Dogs suffer in winter
It may be the Year of the Dog, but in Japan, man's best friend has seen better days with a bitter winter leaving the canine population suffering indoors, veterinarians said yesterday. Dogs have suffered a greater number of cases this winter of cystitis, a bladder inflammation, since the snow has kept them from going for walks. "Like humans, some dogs do not want to go out or go for a pee under the cold spell," said veterinarian Taizo Umeshita, who heads Heart Animal Hospital in the snow-covered province of Fukui. Owners were also too busy clearing heavy snow to take dogs out for a walk, he added.
■ Hong Kong
Not Chinese: HK youth
More than eight years after the city returned to Chinese rule, youngsters in Hong Kong consider themselves more Hong Konger than Chinese, a survey indicated yesterday. Eighty-eight percent of nearly 3,000 schoolchildren interviewed said they agreed with the statement "I am a Hong Konger," but only 75 percent agreed with the statement "I am Chinese." Eighty-four percent said they loved Hong Kong, but only 59.7 percent said they loved China in the interviews, down from 62.1 percent in 2004, in the annual survey by the youth group, the Hok Yau Club. Asked how much they agreed with the statement "I feel happy about reunification with China" on a scale of one to six, the score was 4.17.
Opera House nominated
Authorities yesterday nominated Sydney Opera House for listing as a World Heritage site, calling the unique expressionist structure "a masterpiece of human creative genius." The multi-shell structure on Sydney's harborside is one of the world's most recognizable and photographed buildings and was nominated for World Heritage listing jointly by the federal government and the state of New South Wales. "Our nomination argues that the Sydney Opera House is an outstanding conjunction of architecture and engineering, a turning point in the modern architectural movement, an exceptional engineering feat," NSW Arts and Environment Minister Bob Debus said. A decision on the building's World Heritage listing will come next year.
Opposition leader freed
Hundreds of supporters greeted a Kazakh opposition leader on Sunday, as he arrived home in Almaty after more than three years in prison. Galymzhan Zhakiyanov, 41, was the most high-profile prisoner in this energy-rich republic, and his jailing was seen by supporters and rights groups as politically motivated. A panel of judges granted him early release on Saturday in a move following a landslide re-election of President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Dec. 4 that was criticized by Western observers as flawed. The leader of the now-disbanded Democratic Choice party was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2002 on abuse-of-office charges, which he denied.
Girl dies of bird flu
A 13-year-old girl died of bird flu over the weekend, while two of her siblings have tested positive for the H5N1 virus, a health ministry official said yesterday, citing the results of local tests."We found three positive bird flu cases in one family coming from Indramayu, West Java," said Hariadi Wibisono, the ministry's director of control of animal-borne diseases. He said this was the nation's fifth cluster of bird-flu cases, where people living in close proximity had fallen ill. There was no evidence of human-to-human transmission, and dead chickens had been found in the neighborhood, he added.