■ Hong KongGang funeral draws crowds
Hundreds of people paid their last respects to a top Hong Kong gangster under the watchful eye of about 200 police officers, a newspaper reported yesterday. Mindful of a possible show of force by gangsters, police took the unusual step of registering the names of mourners for the former gang leader, known as Yan Shuk, and then leading them to the funeral hall in groups of three, the Apple Daily reported. The newspaper ran a photo of mourners wearing black clothing crowding around as officers manning a row of desks took down their information. More than 600 people attended the funeral Sunday night as 200 police officers watched on, the report said.
■ Sri Lanka
Businessman sure of Bush
A Sri Lankan businessman is so confident President George W. Bush will be re-elected this week that he took out full page advertisements in all the island's leading newspapers yesterday to congratulate him. "Honorable Sir, Congratulations for your victory," read the advertisements, with a picture of the grinning businessman next to a picture of Bush waving triumphantly. "I love him... I think he is doing well. I think he is a great president," said ASP Liyanage, managing director of real-estate firm ASP Constructions Private Ltd. Liyanage, who has never set foot in the US, spent one million rupees (US$9,600) on the advertisements -- around 10 years' salary for the average Sri Lankan.
■ Hong Kong
Calligraphy coins it
Chinese calligraphy painted by an elderly Hong Kong man renowned for daubing the streets with meaningless graffiti has sold at auction for HK$55,000 (US$7,050), auction house Sotheby's said yesterday. The sale of the black-ink characters painted on board was the first commercial recognition given to 83-year old Tsang Tsou-choi, who has spent almost five decades covering public spaces with Chinese characters. Tsang calls himself the King of Kowloon -- an area of Hong Kong -- because he believes he is descended from an ancient line of Chinese royalty. He claims the millions of characters he has painted over walls, phone boxes, paving stones and even cars, were the names of descendents stripped of their royal status.
Opposition slams Howard
Australia's opposition called on Prime Minister John Howard yesterday to publicly retract comments he made hoping US President George W. Bush would win the US election. Howard's comment was earlier criticized by a top adviser to Democratic challenger John Kerry as "inappropriate" and interference in the US' domestic affairs. Labor Party foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said, "It is just not in Australia's national interests and in John Howard's case, reflects high levels of arrogance. It is time that John Howard corrected his statements," Rudd said.
■ Hong Kong
Air pollution unacceptable
Environmentalists yesterday handed Hong Kong's government a damning report claiming it has lied about the city's air pollution. Greenpeace said official measurements of smog in the autonomous region were misleading and their own studies showed pollution in some districts was as much as three times the level accepted in other cities. "Hong Kong air quality has exceeded international safety levels by 200 percent over the past nine days," a statement from the organization said.
■ United KingdomPolice hunt duo in attacks