Woman breastfeeding tigers
Hla Htay has three hungry infants to feed these days -- a seven-month old baby boy and two Bengal tiger cubs. Three times a day, the housewife goes to the Yangon Zoo where she breastfeeds the hungry black-striped, orange-brown cubs rejected by their natural mother. "The cubs are just like my babies," Hla Htay said as as one of the baby big cats suckled her breast. "It's not scary at all," she said of the 45-minute feeds. "I needed to do something for the cubs because I felt really sorry for them." Three cubs were born at the zoo in mid-March, but their mother killed one and refused to nurse the others.
Funeral held for veterans
They had survived wars against both the French and Americans. After three decades of peace, they were on their way to tour their old battlefields. It was a trip from which the 29 elderly Vietnamese veterans would never return. Yesterday, several hundred grief-stricken friends and family members gathered at a cemetery outside Hanoi for a memorial service for veterans who were killed in a bus crash along the Ho Chi Minh Highway. The group had been heading to festivities next Saturday marking the 30th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War in southern Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon.
Drug smuggler to get death
A Vietnamese-Australian was sentenced to death by a court in Ho Chi Minh City for heroin trafficking, state-controlled media reported yesterday. Nguyen Van Chinh, 45, was condemned to face the firing squad after being convicted of heroin trafficking at the one-day trial Friday, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said. Three Vietnamese women involved in the case were given jail terms ranging from 20 years to life in prison on the same charges, the paper said.
Pirates captured after chase
Malaysian police have detained seven Indonesian men suspected of robbing several ships, including a Japanese oil tanker, near the Singapore strait, a newspaper said yesterday. The New Straits Times said the men, aged between 37 and 50, were arrested on Thursday after a high-speed chase off the Malaysian state of Johor bordering Singapore. The crackdown followed a recent spate of sea robberies and kidnappings by armed pirates in the Malacca and Singapore straits, among the world's busiest sea lanes. Malaysia's maritime police chief, Abdul Rahman Ahmad, said the men had attacked an unnamed Japanese oil tanker on April 8 and robbed crew members of about 30,000 ringgit (US$7,900) in foreign currency and 11 mobile phones.
Rights activist Grassby dies
A former Australian immigration minister who helped end the country's decades-old "White Australia Policy" on migration died yesterday, Australian Labor Party officials said. Al Grassby, 78, who was immigration minister from 1972 to 1974, suffered a heart attack on Thursday and died yesterday. His daughter, Gabriella Davis, said her father is expected to be honored with a state funeral next week. Grassby was a Labor Cabinet minister in 1974 when he declared that the migration policy, used by successive governments until the 1970s to attract European settlers to Australia and to restrict Asian immigration, had ended. "The white Australia policy is dead -- give me a shovel and I will bury it," Grassby said then during a visit to the Philippines.