Toilet trauma ends
Dozens of bananas failed to do the trick, but a thief has finally produced a gold necklace he had snatched and then swallowed after police fed him a hearty meal of chicken, rice and local bread. Sheikh Mohsin, 35, grabbed the 45,000 rupee (US$1,115) necklace from a woman in Calcutta on Friday and popped it into his mouth when cornered by police. Officers then fed him 40 bananas over a few hours believing they would act as a purgative. Mohsin passed an uncomfortable night in jail, but not the piece of jewelry. Police then gave him more substantial fare on Sunday. Mohsin is looking at three years in jail if convicted, police said.
■ SOUTH KOREA
Pet shop sparks incident
A pet shop owner has sparked a minor diplomatic incident with a signboard depicting a dog's head in place of Mao Zedong's (毛澤東) on Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, officials said yesterday. The shop at Yongin, 45km south of Seoul, has changed its sign after complaints from Chinese citizens and the foreign ministry in Beijing, a local official said. Chosun Ilbo newspaper quoted the shop owner as saying he had no intention of insulting China but simply thought the signboard would look cute.
Hello Kitty to discipline cops
Sloppy Bangkok policemen are being ordered to wear bright pink "Hello Kitty" armbands in a uniquely Thai twist to zero tolerance anti-crime initiatives used in New York. Crime Suppression Division officers caught dropping litter, parking illegally or reporting late for work will get several days wearing the armbands. "This is to help build discipline. We should not let small offenses go unnoticed," police Colonel Pongpat Chayapan said yesterday. Pongpat said the idea was based on the "broken windows" policing theory used in New York in the 1980s and 1990s. The theory argues that getting tough on petty crime leads to a decline in serious offenses.
Panda attacks zookeeper
A zookeeper needed more than 100 stitches after a three-year-old panda viciously bit and scratched him during feeding time at a zoo in Lanzhou, Gansu Province, the Lanzhu Morning Post reported yesterday. The zookeeper, surnamed Zhang, was hospitalized after the attack on Saturday, but his life was not in danger, it reported. Zhang was feeding the panda from outside the enclosure, sticking his arms through the wire, when the panda, Lan Zai, grabbed his arms and began biting them and then scratched his legs, the newspaper said.
■ SOLOMON ISLANDS
Political tension rose yesterday after the arrest of a senior opposition legislator ahead of an expected no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare's government. The legislator was charged with conspiracy to an unlawful purpose when he appeared in court in Honiara yesterday. The press was instructed not to name him following a defense counsel request to suppress his identity. A businessman and a political supporter appeared in court with the legislator on a similar charge, which Magistrate Chris Vass said was too vague. The case follows allegations by Sogavare that a minister was paid a 50,000 Solomon Island dollars (US$6,650) bribe to defect to the opposition. However, the opposition claimed the money was given in good faith after the minister requested help for his son's education.
Armed gang robs museum