Cop denies killing Britons
A policeman appeared in court yesterday and denied murdering two British tourists following a row outside a restaurant in Kanchanaburi province. Somchai Visetsing, 39, is accused of shooting dead Vanessa Arscott, 24, and Adam Lloyd, 25, on Sept. 9. He denied two counts of murder and illegal posses-sion of weapons and his
trial will start on Dec. 20, Kanchanaburi's chief prosecutor said. Police said Somchai had confessed to the shootings but claims he was provoked by Lloyd during a row.
Beijing to launch lunar probe
China will launch its lunar orbiter Chang'e 1 to explore the moon's environment and study the thickness of its soil by the end of 2007, a senior space official said yesterday. Sun Huixian, deputy chief engineer at the Center for Space Science and Applied Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said Beijing plans to send two more unmanned missions by 2010. "Chang'e 1 is slated to be launched toward the end of 2007 and the dates are not decided," Huixian said on the sidelines of an international conference in India. "So far no manned missions to the moon are planned," he said.
Crash victims had fake IDs
Three passengers were carrying fake ID cards when they boarded the regional jet that crashed in Inner Mongolia on Sunday, a report citing investigators said yesterday. "It's a mystery why the three would use fake IDs to board the plane, what their purposes or real identities were, or whether this is linked to the crash," the Hong Kong Economic Times said. A CRJ200 jet operated by China Eastern Airlines plunged into a lake after take-off from the city of Baotou, killing 53 people on board and two people on the ground. Chinese papers also reported that there had been problems with the identities of three passengers, though they did not go as far as claiming that fake IDs had been involved. The Beijing Times quoted the president of China Eastern as saying the issues included passen-gers giving incomplete information when buying their tickets or making mistakes when providing their ID numbers.
Man kills parents, sister
An unemployed 28-year-old killed his parents and sister with a hammer and a knife, the second time a troubled young man was arrested for murdering his family in as many days, police said yes-terday. "I was not getting along with my parents," Masaru Iijima was quoted as telling police after surren-dering at his home in Tsu-chiura. He called police yesterday morning and told them he had killed his family, whose bodies were found in the house. Iijima told police he killed his mother first, then his sister and then waited for his father to come home from work and bludgeoned him.
Language stumps students
Japanese seems to be baf-fling native speakers. Nearly a fifth of the students at private universities have
the reading ability expected of 13- to 15-year-olds, according to the National Institute of Multimedia Education (NIME), which surveyed 13,000 in their
first year at 33 universities and colleges. The students were presented with a multiple choice test and asked to define nouns, adjectives and adverbs. Two-thirds of the respondents thought that a word meaning "to grieve" actually meant "to be happy."
Men kill two, take hostages
Two soldiers armed with Kalashnikov rifles have killed two policemen and taken a number of hostages after deserting from a military base in suburban Moscow, Russian news reports said yesterday. The brothers killed the officers after being discovered in a cafe. They then intercepted a cab and took two women hostage before fleeing to a different Moscow suburb, where they were blocked off by police and eventually forced to flee into a house with two elderly people inside, the Interfax news agency quoted police sources as saying. The report said two of the hostages had managed to flee.