■ Hong Kong
Student affairs `acceptable'
More than one in seven Hong Kong teachers believe it is acceptable to have a relationship with a student in certain circumstances, according to a survey released yesterday. The survey of 700 teachers found 12.3 percent believed a relationship with a student was acceptable depending on the circumstances. A further 2.4 percent said they believed relationships between teachers and students were acceptable without stipulating that it depended on the circumstances. However, 85.3 percent of teachers surveyed by the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers said teacher-student relations were unacceptable. In an identical survey on the matter in 2002, only 74.5 percent of teachers believed that such relationships were unacceptable, according to the South China Morning Post, which published the results of the survey yesterday.
Jail for nude photo threat
A man was sent to jail after he threatened to post nude photos of his former girlfriend on the Internet, the Straits Times newspaper reported on Friday. The 27-year-old man was sentenced to one month in prison for intimidating his 18-year-old girlfriend after she ended their relationship, the newspaper said. He sent the woman numerous threats using phone text messages, the newspaper said. Singapore is known for its tough laws and strict social controls. Three men were convicted earlier this year for threatening to post nude photos of women on the Internet unless they were paid or unless the women agreed to meet them.
Teen sheds weight to enlist
An overweight Malaysian teenager has shed 30.5kg in five months in a bid to fulfill his dream of enlisting for national service, a report said yesterday. Muhamad Said Ibrahim, 19, who tipped the scales at 158kg when he was first rejected by the defense ministry, weighed in at 127.5kg on Friday after undergoing a rigorous weight loss program, said the New Straits Times. The chubby teen was put on the strict regime at a local university, which saw him eat two slices of bread and jam for breakfast instead of his usual "roti canai," a greasy flat bread eaten with curry. His trainers started him off on a mild exercise program taking up three hours a week, which progressed to a daily three-hour get-fit routine.
■ Sri Lanka
Rebels seek catchy anthem
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels -- who already have a national flower and flag for their self-proclaimed state in the parts of the island they control -- are now on a quest for a catchy national anthem. The Tigers -- who say they want contributions from Tamils both in Sri Lanka and abroad -- circulated a statement to media offices in the government-controlled north and east, including the largest northern town, Jaffna, as well as on pro-rebel Web site www.tamilnet.com.
People told to limit showers
Singaporeans were urged yesterday to shower a minute less as part of a national water conservation effort in the hot and humid city-state. If the entire population of 4.2 million people takes the advice to heart, environmental officials said the savings would fill nearly 16 Olympic-size swimming pools daily. Each person currently uses an average 162 liters a day. Public Utilities Board director Yap Kheng Guan told the newspaper the board is promoting several schemes to reduce water consumption in homes.