Man gets five years for hit
A man was sentenced to five years' jail and six strokes of the cane for hiring three teenagers in an unsuccessful plot to murder his former lover, court officials said yesterday. Chua Beng Hin, 42, was found guilty on Thursday of paying the boys a total of US$294 in August to gouge out the eyes of his ex-girlfriend with a screwdriver and then kill her. The married father-of-three wanted Loy Say Lee dead after she called off their 18-month relationship in July and was consumed with jealousy after finding she had a new boyfriend.
Trapped miner drinks urine
A miner survived 11 days trapped underground by drinking his own urine, state media reported yesterday. Three neighboring gypsum mines in northern Hebei Province collapsed on Nov. 6, killing at least 33 people. Rescuers had been searching for five missing miners. Yuan Shenglin's rescue began on Wednesday when miners, about 200m underground, heard his voice, the China Daily said. They inserted a plastic tube through a 5m heap of collapsed rubble and pumped in food and water to the other side.
Panda population booming
Endangered pandas are having a baby boom. The country's breeding centers reported a record-high 25 births this year through artificial insemination, and 21 of the cubs survived, news reports said yesterday. There are believed to be 1,590 giant pandas living in the wild, with another 161 in zoos worldwide, the government says. Scientists have tried since the 1960s to increase their numbers through captive breeding and artificial insemination.
Bad hair day costs salon
A hair salon was ordered to pay ¥240,000 (US$2,000) in compensation this week after a customer sued the hairdresser for cutting her hair too short and dying it the wrong color. A Tokyo court agreed with the 27-year-old cabaret club hostess' claim that the unflattering hairstyle had affected her ability to do her job. "Hairstyles are a major influence on appearance," Judge Yuki Mizuno said in the ruling. "A hairstyle is a selling point for a hostess and there was a period when her self-confidence was affected when she waited on customers."
Model sentenced for drugs
A court in Bali on Friday found an Australian model guilty of illegally receiving ecstasy pills and sentenced her to three months in jail, but she will be freed within days because of time spent in custody. Michelle Leslie was detained by police before an outdoor party on Aug. 20, which means the 24-year-old woman should be free by tomorrow. "[The court] declares the defendant guilty of committing the crime ... of receiving pyschoactive drugs," presiding judge Made Sudia said. "Thank you Mr. Judge," Leslie said in Indonesian, as she shook hands with him at the conclusion of the trial.
Exotic animals off the menu
Conservationists have forced a minister to reconsider plans to put exotic Kenyan animals on the menu of a zoo restaurant. Conservationists say the daily buffet of zebra, giraffe and crocodile would send the message that Thailand condones the trafficking and consumption of endangered animals. "There is a restaurant in Nairobi which serves meat from commercially raised animals, so I thought we could import it to make the restaurant different," Environment Vice Minister Plodprasop said. The move follows criticism from conservationists in Thailand and Kenya, which agreed last week to give Thailand 175 wild animals and birds to stock the Chiang Mai Night Safari, where the Vareekunchorn restaurant will be located. Kenyan officials said none of the animals to be sent to Chiang Mai were endangered.
Bird flu hits more provinces
Bird flu, which has killed 42 people in Vietnam, has spread to two more northern provinces as the government called for a meeting of Pacific Rim health officials to seek ways to prevent a human pandemic. Four outbreaks had hit Phu Tho and Hoa Binh provinces, with several thousand chickens, ducks and geese found dead or slaughtered by health workers. The H5N1 virus has now spread to 16 of Vietnam's 64 provinces since returning in early last month.
■ United Nations
Council works to avert war
The UN Security Council likely will adopt a resolution next week pressing former foes Ethiopia and Eritrea to avert a renewed war and return to a 2000 peace accord, diplomats said on Thursday. A draft resolution would ask Eritrea to end its restrictions on UN helicopter flights and other peacekeeping chores and urge Ethiopia to finally accept the binding ruling of an international commission on the border shared by the two, the diplomats said. The draft would also ask both sides to pull back their military forces to positions they held last December, they said. The measure is expected to be put to a vote in the 15-nation council before Thanksgiving, the French ambassador said.
■ United Kingdom
TV station tries huge hoax
Channel 4 TV is conning a group of nine contestants into believing that they are blasting off into space from Russia while remaining resolutely earthbound at a disused airbase in the UK. The contestants believe they are undergoing two weeks of training at a Russian base before four are chosen for the "flight." A prop from the film Space Cowboys is being used to recreate the shuttle, with a giant custom-made screen providing the illusion of seeing Earth from space and a Hollywood specialist employed to provide sound effects. The live one-hour show will begin on Dec. 7 and will run for 10 nights.
■ United Kingdom
Whiskey sells for £14,000
At £500 (US$860) a sip it is one of the world's most expensive tipples this Christmas. For connoisseurs with the pocket, British drinks giant Diageo is selling a Johnnie Walker whiskey blend at £14,000 a bottle to celebrate the 200th birth anniversary of the Scotsman who created the world's best-selling whiskey brand. The world's largest alcoholic drinks company is selling just 200 bottles of the high-priced spirit to spice up interest in whiskey in the run up to Christmas.
Lemur holds up subway
Weary commuters the world over are used to hearing all sorts of reasons for their train being late, but officials in Lisbon have come up with a seemingly unique excuse: a lemur on the line. The longest of the city's four subway lines was closed for more than an hour after the cat-sized primate escaped from a zoo and disappeared into the tunnels of the network, officials said on Thursday. Firefighters eventually captured it at the system's busiest station, Marques de Pombal. Carlos Mineiro Aires, the head of the subway system, told the Publico newspaper about Saturday morning's incident to show how service interruptions on the 45-year-old system were not always the fault of his staff.
■ United Kingdom
Hamlet goes mobile
Some of the most complicated and wordy works of English literature are being compressed into the jerky speedwriting of text messages to help students choose classics and master their revision. The dark labyrinth of plots in Bleak House and the epic verse of Paradise Lost are among masterpieces picked for drastic slimming into a couple of lines for sending automatically to mobile phones. The scheme uses the crafty shorthand of texting to turn the most famous line in Hamlet into 2b?Ntb?=? The service is being launched by the student phone service dot mobile, with backing from John Sutherland, English professor emeritus at University College London.
Election dates set
National elections -- the first since last year's ouster of democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide -- will be held on Dec. 27 and the runoff for Jan. 31. The Constitution requires the inauguration of a new president by Feb. 7 next year. Election officials, hampered by logistical problems and political violence, have several times postponed the vote for the presidency, the legislature and local offices.
■ United States
Cheney not leak source
Vice President Dick Cheney is not the unidentified source who told Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward about the CIA status of the wife of Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, a person familiar with the investigation said on Thursday. Woodward did not talk with Cheney that day, did not provide the information that's been reported in Woodward's notes and has not had any conversations over the past several weeks about any release for allowing Woodward to testify, said the person, speaking on condition of anonymity. Woodward gave a sworn deposition in the CIA leak investigation on Monday, testifying that a senior official told him in mid-June 2003 that Valerie Plame worked as a CIA analyst on weapons of mass destruction.
■ United States
Cindy Sheehan fined US$50
Cindy Sheehan was found guilty today of demonstrating without a permit outside the White House, a misdemeanor carrying a US$50 fine. Twenty-six other defendants also were convicted. Sheehan and the others were among 300 arrested on Sept. 26th while trying to deliver petitions calling for an end to the war in Iraq. Some sat on the sidewalk outside the White House fence while others chanted and sang songs. They were taken into custody after refusing police orders to disperse. Sheehan plans to appeal, and insisted she was not demonstrating, but only petitioning her government and exercising her First Amendment rights. Sheehan plans to return to Crawford, Texas, next week.
■ United States
`Pitbull' lawyers muzzled
The Florida Supreme Court unanimously decided that a TV ad featuring a pitbull in a spiked collar and the telephone number PIT-BULL demeans the legal profession and misleads the public. They reprimanded lawyers John Pape and Marc Chandler and ordered them to attend a workshop on advertising. The court said it cannot condone an ad implying lawyers will "get results through combative and vicious tactics that will maim, scar or harm the opposing party," and said if the court approved the pitbull ad, "images of sharks, wolves, crocodiles and piranhas could follow."
■ United States
US should mind its own: poll
The Iraq war and mounting casualties have led a growing number of Americans to believe the US should mind its own business internationally. The percentage of Americans who agree that the US should mind its own business internationally has risen from 30 percent in 2002 to 42 percent currently, a poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center, showed on Thursday. Andrew Kohut, director of the think tank, said this isolationist sentiment is on a par with attitudes held during the mid-1970s, following the Vietnam War, and in the 1990s after the Cold War ended. The majority (52 percent) of those questioned believe President George W. Bush is doing a good job of handling terrorist threats, about half disapprove of his foreign policy and 57 percent disapprove of his handling of Iraq.
CLOSELY TRACKED: A US officer said that the warplanes were watched as they flew from Russia by way of Iran and Syria to Libya and were photographed multiple times The US Africa Command flatly rejected Russian claims that Moscow did not deploy fighter jets to Libya, saying on Friday that the 14 aircraft flown in reflect Russia’s long-term goal to establish a foothold in the region that could threaten NATO allies. US Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, deputy director of intelligence, said that the US tracked the MiG-29s and Su-24 fighter bombers flown in by Russian military, passing through Iran and Syria before landing at Libya’s al-Jufra air base. The base is the main forward airfield for Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army, which has been waging an
‘SACRIFICED’: Hu Weifeng became the sixth doctor to die from COVID-19 at Wuhan Central Hospital, where calls to raise the alarm over the virus were suppressed The death of a Chinese doctor at Wuhan’s “whistle-blower hospital” has prompted a wave of anger at hospital authorities for not protecting front-line health workers in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. Hu Weifeng (胡衛鋒), 42, a urologist at Wuhan Central Hospital where the whistle-blower ophthalmologist Li Wenliang (李文亮) worked, died of the virus on Tuesday after a four-month battle. Hu is the sixth doctor from his hospital killed by the virus. Another doctor who spoke out, Ai Fen (艾芬), said that authorities told hospital staff not to wear protective gear so as not to cause panic and reprimanded her for “harming
Singapore’s otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the COVID-19 lockdown, but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. With the streets empty, the creatures have been spotted hanging out by a shopping center, scampering through the lobby of a hospital and even feasting on pricey fish stolen from a pond. While many think of tiny Singapore as a densely populated concrete jungle, it is also relatively green for a busy Asian city, and has patches of rainforest, fairly clean waterways and abundant wildlife. There are estimated to be about
‘LEAST WE CAN DO’: The gesture was made famous by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was protesting police brutality that targeted minorities They are images that surprised and moved Americans: police officers taking a knee alongside protesters in the most widespread civil unrest to rock the US in decades — and in doing so embracing an anti-racism gesture denounced by US President Donald Trump. As Trump pushes for a crackdown on often-violent protests over the death of George Floyd, police officers from New York to Los Angeles to Houston, Texas, are making gestures of solidarity with demonstrators incensed at the latest case of an unarmed black man dying while in police custody. “I took off the helmet and laid the batons down. Where do