Raptors arrive on Okinawa
Two US F-22 stealth fighter planes arrived yesterday on Okinawa in their first deployment overseas. Two Raptors, the US Air Force's most advanced fighters and said to be the most expensive fighter planes ever built, arrived at US Kadena Air Base, wire agency photographers said. The US Air Force said 10 other F22 Raptors were expected to land today, a week later than originally scheduled. The Air Force first cited "operational reasons" as the cause of the delay of the three-month deployment, then said it was because of software problems. The planes will be on Okinawa for a three to four month deployment.
Nuclear controls boosted
Beijing said it would strengthen controls on the export of nuclear equipment, state press reported yesterday. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) signed a decree banning the use of Chinese nuclear goods and technology to carry out atomic explosions without prior agreement, the reports said. Importers of Chinese goods will also be barred from using them for nuclear proliferation, except under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Xinhua news agency said existing Chinese regulations on the control of exports had not been tough enough to prevent proliferation.
Missing crewman found
A crew member who has been missing since a whaling ship caught fire off Antarctica has been found dead on Wednesday, Kyodo News agency reported yesterday. Kazutaka Makita went missing after fire broke out below deck on the Nisshin Maru. Fisheries officials have said they may have to cut short the season's whale hunt due to the ship's damage. Kyodo said Makita was found dead inside a whale processing plant on board, where the fire is believed to have started. The Nisshin Maru is the mother ship for five other Japanese vessels that hunt whales in annual hunts that Japan says are for research. The fleet planned to hunt up to 945 whales from mid-December to next month.
Motorist busts wardens
Two traffic wardens got a taste of their own medicine when they were captured having breakfast -- with their motorbikes parked illegally nearby -- after "busting" a rush hour motorist. The unidentified motorist used his camera phone to film the pair after being annoyed when he spotted them taking pictures of his car in a bus lane, the Straits Times reported yesterday. He posted the video clip on YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=3v96fSeGWdE), the paper said. In the two-minute video, the man is heard asking the wardens why their own vehicles were illegally parked -- to which one of the wardens replies they were just "doing our job" before brushing him off. Wardens cannot issue fines, but they can submit photographs of errant motorists to police for further action.
H5N1 kills poultry
The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed poultry in the Moscow region for the first time, the chief sanitary expert and head of a consumer watchdog was quoted by RIA news agency as saying on Friday. "The pathogenicity of this virus for people has not been confirmed. Vets have detected it, they confirm it is the H5N1 strain," Gennady Onishchenko said.
■ United States
Remote inventor dies
Hit the mute button for a moment of silence: The co-inventor of the TV remote, Robert Adler, has died. Adler, who won an Emmy Award along with fellow engineer Eugene Polley for the device, died on Thursday of heart failure at a Boise nursing home at 93, Zenith Electronics Corp said on Friday. In his six-decade career with Zenith, Adler was a prolific inventor, earning more than 180 US patents. He was best known for his 1956 Zenith Space Command remote control, which helped make TV a truly sedentary pastime.
■ United Kingdom
Postcard 92 years late
A postcard sent from the trenches during World War I by a private to his wartime sweetheart finally arrived -- 92 years after he had sent it. Private Walter Butler wrote to Amy Hicks in 1915, telling her he was alive and well -- but the army issue postcard never made it to her home in Wiltshire, 100km west of London. Butler survived the war and the couple went on to marry. The postcard turned up in a postal sorting office, which sent it along last week to the post office near Hicks' address. A local postman called the home of the couple's daughter, Joyce Hulbert, to announce the discovery.
■ United States
Urinals warn drinkers
Urinals in New Mexico have a few words to say to drinking men before they zip their pants, leave bar restrooms and head for their cars: Only drive if you're sober. Electronic urinal inserts bought for a pilot program launched this week by the state department of transportation sense when someone is in position and then a female voice delivers a sultry warning not to drive drunk. The message warns about the dangers of crashing or being caught by police and then playfully concludes with "Your future is in your hand." "The woman's voice is flirtatious yet stern," said Tom Trowbridge of the New Mexico Department of Transportation.
■ United Kingdom
Prince Harry off to Iraq?
Prince Harry will be serving in southern Iraq by the end of the month with his army regiment, probably taking part in reconnaissance missions near the Iran border, a newspaper reported on Saturday. A Ministry of Defense spokeswoman said the Daily Mirror report was "entirely speculative" because no final decisions have been made on which units will relieve the 19th Light Brigade currently in Iraq. She added that the next handover is not even due until around May. But a senior military source told the Mirror that the decision has been made to send Harry, a second lieutenant in the Blues and Royals Regiment.
■ United States
Teen can't stop hiccuping
For more than three weeks, despite medical tests and home remedies, a St Petersburg, Florida, teenager has been hiccuping. A lot. In fact, Jennifer Mee is hiccuping close to 50 times a minute, stopping only when she sleeps. The 15-year-old has had blood tests, a CT scan and an MRI. Drugs have not worked. Neither has holding her breath, putting sugar under her tongue, sipping pickle juice, breathing into a paper bag and drinking from the wrong side of a glass. And, yes, people have tried to scare them out of her. The hiccups started on Jan. 23 at school, but it is not clear why.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
BEYOND CULTURE: The US State Department was expected to announce that the Chinese government-funded institutes would have to register as foreign missions US President Donald Trump’s administration is increasing scrutiny of a long-established Chinese-government funded program that is dedicated to teaching Chinese language and culture in the US and other nations, the latest escalation of tensions with Beijing. The US Department of State was expected to announce as soon as yesterday that Confucius Institutes in the US — many of which are based on college campuses — would have to register as “foreign missions,” according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. The designation would amount to a conclusion that the institutes are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by