Fri, Nov 21, 2008 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ NEPAL

Protest shuts down capital

Shops were shuttered, cars stayed off the streets, schools were closed and demonstrators burned tires in Kathmandu yesterday in a protest against the murder of two men blamed on the Maoists. Media reports this week said police had dug up the decomposing bodies of two young men who were allegedly taken by members of the Maoist Young Communist League last month from a district near Kathmandu. The league has been accused of violence and intimidation in the past but denied involvement in this incident. The victims’ families and friends called for the closure of transport, businesses, schools and colleges to protest the killings and demand compensation. “We called the strike to warn the Maoist government that their cadre should obey the law,” a protest coordinator said.

■PHILIPPINES

No Xmas for airport staff

Manila airport workers have been banned from wishing travelers a Merry Christmas, the Manila Standard Today reported yesterday. The warning was issued by airport general manager Alfonso Cusi who claimed the polite yuletide greeting was a “not so subtle way of asking for money” from arriving passengers, the paper reported on its front page. The directive, which is issued every year to airport employees, aims to “prevent airport personnel and security officers from soliciting money from passengers,” Cusi was quoted as saying. Anyone found violating the order would be punished, he said.

■PHILIPPINES

Church battles family bill

The Roman Catholic Church said yesterday that it has sufficient support in the Congress to defeat a controversial family planning bill promoting sex education and the use of contraceptives. “The bishops are confident they have the numbers,” said Maria Fenny Tatad, executive director of the lobby group Bishops-Legislators Caucus of the Philippines. Only 99 members of the 238-member House of Representatives have said they will support the Reproductive Health Care Act, while the rest are expected to side with the church, Tatad said. The country’s annual population growth rate is 2.04 percent.

■JAPAN

Toy lets you crush your boss

If the financial crisis makes you want to poke a finger in your boss’s eye or unleash some high karate kicks, toymaker Bandai may have the answer. Bandai has created the tuttuki bako, or poking box, a palm-sized plastic box with a simple digital display on the front, a coin-size hole on the side and a motion sensor inside. The display shows moving images including a panda on a hanging tire, a karate-fighting stickman and a human face. When you stick your finger in the hole, a virtual finger appears on the screen for petting or even torturing the animal or stickman. “Bored office workers can ... occasionally stick their fingers into the hole to work off stress,” said Hajime Kondo, who helped create the toy.

■INDIA

Boy killed over love letter

A teenager was beaten, paraded through the streets with his head shaved and then thrown under a train for writing a love letter to a girl from a different caste, police in Bihar state said yesterday. Fifteen-year-old Manish Kumar was kidnapped by members of the rival caste on his way to school, had his head shaved and was thrown under a train as his mother begged for mercy, police said. One man has so far been arrested and a policeman suspended.

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