■ ChinaDeath sentence for killers
A court in Liaoning Province has sentenced to death a couple who kidnapped a 15-year-old girl, chopped her up and ate some of her flesh, according to state media yesterday. Na Fenglin, the man, stopped the girl while she was bicycling to school in a village in Beining City in June, grabbed her by the throat and dragged her into a forest, the Business Times, a Liaoning daily, reported. He and his girlfriend held the girl hostage in a room they rented and called her parents to demand 30,000 yuan (US$3,615) in ransom. When the girl's parents failed to come up with the money after a few days, Na raped the girl twice, with his girlfriend's consent.
Police in 600km-long chase
Australian police believe they may have set a world record yesterday when they pursued a man and woman in a stolen BMW saloon for 600km across the Nullarbor Plain between Adelaide and Perth. The high-speed car chase ended only when the high-performance car ran out of fuel. The chase began when the driver failed to pay for gas at Wirrulla, about 100km east of Ceduna on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula. The pursuit ended when police alerted gas stations in their path to close shop so the pair could not refuel. The car rolled to a stop 170km west of Eucla, in Western Australia, where the occupants were arrested.
Five jailed for selling women
Five people have been jailed for selling women to prosti-tution networks in Malaysia, a court official said yester-day. The Ho Chi Minh City's People's Court sentenced ringleader Vu Duc Anh, 33, to 13 years in prison on Wed-nesday, while his 38-year-old female accomplice Ly Thi Huong Lan was handed an 11-year jail term. Three other men were also imprisoned for between 30 months and four years at the end of the one-day trial. Between the time Anh set up a network in 1999 until his arrest in September 2002, the ring sent 10 women to Malaysia with the promise of jobs. Once there, however, they were sold into prostitution. His network was discovered after two victims escaped and sought help at the Vietnamese embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
Dogs get their day
Every dog has its day -- and yesterday was an annual holiday honoring dogs in the Himalayan kingdom, where many people believe the animals are messengers of the Hindu god of death, Yamaraj, and revere them for their famed fidelity as guards. Nepalese festooned pet dogs and strays alike with flower garlands and fed them meat and sweets yesterday, this year's day for worshipping dogs according to the Hindu calendar. The holiday falls on the second day of the five-day period of Diwali, or the festival of light, an important celebra-tion for Hindus.
Barge license plate criticized
A royal art expert has criti-cized an "inappropriate" special edition car number plate sold at a government auction because it included an image of a barge belong-ing to the king. The plate -- with the number 9999 and showing the prow of a barge used for ceremonial occa-sions by the monarchy -- was bought for 4 million baht (US$98,000) by the transport minister. "The royal barge belongs to the King. The image should not be printed as a logo for anyone's transportation," said Ratree Buapradit, the head of National Museum's Royal Barges division.
■ United KingdomScotland to be smoke-free