■ Hong Kong \nTung forgets his masters \nChief Executive Tung Chee-hwa (董建華) had to abruptly cancel an announcement of his choice for a new health secretary because Beijing had not given its approval, a news-paper reported yesterday. The South China Morning Post called Tung's embarrassing miscue a "mixture of sus-pense, drama and comedy." Tung called a news con-ference late on Thursday to name his replacement for Yeoh Eng-kiong (楊永強), who resigned in July after the SARS epidemic. But within an hour, the news conference was canceled over "a procedural problem," the government said in a statement issued while reporters awaited Tung. \n■ Pitcairn Island \nSecond man admits to abuse \nA second man has pleaded guilty to child sex charges, admitting he indecently assaulted young girls as he gave them rides on his four-wheel motorbike around the isolated South Pacific island, reports said on yesterday. Tractor driver Dave Brown, 49, also admitted he put his hand down a girl's bikini as she swam off the island in Bounty Bay, a rocky cove where 18th century Bounty mutineers sank their stolen British ship, said Radio New Zealand from the island. But Brown maintained not guilty pleas to two charges of gross indecency with a five-year-old girl and her six-year-old friend and he denied another 10 charges of indecently assaulting a girl when she was aged between 12 and 16, said Radio New Zealand. \n■ China \nAcademics back dissident \nA group of 63 scholars from Harvard University has signed a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) calling for the release of jailed dissident and Harvard researcher Yang Jianli (楊建利), a US-based rights group said yesterday. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Samantha Power, noted scholar of Chinese law William Alford, prominent human rights academic Henry Steiner and constit-utional scholar Laurence Tribe have signed the letter, the group Freedom Now said. Yang was arrested in China when he tried to secretly sneak into the country using a friend's passport in April 2002. \n■ Hong Kong \nSalons can't help you grow \nA Hong Kong man who was desperate to become a professional basketball player has taken legal action against beauty salons which failed to help him increase his height, a report said yesterday. The 175cm man reportedly spent all his savings of nearly HK$20,000 (US$2,600) at two beauty salons that allegedly claimed to make him taller, Chinese-language newspaper Sing Tao Daily said. The man, who earns a monthly salary of HK$5,000 as a delivery man, said the treatment included injecting hormones and drugs appare-ntly designed to increase his height, but to no avail. \n■ Russia \nPolice face negligence case \nProsecutors opened a criminal negligence case against three top-ranking officers in Ingushetia in connection with the case of 1,000 hostages in a school in neighboring Beslan. The Sept. 1-3 seizure of the school by attackers ended in a hail of explosions and gunfire, killing more than 330 people. Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Shepel said: "According to the investigation, the inactivity of officials of the Malgobek regional police led to the tragic events connected with the Sept. 1 seizure of hostages in the Beslan school." \n■ Italy \nTax targets SUV pollution \nThe government wants to hike road taxes on sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and other high-polluting cars, Environment Junior Minister Roberto Tortoli said on Thursday. The move seeks to discourage the purchase of high-polluting gas-guzzlers, particularly by city dwellers. SUVs have grown popular among well-off Italians and now account for about 5 percent of the country's car market. The "supertax," as Italy's media dubbed the measure, is likely to be introduced in the 2005 budget, officials said. In Rome, the city council was considering introducing a 1,000-euro (US$1,230) fee on SUVs wanting to enter the city center. \n■ Mexico \nFeline army fights rats \nHundreds of cats are being drafted to tackle a plague of rats in an isolated village in northern Mexico. The state authorities transported the first few dozen cats to Atascaderos in the Tarahumara mountains this week, and said they hoped 300 more will follow by the weekend. The aim is that every household should eventually receive one. The cats are being recruited in the city of Chihuahua, partly through advertisements in the local press asking for donated pets and strays. The rat problem got out of control after villagers used a particularly strong poison that also killed off the rodents' natural predators, including the local cats. \n■ United States \nTiger's owner gets jail \nA man who pleaded guilty to keeping an alligator and a tiger in his Harlem apartment while children and his 69-year-old mother lived there was sentenced on Thursday to five months in jail. A presentencing report described Antoine Yates, 36, who pleaded guilty in July to reckless endangerment, as delusional about having a special gift for handling animals. Prosecutor Jeremy Saland said witnesses' reports indicated Yates may also have kept a leopard and a panther in his home. "There were even reports of a bear," he said. \n■ United States \n`We're not losers': gymnasts \nUSA Gymnastics wants clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch to stop selling a T-shirt that has the slogan "L is for Loser" next to a picture of a gymnast on the still rings. The sport's governing body also asked members to boycott the store. "No individual, regardless of race, gender, age, intelligence or athletic ability, can or should be deemed a loser," USA Gymnastics president Bob Colarossi wrote in a letter to Michael Jeffries, chief executive officer of Abercrombie & Fitch. "USA Gymnastics feels that A&F has promoted this latest product in hopes of generating public outcry, attention, and media exposure for their brand." \n■ United Kingdom \nEx-BBC chief blasts women \nA former BBC head blamed women executives for making the television service "dumb, dumb, dumb" and said they had dragged down the public broadcaster's quality, in comments published yesterday in The Times. Alasdair Milne, who ran the BBC as director-general from 1982 to 1987, told the daily: "It just seems to me that the television service has largely been run by women for the last four to five years and they don't seem to have done a great job of work ... There was no innovation; constant makeovers and far too many cookery and gardening programs. Dumb, dumb, dumb," he said. "I think the BBC has to pull its socks up quite considerably." \n■ United Nations \nCouncil to back terror fight \nThe UN Security Council was set yesterday to adopt a Russian-drafted resolution that seeks to expand the prosecution and extradition of terrorist groups and individuals, such as Chechen separatist leaders. But after challenges from Islamic nations, Moscow considerably softened the original text in an effort to get a unanimous 15-0 vote. The anti-terror proposals were first announced by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a speech to the General Assembly last month. The original Russian draft recommended a UN blacklist of individuals, groups and entities involved in terrorism that would be subject to asset freezes, arms embargos and expedited extradition. The latest version creates a working group to consider such measures without mentioning the blacklist. \n■ United States \nRepublican asked to quit \nDemocrats on Thursday called for the resignation of senior Republican lawmaker Tom DeLay for a "disturbing pattern of corruption" following his censure by a House ethics panel for improper activities and abuse of power. "This is the second admonishment in less than a week and the third during the course of Mr. DeLay's career," said fellow Texas lawmaker Chris Bell. "There's that old saying: Three strikes and you're out." DeLay, who as House Majority Leader is the number-two member in the chamber, may face more charges, officials said. \n■ France \nSmall bomb targets office \nA package bomb exploded outside the Indonesian embassy in Paris before dawn yesterday, slightly injuring 10 people and shattering nearby windows. The bomb, placed on the pavement next to the thick outside walls of the building, caused only minor damage to the embassy but windows in nearby cars and houses were shattered. A police spokesman described the bomb as being of medium strength. French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin said Paris had no indications of any threat against the embassy. \n■ Spain \nPosthumous e-mail offered \nA service giving customers the chance to send friends, relatives or enemies an e-mail after they have died is the latest ghoulish offering on the Internet. "This is a way of adapting the idea of leaving behind a letter in a drawer to modern times," said Alberto Iriarte, the owner of the Spanish company offering the service, The Last E-Mail. Customers can leave messages, photographs or clips of videos. "They can leave a few words of love, a secret, or whatever they want," Iriarte said. About 500 people had signed up to the service since July, he said.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around