Expedition sent to Everest
A group of Chinese researchers have set off on an expedition to check a theory that Mount Everest is growing by about one centimeter a year. Twenty-nine scientists and mountaineers were taking part in the fourth such mission to remeasure the world's tallest peak. The re-survey of the region will help to understand the mountain's reaction to global climate change," expedition captain Kang Shichang said. Chinese media last year reported that a staggering seven percent of the country's glaciers were vanishing annually under the sweltering sun, including those covering Everest. Leading glacier expert Yan Tandong said as many as 64 percent of China's glaciers may be gone by 2050 if current trends continue.
An Indonesian woman was executed by firing squad early yesterday for multiple murders and mutilating her victims more than a decade ago. The execution of Astini, 49, took place in a secret location in Surabaya. Astini was executed by a 12-member firing squad from the Indonesian police, after the Indonesian president and the country's Supreme Court turned down her appeal for clemency. Astini was found guilty eight years ago of murdering and mutilating three women on separate occasions because they were unable to repay their debts to her.
Boats hunt 6m killer shark
Boats were out yesterday looking for a 6m great white shark that made off with a 26-year-old snorkel diver off the West Australian coast 500km north of Perth. Geoff Brazier, a deckhand on the luxury cruiser Matrix, was killed instantly in the Saturday afternoon attack. His body has not been recovered. The 24m Matrix was on its maiden voyage and was moored off the Abrolhos Islands. Six other swimmers were in the water when the shark attacked Brazier. The West Australian state government has ordered a hunt for the killer shark. Great whites are a protected species in Australia, but governments pander to public shark fears and go after those fish that kill.
■ South Korea
Cyber attacks attempted
South Korea's Foreign Ministry said that it was guarding against a possible Japanese cyber attack on its Web site as emotions run high in the two countries over a territorial dispute. Computer experts detected signs of alleged hackers in Japan trying to send massive loads of data to the ministry's Web site. "Our Web site has not been down, but we maintain our firewall in case there is a cyber attack," a ministry spokesman said. South Korea and Japan are locked in a territorial row over a set of rocky islets, called Dokdo and Takeshima in Japan, that lie roughly midway between the two nations.
Bomb injures 15
At least 15 people were injured in two bomb explosions early yesterday in Thailand's southernmost provinces. They were the latest incidents of separatist violence in the three southern, mainly Muslim provinces, where nearly 600 people have been killed since unrest started a year ago. Seven policemen and four teenagers were injured in the Muang district of Yala province. The policemen were questioning the teenagers near a railway line when a bomb exploded. In a separate incident, a bomb hidden under a tree close to a checkpoint went off in neighboring Narathiwat province, wounding a child and 3 soldiers.
Car fire kills toddlers