■ New Zealand
Microwave killer jailed
A teen who used a microwave to kill a pet budgie he stole from a school classroom has been sent to prison for nine months. Ashley James Daldy, 18, pleaded guilty to eight charges of burglary and one of cruel treatment of an animal, the Waikato Times newspaper reported yesterday. Prosecutors told Hamilton District Court Daldy had broken into the school where he was once a pupil on three occasions, stealing the bird, computer equipment and a video. He later put the budgie in a microwave oven. Judge Anne McAloon said on Monday that killing the bird was a "particularly nasty offense" but the eight burglaries were more serious.
Majority favors reform
A majority of the public think the country's pacifist Constitution should be revised but the number in favor of the move has dropped since a survey last year, a newspaper poll released yesterday found. Fifty-six percent of respondents said the Constitution should be revised, while 32 percent opposed the move, the survey by the Yomiuri said. The percentage of those who support changing the Constitution was down from 61 percent last year. The Constitution bars the use of military force in settling international disputes, and prohibits maintaining a military for warfare. The government, however, has interpreted this to mean the nation can have troops to protect itself.
Bomb hoax is no joke
After an April Fool's weekend bomb hoax forced a plane to be evacuated, Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy has warned that would-be pranksters face a lifetime in jail for similar actions. "If you think this is a joke, you may have to pay a heavy price," Chan was quoted as saying in the Star daily. A 31-year-old man was detained on Sunday for staging a bomb scare aboard a domestic flight operated by budget carrier AirAsia. The man, who police say will be sent for psychiatric evaluation, told a flight attendant he wanted to get off the plane bound for eastern Sabah state because there was a bomb on board.
`Soft-hearted' abuser guilty
A man pleaded guilty to abusing four boys in monsoon drains by promising them free cellphones if they joined his soccer team, news reports said yesterday. Mohamad Norrahhi Noman, 30, handed out fliers about the team and befriended four youths, aged between 13 and 15, the Straits Times said. He then tricked them into performing sexual acts. Norrahhi tied up the hands and legs of a 13-year-old boy on the pretext of showing him a magic trick, the court heard on Monday. When the youngster struggled, Norrahhi threatened him with a pair of scissors. Norrahhi was exposed when the brothers of the 13-year-old followed their sibling. Norrahhi told the court he likes mature men, not children. "I'm a soft-hearted guy," he was quoted as saying.
■ Hong Kong
Customs foils MiG plot
Customs officials were reported yesterday to have foiled an attempt to smuggle a MiG-29 fighter jet through the territory. The Cold War-era fighter jet, with its engines removed, is said to have been found inside a container being shipped through Hong Kong's container terminal. Government-run radio station RTHK said yesterday the fighter jet was intercepted as it was being shipped through Hong Kong to a third country. It was not known where the plane began its journey.