■ Cambodia \nDolphin dies in explosion \nFour fisherfolk have been arrested in Cambodia after they allegedly killed a rare Irrawaddy dolphin by tossing an explosive device into a river in northeastern Mondulkiri province, officials said yesterday. The 86kg freshwater dolphin was found dead Saturday in the Srepok River after people exploded the device to catch fish, Sam Samat, secretary of the provincial police chief said. "We never knew that there were Irrawaddy dolphins in Srepok River. The fishermen also did not know this kind of animal was in the river," he said, adding that three men and a woman were arrested. Fishing with explosives is common in Cambodia. Fewer than 100 of the famous pink dolphins are left in Asia's Mekong River; once there were thousands. \n■ China \nActivist's release urged \nThe US said it would push Beijing to release a prominent advocate of women's and minority rights ailing in a Chinese prison. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Randall Schriver said concerns over 58-year-old Rebiya Kadeer, among the most prominent members of the Uighur ethnic group in the largely Muslim Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, would be raised with the Chinese government. Kadeer was arrested while on her way to meet with a US Congressional delegation in August 1999, and charged a month after her arrest with "providing secret information to foreigners" and ordered jailed for eight years after a secret trial. The US envoy in Beijing was asked to visit Kadeer, who reportedly is suffering from heart and gall bladder ailments with one and a half years more to serve in her jail term. \n■ Vietnam \nVillagers protest land use \nVillagers in northern Vietnam set fire to a government building and held a local official hostage in a dispute over land taken for an industrial park, officials said yesterday. About 500 people gathered Tuesday in Lai Yen village to protest the expropriation, and several ransacked the village government building before dousing it with gasoline and setting it on fire, said a village official who identified himself only as Hanh. The trouble started when 52 families demanded higher compensation for farmland taken to build an industrial park in the village. They clashed earlier in the day with police who were ordered to clear the site for construction, injuring two villagers and a police officer, he said. Dozens of villagers have been jailed in recent years in Vietnam for assaulting authorities in disputes over compensation for land taken for infrastructure and development projects. \n■ Malaysia \nAlleged separatist arrested \nMalaysia confirmed the arrest of a man described by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as the mastermind behind an upsurge in Muslim separatist violence in southern Thailand but said he was a Malaysian citizen and could not be extradited. Deputy Internal Security Minister Noh Omar said the man was arrested on Jan. 5 and was being held under the Internal Security Act, which allows for indefinite detention without trial. He identified him as Abdul Rahman Ahmad, also known as Deraman Koteh. Thaksin named him as Doramae Kuteh, also known as Chae Kumae Kuteh, and said checks were being made on his nationality. Noh declined to say whether the man under arrest was suspected of being the leader of Muslim separatists accused of a resurgence of violence in mainly Buddhist Thailand which has left at least 570 people dead in the past year. \n■ United Kingdom \neBay says `no missiles' \nA British man trying to sell a deactivated Soviet-era missile on eBay was forced to delete it after Web site staff contacted him for breaching company rules. EBay told Richard Moore, from Cambridgeshire, to remove the missile because he broke eBay regulations by listing it alongside its vehicle launcher, which should have appeared as a separate item -- and not because it was a weapon. The online auctioneer bans the sale of any ammunition, replica guns or firearms on its sites. Selling demilitarized missiles however is acceptable, an eBay spokesman said. "There's a large market in demilitarized weaponry, and they're classified as museum pieces," the spokesman said. \n■ Netherlands \nMagazine offers pot seeds \nA Dutch magazine was including an unusual freebie with its latest issue -- two marijuana seeds in a small plastic bag. Nieuwe Revu Editor-in-Chief Mark Koster said the move was a publicity stunt for the Jan. 26 issue, which advocates legalizing marijuana and other banned substances. Although Holland is famous for tolerating the sale of small amounts of marijuana and hashish in coffee shops, both are technically illegal and the government prosecutes possession of more than several grams. "We're saying, stop the war on drugs, which costs a fortune and there are no results," Koster said. Koster also said public prosecutors usually ignore the sale of marijuana seeds and had not contacted the magazine about the stunt. He said the seeds were "OK" in quality. \n■ United Kingdom \nDisorders are not funny \nBBC chiefs ruled Wednesday that a comedy show called TV's Greatest Moments should not have shown a clip of narcolepsy sufferers falling asleep at a help-group meeting. The footage, which had originally formed part of a serious documentary into sleep disorder problems, was greeted with uproarious laughter by the audience when it appeared on the prime-time 2002 Greatest TV Moments show. The Narcolepsy Association UK (UKAN), which represents people who are prone to sleep disorder attacks, said the clip lampooned the condition, and encouraged the public to ridicule and humiliate sufferers. The clip had initially been considered acceptable by the BBC's head of program complaints but a committee of five BBC governors later supported UKAN and ruled it was inappropriate to show the footage out of context. \n■ Serbia \n`The black hole of the EU' \nKosovo is fast becoming "the black hole of Europe" and could descend into renewed violence within weeks unless the EU takes urgent action, senior diplomats and international experts warned in Brussels this week. But continuing EU indecision over the breakaway province's demand for independence from Serbia, coupled with the ethnic Albanian majority's failure to embrace reform and respect Serb minority rights, are paralyzing plans to launch "final status" talks this year. Five years after NATO ejected Serbian forces and imposed an international administration, the UN and the US are still lacking an exit strategy. Serbia, meanwhile, wants its territory back. In an attempt to show willing, Olli Rehn, the EU's enlargement commissioner, met Kosovan leaders in Pristina this week. Rehn said the EU would raise the issue when US President George Bush visits Europe next month. \n■ United States \nSuicide bid triggers crash \nEleven people were killed and 183 injured on Wednesday when two commuter trains slammed into each other in Los Angeles after a suicidal man abandoned his car on the tracks, police said. A murder investigation was launched into the crash involving three trains and a sports utility vehicle in the suburb of Glendale. One of the trains jumped its rails after hitting the abandoned car left on the tracks by a depressed driver -- identified as Juan Manuel Alvarez, 25 -- who was about to kill himself but had second thoughts. Officials said he would likely face multiple counts of murder. Employees at a nearby Costco store who rushed to the scene used forklifts and store carts to help pull passengers from the derailed train. \n■ United States \nTurner slams Fox News \nCNN founder Ted Turner has compared the ascent of Rupert Murdoch's Fox News to the rise of Adolf Hitler before World War II. "Adolf Hitler was more popular in Germany than the people who ran against him," he told a conference in Las Vegas. "Just because you are bigger doesn't mean to say you are right," he said. He said Fox was a propaganda tool for the Bush administration. "There's nothing wrong with that," he said. "It's certainly legal. But it does pose problems for our democracy. Particularly when the news is dumbed down, leaving voters without critical information on politics and world events and overloaded with fluff. We need to know what's going on in the world." A Fox News spokesman replied that "Ted is understandably bitter having lost his ratings, his network and now his mind." \n■ United States \nArchitect Johnson dies \nArchitect and critic Philip Johnson, described by The New York Times as the "elder statesman of American architecture," has died at age 98, according to media reports on Wednesday. His death on Tuesday was announced by his companion of 45 years, David Whitney, the Times reported on its Web site. In 1978, Johnson was awarded the American Institute of Architects' Gold Medal. A year later, he became the first-ever winner of the US$100,000 Pritzker Prize, perhaps the most important international award for architects. \n■ United States \nFreak wave disables ship \nA 15m wave temporarily disabled a "Semester at Sea" ship filled with hundreds of college students, injuring two crew members as it broke windows and damaged the vessel's controls, the US Coast Guard said. Coast Guard vessels and aircraft from Alaska and Hawaii were dispatched to help the Explorer, about 1,045km south of the Aleutian Islands. The ship for a time operated on just one of its four engines and could do little more than keep the bow headed into heavy seas using emergency steering. By Wednesday night, a second engine had been started, officials said. There are 990 students, faculty and crew aboard. \n■ Iran \nCon artist earns US$705,000 \nA man with an uncanny resemblance to a two-time Olympic champion has been arrested for making at least US$705,000 in scams by pretending to be the gold-medallist's brother, a newspaper reported on Wednesday. The paper showed a photograph of a man who looked like "Iranian Hercules" Hossein Rezazadeh. The con artist claimed to be Dr. Arman Rezazadeh, the Olympian's half-brother, and claimed to able to exercise influence with legal officials and in government bodies.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year