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.