■ Hong KongMan swallows heroin
A drug smuggler arrested in Hong Kong had swallowed 80 condoms filled with heroin, customs officials said yesterday. The 33-year-old man from Sierra Leone swallowed 1.5kg of heroin worth US$550,000 in 80 condoms, each containing 20g of the drug. He is believed to have been paid around US$3,000 to smuggle the drugs and was waiting for a flight to China when he was arrested Wednesday, a customs spokesman said. The haul, discovered after a tip-off, is the biggest ever internally concealed quantity of drugs discovered by customs officers in Hong Kong. The tip-off and intelligence was provided by UK customs officials, the spokesman added.
Men get death for smuggling
China has sentenced two Hong Kong men to death for smuggling 36 million yuan (US$4.3 million) worth of VCD player components into southeast Xiamen city, state media said yesterday. The defendants Fang Canshen and Wang Rurong were among 15 people sentenced, including three customs department officials, in Xiamen city, Fujian province Thursday, the China News Service said. Fang was sentenced to death while Wang was given a death sentence with a two-year reprieve, which is often reduced to life imprisonment. A Xiamen customs official was jailed for life while the other 12 were imprisoned for up to 13 years.
■ Hong Kong
Priest goes free
A former Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy in the 1970s in Hong Kong walked free yesterday after a judge dropped the case, saying it would be impossible to have a fair trial over the decades-old matter. Government prosecutor Steve Chui said the victim, now 42, was very disappointed with the ruling. "He was very emotional and was crying," Chui said, adding that the Department of Justice will study the ruling before considering whether to appeal.
Bridge to Hainan planned
China is considering building a 22.5km long bridge linking tropical Hainan island in its south to China, state media reported Friday. Hainan is planning to initiate a feasibility study with a firm proposal to be handed to the Ministry of Communications for review no later than mid-next year, the China Daily said.When another cross-sea bridge is built to connect China's Zhuhai Special Economic Zone with Hong Kong, it would take only three hours for vehicles from Hainan to Hong Kong, the newspaper said. The Zhuhai-Hong Kong bridge is now in its final stage of feasibility studies. Construction of the project is expected to start in two years.
■ United KingdomBBC staffers get door advice
Staff at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) have been given instructions on how to walk through a door, a tabloid newspaper reported yesterday. The Sun, Britain's biggest selling daily newspaper, reported that workers at the global broadcaster's offices in Birmingham, central England, had been issued with a memo advising them on how to get through a revolving door. An email, sent to 800 staff -- complete with matchstick man diagrams for ease of understanding -- comes after one worker trapped her foot in the new doors at the BBC's offices in Britain's second city, cracking a toenail, The Sun said.
■ United Kingdom
British worst at languages
Britons are the worst in Europe when it comes to speaking a foreign language, and fewer people from Britain can speak another language than any other country in Europe. Britain comes bottom of the pile of 28 countries surveyed in European Union data, in which 1,000 people from each country were interviewed and the percentages able to speak a particular foreign language added together. Britain scored a ranking of just 34, behind Hungary (35) and neighboring Ireland (39). Luxembourg performed best with 244 ranking points, followed by the Netherlands (159) and Denmark (154).