Man dies in lawn altercation
A 66-year-old man was beaten to death while watering his lawn in an argument over Sydney's water restrictions, reports said yesterday. A 36-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was to appear in court yesterday charged with murder following the fatal altercation on Wednesday, police said. The alleged killer approached the older man as he watered his lawn in southern Sydney with a hose and an argument ensued. The alleged victim reportedly sprayed the younger man with the hose. Police said the younger man responded by punching and pushing the older man to the ground and kicking him. He died soon after being taken to hospital. The alleged victim was complying with Sydney's water restrictions when he was killed.
Airline bans sex on A380
Singapore Airlines, the first operator of the new Airbus A380, has dashed the hopes of sexual thrill-seekers planning to engage in amorous activity aboard the world's biggest jumbo jet. The carrier said it would ask passengers on the A380 to refrain from sex while ensconced in one of its 12 first class suites, which boast the world's first airborne double beds. "All we ask of customers, wherever they are on our aircraft, is to observe standards that don't cause offence to other customers and crew," the company said in a statement. While private, the double cabins are neither sound proofed nor completely sealed.
Rape blamed on spider bite
A man who kidnapped and raped a woman blamed his actions on a spider, local media reported yesterday. Philip Spiers pleaded guilty to the kidnap and rape, but told a court that the poison from a funnel-web spider bite had left him with a viral illness which led to his actions. But a toxicologist told the New South Wales State District Court there was no medical evidence to suggest a spider bite could be responsible for anger and hatred. Spiers, who kidnapped and raped the woman in 1997, was sentenced on Wednesday to eight years in jail.
Arrests made in crackdown
Police have arrested 20 people this month as part of a European-wide crackdown on people who shared child pornography over the Internet, police said on Wednesday. Three of those rounded up were suspected of having abused children during trips abroad, police officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media. Police said the operation concerned countries throughout Europe, including Germany, Italy, Belgium and Britain, though they did not say how many people have been arrested in total across the continent.
Funeral TV to launch
A businessman plans to launch the country's first television channel dedicated to funerals and mourning, complete with death announcements and documentaries about cemeteries. The channel, which will be called Etos TV, is meant to inform people about funeral practices and act as a counter to a growing trend in the country to be buried anonymously, said Kerstin Gernig from the German undertakers' association. "Every person has left his mark, raised children, paid taxes, done something. We would like them to be shown respect. This channel will inform people in a discreet, serious way how to bury their loved ones," she said.
Metric switch going slowly
When police caught driver David Clarke driving 180kph in a 100kph zone, he looked likely to lose his license. But a judge reduced the charge and let the 31-year-old stay on the road after concluding the speed did not look as bad when converted into miles, or 112 miles per hour. District Court Judge Denis McLoughlin lowered the charge to driving carelessly, and fined him 1,000 euros (US$1,450); if convicted of the tougher charge of driving dangerously, Clarke would have lost his license. The episode underscored the country's slow mental conversion to metric. The country switched its speed limits from miles to kilometers in January 2005.