■ ChinaBoy takes mother to court
An 11-year-old boy in central China took his mother to court for breaking a promise to buy him a computer if he did well at school, a news report said yesterday. The woman told her son she would buy him a computer if he scored average marks of more than 94 percent for his school work, the Hong Kong edition of the China Daily reported. However, she reneged on the deal when he achieved an average of 97 percent, telling him she could not afford to buy the computer, the newspaper said. The schoolboy from Xingzheng, Henan Province, then went to court asking a judge to make his mother honour the verbal agreement. At the hearing, the judge reconciled the mother and son.
People want troops home
More than half the respondents to a poll said Japan's government should withdraw its troops from Iraq next month when the mandate for their reconstruction and humanitarian mission expires, the daily Mainichi Shimbun said yesterday. Asked if the deployment should be extended beyond the Dec. 14 deadline, 51 percent said it should not while 27 percent said it should, the paper said. Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, a close ally of US President George W. Bush, has emphasized his determination to keep the 550 troops in southern Iraq, despite the worsening security situation. The main opposition Democratic Party has called for the troops to come home next month and Koizumi's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is sharply divided on the issue.
Huge bomb safely defused
Bomb disposal experts managed to defuse a 5.5 tonne bomb found by locals in central Vietnam, a military official said yesterday. The 2m-long, 1m wide device was discovered by scrap scavengers near Meo village in Gia Lai province, said Truong Van Hai, head of the provincial sapper unit. "People normally take this war stuff home for making money from recycling. But this time, they felt scared as it is so big so they informed the local military," Hai said.
Gunmen riding a motorcycle shot dead a Christian bus driver yesterday on Indonesia's Sulawesi island, heightening tensions in the region that saw a bloody outbreak of religious fighting three years ago. Tomi Sanjaya, 42, was killed as drove a minibus on the outskirts of Poso in Central Sulawesi province, police Lieutenant Colonel Abdi Dharma said. Dharma declined to speculate on the identities of the gunmen.
■ Hong Kong
British `spies' sentenced
Two former Chinese officials who worked in Hong Kong have received jail terms of at least 15 years for spying for Britain, a newspaper reported yesterday. Cai Xiaohong (蔡小洪) was given a 15-year term last week after a secret trial in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, while Wei Pingyuan received an unspecified heavier sentence, the South China Morning Post reported, citing unidentified sources. Cai served as secretary-general of Beijing's liaison office in Hong Kong, a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, and Wei was a senior official in a similar office during Hong Kong's colonial days, the report said. Cai processed confidential communications between the office and the central Chinese government, the Post said.
■ United KingdomGeldof OKs Live Aid DVD
After almost two decades of refusing to rebroadcast the Live Aid famine-relief con-cert, organizer Bob Geldof said Sunday he had changed his mind. Rocker-turned-activist Geldof said he had consented to a DVD release of the 1985 concert because of the large number of bootleg recordings avail-able. "I'm very excited that this has come out, but I couldn't believe the number of bootleg copies being sold -- they are quite literally taking food from the hungry. This has to be stopped," said Geldof, who attended a launch party for the 10-hour, four-disc set.