angry mob gathered on Sunday morning to capture Mayor Juan Gomez, the municipal treasurer and two town council members. The crowd revolted based on evidence that municipal authorities falsified documents to create phantom construction projects, including cisterns for capturing rainwater, rural roads and playing fields that were never built. \n■ United Kingdom \nSkip the sex, let's have tea \nThe first thing that goes through the average Briton's mind on waking up is not making steaming hot love, but a steaming hot cup of tea. According to a poll by the UKTV Food channel published on Sunday, many Brits can get up for a cuppa, but not for sex. An overwhelming 52 percent of women cannot wait to brew up, while just one in every hundred would rather stay in the bedroom and cuddle up. And when British men are roused from their sleep, just five percent want to get aroused, but 42 percent want to get the kettle on. \n■ United States \nPrivate rocket explodes \nA team taking a low-budget stab at the US$10 million X Prize for private manned spaceflight suffered a setback when their rocket exploded after shooting less than 300m in the air. No one was hurt in Sunday's test of the Rubicon 1 near Queets, Washington. The 7m-long, 96.5cm-diameter spacecraft held three dummies simulating the weight of astronauts. The rocket, which crashed about 60m from the takeoff site after its parachute failed to deploy, will have to be rebuilt, said Eric Meier, co-founder of Space Transport Corp. More than two dozen teams are competing to win the X Prize by trying to successfully launching a privately financed, reusable craft. \n■ United States \nOil well fighter Adair dies \nPaul "Red" Adair, who was instrumental in capping Kuwaiti oil wells set ablaze by Iraq and was immor-talized by John Wayne in a movie based on his life, has died at the age of 89. Adair died on Saturday of natural causes at a Houston hospital, his daughter Robyn Adair said. Adair revolutionized the science of snuffing and controlling wells spewing high-pressure jets of oil and gas, using explosives, water cannons, bulldozers, drilling mud and concrete. He is credited with extinguishing more than 2,000 land and offshore oil well fires. His daredevil reputation led to a 1968 film, Hellfighters, in which he was played by John Wayne -- something Adair described as "one of the best honors in the world." \n■ United States \nFour held in beating deaths \nA 27-year-old man and three 18-year-old men have been charged with murder in the beating deaths of six people at a house in central Florida, police said on Sunday. The suspected ringleader in the killings of four men and two women may have been seeking revenge for the theft of a video game system and some clothes, the Volusia County sheriff's office said. The victims were beaten to death with aluminum baseball bats at a home in Deltona, about 40km north of Orlando. \n■ United States \nGorilla demands medical aid \nWhen Koko the gorilla used the American Sign Language gesture for pain and pointed to her mouth, 12 specialists sprang into action. The result? Her first full medical examination in about 20 years, an extracted tooth and a clean bill of health. About a month ago, Koko, a 135kg ape who became famous for mastering more than 1,000 signs, told her handlers at the Gorilla Foundation in Woodside, California, that she was in pain. And because anesthesia would be needed, her handlers used the opportunity to give Koko, 33, a head-to-toe exam. When Koko asked to meet her specialists, they crowded around her, and Koko asked one woman wearing red to come closer. The woman handed her a business card, which Koko promptly ate. \n■ Russia \nReforms end elderly benefits \nThe upper legislative house yesterday approved a controversial bill that would end an array of Soviet-era benefits, including free transportation and medicine, for some of Russia's most impoverished and vulnerable people. The 179-seat Federation Council, which usually rubber-stamps legislation for the Kremlin, approved the government-backed legislation by a vote of 156-5 with one abstention. The measure now goes to President Vladimir Putin for his signature. The bill eliminates free provision of artificial limbs, job guarantees for the disabled and, for many, free medicine. In return, they'll get monthly cash payments ranging from 150 rubles (US$5.10). \n■ United States \nThirty rare dolphins put down \nThirty rare rough-toothed dolphins were euthanized after beaching themselves on Florida's eastern coast, news reports said on Sunday. The animals beached themselves on Friday about 90km north of West Palm Beach. Volunteers tried to save them by pushing them to deeper waters, but their efforts failed when the dolphins beached themselves a second time. Many of them were in the process of dying, said Gregory Bossart of Harbor Branch Oceano-graphic Institution. Six dolphins were saved and taken to Harbor Branch, where they were being given fluid as scientists fought dehydration. Strandings of rough-toothed dolphin, which prefer deep water, are extremely rare, Bossart said. \n■ Belarus \nUK scientist kicked out \nA scientist who has studied the Chernobyl nuclear disaster for more than 10 years has been placed on the Belarussian "forbidden persons list" and banned from the country for five years. Alan Flowers, a professor at Kingston University, was expelled weeks after arriving for a lecture tour on an invitation from the the state university. He had regularly conducted his studies, testing radioactive content in soil, and had his visa renewed in March. He said the move was an attempt to gag him by the government, led by President Aleksandr Lukashenko.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete