■ NORTH KOREA
Kim snubs Internet proposal
Reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has boasted of being an "Internet expert," reports said yesterday. The communist state keeps itself closed to the outside world to prevent so-called spiritual pollution from subverting its hardline socialist system. Kim told delegates at this week's historic inter-Korean summit his Internet expertise made him reluctant to allow further access to the Web in the communist state, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported. Kim's comment came as he turned down South Korea's proposal that a joint industrial park in North Korea be connected to the Internet. "I am an Internet expert. Many problems would arise if the Internet is connected to other parts of the North," Yonhap quoted Kim as saying.
Hu's handiwork on display
Poker-faced Chinese President Hu Jintao's(胡錦濤) prowess in decorative paper-cutting will soon go on display at an exhibition of the traditional art, local media reported yesterday. Hu is known to the outside world as the stern chief of China's ruling Communist Party who spurns the public singing and theatrics that were a hallmark of his predecessor, Jiang Zemin (江澤民). But that stiff image will be slightly dented when Hu's amateur effort at paper-cutting, titled "Returning to mother's home," is shown at a handicrafts exhibition in the central city of Wuhan in November, according to a Wuhan newspaper, the Changjiang Times. Cutting red paper into intricate images often displayed on home windows is a traditional Chinese craft still popular in many parts of the countryside.
Vow addresses transplants
Chinese medical officials promised on Friday not to transplant organs from prisoners or other detainees, except into members of their immediate families. The agreement was reached at a meeting of the World Medical Association in Copenhagen. China has acknowledged that kidneys, livers, corneas and other organs are routinely removed from prisoners sentenced to death row. But officials insist that this only happens when consent is provided. Critics argue that death-row prisoners do not give consent. The news on Friday comes after several years of discussions.
Plane lands in wrong place
An All Nippon Airways plane landed on the wrong runway at Osaka's Itami airport on Friday, forcing another plane to delay take-off to avoid a collision, government and airport officials said. None of the 165 passengers and crew aboard the ANA plane was injured. The pilot of the ANA Airbus A320, arriving from Matsuyama in western Japan, misheard the air traffic controller's instructions and landed on the wrong runway just as a Japan Airlines (JAL) plane was preparing to enter the same runway to take off, they said. The pilot of the JAL plane halted after spotting the approaching ANA plane. The ministry is questioning the traffic controller for more details, he said.
Muslims get space guide
The government has come up with the world's first comprehensive guidebook for Muslims in space as its first astronaut prepares to go into orbit next week. The book, entitled Guidelines for Performing Islamic Rites at the International Space Station, teaches the Muslim astronaut how to perform ablutions, determine the location of Mecca when praying, prayer times, and how to fast in space, the Star newspaper reported yesterday. The 18-page guidebook will be translated into English, Russian, Arabic and possibly other languages. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, an orthopedic surgeon and university lecturer from Kuala Lumpur, will leave Earth from Kazakhstan's Baikonur launchpad for Russia's International Space Station on Wednesday.
Two shot by alleged rebels
Two Muslims have been shot dead by suspected rebels in separate attacks in the insurgency-torn south, police said yesterday. A 77-year-old woman was killed yesterday by militants in her house in Yala, one of three restive provinces bordering Malaysia, police said. In nearby Narathiwat Province, a 35-year-old man was gunned down late on Friday by insurgents in a drive-by shooting while he was riding a motorcycle. More than 2,600 people have been killed since a separatist insurgency broke out in January 2004 in the Muslim-majority south. Violence has been escalating in the region despite a raft of peace measures introduced by the army-backed government.
Typhoon death toll rises
Floods and landslides triggered by Typhoon Lekima as it struck the central coast earlier this week claimed 23 lives and left nine others missing, disaster officials said yesterday. Three more deaths reported in northern provinces and reports of three people drowning in the province of Quang Binh raised the death toll to 23, disaster official Nguyen Ngoc Dien said. Packing 130kph winds, Typhoon Lekima made landfall on Wednesday, also leaving nine missing and injuring more than 100.
Syrian radars defeated
Fighter aircraft may have managed to escape detection by Syrian radars during their Sept. 6 raid by forcing the detection system to make a mistake, Aviation Week magazine reported. US defense and industry officials believe F-15 and F-16 aircraft may have been equipped with the US-developed "Suter" airborne network attack system, the magazine said on its Web site. The technology allows users to invade communications networks, see what enemy sensors see and even take over as administrator to manipulate sensors into positions to hide an approaching aircraft, the report said.
Electronic rosary available
An Italian electronics technician has invented a high-tech rosary to help Catholic faithful recite prayers using an electronic device instead of traditional beads. Shaped like an egg, decorated with images of the Virgin Mary and featuring a push-button, the gadget allows faithful to listen to a woman's voice recite "Our Father" and "Hail Mary" prayers in Italian. The factory owners are working on producing electronic rosaries in English, Spanish, French, German and Polish. The average price is 29.50 euros (US$41.70).
`Subprime' foils linguists
The French government is struggling to translate "subprime" into simple French. Its Commission of Economic and Financial Terminology says previous translations of the term are not good enough. "The Commission ... advises French people to use the expression `prets hypothecaires a haut risque' [high risk mortgage loans] which is a term already used by the banking industry," it said in a statement this week. But there have been few signs of that phrase in the French media where the snappier "subprime" rules. France has mounted a stout defense of its native language in the face of the increasing use of English terms.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
BBC head resigns
The head of the BBC's flagship BBC One television resigned on Friday after a report faulted him for wrongly implying Queen Elizabeth had stormed out of a photo shoot in anger. The incident was an embarrassment for the British public service broadcaster. BBC One controller Peter Fincham presented footage from a documentary showing the Queen apparently storming out of a shoot with celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz. In fact the queen had not stormed out. Footage of her entering the room had been edited out of sequence to make it look like she was exiting in a huff.
End-of-life care guide issued
Saying that "everyone has the right to be treated, and die, with dignity," the WHO issued on Friday its first guide to planning end-of-life care. The 51-page document was aimed at national health ministers, said one of its authors, Cecilia Sepulveda, a palliative care expert with the health organization. Obstacles to proper care include: national laws that make it hard for pharmacists to stock powerful painkillers, lack of training for doctors and nurses and fears of addiction on the part of patients. It also cites countries that offer good end-of-life care despite national poverty such as in Uganda and Kerala State in India. The care care there is mostly done at home, by relatives with modest amounts of training.
Missing boy found
A three-year-old boy who was lost in the dense Amazon rain forest was found after 11 days, apparently unharmed but for dehydration and thorns in his feet and legs, police said on Friday. Neilson Oliveira Lima disappeared from his home in the rural community of Pupuai on Sept. 16, Amazonas state police officer Ailson Carvalho said. He was found on Sept. 27 about 3km away, with thorns covering his feet and legs. "He went in the forest following his father and he got lost. He was found by his cousin, who was out hunting," Carvalho said in a telephone interview.
■ EL SALVADOR
Fugitive nabbed in US
A former lawmaker wanted on money laundering charges was arrested in Southern California, authorities said. Roberto Carlos Silva-Pereira, 33, who has been sought since he was charged in March, was arrested on Friday at a home in Anaheim, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. "He's on their most wanted fugitive list," Eimiller said, Silva-Pereira's arrest came after members of a fugitive task force received a tip from authorities that he was in the Orange County area south of Los Angeles, Eimiller said. When investigators knocked on the door, Silva-Pereira ran away and led them on a four-block chase before he was arrested, Eimiller said.
■ UNITED STATES
Role of appendix discovered
Some scientists think they have figured out the real job of the troublesome and seemingly useless appendix: It produces and protects good germs for the gut. That is the theory from surgeons and immunologists at Duke University Medical School, published online in a scientific journal last week. The function of the appendix seems related to the massive amount of bacteria that populates the human digestive system, the study in the Journal of Theoretical Biology said. More bacteria inhabit the typical body than human cells. Most of the bacteria are good and help digest food.
■ UNITED STATES
Hmong killer guilty
A jury has found a white man guilty in the shooting and stabbing death of a Hmong immigrant with whom he crossed paths while both were hunting squirrels in the northern Wisconsin woods earlier this year. The jury found James Nichols guilty of second-degree intentional homicide in the death of Cha Vang, a case that rekindled racial tensions in the northern part of the state, where a Hmong deer hunter fatally shot six white hunters three years ago. Nichols appeared to fight back tears as he left the courtroom. Pang Vue, the victim's widow, collapsed outside the courtroom after the verdict.
■ UNITED STATES
Robbery suspects arrested
The bank robbery suspects whom a sheriff offered to wed in jail if they surrendered have been arrested. The 24-year-old man and 23-year-old woman were found living in a homeless shelter in Cheyenne, Wyoming, after police traced phone calls to a pay phone, Sergeant Jason Parks told the Flint Journal. The couple, who lived together in Michigan, were wanted in the Sept. 19 robbery of a Lapeer County Bank & Trust branch in Deerfield Township, about 100km north of Detroit. They were arrested without incident and were held in a Wyoming jail pending extradition to Michigan, Parks said.
‘SERIOUS QUESTIONS’: Three US senators sent a letter to the US commerce secretary asking whether the project ‘takes into consideration national security requirements’ US Senator Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic colleagues have written to top US administration officials asking for details of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plan to build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. Hsinchu-based TSMC on Thursday last week announced that it would build a plant to make 5 nanometer chips by 2024 that would have the capacity to produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker already has one chipmaking fab in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California. It said it planned to start construction in Arizona next year and
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
MOM’S LONG CAMPAIGN: Mao Yin had been brought up in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long, high-profile search A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after 32 years. Mao Yin (毛寅), then two-and-a-half years old, was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father. His parents finally embraced him again on Monday in Xian, where he was born. After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi (李靜芝) quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out more than 100,000 flyers and appearing on numerous TV shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children and made
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for