Nude motorist kills cyclist
A naked male motorist smashed into five people on bicycles Thursday morning, dragging one of them to his death in a usually quiet residential area in western Japan, press reports said. The naked man drove through narrow alleys for seven minutes in the suburbs of Osaka, knocking down the bicyclists one by one including a 61-year-old man who later died, the Asahi Shimbun website said. The hit-and-run spree finally ended when the naked man crashed into a house and was knocked unconscious. Police detained the man but did not know his motive or even his name, or why he wasn't wearing any clothes.
UN probe request rejected
The government has told the UN it cannot yet investigate the deaths of 85 Muslim protesters last month as an independent inquiry was underway, a foreign ministry spokesman said yesterday. Most of the protesters died of suffocation in army custody after a protest in the southern Narathiwat province. "We are considering their request, but I don't think we are ready now," said foreign ministry spokesman Itti Ditbanjong. "Our independent comm-ission, which has been accepted by all sides, is doing its work and we should wait for them to finish first," he said of a request by a UN expert on human rights.
Failure to die sparks anger
A Hindu seer in eastern Orissa state was berated by angry crowds when he failed to die after declaring his soul would leave his body at an appointed time, a report said yesterday. The chief cleric of Sriguru Ashram at Kharagaon area of Konark district said he would die a natural death on Wednesday between 6:00am and noon, the Asian Age newspaper said, without naming him. Elaborate police arrangements were made as a crowd of 15,000 turned up to see the "death by will" miracle. On Wednesday morning, the seer prayed at the break of dawn and then sat down to meditate as the crowd watched him in awe. However when onlookers discovered that he was still alive at noon, they turned angry that hurled abuse at him and temple officials.
Poisonous toads invade park
Hundreds of thousands of poisonous baby cane toads invaded a national park yesterday, hopping around in such numbers that the ground seemed to move, an ecologist said. The ugly amphibians moved into the Arakwal National Park near one of the country's famous surfing meccas, Byron Bay, following an explosion in toad numbers after recent rains. "You should see the ground down there, it is just black and it is just moving, it is a seething mass of young cane toads, it looks like the ground is moving," local ecologist Steve Phillips told Australian radio.
■ South Africa
Child sex ring busted
South African authorities arrested 59 Nigerians on suspicion of operating a child-sex ring and freed more than a dozen young girls in Johannesburg and Durban, SABC radio news reported Thursday. Authorities later said the 13 freed girls represented only the tip of the iceberg of a nationwide problem involving youths between the ages of 10-15 held in captivity and forced into prostitution. Some girls were sold to the sex syndicate by poverty-stricken parents and some were kidnapped, authorities said. They were shifted between the cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Durban. The girls were given heroin to create addicts who could be more easily controlled.