Death sentence upheld
The Tokyo High Court yesterday upheld the death sentence against the Aum Shinrikyo cult's "home minister" who was convicted of several attacks, including the 1995 nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system. Tomomitsu Niimi, 42, was accused of bringing Sarin gas to a subway station for the rush-hour attack that killed 12 people and injured thousands of others. Niimi was also accused of helping to carry out the cult's first Sarin attack in 1994 in Matsumoto that killed seven people. He was also a key conspirator in the murder of an anti-Aum lawyer, his wife and their small child. He was sentenced to hang by the Tokyo District Court in June 2002.
■ Hong Kong
Spurned lover sought
A manhunt was continuing yesterday for a man suspected of killing his ex-girlfriend and her lover in front of the woman's eight-year-old son. The woman, 33-year-old Wu Pui, and boyfriend Kwun Man-kin, 37, were stabbed to death with a butcher's knife after an intruder dressed as a woman tricked his way into their apartment on Monday. The intruder tied up Wu's son and grandmother and lay in wait for the couple to return home for five hours, police say, stabbing them to death with a butcher's knife in front of the boy. After the intruder fled and the boy and grandmother freed themselves and phone for help, police say. The boy has since received counseling for trauma.
British agree to review ban
Britain's TV advertising regulator has agreed to review a ban on an Australian tourism campaign centered on the phrase "bloody hell," officials said yesterday. "It's a bloody good result," Australian Tourism Minister Fran Bailey said after she flew to London to save the campaign. "My faith in British justice and humor has been restored and I am now hopeful that common sense will prevail," she said. Britain's Broadcasting Advertising Clearance Center had banned the ads from TV because of concerns over the campaign's use of the word "bloody" and ordered censored ads run in their place.
■ New Zealand
Women `marrying down'
Women are "marrying down" -- choosing partners who are poorer and not as well educated as themselves -- because of a shortage of men in the 20-49 age group, the Press reported yesterday. Demographer Paul Callister told the newspaper that there had been a 10 percent increase in the number of highly educated women marrying men with fewer qualifications and lower paid jobs in the last 20 years. With a shortage of 33,000 to 53,000 men in the marrying age group, there was a lack of eligible partners of equal educational or economic status, he said. Callister said the trend was likely to continue.
Military may ease policy
The military is considering scrapping its tough anti-drugs policy in order to attract more recruits. Defense Minister Brendan Nelson said he was considering scrapping some rules, saying a person's character and ability should be the main tests for new recruits. Under current rules, a person is automatically rejected as a recruit if they admit to having taken illegal drugs. Nelson said that meant someone who lied about drug use could be accepted, while an honest person would be rejected. Nelson said he had taken responsibility for recruitment as defense forces struggle to meet recruiting targets amid a tight labor market.