■ ChinaDolphins to move to reserve
China is to relocate the last white-flag dolphins, which are on the verge of extinc-tion, to a protected nature reserve to stop them dying out. The world's rarest dolphins, which number less than 100, are only found in China and cannot be reared artificially, the Xinhua news agency quoted scientists as saying. The dolphins live in the Yangtze river, but overfishing, dam-building and environmental degrad-ation have caused their population to fall from about 400 in the 1980s to less than 100. Zoologists this year gained preliminary approval from Beijng to move the dolphins to a wetland nature reserve called Tian'ezhou islet in Shishou, Hubei Province, Xinhua said.
No sanctuary against rape
An elephant sanctuary in Malaysia is under inves-tigation following allegations that foreign women were raped and sexually assaulted by park workers. An unspecified number of alleged victims filed complaints with their governments after returning from volunteer work at the sanctuary, the New Sunday Times newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources. The newspaper specifically mentioned Canadian women as being among those allegedly assaulted and a travel advisory on the Web site of Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade noted that several Canadians have reported "serious problems" at the Kuala Gandah sanc-tuary in Malaysia's central Pahang State.
Uighur charges reviewed
Germany is to send federal police to China to review terrorism allegations against two anti-Beijing groups with their headquarters on German soil, the news magazine Der Spiegel said Saturday. The Uighur groups have spoken out against Chinese rule in the Turkic-speaking, mainly Islamic Central Asian region of Xinjiang. China objected strongly to them holding a convention in Munich in May. Spiegel said two experts on terrorism would leave within days for the Uighur Autonomous Region to meet with Chinese officials. China has declared four Uighur separatist groups to be terrorist.
Water supply tunnel clogged
Mud and logs washed down by recent storms which lashed the northern Philip-pines and left some 1,800 people dead or missing, have blocked the main water supply tunnel to the capital Manila, the government said yesterday. The 13km tunnel bringing water to the Angat Dam, which supplies 90 percent of Manila's 12 million residents, could take four months to clear, the government said in a statement. Authorities have warned that unless the damage can be repaired within that time frame, Manila runs the risk of water shortages in the summer.
Anti-noise campaign in clubs
Harking to the advice of Thailand's king, authorities have launched an anti-noise campaign in the capital's bars, pubs and discotheques to protect the eardrums of the nation's youth. Deputy Prime Minister Purachai Piumsombun and Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayod-hin have given nightspots until Saturday to lower their noise output to at least 90 decibels, considerably below the 190 norm at present, The Nation newspaper said. The campaign comes on the heels of a speech delivered by Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Dec. 4, when he said hearing problems would affect Thai teenagers' ability to learn.
■ United StatesUS teens having less sex
Young Americans are less sexually active now than their counterparts of the mid-1990s and are using contraceptives more regularly, a study out this week found. The Department of Health and Human Services found the proportion of never-married females aged 15-17 who had ever had sexual intercourse dropped from 38 percent in 1995 to 30 percent in 2002. In 1995 at age 18-19, 68 percent had had intercourse, compared with 69 percent in 2002. "For male teens, the percent of those who were sexually experienced dropped significantly in both age groups: from 43 percent to 31 percent at age 15-17, and from 75 percent to 64 percent at age 18-19," the study said.