■ New Zealand
Man pleads to go to jail
A 38-year-old New Zealander who has spent nearly half his life in prison asked a judge to give him another 10 years in the jail he called "home" after pleading guilty to theft, a newspaper reported yesterday. "I don't want to muck anyone around. I'm very sorry for what I have done. I just want to go back home, Waikeria Prison, and sit there for another 10 years," Dane Pukepuke told the court at Rotorua on Monday, the Daily Post reported. He admitted stealing cigarettes, cash and telephone cards from a supermarket and a shop assistant's car.
Migrants under microscope
The federal government has commissioned a study into the impact on the community of its migration policy in an attempt to encourage "social cohesion," an immigration department spokeswoman said yesterday. Almost a decade after former firebrand politician Pauline Hanson accused immigrants of failing to assimilate and forming ghettos, the government has called for a report on the effects of migrants on communities.
Terror case `fast-tracked'
The father of Australian terror suspect David Hicks yesterday accused the US and Australian governments of hurrying his son's case through a military commission to prevent the charges from being challenged in a federal court. Hicks, 30, a former kangaroo skinner who was arrested while allegedly fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan in late 2001, is facing trial before a US military commission on charges of conspiracy, aiding the enemy and attempted murder. A US appeals court last week opened the door for the military trials to begin.
New memorial preferred
Almost two-thirds of Japanese favor building a new war memorial as an alternative to Tokyo's Yasukuni shrine, criticized as a symbol of the country's past militarism, a newspaper poll said yesterday. About 63 percent of respondents to the Mainichi Shimbun poll said the government should build a new secular memorial to the war dead, while only 28 percent opposed the idea, the paper said. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's annual visits to Yasukuni have sparked anger in China and North and South Korea.
Students battle police
Police yesterday used batons to break up a protest by hundreds of students in Kathmandu against the king's seizure of absolute power, injuring at least 36, witnesses said. About four policemen were also hurt. Police arrested several students, said Keshav Singh of the Nepal Student Union. The demonstration was organized by student groups affiliated with the country's seven major political parties, which have banded together to organize joint protests against King Gyanendra's seizure of power earlier this year. About 500 protesters blocked a key street yesterday morning when police charged at them with batons.
More bodies recovered
Divers have recovered 79 bodies from a ferry that capsized off eastern Indonesia nearly two weeks ago, and dozens more are believed to be trapped inside, officials said yesterday. Survivors said 200 people were on the ferry when it sank in choppy waters between the port town of Merauke and Tanah Merah -- four times the number listed on the passenger manifest. Only 15 people have been found alive, said Sumpeno Juono of the local search and rescue. Divers have pulled 79 bodies from the vessel, he said, but as many as 100 more were believed to be inside. Bad weather and high waves were hindering recovery efforts, he added.