Devout cuts off right hand
A 23-year-old man cut off his right hand after morning prayers and offered it to Kali, the Hindu goddess of power, the Annapurna Post local daily said yesterday. Rajesh Tajpuria, who runs a drug store in the southeastern town of Rangeli, is undergoing treatment at a hospital, it said. More than 80 percent of the country's 26 million people are Hindus who frequently sacrifice animals such as goats, buffaloes and roosters in temples.
`Potter' magically appears
The final Harry Potter book is still being translated into Chinese for the China market, but eager fans have posted their own translations online, a move that could lead to counterfeit books in a country where piracy is rampant. The authorized publisher of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yesterday denounced the freelance translators and urged them to delete the translations. Users of the Potter fan Web site called the "International Wizards' Alliance" in Chinese have posted translations of several chapters of the new Potter book. Some chapters were restricted to registered users, but a reporter could access at least two chapters yesterday without signing in.
Tigress kills zookeeper
A tigress in a small city zoo killed a zookeeper who forgot to remove her from her cage before cleaning it, Xinhua news agency said. Police shot the tigress after discovering the zoo's only tranquillizer gun was also inside the cage. Zhang, a keeper in his 60s, drove a tiger into an inner cage before entering the outer cage at the zoo in a park in Xinyi, in Jiangsu Province, colleagues told Xinhua. But he forgot about the tigress who shared the outer cage. Police evacuated tourists and park workers after Zhang was mauled on Monday.
Bomb blasts in south
Seven coordinated bomb blasts rocked the Muslim-majority south yesterday, killing one and wounding at least 12, police said. The blasts all happened at 7:45am yesterday at locations around Narathiwat, one of three provinces along the southern border with Malaysia hit by deadly separatist unrest. A 49-year-old Buddhist woman was killed and 10 others injured when a bomb hidden in a motorcycle exploded in a busy market, police said. A roadside bomb injured two marines who were part of a security detail protecting a convoy of schoolteachers. Two bombs exploded at Kasikornbank branches while three bombs went off at other spots around Narathiwat town.
Sydney ready for terror
Dozens of loudspeakers have been installed in Sydney to tell residents what to do in a terrorist attack, an official said yesterday. Approximately 40 speakers should be operational in time for next month's meeting of 21 world leaders at the APEC summit, New South Wales state Police Minister David Campbell said. "If there were a terrorist event or a major building fire and there were people in the streets, this is a way of giving them information," Campbell told ABC. A wailing siren would attract residents' attention, followed by a police announcement directing people to evacuation points plotted around the downtown area.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Early election discussed
Officials in the governing Labour Party have been put on alert to expect an early election, the Times reported yesterday, quoting a senior party official. The daily quoted Martin Salter, Labour vice-chairman, as saying: "I can confirm that the party has been put on alert for an early election that could take place as soon as this autumn." Salter later said there was not an official timetable in place. But he added: "We have been put on an election footing and preparations are under way so that we are ready for an election whenever the prime minister chooses to call it." But a senior Downing Street official, speaking on condition of anonymity, however, denied that the reason Labour was drumming up funds was because Brown wanted to call an early election.