Man fined for topless pics
A Sydney man was fined A$500 (US$388) yesterday for photographing topless women at the beach with his cellphone camera. Peter Mackenzie, 25, pleaded guilty in suburban Waverley Local Court to offensive behavior in taking the pictures at Sydney's Coogee Beach on Nov. 6. Mackenzie was caught by the partner of one woman he'd photographed, who confronted him and called police. Magistrate Lee Gilmore told Mackenzie that "women are not objects of decoration for men's gratification." The camera phone Mackenzie used was ordered to be destroyed.
Six die in air crash
The US-led coalition forces yesterday said that all six people on board of a fixed-wing aircraft that was reported missing in central Afghanistan four days ago, have been killed in the accident. Major Mark McCann, a spokesman for the coalition forces, said that the cause of the crash was not yet clear, but a team has been investigating the cause of the accident. On Saturday, the aircraft departed Bagram airfield, 50km north of Kabul and disappeared in the central province of Bamiyan. Three civilian crew members and three US military passengers were on board the CASA 212 civilian aircraft.
■ South Korea
Umbilical cords gold-plated
Forget desktop photographs of your children. Doting South Korean parents can preserve their child's umbilical cord in acrylic resin to make a personal seal or even have it gold plated. In this Confucian society where family values are highly prized, suppliers also offer services for parents to have traditional Korean calligraphy brushes made from their child's hair. Shim Jae-cheol of U&I Impression said the firm had gold-plated about 80 to 100 umbilical cords a month since starting business in August, with prices ranging from US$76 to US$96.
E.T.-looking cereal sold
First it was a purported likeness of the Virgin Mary in a cheese sandwich. Now, a single grain of breakfast cereal with an uncanny resemblance to cuddly movie alien E.T. has reportedly fetched A$1,035 (US$804) in an eBay auction. Chris Doyle of Sydney said he was about to pour milk over his cereal one morning when he noticed an E.T. lookalike peering from his bowl. Inspired by the US$28,000 online sale in November of a sandwich which some claimed appeared to have the Virgin Mary's face on it, the 27-year-old graphic designer decided to cash in on his alien-looking piece of cereal. Doyle told The Daily Telegraph newspaper, "I was just trying to find someone who feels the same way about E.T. as they do about the Virgin Mary."
■ Hong Kong
Acid attack kills woman
A restaurant worker died in hospital after an acid attack by two of her colleagues following a row over a bill. Siu Han-lin, 46, suffered burns over 50 percent of her body in the attack, committed as she walked out of a lift after finishing work on Oct. 6 last year. Earlier that day, Siu had argued with two off-duty managers at the Tsim Sha Tsui restaurant where they all worked. According to the South China Morning Post, the two men had refused to settle a bill after entertaining friends at the restaurant, saying they would pay later. One of the men, Wong Chong-hoi, 44, appeared in court charged with the murder of Siu. The other alleged attacker, Chan Wing-sing, committed suicide.
Historic elections start