Beijing apologizes for sub
China has told Japan it regrets the intrusion of a submarine last week into Japanese waters, Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said yesterday. "[The sub] entered the area because of a technical error and the Chinese side said it regretted the intrusion," Machimura was quoted as saying by a foreign ministry official in Tokyo. He said the message was relayed to Japan's ambassador in Beijing. The submarine intruded into Japanese waters last Wednesday near a disputed gas field, setting off a two-day chase on the high seas.
Briton held in deadly row
A 32-year old British researcher and his female companion have been arrested for the death of a storekeeper, the New Straits Times reported yesterday. The 26-year old storekeeper had used a snooker cue to smash the windscreen of the car in which the Briton and his female companion were in at a gas station in the southern state of Johor. He proceeded to pull the woman out of the car and assault her. The Briton jumped out of the car and a fight ensued. The storekeeper later died of suspected internal injuries. Police said that the store-keeper and the woman had been seeing each other for more than a year.
Satellites to survey nation
China plans to launch more than 100 satellites before 2020 to watch every corner of the country, state-run China Central Television quoted a government official as saying yesterday. A "large surveying network" would be set up to monitor water reserves, forests, farmland, city construction and "various activities of society," a government official said without elaborating. "The aim is that, at any time and any place, we can obtain necessary data on any event through watching the Earth from space," Shao Liqin, an official with the Ministry of Science and Technology, said. China regularly sends research satellites into orbit and in October last year became the third nation successfully to put a man in space when a single astronaut orbited Earth 14 times.
■ New Zealand
Man dies in drunken binge
A 19-year-old student died from head injuries received in a barroom game after he and three friends had drunk nearly 100 double bourbon and cokes in four hours, the Dominion Post reported yesterday. The death was the subject of a trial of the bar manager, who faces four charges under the Sale of Liquor Act. The trial of Jared Bradley Wallace, 27, began on Monday in Palmerston North, 140km north of Wellington. The court was told Willy Cranswick died on Sept. 22 last year, two days after being knocked unconscious in a tackling game known as bullrush after his group of four had drunk 96 bourbon and cokes while celebrating his last assignment.
Skin bank needs donors
Singapore's Skin Bank appealed yesterday for people to donate their skin when they die and warned that the available supply is at a critically low level. Donated skin is used as a temporary dressing for severe burns to reduce the growth of bacteria and the patient's loss of vital fluids, said Dr. Colin Song, head of plastic surgery at Singapore General Hospital. It is usually rejected about three weeks after it is attached. By that time new skin cultivated in a laboratory from the patient's own cells has grown and is used instead.
Dance troupe defects
Members of a theatrical production staged the largest mass defection of Cuban performers to date Monday as 43 cast members of Havana Night Club applied for political asylum at a US federal court in Las Vegas. "Art should have no boundaries," Nicole "ND" Durr, the company's founder, told reporters. "My artists stood up in one voice and said they want to go. We want to dance. We want to continue to dance." Durr said seven additional cast members, currently in Germany, also are seeking asylum and expected in the US within the week. Another three members have decided to return to Cuba. "The only thing we regret is that our families in Cuba may suffer," Puro Hernandez, 31, the musical director, told the New York Times. "But the Cuban government left us no choice -- they put us between the sword and a wall."