Envoy wants N Korea fix
A South Korean envoy said yesterday that military pressure or economic sanctions won't stop North Korea's nuclear ambitions, and that a peaceful resolution of the issue must be reached next year in order to avert a crisis. Chung Dong-young, South Korea's unification minister, who also serves as chairman of the standing committee of its National Security Council, was in Beijing for meetings with Chinese officials to discuss efforts to start a new round of six-nation talks on US demands that the North give up its nuclear programs.
Unsafe spray on subway
Tokyo police believe a disinfectant 100 times stronger than is safe for humans was spread deliberately on a subway seat, slightly injuring a passenger and causing a security alert, reports said Tuesday. A woman on Sunday evening said a chemical burned through her clothing to her skin when she sat on a seat on a train going through central Tokyo. The train was quickly evacuated under security precautions adopted after a nerve-gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995. Police suspect the chemical found Sunday was cresol, which in diluted form is used in household cleaners under names such as Lysol, and was deliberately spread on a seat after being mixed with liquid soap.
■ Hong Kong
Fart bomb fun is over
Hong Kong officials are pulling "Fart Bomb" toys from the shelves because the gag gift -- a metallic bag that gives off a stench -- produces a dangerous chemical reaction. The government said the sulfur-acid mixture produced by the toy can cause nausea, headaches and eye irritation. Customs officers have seized 263 "Fart Bombs" and are urging parents to hand in their unused toys to a consumer protection bureau. When the inner bag is broken, the chemicals mix producing hydrogen sulfide and "giving off a disgusting smell," the government said.
■ Hong Kong
Santa saved from drowning
A Santa Claus dummy sparked a full-scale emergency rescue in northern China after it was spotted bobbing in the water beneath a frozen lake. Passers-by called emergency services to report seeing a man in red floating in waters beneath the lake in Shenyang, Liaoning province. Four fire trucks raced to the scene, and a diver was sent into the icy water, only to emerge with a life-size dummy dressed as Santa Claus. The dummy is believed to have come from a shop. Santa Claus figures are increasingly used in China as cites around the nation adopt Western cultural references for Christmas celebrations.
Man disinters stepdaughter
A Cambodian man found a bizarre way to pay back his ex-wife for dumping him: he dug up his stepdaughter's body and dropped it off at the house where his former spouse Ou Phuon, 59, had lived with a new man, Klot Toeng, 43, for about 10 years before the woman left him a month ago. The unearthed body was that of 25-year-old Klot Rim -- Klot Toeng's daughter from a previous marriage -- who died and was buried seven months ago. The grave was in Ou Phuon's back yard. Klot Toeng said she left her husband for a new partner because she could no longer bear his violent behavior. He had told other villagers that the body "should be reunited with her mother and not remain buried in my lot."
PM warns on Sunday's vote
Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych warned that Sunday's presidential revote might not be considered fair because election law reforms aimed at preventing fraud could deprive millions of Ukrainians of their votes. In Yanukovych's eastern stronghold of Donetsk, meanwhile, supporters of the prime minister blocked an orange-draped convoy of opposition protesters from entering the industrial city, refusing to let the backers of his rival -- Viktor Yushchenko -- continue their campaign to rally support. With four days to go until the Dec. 26 court-ordered rerun, tensions are running high in this ex-Soviet republic of 48 million, located between the expanding European Union and a reinvigorated Russia.