ArticleText = "Court sentences swan-killer
A court sentenced a farmer to 12-and-a-half years in prison for killing and selling endangered white swans that are under state protection, a court official said yesterday. Zhao Naishun, 42, of Henan Province, was accused of poisoning 37 white swans on the Yellow River last fall and selling them to another area farmer for 150 yuan (US$20) each, according to Xinhua news agency and Li Guowang, an official at the People's Court of Lingbao. The court also ordered him to pay a fine of 40,000 yuan. The farmer accused of buying the swans, Zhang Yuelin, was sentenced in May to 13 years in prison after being convicted of buying the birds and selling the meat.
Accident data released
Authorities said yesterday that 79,000 people died in industrial and road accidents in the first 10 months of this year, but claimed progress had been made in improving notoriously weak safety standards. The death toll marked a drop of nearly 14 percent over the same period last year, work safety minister Li Yizhong (李毅中) said in a speech reported on his administration's Web site. More than 419,000 road and workplace accidents were recorded from January to October, down 22 percent on the same period last year, he said.
Wives send condoms
Women in a rural village have been mailing condoms to their husbands working abroad to protect them from sexually transmitted diseases, report said yesterday. The women in Pang village, in the midwestern mountains, have been writing to their husbands urging them not to have sex with other women, but also mailing them condoms so that if they are unfaithful, they will have safe sex. The Kantipur newspaper said that social workers have been counseling women in the village about sexually transmitted diseases over the past two years.
Fighter jets grounded
The nation's F-15 fighter jets have been grounded following a crash in the US involving the same type of aircraft, Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba said yesterday. Tokyo gave the order on Sunday after it was informed by US forces that an Air National Guard F-15 fighter jet crashed in Missouri, Ishiba said. "The cause of the crash in Missouri is not yet known," he said. Flights of F-2 fighter jets were also suspended after one crashed on takeoff and burst into flames at an airport last week. "We will deal with the task of preventing airspace incursions with our F-4 fighter jets," the oldest model among Japan's fighter jets, Ishiba said.
Sarkozy tries to end protests
President Nicolas Sarkozy was to make a lightning trip yesterday to the Brittany fishing town of Guilvinec in an effort to calm fishermen blocking ports to protest the rising price of fuel. Angry fishermen blocked a handful of ports yesterday as well as the entrance to a Total refinery in Donges. They lit bonfires at fishing ports to call attention to their plight and slowed down traffic between major towns in Brittany with barrages. Fishermen pay at least 0.50 euro (US$0.72) per liter for fuel for their boats, a sum they say eats up 30 percent of their take. Sarkozy to fly to the US afterwards, where he was due to dine last night with US President George W. Bush at the start of a two-day visit to Washington.
Officials admit break-in
The government admitted on Monday that some of its bureaucrats had improperly accessed the internal computer system of a Dutch news agency, raising concerns about press freedom. Marcel van Lingen, editor-in-chief of the GPD news agency which serves more than a dozen newspapers in the country and Belgium, accused the government of spying. The Social Affairs Ministry "used stolen information to influence [our] reporting," Van Lingen told the national NOS broadcaster. He said the press bureau first became aware of systematic "break-ins" when a ministry press officer complained about a story that had yet to be published. The ministry confirmed in a statement some of its employees had accessed GPD's internal site and apologized.