Bali bomb suspects named
Two men arrested earlier this month, including a close aide to the country's most wanted militant, were named as suspects yesterday for involvement in last year's restaurant bombings on Bali, a police spokesman said. Police last week accused four other male suspects in the same case of helping hide accused militant mastermind Noordin M. Top during and after the bombings that killed 20 people. Police have been conducting a nationwide manhunt for Top, a senior member of Jemaah Islamiah, a shadowy militant group seen as the Southeast Asian arm of al-Qaeda.
Obese to lose weight on TV
It will be twice the pleasure for 12 obese Malaysians: They will shed weight and gain stardom. Some 500 people weighing at least 100kg auditioned on Sunday for a weight-loss reality TV show that will select 12 contestants to lose weight under weekly scrutiny by a Malaysian audience, the New Straits Times newspaper reported. The contestants will undergo a full fitness and nutrition regime during the course of the show, Diet Down, Cheer Up, on state-owned TV 2, it said.
Panel to ban strip searches
A five-member panel of experts has recommended a ban on strip searches by police after an uproar over a secret video of a naked woman being forced to perform squats in police custody, the Utusan Malaysia newspaper said yesterday. The panel suggested that police stations be equipped with body scanners. It said no prisoner should be stripped completely naked by officers, and searches should be limited to pat searches, conditional strip searches and intimate searches.
Granny survives snake bite
A great-grandmother who was bitten twice by a deadly snake while she sat on her sofa knitting and watching tennis has been offered free tickets to the Australian Open. Val Makin was watching the grand slam tournament on television on Sunday at home in Werribee, near Melbourne, when she was surprised by the meter-long brown snake. "I got such a fright," the 78-year-old told Australian television, before adding that she hadn't dropped a stitch. Makin was treated in hospital overnight and released. She said the snake's fangs had scratched her forearm but none of its deadly venom had entered her bloodstream.
Engineer wants to lift Bund
A Chinese engineer wants to give Shanghai's historic riverfront bank district a lift. Literally. Raymond Shaw says using hydraulic jacks to raise the stone edifices of the famed Bund would create valuable commercial space while preserving the 100-year-old neighborhood's original look. "It's totally technically achievable," Shaw was quoted as saying by yesterday's Shanghai Daily newspaper. Shaw has done this sort of thing before. He gained instant notoriety in 2003 by leading a team that shifted the city's historic concert hall more than 66m to make way for new road construction. However, Shaw said he didn't see the Bund project being taken up right away given its "extremely huge scale."
Emergency plan approved
The nation's leaders have approved a plan for coping with major disasters ranging from railway accidents to nuclear catastrophes, state media reported yesterday. The plan is aimed at preventing unrest, improving efficiency and increasing "competence" in dealing with such emergencies, the state-run China Daily and other reports said. The report said the plan was issued by the State Council on Jan. 8, and that it includes guidelines for dealing with natural disasters, accidents, public health issues and "social safety incidents." The government will set up an office to handle emergency response management that will collect information and provide coordination, it said.