Stomach cancer takes toll
About half the people who die every year from stomach cancer are Chinese and the main culprit is a fondness for pickled and smoked food and cigarettes, the Xinhua news agency said. The disease kills about 300,000 people across the country a year and there are 400,000 new cases reported annually, Xinhua said in a report late on Tuesday. Only lung and liver cancer kill more people the report said. Though men aged over 50 are most at risk, the number of women in rural areas who have contracted stomach cancer has risen 25 percent in the past five years, a doctor at Peking University said.
Bio-fuel boosts grain prices
Grain prices are soaring due to increasing amounts of corn and other crops being used for bio-fuel instead of food, the China Daily reported yesterday. Prices for corn, soy and wheat are nearing record highs as investors seek to cash in on the nation's demand for grain products, the paper said. "We predict that agricultural products will be as hot as petroleum in the future," the paper quoted a dealer from the Dalian Commodity Exchange as saying. In Shenyang the price of corn rose 3.7 percent over the past week to 1,400 yuan (US$178) a tonne, the paper said.
Yunnan eyes railways
Yunnan Province will invest more than 50 billion yuan (US$6.39 billion) in railways by 2010 as part of a scheme to link the country with Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar, Xinhua said yesterday. "The massive investment will power several railway construction projects both inside the province and linking Yunnan to neighboring regions," Xinhua quoted the minister of railways as saying.
Navy to shoot fishing boats
The Navy will be allowed to shoot at illegal fishing boats under tough new measures to deter poachers, Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said yesterday. Nelson said he approved the new rules of engagement because poachers were taking more risks to avoid arrest by the Navy, which has several patrol boats, a frigate and air force support hunting for illegal fishing boats. The vast majority of illegal vessels come from neighboring Indonesia. "Our patrol boats will be allowed to fire directly to disable a vessel which is ignoring orders and which is seeking escape apprehension, and which is indeed threatening our Navy and our people," Nelson told parliament.
Guardless prison planned
The country's first privately managed prison, due to open next year, will use wireless tags in place of guards and inmates will be put to work learning about computers instead of making furniture. The prison is part of efforts to cut costs as the number of inmates rises. The government will give the venture around US$448 million over 20 years to pay for facilities and services. To make it easier for inmates to find jobs after life behind bars, the prison will offer computer work instead of tasks such as making wooden tables and chairs.
Town fines sexy women
A town has threatened to fine non-Muslim women for wearing "sexy" clothes, infuriating some women's organizations. Authorities in northeast Kota Baru, which calls itself an Islamic city, will slap fines of up to 500 ringgit (US$140) on women who expose navels, wear body-hugging outfits, mini-skirts or see-through blouses, the Star newspaper said on Tuesday. "Such outfits are prohibited here as it smears the reputation of Kota Baru and affects its status as an Islamic city," the Star quoted municipal council spokesman Azman Daham as saying.
China uranium deal closed
Uranium sales to China will start from next year after a parliamentary committee approved an export deal yesterday with a call for tighter international safeguards. The country holds 40 percent of the world's recoverable uranium. Lawmakers on the parliamentary treaty committee, who needed to approve the deal, concluded it was in Australia's national interest. China is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. With its huge population and buoyant economy, China has a huge appetite for energy. It is banking on nuclear power to meet its needs and cut greenhouse emissions from fossil fuels.
Man-eating croc killed
Villagers discovered two human hands, a leg and a T-shirt inside a 500kg crocodile they trapped and killed, a media report said yesterday. The 5m long reptile, suspected of eating a 59-year-old fisherman last seen a week ago near a river in East Nusa Tenggara province, was hacked open by residents after it got caught on Monday in a nylon snare, the Jakarta Post wrote. It was unclear how many people the crocodile had eaten, but the paper said at least three have disappeared in recent months, all while fishing at the mouth of the Dusan II River. The crocodile -- and at least two others believed to be still at large -- are also suspected of devouring dozens of cattle, pigs, goats and poultry.
■ United Kingdom
Pricey dress auctioned off
Never has a little black dress gained a more iconic status than the one worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. And yesterday it sold at auction for £467,200 (US$920,700) -- more than six times the estimate -- at Christie's. The sleeveless dress, with a tiny 61cm waist, slit to the thigh and slightly gathered at the waist, is now thought to be the world's most expensive dress made for a film. Designed by Hubert de Givenchy, the black Italian satin column-like gown was designed for the 1961 film.
Don't leave home without it
A small plane crashed onto a busy autobahn last month, injuring seven people, after the pilot forgot his credit card and did not have enough cash to buy fuel, investigators said on Tuesday. The 46-year-old noticed the missing credit card only when he was buying gasoline in Berlin before the ill-fated flight to the western city of Essen, the Federal Aviation Office said. "He gathered up what cash he had, but it clearly wasn't enough," aviation office investigator Klaus Buettner said. Buettner said the pilot, whose name was not released, faced at least a fine for his negligence.
Stolen painting returned
Officials on Tuesday returned a painting, illegally taken by the Nazis and which once belonged to Adolf Hitler's right-hand man, to the heir of a Jewish art dealer. The state of Lower Saxony returned Portrait of a Bearded Man, by 18th century Venetian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, to Charlene von Saher, granddaughter of Jacques Goudstikker in the western town of Braunschweig. Goudstikker, the Netherlands' biggest art dealer before World War II, fled the country at the start of the war, losing an estimated 1,300 artworks. He died after falling through a trap door on a ship heading to South America.
Cezanne's studio recreated
The studio of French artist Paul Cezanne will be recreated in Japan in 2008 while his original workshop in France is being renovated. Cezanne painted some of his most famous works, including the Large Bathers, in the simple stone building on a hill in the small town of Aix-en-Provence in southern France. Born in 1839, Cezanne built his workshop in 1902 and worked there before he died in 1906. The hat, palette and other personal objects of the post-Impressionist will be sent to Japan to go on display in the studio, the head of the Cezanne project at the Granet museum in Aix said on Tuesday.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has described the Holocaust as a "myth," but the country nevertheless announced on Tuesday that it will hold a conference to discuss the evidence of the World War II genocide. Deputy Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mohammadi said that the two day conference, scheduled for Dec. 10 and 11, will be attended by 67 foreign researchers from 30 countries, Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency reported. The gathering, sponsored by the Foreign Ministry's Institute for Political and International Studies, was initiated by Ahmadinejad, who has said that the killing of millions of Jews by the Nazi regime during World War II was a "myth" and "exaggerated."
Pinochet turns corner
General Augusto Pinochet's condition is no longer life threatening but doctors on Tuesday dismissed claims that the former dictator's heart attack was exaggerated to allow him to avoid prosecution for abuses during his 1973-1990 regime. A priest administered last rites to the 91-year-old Pinochet on Sunday after he suffered an acute heart attack and surgeons performed emergency angioplasty to enlarge an artery and restore the flow of blood to his heart. On Tuesday, doctors said Pinochet was out of danger but that he must remain for at least 10 days at the Santiago Military Hospital.
US pilots now free to go
A court said on Tuesday it had released the passports of two US pilots involved in a midair collision over the Amazon that killed 154 people. The two pilots from New York state -- Joseph Lepore, 42, of Bay Shore, and Jan Paladino, 34, Westhampton Beach -- can pick up their passports and leave the country in 72 hours, the Federal Regional Court of the First Region of Brasilia said in a unanimous ruling. The Americans were piloting a Brazilian-made Legacy executive jet when it collided on Sept. 29 with a Gol Airlines Boeing 737-800 over the Amazon. All 154 people on board the Gol flight were killed, while the Legacy landed safely.
■ United States
Dirty judge denied parole
A former judge convicted of exposing himself while presiding over jury trials by using a sexual device under his robes was denied parole. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 5-0 on Tuesday against granting early release to former Judge Donald Thompson, who was sentenced to four consecutive one-year jail terms in August for indecent exposure. Prosecutors claimed Thompson used a device called a penis pump while presiding over trials between 2002 and 2003. Thompson's attorney, Rob Nigh, told the board his client maintained his innocence and deserved to be considered for early release. He said the device was a gag gift from a longtime friend and that Thompson never used it, and that the punishment exceeded the conviction.
■ United States
Flatulence downs plane
An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing after a passenger lit a match to disguise the scent of flatulence, authorities said. The Dallas, Texas, -bound flight was diverted to Nashville, Tennessee, after several passengers reported smelling burning sulfur from the matches, said Lynne Lowrance, spokeswoman for the Nashville International Airport Authority. All 99 passengers and five crew members were taken off and screened while the plane was searched and luggage was screened. The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal a "body odor," Lowrance said.
Lopez Obrador losing ground
Fewer than one in eight people support leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's decision to declare a himself "legitimate president" and set up a shadow government after July 2 elections he claims were fraudulent, according to a poll released on Tuesday. Support for the leftist's quixotic parallel government was somewhat higher in Mexico City, a stronghold for Lopez Obrador's Democratic Revolution Party, according to the poll of 1,200 people by Parametria, a Mexico City-based polling firm.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big