Not laughing now
One person died and three others suffered serious injuries when they apparently inhaled "laughing gas" in a car in Sydney, police said yesterday. Four people were found unconscious in the vehicle outside a home in the suburb of Toongabbie early on Sunday morning. The man who discovered the car ran to a nearby house for help, screaming that the car was full of gas. Police said a 38-year-old man died, a 23-year-old woman was in serious condition and two men were in stable condition. A gas cylinder found in the car was labeled "nitrous oxide." "People do some weird and wondrous things to try and get a bit of a buzz," police Inspector Damon Cox said.
Woman survives wild ride
A woman who interrupted a thief as he stole her car was in hospital yesterday after clinging to the bonnet of the vehicle for several kilometers as the robber tried to make his escape, police said. Police were alerted after residents of the town of Kununurra in Western Australia state reported seeing a screaming woman hanging on to the windscreen wipers of the moving car. The bizarre drive came to an end several kilometers later when the car crashed into a bridge, throwing the woman clear. The 31-year-old female teacher was in stable condition in hospital with serious injuries, while an 18-year-old man was facing six charges, police said.
Stork killer faces jail time
A man faces up to eight years in prison on charges that he killed an endangered stork whose population is estimated at only 500 worldwide, police said yesterday. Boonchu Sukpong, 53, turned himself in to police in Buritam Province as they searched for him on suspicion he had killed a greater adjutant stork last week, police Lieutenant Major Thanom Phajantuek said. "He said he did not mean to kill the stork, but wanted to wound it and keep it as a pet," Thanom said.
Ex-lawmaker in drug bust
A former national lawmaker from Japan's top opposition party and two of his aides have been arrested and accused of possessing amphetamines following a six-month investigation, police said yesterday. Kenji Kobayashi, his private secretary Koshi Ando, and former secretary Masaharu Saeki were arrested on Sunday, an official with Aichi Prefectural Police said. Kobayashi was immediately expelled from the Democratic Party of Japan, according to the party's Web site. The three suspects have admitted taking the stimulants, and former employees have said that Kobayashi started using the drugs soon after he was first elected to office, Kyodo News agency said, citing police.
■ New Zealand
Bad call equals nude run
A Green Party lawmaker who pledged to run naked through the streets of an upscale suburb if a rival party leader was re-elected said yesterday that he would honor his word. Legislator Keith Locke, the Green Party's foreign affairs spokesman, said he didn't want to break an election promise. He said he would do the nude dash if rightist Act Party leader Rodney Hide won a parliamentary seat in the Auckland suburb of Epsom. Regarded as an outside chance, Hide romped home in the contest on Saturday with a 3,200-vote majority. A local business group is helping pave the way for the lawmaker's run down Broadway, which is "a straight and wide strip -- ideal for such exposure," the group's general manager said.