Man held for tiger trafficking
Malaysian wildlife officials detained a Thai man on suspicion of poaching after finding the carcass of a tiger cut up into four parts and stored in a refrigerator, a news report said yesterday. Forest rangers in Kelantan state raided a house on Thursday and found the dead tiger, which had been mutilated but had all its organs intact, the Star daily said. The raid led them to the suspect. He risks a five-year jail term and fine of 15,000 ringgit (US$4,000) if convicted of tiger trafficking.
Quake fails to halt militants
It may have shocked the world, but last week's earthquake seems to have done little to shock Muslim militants into at least easing off a 16-year-old insurgency against New Delhi's rule in Kashmir, India says. Violence has continued unabated in the region in the week after the earthquake, dampening hopes that the tragedy would open a door toward peace. Last Sunday, a day after the earthquake struck, 10 Hindus were killed by militants in Kashmir. Indian troops killed 16 militants as they tried to sneak across the Line of Control from Pakistani Kashmir, eight of them hours after the quake and eight three days after the disaster.
■ Hong Kong
Bruce Lee took wrong pills
Bruce Lee's (李小龍) former producer, Raymond Chow (鄒文懷), says the kung fu star's sudden death at age 32 is a straightforward case of taking the wrong medicine. Lee died of an edema, or swelling of the brain, in the home of Hong Kong actress Betty Ting Pei (丁佩) in 1973. The coroner described his passing as "death by misadventure." The mystery of the death fueled speculation that drugs were involved and Lee was having an affair with Ting. Chow, one of the founders of Golden Harvest studios, said Lee died because he took headache medication that he was "hypersensitive" to. He said Lee was sensitive to one of the three ingredients in the medication, equigesic.
■ South Korea
Head prosecutor quits
South Korea's top prosecutor said he will resign, apparently to protest a Justice Ministry order that he not arrest a leftist college professor who allegedly made pro-North Korean remarks, reports said yesterday. Prosecutor-General Kim Jong-bin's announcement came after he said on Friday that he would abide by the ministry's order not to arrest sociology professor Kang Jeong-koo but criticized the order as "damaging the prosecution's political neutrality." Kang, 60, wrote an article on an Internet news site saying "the Korean War was an attempt by North Korea to reunify" the divided Korean Peninsula, and that "the United States is the archenemy, not a benefactor."
Some pets may get chips
Japan is moving toward requiring owners of potentially dangerous animals, such as crocodiles and pythons, to have microchips implanted in their pets in case the animals get loose, officials said on Thursday. The move follows a recent wave of incidents around the nation in which animals such as pythons, crocodiles and giant salamanders have been found wandering loose, frequently on the streets of densely populated cities. In one notorious case, a man lost track of his pet python after he took the animal "for a walk" in a park and the snake fled when the man fell asleep on a bench. He was quoted by one TV station as saying he was surprised the snake disappeared because it wasn't that kind of snake.
If you take a leek, beware
Police warned thieves who made off with leeks from a vegetable farm on Friday: don't eat them -- they could be toxic. The robbers stole 200kg of leeks, a main ingredient of Vichyssoise soup, but police warned that the vegetables should have stayed in the ground another six weeks to be safe after treatment with toxic pesticides, telling consumers to beware of leeks with a strange smell which could indicate they were from the stolen batch from the farm in the West Flanders town of Izegem.
Circus doves barred entry
A flock of Bulgarian circus doves was barred from returning home on Thursday because of an outbreak of avian flu in Turkey. The 20 doves had been on tour in Bulgaria's southern Black Sea neighbor for several months with the Balkanski & Sons Circus as part of a menagerie that also includes horses and Siberian tigers. But they were refused re-entry after Sofia banned imports of live birds and poultry from Turkey and its northern neighbor Romania after both reported cases of bird flu last weekend. "The owner will probably find someone to take care of the birds in Turkey until the ban is lifted." border inspector Atanas Mihailov said.
■ Ivory Coast
Election plan endorsed
The UN Security Council on Friday endorsed an African Union (AU) plan aiming to steer divided Ivory Coast toward free and fair elections within a year but gave no commitment on a request for beefing up UN peacekeepers there. The 15-member council unanimously adopted a French-drafted text backing a compromise blueprint for Ivory Coast worked out last week by the African Union's Peace and Security Council. Ivory Coast had been scheduled to hold presidential elections on Oct. 30, mandated under a long-dormant peace pact. But continued unrest, an abortive disarmament operation and entrenched political bickering has made such elections impossible.
Troops get musical pillow
A pillow that plays relaxing music has been sent by the Danish army to its soldiers posted in Iraq and Kosovo to help them combat stress and tension. "In a first test, we have sent 10 pillows each to Iraq and Kosovo and they are now being used by the troops," Henrik Lundstein, head of the psychology department at the Royal Defense College, said. The pillow has built-in speakers attached to an mp3-player piping soft instrumentals and sounds of nature like trickling water and chirping birds. Called "MusiCure," it was created for use in therapy by composer and oboist Niels Eje with doctors and psychologists.
■ United kingdom
Bush `going beyond Iraq'
US President George W. Bush told Tony Blair shortly before the invasion of Iraq that he intended to target other countries, including Saudi Arabia, which, he implied, planned to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Bush said he "wanted to go beyond Iraq in dealing with WMD proliferation, mentioning in particular Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan," according to a note of a telephone conversation between the two men on Jan. 30, 2003. The note is quoted in the US edition, published next week, of Lawless World, America and the Making and Breaking of Global Rules, by the British international lawyer Philippe Sands.
■ United States
Man dies while getting tattoo
A man died on Thursday afternoon after he suffered a dizzy spell while getting a tattoo and crashed through a glass display case, New York City police said Friday. The man, Juaquin Leger, 28, was at the Buzz, a tattoo parlor in Brooklyn, around 2pm when he stood to walk across the room and blacked out. He fell headfirst into an empty glass case, cutting his neck on the quarter-inch-thick glass. He was pronounced dead at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center. "It was a freak accident," said the owner of the Buzz, Julio Ramos, 36, who added that he tried to grab Leger by the shirt as he was falling. He added that Leger had come to the parlor with a pattern selected on the Internet. "It's called Last Rites, ironically," Ramos said.
Border skirmishes increase
A series of clashes in the last year between US and Syrian troops, including a prolonged firefight this summer that killed several Syrians, has raised the prospect that cross-border military operations may become a dangerous new front in the Iraq war, the New York Times reported on Saturday. Citing unnamed current and former military and government officials, the newspaper said the firefight, between Army Rangers and Syrian troops along the border with Iraq, was the most serious of the clashes with President Bashar al-Assad's forces. It illustrated the dangers facing US troops as Washington tries to apply more political and military pressure on Syria.
Massive strike averted
Unionized workers at Mexico's Social Security Institute late Friday night agreed to a government proposal offering a 6 percent raise and called off a potentially crippling strike scheduled to begin this weekend. An estimated 370,000 workers at the institute, which provides health services for more than 40 million Mexicans, had threatened to walk off the job at midnight yesterday. Instead, union leaders approved a proposal increasing wages by 6 percent and easing restrictions on the hiring of new employees at the institute.
Pot improves mood: study
Canadian researchers have discovered that smoking marijuana could improve a person's memory and mood. A team at the University of Saskatchewan headed by Xia Zhang found that injections of a potent HU210 synthetic substance that mimics the active ingredients in cannabis increases the production of neurons in the hippocampus area of the brain in rats. The region is associated with learning and memory, as well as anxiety and depression. Zhang and his colleagues believe that these negative emotions are caused by a lack of cell growth in this region of the brain.
■ United States
Murder takes decades
It took Jose Colon more than 30 years to die from complications of the gunshot wounds that paralyzed him. On Friday, his assailant was charged with murder for pulling the trigger in the racial dispute that killed Colon decades after the bullets entered his body. The case stems from a medical examiner's ruling that Colon, 47, died from infections related to gunshot wounds suffered at age 15. The shooting had left Colon paralyzed from the neck down. Ralph Alini -- who had already served a three-year prison term for the shooting -- was rearrested on Thursday after a grand jury indicted him on a second-degree murder charge earlier in the week.
THE ANSWER? The drug uses neutralizing antibodies produced by the human immune system, which the team isolated from the blood of 60 recovered patients A Chinese laboratory has been developing a drug it believes has the power to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to a halt. A drug being tested by scientists at Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the coronavirus, researchers said. Sunney Xie (謝曉亮), director of the university’s Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, said that the drug had been successful in animal testing. “When we injected neutralizing antibodies into infected mice, after five days the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2,500,” Xie said. “That means this potential drug has [a]
‘SERIOUS QUESTIONS’: Three US senators sent a letter to the US commerce secretary asking whether the project ‘takes into consideration national security requirements’ US Senator Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic colleagues have written to top US administration officials asking for details of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plan to build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. Hsinchu-based TSMC on Thursday last week announced that it would build a plant to make 5 nanometer chips by 2024 that would have the capacity to produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker already has one chipmaking fab in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California. It said it planned to start construction in Arizona next year and
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
MOM’S LONG CAMPAIGN: Mao Yin had been brought up in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long, high-profile search A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after 32 years. Mao Yin (毛寅), then two-and-a-half years old, was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father. His parents finally embraced him again on Monday in Xian, where he was born. After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi (李靜芝) quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out more than 100,000 flyers and appearing on numerous TV shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children and made