■ South Korea Ex-president's son stabs self \n \nThe son of former president Kim Young-sam stabbed himself repeatedly in the abdomen after being interrogated by prosecutors for alleged corruption, news reports said yesterday. Kim Hyun-chul, 45, has been under investigation by the Seoul Central Public Prosecutors' Office on allegations that he accepted 2 billion won (US$1.75 million) in illegal political funds from a businessman. He denies the accusation. After being questioned in the prosecutor's office, Kim suddenly picked up an awl from a desk and began stabbing himself in the stomach. "I am going to kill myself," the national news agency Yonhap and other reports quoted him as saying. Prosecution officials restrained Kim, who was taken to hospital with minor injuries, Yonhap reported. \n \n■ Malaysia \nAnwar plans political return \n \nFormer deputy prime min-ister Anwar Ibrahim told the Financial Times yesterday that he planned to return to politics if he wins his fight to clear his criminal record. "I'm committed to the reform agenda and this can only be expressed effectively in a functioning democracy in partisan politics," he said. "If this requires I take a road in having to contest in the elections, I'll do it." Anwar was unexpectedly released from prison last week after the Federal Court over-turned a sodomy conviction. Anwar hopes the court will also strike down his last criminal conviction for corruption, which would enable him to return to political life immediately. He also said he wanted to form a "responsible opposi-tion" rather than join the government or the ruling party UMNO. \n \n■ China \nEditor sentenced for fraud \n \nA former chief editor of the Guangzhou Daily was sentenced to 12 years in jail for corruption, the Procura-torial Daily reported yesterday. Li Yuanjiang was convicted on Friday of taking US$60,000 in bribes for 10 years from 1991 when he was vice-director and then director of the muni-cipal propaganda bureau while also the newspaper's editor-in-chief. His convic-tion follows the arrest this year of several leading staff of the reformist Southern Metropolitan News who were accused of embezzling government funds. \n \n■ Malaysia \nNew bird flu cases found \n \nMalaysia found new cases of bird flu yesterday in an infected area that has been under quarantine for three weeks, setting off a new round of culling poultry and screening people for the disease. Health Ministry officials said that one veterinary worker had been hospitalized with fever and cough and was being held in isolation until tests are completed. Hawari Hussein, director-general of the Veterinary Department, said that inspectors had found about a dozen chickens and ducks dead in three villages from the H5 bird flu virus. More tests would determine whether the strain was in fact H5N1. \n \n■ Bangladesh \nWorld Bank official flees \n \nThe World Bank's director in Bangladesh has fled the country after receiving a death threat, according to wire agency reports. Christine Wallich received the threatening letter on Tuesday and left Bangladesh that night. Copies of the warning were sent to several newspaper offices. A bank source would not say whether her departure was planned, where she had gone, or when she might return. \n■ Zimbarwe Coup plotter starts term \n \nThe leader of a failed coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea, Briton Simon Mann, was starting a seven-year jail sentence in Zimbabwe on Friday for trying to buy weapons from Zimbabwe's state arms manufacturer. A court in Harare ruled that the former UK Army officer should stay behind bars until 2011, crushing his hopes that British establishment figures could use their money and influence to secure his freedom. Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe said, "The accused was the author of the whole transaction." A defense lawyer, Jonathan Samkange said there would not be an appeal. \n \n■ Poland \nGermans could face lawsuit \n \nThe Polish parliament passed a resolution on Friday declaring that Germany had not compensated Poland for World War II losses, a move reflecting renewed tensions between the two neighbors over the war's legacy. Backed by the vast majority of deputies, the resolution reflects growing public anger in Poland at plans by some Germans expelled from territories awarded to Poland after the war to sue the new EU member state for compensation. The resolution called such claims groundless and made a thinly veiled threat that Poland might counter-sue for the destruction and mass killings committed by German Nazi occupiers during the war. \n \n■ United Kingdom \nMen get monthly moods \n \nMonthly mood swings, long considered a female affliction, may not be gender-specific. A study by University of Derby psychiatrists suggests that men may experience cyclical symptoms similar to or worse than those suffered by pre-menstrual women, including moodiness, discomfort and loss of concentration. "We were stunned when the men started reporting suffering from all the traditional PMT (pre-menstrual tension) symptoms," said Dr Aimee Aubeeluck in Edinburgh on Friday. "[This] suggests that there may be some other, as yet undiscovered, cause for many of the symptoms that are generally dismissed by doctors as being PMT in women." \n \n■ United Kingdom \nCoin find astounds experts \n \nA solid gold one penny coin dating from the ninth century and valued by experts at 220,000 euros was found by an Englishman walking his dog, London auction house Spink announced on Friday. "It is quite simply the most important single coin find for a century. We fell off our chairs when we realized what it was," said Spink numismatics specialist Richard Bishop. The exact spot where it was found, near a river in the center-east of England, is being kept secret for fear of a gold rush by amateur treasure hunters. \n \n■ Brazil \nTroops pose for portraits \n \nThousands of Brazilian soldiers were recruited by a Polish artist to pose in a formation that created a living portrait of Pope John Paul II, press reports said Friday. Polish artist Piotr Uklanski on Thursday asked the roughly 3,500 soldiers to stand in different formations to create four mosaic portraits of the pope. The portraits were photographed from a helicopter flying above Rio de Janeiro. Uklanski said he chose Brazil for the massive papal portraits because of the ample racial diversity of its citizens, which gave him a fine palette of colors. The photos required participants to hold their positions in 35-degree Celsius heat. Two of them fainted from the heat. \n■ United States Diner busted for not tipping \n \nWhen stopping in for a meal at Soprano's Italian and American Grill in Lake George, New York, leave a good tip. Or else. A man from the New York City area was arrested on Sunday after his party of nine failed to leave an 18-percent tip, the restaurant's mandatory gratuity for parties of six or more people, which had been added to his bill. The diner, Humberto Taveras, 41, was arrested, fingerprinted and photographed for a mug shot, but he did not produce the US$13.73 tip to the US$77.43 cost of his meal. He faces a misdemeanor charge of theft of services and, if convicted, could serve up to a year in jail, said Larry Cleveland, the Warren County sheriff. \n \n■ United States \nLetters spark terror probe \n \nEnvelopes containing matches rigged to ignite when opened have been received through the mail at the offices of at least 14 state governors in the last two days. The mailings, under investigation by the FBI and the Department of Home-land Security, bear a return address that names two inmates at a maximum-security prison in Nevada. But a Nevada corrections official said it was unclear whether they were the actual senders. Aides to several governors said they had been told by the FBI that the case was being treated as one of domestic terrorism. No one was injured by the letters. \n \n■ United States \nClinton leaves hospital \n \nFormer US president Bill Clinton was released from a New York hospital on Friday after undergoing quadruple heart-bypass surgery earlier in the week, his office said. Clinton was back at his home in suburban Chappaqua, New York, his office said in a statement. "The president is in good spirits and has taken short walks in the hospital hallway and in his home today." Clinton was seen leaving the hospital in a motorcade of black vehicles but did not speak with reporters who had staked out the hospital in recent days. Clinton, his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea, issued a statement thanking hospital staff and well-wishers. \n \n■ United States \nCancer test useless \n \nThousands of men may have unnecessarily undergone an invasive operation to remove their prostate, sometimes suffering impotence and incontinence as a result, because of a screening test which was Friday written off as all but useless. The PSA test is a blood test that measures levels of prostate specific antigen, a protein produced by the prostate gland. It will tell doctors that a man has a prostate cancer, but scientists in the US said yesterday that in many cases the man can live with the cancer and the treatment may be worse than the cure. "The PSA era is over," said researchers at Stanford University school of medicine in their paper in the Journal of Urology. \n \n■ United States \nPeople smugglers indicted \n \nA federal grand jury indicted two Hong Kong brothers on Friday for allegedly plotting a scheme in which 17 Chinese immigrants were smuggled into port inside a 12m-long shipping container. Chan Yau-hang and Chan Yau-hung were being held by Hong Kong authorities on Chinese immigration charges and US authorities plan to seek their extradition, said Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Officers acting on a tip found the smuggled immigrants on Feb. 24 in a shipping container at the Port of Los Angeles. They had spent about 25 days inside the box, officials said.
LIFE GOES ON: After a strict lockdown that left millions on the brink of starvation, Indians embrace work to avoid starvation and get ready for several major festivals India is on course to top the world in COVID-19 cases, but from Maharashtra’s whirring factories to Kolkata’s thronging markets, people are back at work — and eager to forget the pandemic for festival season. After a strict lockdown in March that left millions on the brink of starvation, the government and people of the world’s second-most populous country decided life must go on. Sonali Dange, for instance, has two young daughters and an elderly mother-in-law to look after. She was hospitalized this year in excruciating pain after catching the novel coronavirus. However, after the lockdown exhausted the family’s savings, the 29-year-old had
A COVID-19 outbreak among hundreds of Russian and Ukrainian fishers flown to New Zealand to bolster its struggling deep-sea fishing industry has prompted that country’s largest daily increase in infections in months, authorities said yesterday. More than 230 fishers were flown in from Moscow last week, with 18 of the crew members then testing positive for COVID-19 while in quarantine, New Zealand Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said. The Pacific nation has almost eliminated local transmission of the virus, but regularly records small numbers of new cases in returned travelers. The fishing cluster pushed the daily tally of new infections to 25,
From monitoring vital signs to filtering filthy air and even translating speech into other languages, the COVID-19-fueled boom in mask-wearing has spawned an unusual range of high-tech face coverings. As masks become the norm worldwide, tech companies and researchers are rolling out weird and wonderful models to guard against infection and cash in on a growing trend. One of the wackiest comes from Japan, where start-up Donut Robotics has created a face covering that helps users adhere to social distancing and also acts as a translator. The “C-Face” mask works by transmitting a wearer’s speech to a smartphone via an app, and allows
JAPAN Deer-edible bags invented The deer that roam Nara no longer face discomfort — or far worse — after local firms developed a safe alternative to the plastic packaging discarded by tourists that often ended up in the animals’ stomachs. Last year, several of the 1,300 deer that wander around the ancient capital’s central park were found dead after swallowing plastic bags and food wrappers. Firms collaborated to develop bags that pass safely through the animals’ complex digestive system. The bags are made with recycled pulp from milk cartons and rice bran, one of the main ingredients of the shika senbei savory