■ CanadaPolice slam Asian gangs
Asian gangs are spinning a web of fraud, theft, sex and drug crime in Canada, threatening public safety, government tax revenues and jobs, a police report warned on Friday. Asia-based organized crime will "pose a major threat" in Canada through "multiple, sophisticated criminal activities" and the supply of illicit drugs to other criminal groups, the report said. The 2004 report by Canada's Criminal Intelligence Service said Asian gangs operated throughout the nation, the report said. Asian gangs "remain involved in payment card fraud, illegal gaming, loan-sharking, prostitution and human smuggling/trafficking," it said.
Playboy ban attempt fails
Olympics officials have failed to ban a Greek edition of Playboy featuring a section on so-called Olympian traditions of sex. "The court turned down (the organizers') request for a restraining order," magazine lawyer Stelios Michalopoulos said on Friday. The issue featured photos of naked models posing as athletes. "(Playboy) humiliates and ridicules Olympic symbols, signs, mottos, terms and mascots... causing enormous economic damage to our sponsors, license holders and Olympic product manufacturers ... `2004' is a dominant part of our name and trademark and is inextricably linked with our company and the Olympic Games," said a request both submitted and rejected on Thursday, 20 days after the issue went on sale.
Zanzibar bans gay sex
Zanzibar has banned gay sex and set prison terms of up to 25 years for those who break the law, officials said on Friday. The law sets a penalty of life imprisonment for sodomizing a minor. The penalty for homosexual sex between men is 25 years' jail; and a sentence of seven years is set for lesbian sex. "This is what we have been aspiring for. If the government takes such steps, the country will really move ahead," said Sheikh Muhammed Said, a local Islamic leader. Zanzibar's parliament passed the bill unanimously in April. Islamic groups have been calling for a puritanical approach to public affairs on the Indian Ocean island, which relies on tourism.
■ United States
Church rejects communion
Roman Catholic officials have invalidated the first communion of a New Jersey girl with a rare digestive disorder whose gluten intolerance put her on a collision course with Catholic doctrine. Haley Pelly-Waldman cannot eat wheat, rye, oats, barley or malt, so her mother found a priest who would serve a gluten-free wafer, but the diocese declared the communion invalid. "I don't think my daughter's personal relationship with Christ is affected by an ingredient," said the child's mother, Liz Pelly-Waldman. "The divinity of the Eucharist doesn't lie in the wheat."
■ United States
Elite schools top list
Harvard and Princeton were tied for top ranking in US News & World Report's list of best colleges. Harvard and Princeton are also among the most costly US universities, charging more than US$30,000 per year, not including room and board. Yale University was third and the University of Pennsylvania was fourth; Duke University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University all shared the fifth spot.
■ United StatesPentagon rejects charges
The Pentagon on Friday flatly denied allegations printed in a British medical journal implicating US military doctors in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal for ignoring medical ethics and human rights standards. Lieutenant Colonel Joe Richard, a Pentagon spokesman, said. The US military takes "strong exception to these allegations and wholesale indictment," he said. In a press statement issued Thursday, the British journal said medical staff failed to keep medical records, examine prisoners on a routine basis and provide care to injured and disabled detainees.