YouTube priest put on leave
A Roman Catholic priest who unleashed a torrent of expletives and racist abuse against skateboarders outside his Melbourne cathedral, only to have the outburst filmed and placed on YouTube, has been put on leave. The Reverend Monsignor Geoff Baron, the dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, was videotaped swearing at and abusing a group of teenagers using the cathedral grounds as a skate park. "Move, you fucking fool," Baron tells one skater in the video, slapping one of the group across the head and prompting a torrent of abuse in reply. Pointing to a skater lying on the ground, Baron is heard telling the youth "Little foreigner there, look at the sleepy eyes, black hair."
Dog farmer sentenced
A dog farmer in Shanghai has been jailed for 14 years for breaking into a local dog breeder's home, tying her up and stealing 24 puppies, state media said yesterday. Ge Wei (葛偉), 32, owner of a farm outside Shanghai, was also deprived of his political rights for four years and fined 20,000 yuan (US$2,600) at a Shanghai court on Wednesday. The court was told that Ge set up his dog farm in a Shanghai suburb in 2005. "On Jan. 21 this year, Ge read an online posting regarding the sale of puppies. After having contacted the owner of the pups, identified as Ms Wang, Ge went to her home to inspect them, concluding that each dog could fetch more than 10,000 yuan each on the market," Xinhua said.
Slave labor case decided
Courts in Shanxi Province have sentenced 31 people, including a police officer, to prison terms of up to five years stemming from the use of slave labor in brick kilns, state media reported yesterday. The scandal erupted in June after news media reported that children as young as eight were abducted or recruited from bus and train stations with false promises of well paying jobs and sold to kilns for about 500 yuan (US$65). Victims were forced to work almost around the clock, beaten, and deprived of pay, nourishment and basic medical care.
■ EAST TIMOR
Aussie troops may remain
Australia said yesterday it could keep its troops in the country until the end of next year if the new Timorese government, which has yet to be formed, still wants to keep them. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer also brushed aside concerns after officials announced on Wednesday that it was delaying the composition of a new government. Speaking at Asia's annual security summit, Downer said Australia could keep its 1,000 troops in the tiny nation until the end of next year.
■ NEW ZEALAND
Lamb born with seven legs
A six-day-old lamb at a veterinary clinic on the South Island bleats like any other newborn sheep, but is rather different in other ways. The lamb has seven legs, local media reported yesterday. Two of the extra legs hang useless behind the lamb's forelegs. The animal has three hind legs, one of them with two hoofs. It walks using its two forelegs and three hind legs, the Ashburton Guardian newspaper said. The lamb was born last Friday on the farm of Dave and Di Callaghan. Dave Callaghan said he was surprised to find the seven-legged creature, born with a twin, walking round in the paddock with its mother and normal twin sibling. "I have never seen anything like that," he said.
Getty to return statue
The Getty museum of Los Angeles, California, has agreed to return a prized statue, The Aphrodite, to Italy following years of dispute over allegedly looted antiquities, the culture ministry announced on Wednesday. Under a bilateral agreement, the Getty will "transfer to Italy 40 objects, including The Aphrodite, formally called the Cult Statue of a Goddess, in 2010, the ministry said in a joint communique with the US museum. The rare fifth-century BC statue made of marble and limestone was at the center of the dispute. The authorities claimed it had been illegally exported.