TV fortunetelling banned
Authorities have banned televised fortunetelling schemes, saying they promote superstition and overcharge customers. The order, issued on Monday by the Ministry of Information Industry, bans the advertising programs that generally run late at night or on weekday afternoons, urging people to text message or call a special pay-per-call phone number to have their fortune told. The programs claim to be able to determine a person's fortune based on family name, or reveal marriage prospects as well as career and health futures. Other programs urge viewers to send a text to a special number for a chance to win cash or prizes such as MP3 players or digital cameras.
Elephant reserves dropped
Authorities have dropped plans to set up two new elephant reserves, enraging conservationists who say the decision threatens wildlife and is aimed at helping mining firms operate in the area. Last year, the government approved two new reserves in the mineral-rich areas of Orissa State aimed at strengthening the conservation of elephants and other wildlife such as tigers, leopards, deer and hundreds of species of rare reptiles. But conservationists claim the plans have been dropped to ease the way for big steel investors like Vedanta Resources Plc, JSW Steel and Arcelor Mittal to mine for iron ore, manganese and bauxite.
Poachers kill two rhinos
Poachers shot dead two endangered one-horned rhinos fleeing a flooded wildlife sanctuary, taking the number killed this year into double figures, officials said yesterday. The poachers took away the animal's horns after using silenced light automatic rifles to kill them near the Kaziranga National Park in the state of Assam. "The two rhinos killed were among hundreds of animals that have fled the sanctuary to take shelter in highlands and some strayed away to nearby human settlement areas making them vulnerable to poachers," park warden S.N. Buragohain said. "We are trying our best to check poaching and have killed three poachers and arrested six others so far this year," the warden said.
Five teenagers arrested
Five teenagers were arrested on Monday on suspicion of attempting to burn a homeless man to death, describing him as "garbage" making no contribution to society. Police arrested five boys, including three high school students, suspecting they set fire to the 52-year-old man when he was lying on a bench at a Tokyo park in May, a police spokesman said. The homeless man jumped into a fountain to douse the flames on his body. "The victim was severely wounded with most of his body suffering burns and is still in a hospital," the spokesman said.
Police raid casino
Police arrested 28 people over the weekend for illegal gambling in a casino near the Chinese border that was set up only for foreigners, state media said on Monday. The gamblers were detained early on Saturday in the Hoang Gia (Royal) Casino in Ha Long City, 200km northeast of the capital Hanoi, the Nhan Dan newspaper said. Police confiscated nearly US$200,000 in cash, two cars, 26 mobile phones and three computers, the paper said. City police and casino officials could not be reached for comment. In May, police launched raids on casinos and gambling spots in three major hotels in Ho Chi Minh City, temporarily arresting at least 100 people.