Dwarf cows get hitched
In what has been billed as a world first, two dwarf Brahman cows have been scheduled to tie the knot in the northeastern province of Sa Kaew next month, media reports said yesterday. The nuptials were set over the weekend at the Sa Kaew cattle market, 160km east of Bangkok, where the owners of two male and female dwarf Brahman cows agreed to get their diminutive bovines together for the sake of reproducing the petite breed, the Nation newspaper said. Krachang Kanokprasert, owner of the dwarf bull, originally wanted to buy the intended bride, but her proud owner refused to part with her. Instead, the farmers agreed to join the diminutive breeding stock in matrimony.
■ Hong Kong
Activists stick to their guns
Pro-democracy protesters have vowed to hold an anti-government march in Hong Kong on Friday despite a police refusal to issue a demonstration permit, organizers said yesterday. July 1, the anniversary of the former British colony's reversion to Chinese rule in 1997, has become a key date for protests since 500,000 people took to the streets against the government in 2003 and again last year. However, this year's demonstration appeared under threat because police have yet to issue a permit because they have objected to part of the proposed route of the march.
■ Hong Kong
Jails close to breaking point
A prison service boss warned yesterday that riots could break out in Hong Kong's jails because of acute overcrowding and a shortage of guards. The situation is particularly acute in women's prisons, which are filled to more than double their normal capacity, said Sunny Leung, head of the territory's Lai Chi Kok reception center. Leung said overcrowding threatened to set off riots like those seen in Hong Kong's Stanley Prison in 1973. He also warned there were not enough guards to cope with the rapid increase in prisoner numbers. Lai Chi Kok reception center was built for 960 inmates but now holds 1,500, while the Tai Lam women's prison was built for 245 inmates but currently holds 610.
Trial absolves marines
Australia will press the US for a full report on a military trial which absolved two US marines of a brutal assault on an Australian man, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said yesterday. The charges were dropped against one of the soldiers and the other was acquitted earlier this month of slashing the throat of a student, Heath Twomey, outside a nightclub in the northern Australian city of Townsville in February last year. The marines were arrested and charged in Townsville, but transferred to the US to face a military court.
Students still missing
Authorities yesterday said more than 90 high-school students seized by communist rebels in a remote Nepali village are still missing five days later -- unusual because the rebels typically hold such abductees for only two or three days to lecture them. Officials said the rebels have increasingly been abducting large groups of students in remote villages to teach them about their nine-year revolution, aimed at replacing the government with a communist regime. The latest abduction last Wednesday was of about 90 ninth- and 10th-grade students from Nepal Rastriya High School in Paudiamrai village, about 300km west of Kathmandu, the military said.
Deserting soldier found dead