A Chinese communications and broadcast satellite has failed less than a month into orbit due to the inability to deploy its solar panels and communications antennae, Sino Satellite Communi-cations said yesterday on the company Web site. The satellite, launched on Oct. 29 from Sichuan Province, was designed to serve live TV signals and digital broadband multimedia systems in China, Macau and Taiwan. Sinosat said the satellite was still in orbit and otherwise functioning normally.
Who to mend relations with?
China topped a list of countries with which the Japanese public most want to improve relations, a poll released yesterday showed. The US was second, followed by South Korea, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said. China has replaced the US as Japan's top trade partner, as Beijing has emerged as a global economic powerhouse. After South Korea, Europe -- excluding the UK -- was followed by India, the poll said. Russia and the UK were named as the sixth and seventh nations with which the Japanese believe Tokyo should put most effort into improving relations, the Nihon Keizai said.
Tropical storm approaches
Tropical Storm Durian entered Philippine territory yesterday with weather forecasters warning it could develop into a "super typhoon" before it makes landfall. As of 10am, the eye of the storm was 870km east of Samar island, packing maximum winds of 95kph and gusts of up to 120kph, the Philippine weather bureau said. The storm -- named after the pungent fruit native to Southeast Asia -- was moving in a northwest direction and expected to reach metropolitan Manila by Friday morning. "This could become a typhoon or super typhoon before it makes landfall," forecaster Nathaniel Cruz said.
■ North Korea
Pyongyang ready for talks
Pyongyang is prepared to return to six-country talks on its nuclear weapons program at any time now that it has "gained a defensive position" with a nuclear test, a senior envoy of the communist state said yesterday. But Kim Kye-gwan told reporters on arrival for talks in Beijing that Pyongyang still had differences to narrow with the US, which has squeezed its external sources of financing for more than a year. "After the nuclear test, we have gained a defensive position against those who are trying to suppress us. Now we are in a very confident position and so we are ready to come back to the talks any time," Kim told reporters.
■ South Africa
Court fines `pregnant' man
A man on Monday was fined by a local court for playing hooky from work and trying to cover it with a fake gynecologist's certificate attesting he was pregnant and needed a week off. A magistrate's court in Vereeniging, near Johannesburg, fined 27-year-old Charles Sibindana 1,000 rand (US$140), the SAPA news agency reported. Sibindana stole a medical certificate from a health center used by his pregnant girlfriend but was apparently unaware that only women consulted gynecologists.
Age perceptions shifting
Cosmetic surgery is altering not just how people look but how they feel by changing perceptions of middle age, a study showed on Monday. Global research group AC Nielsen surveyed people in 42 countries and found 60 percent of US citizens, the world's biggest consumers of cosmetic surgery and anti-aging skin care, believe their sixties are the new middle age. On a global scale, three out of five consumers believed forties was the new thirties. "Our forties are being celebrated as the decade where we can be comfortable and confident in both personal and financial terms. The majority of global consumers really believe life starts at forty," AC Nielsen Europe President and CEO Frank Martell said.