Protests empty streets
Parts of the country came to a halt yesterday as the country's leading leftist party called a nationwide strike to protest fuel prices. Bangladesh increased the prices of petroleum products earlier this month by between 5.6 and 18.4 percent to offset soaring global oil prices. Workers of the Communist Party of Bangladesh held rallies in the capital Dhaka and across the country. Dhaka's streets were mainly empty although some private cars and taxis did not observe the day-long strike.
MP advocates spam
A computer-savvy MP wants the government to stop being the nation's biggest junk mailer and become its biggest spammer instead. Liberal Malcolm Turnbull wants every Australian to be given an email address that would last them a lifetime. The federal and state government, banks, pension funds and, yes, issuers of traffic infringements, could then reach citizens no matter where they lived, what Internet provider they used or where they worked.
Dissident released early
A dissident has been released after six years in prison for helping organize a would-be opposition party, and said that he still hopes to promote democracy for China. Liu Shizun (劉世遵) said he was in " not too bad" health following his release from prison on Friday. Liu said he was held in solitary confinement for parts of his prison term. "Right now, I'm just going to spend some time with my family," Liu said from his home. Liu, 42, was among more than two dozen organizers of the China Democracy Party imprisoned on subversion charges following a crackdown in late 1998.
Feminist groups claimed victory yesterday after an event featuring lingerie pillow fighting and topless bull-machine riding was cancelled by Brisbane authorities. The Blokesworld Live event, a spinoff of a late-night television show, had been promoted for Saturday and Sunday as "the ultimate weekend for the bloke of the species." But the advertisements prompted protests from feminist groups, and the Brisbane City Council made a last-minute decision Friday not to grant organizers an entertainment license.
■ Hong Kong
Chemical attacks feared
The territory's government has ordered hospitals to stock up on cyanide and insecticide antidotes in case of chemical attacks during the upcoming WTO meeting in December. Stocks of the chemicals sodium nitrite, sodium thiosulphate, hydroxocobalamin and pralidoxime -- antidotes for cyanide and insecticide -- were to be augmented. It was unclear whether the government had received specific information about attacks. Hong Kong authorities have geared up for potential violence, also stocking up on non-lethal ammunition such as rubber bullets. The WTO meeting aims to lay the groundwork for a treaty further liberalizing global trade at the meeting, scheduled for Dec. 13-18.
Prince gets a polo team
Happy with his son's training by the Indian Army, a Malaysian prince has decided to give 28 thoroughbred horses to the Army's polo team. Malaysian prince Tumku Teak Ismail Ibrahim is serving a short commission with the Indian Army in the northern Rajasthan state. Teak suggested to his father that the Army polo team, of which he is part, could improve its performance if it had better horses. Pleased with his son's progress under the Indian Army's wings, the crown prince immediately placed an order for 28 of the finest thoroughbred horses from Argentina.
Fifteen journalists detained
Fifteen journalists were detained in western Nepal after being threatened by government troops who were unhappy about their coverage of military operations against communist guerrillas. The journalists were preparing to flee Sunday from the town of Dailekh, after receiving threats from the military when police took them into custody, said Harihar Singh Rathor, a reporter for the Kantipur newspaper. "Because we refused to censor news about the army's activities, we were being harassed and even threatened," Rathor said. "So all of us decided to flee to safe areas."
Two divers `freakishly lucky'
Two British divers who survived six hours in shark-infested waters off Australia's Great Barrier Reef were "freakishly lucky" to be alive, their rescuers said. Louise Woodger, 29, and Gordon Pratley, 31, were diving early Saturday at Wheeler Reef, about 90km off the coast, when their tour boat mistakenly left without them. Head counts of the dive boat's passengers revealed they were missing at about 10am, sparking a major air and sea search. The pair were found six hours later suffering from exhaustion and hypothermia. Coast Guard skipper Jon Colless said large sharks were known to frequent the area and if the couple had remained undiscovered for another two hours the search would have been suspended, leaving them in the sea overnight, when a lot of predators are out.
■ United Kingdom
Sharon scared of arrest
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon turned down an invitation from UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to visit Britain out of concern he might be arrested there. Sharon cited the case of Israeli general Doran Almog who narrowly escaped detention last week at London's Heathrow Airport, the Times reported yesterday. Blair invited Sharon to visit Britain when the pair held talks on the sidelines of the UN summit in New York this week. "I would really like to visit Britain," Sharon was said to have told Blair. "The trouble is that ... like Major-General Almog ... I too am a general. I have heard that the prisons in Britain are very tough. I wouldn't like to find myself in one."
Interpol meeting kicks off
Terrorism, drug and human trafficking and financial crime will be the main agenda items for the annual Interpol meeting which starts in Berlin today. The 74th general assembly meeting of the international police, based in Lyon, southeastern France, will bring together 600 senior police from 155 countries, according to German police, who are organizing the event. National representatives will be informed on the progress of an international genetic data base and another database dealing with child abuse on the Internet. The cooperation between Interpol and the UN will also be a subject for discussion, as well as missing persons and the identification of bodies after disasters.
■ United Kingdom
Wills to be FA president
Britain's Prince William is to become president of the Football Association, the sport's governing body in England, royal officials said on Saturday. The second in line to the throne will take over the role from his uncle Prince Andrew in May next year -- just in time for the FA Cup final, Clarence House announced. The 23-year-old will act as president-designate until then. "Football is a game I love playing and watching," said Aston Villa fan William. The prince played football for his house team at Eton school and also Sunday league sides throughout his four years at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. William's brother Prince Harry, who turned 21 last Thursday, is a fan of FA Cup holders Arsenal.
■ United Kingdom
Moss admits cocaine use
Supermodel Kate Moss acknowledged to the H&M clothing chain that tabloid allegations that she recently used cocaine are true, an H&M spokeswoman said on Saturday. Moss, who is to model one of H&M's upcoming clothing lines, has apologized for her drug use and promised in writing to abide by a company policy that models be "healthy, wholesome and sound," spokeswoman Liv Asarnoj said. The Daily Mirror tabloid printed images from a video which it said showed the model doing five lines of cocaine in 40 minutes at a late-night music recording session in London, preparing them with a credit card and snorting the drug through a ?5 note.
Insurgents kill Kurdish MP
Insurgents in Iraq killed a Kurdish member of parliament and seriously wounded another, security sources in Tikrit said yesterday. Faris Nasser Hussein and his driver were shot dead on Saturday evening on a road 50km north of Baghdad. A second representative who was travelling in the car was seriously wounded. A US soldier was killed in Balad, the US military said.
Spanish police have arrested 20 members of a neo-Nazi group that organized outings to attack immigrants, government officials said on Saturday. Police found 18 places in the southern province of Valencia over a two-year investigation where the group, called "The Anti-System Front," met and stored illegal arms. The arrests follow a crackdown in April on the Spanish branch of international neo-Nazi group "Blood&Honor," which resulted in the arrest of 21 people accused of illegal arms dealing and defending genocide.
Protesters slam capitalism
More than 1,000 youths chanting "Revolution" joined a left-wing march in Moscow on Saturday, denouncing capitalism and calling for the ouster of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The protesters gathered at Slavianskaya square in the center of the Russian capital where they first had to pass through police metal-detectors. The youth movements of several leftist groups including the Communist Party, the small nationalist Rodina party as well as far-left movements such as the National Bolsheviks, or NatsBol, carried signs declaring "Death to Capitalism," "Our homeland is the USSR" and "Russia without Putin, enemy of the people."
Ban on airline dismays
Cameroon authorities have expressed surprise and dismay at France's decision to ban flights by national carrier Cameroon Airlines for safety reasons. The French Civil Aviation Authority added Cameroon Airlines on Friday to a blacklist of airlines banned from landing in France, with immediate effect. It said in a statement that checks this spring on the airline's aircraft had found "numerous lapses from international norms," notably with the loading of planes, the transport of dangerous goods, navigation documents and tire maintenance.
■ United States
Retro moon trip planned
NASA hopes to return astronauts to the moon by 2018, nearly a half-century after men last walked the lunar surface, by using a distinctly retro combination of space shuttle and Apollo rocket parts. The fact that this successor to the soon-to-be-retired shuttle relies so heavily on old-time equipment, rather than sporting fancy futuristic designs, "makes good technological and management sense," said John Logsdon, director of George Washington University's space policy institute. "The emphasis is on achieving goals rather than elegance," said Logsdon, who along with other members of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board urged NASA to move beyond the risky, aging shuttles as soon as possible.
■ United Kingdom
Foxhunters find loophole
British foxhunters, whose centuries-old pursuit was banned earlier this year, have found a novel way of circumventing the law, a report said Saturday -- by bringing along a bird of prey. According to the Times, some hunts have noticed a loophole in the law which outlaws the hunting of foxes with dogs, which came into force this year despite massive opposition from hunters. The law allows foxes to be flushed out by dogs to be shot as vermin, but only two dogs are allowed to accompany such a hunt. However, if the hunt is officially being led by a bird of prey such as a golden eagle or an eagle owl, the legislation does not restrict the number of dogs that can be used, hunters claim.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable