US base voted down
Parliament voted yesterday to close a US military base that serves as a key supply route for coalition forces in Afghanistan. The vote to close the US air base at Manas passed parliament by a wide margin, with 78 out of a total 81 lawmakers present voting for the closure. One member of parliament voted against and two abstained. The base closure would strain US supply lines at a time when US President Barack Obama is preparing to nearly double the 36,000-strong force in Afghanistan.
Boy marries dog
An infant boy was married off to his neighbors’ dog by villagers who said it would stop the groom from being killed by wild animals, officials and witnesses said on Wednesday. Around 150 tribespeople performed the ritual in a hamlet in the state of Orissa’s Jajpur District after the boy, who is less than two years old, grew a tooth on his upper gum. The Munda tribe see this as a bad omen in young children and believe it makes them prone to attacks by tigers and another animals. The groom, Sagula, was carried by his family in procession to the village temple, where a priest solemnized the marriage between Sagula and his bride Jyoti, a witness said. The boy will still be able to marry a human bride.
Ao hit with new charges
Jailed former Macau minister Ao Man Long (歐文龍) appeared in court on Wednesday on 28 new charges of accepting bribes, money laundering and abuse of power, a Hong Kong newspaper reported. Ao, former secretary for transport and public works, chose to remain silent as a judge in Macau’s Court of Final Appeal read out charges alleging that he had benefited from land sales and the bidding of public works projects, the South China Morning Post reported online.
Macau blocks photographer
The South China Morning Post said it had lodged a “strongly worded” protest after one of its journalists was denied entry to Macau. Photographer Felix Wong was barred despite carrying a Macau government permit, the paper said, adding that Wednesday’s incident was apparently the first of its kind. “The South China Morning Post is extremely concerned by what it sees as a serious infringement of the freedom of the press,” it said in a statement on Wednesday. The newspaper said it had sent letters to the Macau government demanding an apology. Wong, who was to cover the corruption trial of former minister Ao Man Long, was briefly detained before last year’s Beijing Olympics for kicking a police officer as he was dragged away from photographing a chaotic ticket line.
Man convicted of rape
A court on Wednesday handed down a landmark verdict, convicting a man of raping a transsexual woman. The court in the southern port of Busan sentenced the 28-year-old to three years in prison but suspended the sentence for four years. It also ordered him to do 120 hours of community service. The man was found guilty of raping the 58-year-old after breaking into her home in Busan last August. In its ruling quoted by Yonhap news agency, the court said the victim should be considered a woman because she had maintained normal sexual relations with her partner since her sex-change operation in 1974. The criminal code does not recognize the concept of homosexual rape.
Take it to the Kissing Zone
If you like kissing, and you find yourself at Warrington Bank Quay railway station, just keep walking. For under new rules there, couples will be forbidden from expressing their love in front of the building and asked to take it instead into a designated Kissing Zone. The initiative has provoked mild outrage among some travelers, who fear a return to the 1970s and 1980s when “no petting” signs, with helpfully suggestive diagrams, were posted at swimming pools to control the sexual urges of bathers.