■ NORTH KOREA
Summit may be postponed
North Korea has asked for its landmark summit with South Korea, originally scheduled for later this month, to be postponed until early October, the South Korean presidency said yesterday. "North Korea asked for the summit to be put off until early October," an official said. The request came as the North struggles to recover from devastating floods that have left almost 300 people dead or missing. The summit had been scheduled for Aug. 28 to 30 in the North Korean capital Pyongyang.
Insurgents killed in ambush
Nearly a dozen insurgents were killed after an ambush on a joint patrol of Afghan police and coalition troops in Afghanistan's restive southern Helmand Province, the US-led force said. There were no losses among the police or coalition soldiers, it added in a statement late on Friday. US military spokeswoman Captain Vanessa Bowman said it was the third such failed attack in that area in recent days. The statement said around 20 insurgents attacked the patrol with mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. Police and troops responded with small arms and artillery fire.
Plant damage limited
Key parts of a Japanese nuclear facility appeared to have sustained little damage from a recent earthquake but further observation is needed to establish long-term effects, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Friday. The magnitude-6.8 quake on July 16, which killed 11 people and injured more than 1,000, caused malfunctions and leaks at Japan's northern Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, the world's largest in terms of capacity. Philippe Jamet, the IAEA team leader for the mission, said that because of repairs and follow-up inspections it would take "probably a year" to get the complex running again.
Mattel toys seized
Italian custom agents announced on Friday they had confiscated nearly 75,000 Chinese-made Mattel toys in response to the US company's recall of 18 million products worldwide out of concerns for child safety. The toys were seized at the main Mattel depot in Italy in the Novara Province in the northwest, as well as from containers at the Port of Genoa that had arrived from China. Officials were to test the toys to determine whether they met European standards. Mattel collaborated with the customs agents, they said. The California-based manufacturer of the famous Barbie doll announced the recall on Tuesday amid concerns about high lead levels and small magnets which have seriously injured at least three children.
Drug figures released
Myanmar, the world's second-largest opium producer after Afghanistan, arrested 320 suspected drug dealers and seized some 30kg of opium last month, state media said yesterday. Among those arrested in the military-ruled nation, some 18 percent were women, the official New Light of Myanmar daily said, citing police figures. The junta seized some 16kg of marijuana and 26,200 stimulant tablets last month, the paper said. It gave no comparative data. China, one of the few countries believed to hold any influence with Myanmar's ruling generals, has publicly pressured the junta to do more to crack down on the drugs problem.
Fire interrupts teen sex
A teenage couple having sex for the first time were interrupted when candles set fire to the girl's attic bedroom and forced them to flee naked from her parents' house, German daily Bild reported on Friday. The girl had wanted to create a romantic atmosphere for the occasion. But when the room suddenly became engulfed with flames, they had to make a hasty escape. The couple, both 18, were pictured naked in the paper among the burned wreckage of the attic. A charred teddy had survived but the fire wrecked the entire top floor of the house causing around 100,000 euros (US$134,800) in damage.