■ Hong Kong
Prostitute, 75, goes to court
A 75-year-old woman admitted in court to offering to have sex for HK$20 (US$2.60), claiming she needed the money to make ends meet, press reports said yesterday. Grey-haired Wu Wei-geen, who admitted to soliciting for immoral purposes in March, said she turned to prostitution because her welfare payments did not meet her needs, the South China Morning Post reported. The court recommended she receive psychiatric treatment, but she pleaded with the judge to acquit her because of her old age, newspaper reports said. Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for September.
Tombs found at Games site
Tombs of eunuchs believed to have been buried 500 years ago have been discovered during construction at a venue for the Beijing Olympics, an official said yesterday. The graveyard was discovered in April and, after an extensive dig by authorities specializing in cultural relics, construction was only recently restarted, an official at the Shooting Administration Center said "The ancient graves were located on part of a field to be used for trap shooting," he said. "Cultural authorities have already removed the big tombs and they have finished their excavation of the site." The tombs, near Beijing's western Fragrant Hills, date from the late Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644). "The best preserved tombs have been moved and will be put on public display," Beijing cultural relics bureau spokeswoman Fan Jun said. Eunuchs were high-ranking officials who were castrated at a young age and trained to serve the court. Many wielded a strong influence over the emperor and the court.
Crazed son kills princess
A princess from the royal family of central Pahang State was stabbed to death and her husband seriously injured after their youngest son attacked them in an apparent drug-fueled frenzy, media reports said yesterday. Tengku Kamariah Sultan Abu Bakar, 64, died from stab wounds sustained while she was trying to protect her husband Tunku Ismail Tunku Sulaiman from their son, Tunku Shahzan. The son also died several hours after the attack. The suspect, believed to have been under the influence of designer drugs at the time of the attack, appeared to be acting wildly and was behaving incoherently just before the incident, Tengku Ahmad Faisal, a relative, told the Star daily.
Papuan rioters jailed
A court has jailed 11 people for taking part in violent protests against a US-run mine in Papua province which left six people dead. Hundreds of protesters clashed with security officers near Papua's capital Jayapura over the mine run by US giant Freeport-McMoran in March. "One was sentenced to six years in jail while 10 others were given five years in prison each," said judge Morris Ginting. He said the defendants were accused of jointly using violence to resist the orders of officials on duty.
Upset husband turns bomber
A man killed himself and three others in a suicide bombing sparked by marital problems, local media said yesterday. The man, surnamed Feng, broke into a restaurant on Saturday in Jixi City in Heilongjiang Province and shouted loudly before setting off the explosives, the Beijing News said. "He was the husband of a waitress at the restaurant and had had an urge to retaliate because of marital problems," the newspaper said. Four people, including Feng, died on the spot. The blast flattened the restaurant, the paper said, adding another four people were seriously wounded. It did not say if Feng's wife was among those killed or wounded.
Top campus bans tourists
Peking University has banned tourists after complaints from students and teachers about the disruption to academic life from masses of tour groups, state press reported yesterday. Peking University is the nation's oldest and most prestigious education institution, and many travel agencies around the country have been organizing tours of the campus, the China Daily reported. The tourists have led to unseemly crowds at the entrance to the university, while vendors hoping to cash in on the extra people have taken to roaming the campus selling T-shirts and other souvenirs, according to the paper. Only individual visitors and groups of high school students who receive permission from the university three days in advance will now be allowed on to the campus, the paper said.
Pimp clubbed to death
A Thai worker was so upset that a pimp refused to let him have sex with a prostitute that he allegedly clubbed his fellow Thai national to death with a hammer, news reports said yesterday. Prosecutors claimed that 41-year-old Singngoi Somsak killed Jongtakhu Choochai last October and fled during the first day of the murder trial, the Straits Times said. The seven-day trial was scheduled to resume yesterday. Singngoi was arrested the following day when he arranged to get his passport from his employer.
■ United Kingdom
Pensioner mimics Dundee
With Australian outback hero Crocodile Dundee as her inspiration, an 80-year-old pensioner foiled a knife-wielding burglar with an even bigger blade of her own. When woken by a masked man holding a knife, Winifred Whelan screamed and ran downstairs to the kitchen. Grabbing a giant carving knife, she told the startled intruder "You call that a knife? This is a knife" in an echo of the famous scene in the Crocodile Dundee film when actor Paul Hogan confronted a New York mugger. As she took on the intruder, her husband grappled with his accomplice.
Nazi files released
The government will sign an agreement today to open to researchers an archive of millions of Nazi files that describe how the Holocaust was carried out, the Foreign Ministry said. The accord was reached in April by the 11-nation governing body of the International Tracing Service, the arm of the International Committee of the Red Cross that oversees the archive in the town of Bad Arolsen. Deputy Foreign Minister Guenter Gloser will formally sign the protocol in the presence of representatives of the other 10 nations at a ceremony in Berlin, the ministry said on Monday.
Nuns take after thief
Two Dutch nuns, wearing habits and riding bikes, chased a suspected thief through Amsterdam, police said on Monday. On Saturday evening, one of the sisters believed she recognized a man walking past their chapel in southern Amsterdam as a thief who snatched hundreds of dollars in cash from the building two weeks earlier, Amsterdam police spokesman Rob van der Veen said. She invited him inside for a drink and asked a fellow nun to alert police. The man, apparently suspecting what was happening, fled the building and snatched a bicycle from a passer-by. "The nuns then grabbed their bikes and gave chase," Van der Veen said.
■ United Kingdom
Monopoly gets an update
Property board game Monopoly is swapping its iconic bank notes for debit cards and replacing the dog and iron playing counters with a burger and a mobile phone in a bid to catch up with the times. A spokeswoman said on Monday the changes have been rolled out in a new British version of the game, which also includes an increase in property prices and a change in the London addresses printed around the board. The revamped model will be sold alongside the traditional "cash" version. "If Monopoly was invented today it would look totally different so we have updated all of the property prices and locations," said a marketing representative.
Artists joke with free speech
Two Danish artists arrived in Ankara on Monday armed with provocative stickers protesting limits on freedom of speech in Turkey -- the latest step in the pair's international campaign to use ironic and humorous messages to spark debate. Pia Bertelsen and Jan Egesborg were focusing on restrictions against freedom of speech and particularly on attempts to shut a Kurdish-language satellite television station that broadcasts from Denmark. The Turkish government has said repeatedly that Denmark-based Roj TV supports Kurdish guerrillas and should be closed. "We know you love Kurdish television," read one of the sarcastic stickers.
Rivals exchange letters
The two presidential rivals -- locked in a standoff over who won the July 2 election -- switched from trading insults to sending each other letters. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador fired off the first letter to conservative Felipe Calderon on Monday, urging him to support a complete recount of the 41 million ballots cast. Electoral officials say Calderon, of the ruling National Action Party, led by less than 0.6 percent of the ballots. Lopez Obrador promised that he would end a wave of protests and accept the results if there is a full recount. Calderon said that it was up to the Federal Electoral Tribunal and not him to decide if there should be a recount.
■ United States
Spam fighters losing battle
The effort to curb the flood of unwanted e-mail or "spam" has lost momentum, a survey showed on Monday, leaving the US at the top of the heap for the Internet scourge. A quarterly survey by the Internet security firm Sophos found the country leading the world as the source of 23.2 percent of all spam e-mails delivered globally. Most of the spam delivered around the world is relayed though "zombie" PCs infected by viruses that automatically spread the unwanted e-mail, often without the knowledge of the PC owners. Sophos said "vast zombie networks" are often controlled by Russian spammers.
Decapitated body found
Police found a decapitated body wrapped in a blanket and a human head stuffed in a plastic bag outside Monterrey, in the latest in a series of beheadings apparently linked to drug traffickers. The body was identified on Monday as 17-year-old Julio de Leon of Nuevo Laredo. There were also two notes addressed to reputed drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman of the Sinaloa cartel, police said. One note read: "These are the ones who are killing in Laredo and also in Guadalajara under the orders of Efrain, El Beto y El Pipo. They are El Chapo's people." The second note accused the government of protecting Guzman and said the killings would stop if police arrested Arturo Beltran and Edgar Diaz Villarreal, suspected cartel gangsters.
■ United States
Teen rescued from hot tub
A 14-year-old boy in Orlando, Florida, survived after being sucked to the bottom of a hotel hot tub, as his father breathed into his mouth for several minutes until he could be pulled out of the water. Aljuwon Pipkin, who was visiting from New Jersey, was spent a week in a local hospital after the July 13 incident. Officials said a grate at the bottom of the tub became dislodged, creating a strong suction that pulled the teen underwater. The Osceola County Sheriff's Office says he could have been immersed anywhere from five minutes to 15 minutes. "I get chills now even speaking about it," father Sharif Pipkin told WKMG-TV in Orlando last Thursday.
■ United States
Fish seizure outrages owner
Armed game wardens seized 10 exotic fish from the tank of a popular Chinese restaurant in Freeport, Maine, leaving its owner shaken and outraged. "They treated me like a criminal," said Cuong Ly, who escaped from Vietnam 25 years ago. Ly, 45, said his pet koi were like family members and their confiscation made him "want to explode inside." Two uniformed wardens and a biologist, accompanied by police, raided the China Rose last Wednesday. Maine outlawed the importation and possession of koi a few years ago. Ly was charged with importing freshwater fish without a permit.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting