Man's tongue cut off
Suspected Muslim militants yesterday chopped off the tongue of a villager whom they suspected of being a police informer in Jammu and Kashmir state, news reports said. A group of heavily armed militants kidnapped Abdul Majeed from his village in Doda district and took him to a forest where he was tortured, PTI news agency reported citing official sources. The sources said the militants later chopped off Majeed's tongue and let him go. He was found lying unconscious near the forest by a group of local people who took him to a hospital.
■ Hong Kong
Speed-eater reigns again
Japan's champion speed-eater devoured 100 roast pork buns in 12 minutes in the final round of an eating contest in Hong Kong on yesterday. Takeru Kobayashi, 27, plowed through the Chinese steamed buns to easily beat five other local contestants, pocketing a cash prize of HK$20,000 (US$2,574). First runner-up Johnny Wu, 34, finished 47 buns. Kobayashi, who weighs just 65kg, said the palm-sized buns posed more of a challenge than the 83 vegetarian dumplings he downed in eight minutes on Saturday. The Japanese speed-eater is the five-time international hot dog-eating champion, and holds the world record after wolfing down 53 1/2 frankfurters in 12 minutes.
Firm gives away chocolate
Some 20,000 chocolate bars were handed out free in Sydney yesterday as the makers set out to recover from a extortion bid which forced the recall and destruction of millions of candy bars. Chocolate-maker Masterfoods was forced to withdraw its Mars and Snickers bars from sale across New South Wales state including Sydney on July 1 after receiving threatening letters and a contaminated candy bar from an extortionist. It was later revealed that Sydney's Star City casino was the principal target of the extortion bid, which is still being investigated by police.
PM, Muslim leaders in talks
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra met yesterday with Muslim leaders and local authorities in a province along the Malaysian border that has suffered the brunt of 19 months of deadly unrest. "The talks were about how to prevent and suppress violence," Thaksin told reporters, adding that he would deploy security reinforcements if needed. Thaksin said the government may give local authorities more power to help deal with the violence. He made the surprise two-day tour of three volatile provinces in the Muslim-majority region amid fresh intimidation, in the form of anonymous handwritten leaflets threatening to kill or chop off the ears of people who work on Fridays, the Muslim holy day.
Warship hunters get funding
Australia's government will help fund a search for a warship mysteriously lost during World War II off the country's remote northwest coast with all 645 people on board, Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday. The HMAS Sydney II sank in 1941 after it came under fire from a German Armed Merchant Cruiser, which the Australian Navy believes had claimed to have been a harmless Dutch merchant ship. Howard pledged A$1.3 million (US$985,000) to a team already trying to locate the ship, which would be used to conduct a sonar search of the seabed with a suitable vessel, state of the art sonar equipment and experienced personnel.
■ United Kingdom
Airline to resume service