■ CambodiaTwo-headed calf idolized
Students were flocking in their hundreds to make offerings of money and incense to the dead body of a two-headed calf in the belief it was a gift from heaven that may increase their brainpower, provincial police said yesterday. Koh Sotin district police chief Yit Yoeun of Kompong Cham province, about 130km north-east of Phnom Penh, said that the calf had been born last Thursday and word had spread quickly that it was a miracle which may help students pass upcoming exams. The calf's owner had packed the animal's body in ice to preserve it for worshippers, who pay anything from a few cents to a few dollars for an audience.
Ecstasy found in oven
Australian police said yesterday they had intercepted the country's largest ever shipment of the party drug ecstasy, hidden in commercial kitchen equipment sent from Poland. Australian Customs and Federal Police said they found 820kg of the drug hidden in compartments of a bakery oven that was shipped from Poland to Australia via Germany on a Malaysian Airlines flight. Two Australian men aged 54 and 32 appeared in a Sydney court over the Oct. 15 drugs haul. An X-ray spotted packages hidden in the wall and base cavities of the oven and an inspection revealed 62 boxes containing about 115kg of powder and about three million tablets weighing 705kg.
Boy falls from plane
The body of a teenage boy who fell from the landing gear of a passenger plane on which he and a friend had stowed away was found on the tarmac soon after the aircraft took off, Chinese state media said yesterday. The boy's 13-year-old companion managed to survive a 700km flight from Yunnan province's capital city Kunming to Chongqing on Thursday by holding tightly onto the landing gear rod. He was found by airport porters after the plane landed from an hour-long flight. The 14-year-old's body was found by tarmac cleaning and transport crews and they alerted airport authorities, Beijing Youth Daily reported.
Princess to marry commoner
Princess Sayako, the 35-year-old only daughter of the Japanese emperor, is set to marry a commoner and leave the imperial family, Japanese media said yesterday. The princess, known informally as Nori, is engaged to marry a Tokyo local government official, 39-year-old Yoshiki Kuroda, next spring, the reports said. The couple both graduated from the private Gakushuin University in Tokyo, and share an interest in wildlife, media said. Nori is the youngest of three children of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.
Miners dug too deep
China's deadliest coal mine explosion in years was caused when the miners dug too deep and poor ventilation allowed gas to build up to dangerous levels, the official Xinhua news agency said yesterday. The gas was ignited by sparks from a running engine, it said, citing the results of an investigation into the accident that killed 148 miners at Daping mine in the central Chinese province of Henan on Oct. 20. "The mine operators failed to realize that further extension of the mine would greatly increase the amount of gas in the tunnel," Xinhua said citing Zhao Tiechui, deputy head of the State Administration of Production Safety. "The inefficient ventilation increased the density of gas," it said, citing the results of the investigation.