Insurgents sabotage railway
Rail services were suspended yesterday in southern Thailand after Islamic insurgents sabotaged the tracks, while a Muslim man was killed in an ambush, police said. The rebels removed 65 nuts and bolts from sleepers on the track between Yala and Narathiwat provinces, forcing train services to be suspended, police said. Railways have been under maximum security since rebels launched 10 acts of sabotage on the tracks early last month, forcing the suspension of services for five days. Meanwhile, a 32-year-old Muslim man was shot dead in an ambush early yesterday in Narathiwat Province as he headed to a plantation to tap rubber trees, police said.
■ SOUTH KOREA
Monks arrested in tax scam
Four Buddhist monks have been arrested for their part in an income tax scam involving the sale of fake donation receipts, a report said yesterday. The temple chiefs in Gwangju were detained on Monday, the JoongAng newspaper said. The scheme aimed to help 2,570 workers evade a total of 2.1 billion won (US$2.28 million) in tax between 2005 and last year, the paper said. Donations to charities, schools and religious organizations are tax-deductible. Some monks even distributed pamphlets advertising the fake donation service, prosecutors were quoted as saying. "These temples were businesses selling fake receipts rather than religious organizations," prosecutor Jo Myeong-sun said.
Rhinos' sperm count low
Low sperm counts and other reproductive problems are preventing pregnancy among endangered rhinos, a worrying trend that wildlife experts say could hasten the animals' extinction. Experts meeting in Borneo this week to discuss ways to save the Borneo rhino said a major threat was the animals' own inability to reproduce. "Maybe because they live in fragmented locations deep in the jungles and because of that, they rarely get the opportunity to mate," the New Straits Times yesterday quoted Sabah Wildlife Department deputy chief Laurentius Ambu as saying. But scientists also found that male rhinos suffer from low sperm count.
Teacher gets jail term
A court yesterday gave a suspended prison sentence to a school teacher who posted photographs of child victims of traffic accidents on the Internet. The Tokyo District Court sentenced Toshio Watanabe, 34, to a 30-month prison term, suspended for five years. The crime "trampled on the feelings of bereaved families," presiding judge Osamu Iguchi said. The teacher maintained a Web site with photos of children who were naked or in swimsuits. It also carried pictures of children killed in traffic accidents, wars and natural disasters.
Dinosaur bones boiled
Villagers in Henan Province dug up a tonne of dinosaur bones and boiled them in soup or ground them into powder for traditional medicine, believing they were from flying dragons and had healing powers. Until last year, the fossils were being sold as "dragon bones" at about 4 yuan (US$0.50) per kilogram, scientist Dong Zhiming said on Wednesday. Dong, a professor with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said when the villagers found out the bones were from dinosaurs they donated 200kg for research.
Cyclist takes unusual ride
Police officers in the city of Alkmaar were surprised to see a car passing by with a man sitting on a bicycle on its roof. The driver and his wife, when stopped by the police, said they heard a noise while waiting at a traffic light, but did not realize they were taking on an extra passenger. The 26 year-old man who took the free ride was fined for public drunkenness, not carrying an identity card and providing a false identity to the police.