Prankster likes firemen
A man arrested for making 388 prank phone calls to his local fire station between May last year and last month said he did it because he was lonely. "I live by myself and I was sad. I like the fire services and the police so I called them. I wanted them to come and look after me," the 58-year-old man was quoted as saying by the daily Yomiuri Shimbun. A police spokesman in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, said the man had been arrested on suspicion of obstructing the emergency services. The Yomiuri said the man would phone the fire station shouting: "Fire! Fire! I've set gasoline and kerosene alight!"
Pot plants keep popping up
A prison is scrambling to eradicate marijuana plants that keep sprouting up on its exercise ground, officials said on Tuesday. The marijuana plants started sprouting at Abashiri Prison on Hokkaido island about a year ago, prison official Takeshi Okamura said. He said officials plucked out as many as 300 marijuana plants and treated the ground last year, but several more sprouted again this year. Prisoners reported them to the guards. Officials believe the plants are wild. "Apparently, somebody knew how to tell marijuana from other plants," Okamura said. Local botanical experts concluded the marijuana seeds were inadvertently brought in with the soil used for the exercise ground, Okamura said.
Manager goes postal
A bad-tempered French manager of a factory in China overshot the mark at a meeting when he pulled out a pistol and shot the ceiling, state media said yesterday. The manager, referred to only as Pierre by the China Daily, became enraged over a woman colleague's refusal to approve an overtime payment for an assistant, the newspaper said. It said he "fired at the ceiling in rage" at the factory in the booming southern Pearl River Delta. "Several employees said the French manager was overbearing and moody and had a very bad temper," the newspaper said, quoting a reporter for the South Metropolis Daily, who said this was not the first time Pierre had drawn his pistol and fired.
■ UNITED STATES
Carrey makes YouTube plea
Hollywood actor Jim Carrey posted a message on the video-sharing Web site YouTube on Tuesday urging US citizens to join a global campaign for the freedom of Myanmar's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi. "I want to tell you about a hero of mine, her name is Aung San Suu Kyi. She is a champion of human rights and decency in Asia," he said.
Web game too popular
A government-sponsored online game that allows players to battle corrupt officials and their mistresses has been overwhelmed by users, state media reported on Tuesday. The Ningbo Haishu District Discipline Commission in Zhejiang Province launched Incorruptible Warrior to show how to fight corruption, Xinhua news agency said. But demand for the game was too much. "It has been closed so it could be updated," Xinhua quoted an unidentified commission official as saying. "The game requires players to learn government anti-corruption measures and to kill corrupt officials while avoiding attacks by their henchmen and mistresses clad in bikinis," Xinhua said. Xinhua said it was criticized for encouraging "players to kill corrupt officials in violent ways."
Police arrested a 19-year-old homeless German on Tuesday on suspicion of murdering a roommate in a homeless shelter and eating parts of his body. A cleaning woman found the naked, sliced-open corpse of a 49-year-old man on Tuesday morning in the apartment he shared with the German, a Vienna police spokesman said. The victim's skull had been crushed with a bar bell, and his chest and stomach cut open with a large knife, spokesman Gerald Hoebarth said. Hoebarth said some brain tissue was found arranged on a plate -- "whether the suspect ate from that, we don't know yet."