Protesters clothe nude art
Internet users angered by censorship in cyberspace have dressed up images of famous Renaissance nudes in a protest against Beijing’s crackdown on “vulgar” online content. Images posted as part of the protest include Michelangelo’s statue David shown in a Mao suit while black socks and a strategically placed necktie were added to the artist’s depiction of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The protest began after a user of the social networking site Douban.com complained that images of several paintings had been deleted from an online photo album. In response, protest organizers asked Internet users to clothe artwork to “save” it from the censors.
Birds test positive for H5N1
The government says seven more dead birds have tested positive for the H5N1 strain of bird flu, bringing the total number of recent cases to 11. The government said in a statement on Saturday that the seven included a gray heron found in the Mai Po Nature Reserve, which prompted officials to close the bird sanctuary for three weeks. The H5N1 strain has killed at least 254 people worldwide since 2003.
Drunk drivers targeted
Police were yesterday preparing to carry out random breath tests on drivers for the first time as new laws against drinking and driving come into effect. From midnight yesterday drivers are being stopped at roadblocks and given random breath tests, a police spokesman said. Motorists convicted of driving while drunk can be jailed for up to three years, banned from driving and fined a maximum of US$3,200 under the legislation which comes into effect today. Until now drivers have only been breath-tested after road accidents.
Abducted midwife escapes
An abducted midwife escaped from his kidnappers after 10 days in captivity in Basilan Province, a military spokeswoman said yesterday. Eleazar Gumera, 45, was kidnapped on Jan. 28 in Lamitan town, 900km south of Manila, after helping deliver a baby in a village. Lieutenant Esteffani Cacho, a regional military spokeswoman, said Gumera escaped on Saturday evening. “He slipped away from his captors by pretending to answer the call of nature and [he] ran away when he had the chance,” she said. “He walked for several hours and swam in the seas.” A passing fishing boat picked up Gumera and brought him to the nearby village of Bato.
New bird flu case reported
A melee broke out in the north, when more than 100 villagers prevented authorities from destroying chickens to stop the spread of bird flu, officials said yesterday as the country announced its second H5N1 case. About 100 villagers in Thuong Tin district just outside Hanoi overwhelmed police and health authorities on Thursday and stopped them from destroying about 1,500 chickens smuggled in from China, official Vu Van Dung said. As about 30 police and health officials removed the poultry from a truck to burn in a pit, the villagers — desperate for the income the birds could provide — grabbed the chickens and ran off. “I told the villagers that the chickens had been sprayed with chemicals and were not edible, but they didn’t listen,” Dung said.
PM auctions off plaster cast
Prime Minister John Key has raised NZ$18,850.10 (US$9,500) for charity by selling in an Internet auction the plaster cast that helped to mend his broken right arm. The funds will be donated to The Fred Hollows Foundation, which operates blindness-prevention programs in the Solomon Islands. “I was very surprised it got to that … but I am delighted,” Key said when the auction closed yesterday. Key broke his arm in two places when he fell at a function in Auckland on Jan. 17. During a later trip to Papua New Guinea for a Pacific Islands Forum meeting, which included a stopover in the Solomon Islands, the cast was signed by several dignitaries.