Diplomat's attacker arrested
Police in Fiji said yesterday they had captured a man suspected to have attacked Australia's High Commis-sioner in Suva. Jennifer Rawson was flown to Sydney for surgery after a mugger broke her jaw as she took an early morning run on Saturday. Police spokesman, Inspector Unaisi Vuniwaqa, said an arrest had been made but released few other details, and it was not revealed whether anyone had claimed the reward offered for information about the attacker. Vuniwaqa said the suspect probably had no idea Rawson was a diplomat and thought she was just another expatriate.
High-tech sex survey looms
Singapore is turning to a high-tech sex survey in hopes of extracting the truth from people who tend to lie about homosexuality and extramarital sex when queried by human inter-viewers. The Health Pro-motion Board (HPB) is exploring the use of tech-nology to conduct an upcoming national survey on AIDS by mapping sexual behavioral patterns and level of knowledge about sexual health, according to The Straits Times. The HPB hopes to use a combination of audio recording and portable computers, per-sonal digital assistants or tablet personal computers to administer the survey. Resp-ondents will read or listen to questions and key in respon-ses using the portable devices.
Joint arms research mooted
The Japanese government is considering a US proposal for joint research on an anti-missile laser weapon designed to be part of a missile defense shield. The envisaged hardware is a high-yield laser cannon loaded on an aircraft with the aim of destroying ballistic missiles when they enter the booster phase after launch, the Mainichi Shimbun said. The so-called airborne laser system (ALS) has been developed by the US Air Force in a costly collaboration with several firms including Boeing. Since late last year, the US has been informally requesting Japan's participation in technological research for the project in an attempt to defray some of the costs, the report said.
58 feared dead in crash
Fifty-eight people were feared dead yesterday after a bus plunged into a canal in southern India, police said. Eight bodies have been recovered and hope was fading for 50 others still trapped inside the bus, said S.N. Borkar, the state police chief. Seven people have been rescued. The accident occurred near Nalagundi, about 500km northwest of Bangalore. Fatal road accidents are common in India. Many involve public transport drivers who work long hours and often ignore traffic rules. Police are investigating the cause of the accident, but Borkar said the driver apparently lost control of the vehicle.
■ Hong Kong
Pirates beat up fishermen
Chinese pirates attacked and briefly detained two Hong Kong fishermen they accused of running into their fishing nets in the South China Sea, a fishing organ-ization said yesterday. The pirates, who were on unlicensed Chinese fishing boats, attacked and beat up the father and son surnamed Wong on Saturday off south-ern Guangdong Province, said Hong Kong Fishermen's Association chairman Pang Wah-kan. They surrounded and rammed the Wongs' boat and then 10 of them boarded the vessel and stabbed the pair and beat them with metal rods, Pang said.
Public smoking banned
A ban on smoking in all public places such as bars, restaurants, discotheques and offices went into effect here yesterday as Italy joined a growing number of European countries imposing stricter restrictions on smokers. Plainclothes police were expected the patrol the country's 240,000 eating and drinking establishments on the lookout for any of Italy's 14 million smokers who brazenly defy the law by lighting up when enjoying their morning espresso. Customers face fines of 275 euros (US$360) and offending landlords up to 2,200 euros.