Condom testing popular
Some 1,000 amorous people have applied for 500 positions to volunteer to test condoms for customer satisfaction, a firm said on Wednesday, as part of a campaign promoting safe sex. "We are surprised to see huge interest in our campaign with almost 1,000 applicants wanting to take part," said an official at a Thai marketing firm for condom-maker Durex. The campaign was part of Durex's efforts to promote safe sex as well as giving people "an outstanding opportunity to enjoy their favorite pastime," Durex said in a statement.
Moscow claims seabed
Samples taken by a submarine when it planted a flag beneath the North Pole show that the sea floor there is a continuation of the federal republic's land mass, an official said on Wednesday. The underwater Lomonosov Shelf was shown to be a "structural extension of the Siberian continental platform," said Viktor Poselov, deputy director of the country's institute of maritime geological research, ITAR-TASS news agency reported. The finding was the first to come from study of "geological materials" collected by the submarine on Aug. 2, Poselov said. It will take a year to secure final results, he said.
Three murderers hanged
Tokyo hanged three murderers yesterday, the Justice Ministry and media said, bringing to 10 the number of executions carried out since Shinzo Abe became prime minister last September. Another 103 convicts remain on death row following the executions of three convicts in their 60s, Kyodo news agency said. The ministry did not identify those executed but media gave their names and said each had been convicted of multiple murders in the 1990s, mostly in connection with robberies. Tokyo carries out several executions a year, usually when parliament is in recess or as the country winds down in December for New Year holidays.
Freiberga plans auction
Former president Vaira Vike-Freiberga is considering using eBay to auction off the wardrobe she wore in office in an attempt to recoup money she spent to look attractive and presidential. Freiberga told public radio in an interview this week that most of her salary during her years in office went on garments fit for a president in all situations. "I literally spent all my salary to take care of myself ... to be able at any time to stand next to the Japanese Emperor, the British Queen, [the Netherland's] Queen Beatrix, any other lady," she said.
A crematorium has been torched after its secret location was revealed by a newspaper of ultra-Orthodox Jews who fiercely oppose cremation, police said. The crematorium in Hibat Tzion, a town north of Tel Aviv, has functioned for two years attracting vigorous criticism from the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, which knew of its existence but not its exact location. Ultra-Orthodox Jews oppose cremation on religious grounds. The facility burned down on Wednesday after its location was revealed in an ultra-Orthodox newspaper. Police said they suspect arson.
■ UNITED STATES
Aid workers to be screened
The government plans to screen employees of aid organizations that receive funds from the Agency for International Development looking for possible links to terror organizations, the Washington Post reported yesterday. Outlined in a recent Federal Register notice, the program demands for the first time that nongovernmental organizations file detailed information on key personnel who apply for or manage funds distributed by the federal aid agency, the Post said. The Federal Register notice said the program could involve 2,000 people and "will become effective on August 27," the last day that public comments about it are to be submitted.