Asian names enter Top 20
Smith is still the most common surname in Sydney, but the Anglo-Saxon names Thompson, Anderson, Walker and Ryan have ceded their places in the top 20 to the Chinese-heritage Chen, Wang, Zhang and Chan. The latest White Pages telephone directory, released yesterday, also shows Indian surname Singh edging into the top 20 for the first time along with Korean Kim. Lee came second in the naming stakes, with the Vietnamese surname Nguyen shifting Jones from third to fourth place. A quarter of the nation’s 21 million people were born abroad and in Sydney, a city of 4 million, the proportion of foreign-born is higher.
Oil tanker fire extinquished
A maritime official says a Singaporean oil tanker caught fire while docking in Borneo. One Indonesia crewmember suffered burns on his hands and one leg, but the other 17 crewmembers escaped unharmed. Captain Xavier Thevadas Gnanaprasagam, district chief of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, said the MT Sinar Agra was anchoring at Sepanggar Bay in Sabah state on late Saturday when a small explosion occurred. He says the fire was put out within minutes and that the cargo of liquid gasoline was unaffected. Authorities are investigating the incident.
Military jet crashes
A military jet crashed in northeast China yesterday morning as the armed forces prepared for joint exercises with Russia, Xinhua news agency said. The two-man jet was flying over a training base in Taonan, Jilin Province, when it crashed. There was no word on the fate of the crew. The five-day military exercises, dubbed Peace Mission 2009, will start on Wednesday.
Cloned dogs go to work
Customs has deployed what it claims to be the world’s first cloned working sniffer dogs, officials said yesterday. Six out of seven puppies, cloned from a Canadian-born sniffer dog in late 2007, reported for duty after completing their 16-month training on Friday, the Korea Customs Service said. The six, each called “TOPPY” referring to “Tomorrow’s Puppy,” had successfully gone through their training, but one had to drop out because of an injury, the service said. The customs authorities said they secured the clones by reproducing a “superb” Canadian sniffer Labrador Retriever dog, called Chaser. The 300 million won (US$238,000) project was carried out by Lee Byung-chun, who played a major role in the world’s first successful cloning of a dog by creating a duplicate of a three-year-old Afghan Hound. Lee was a former colleague of disgraced cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk, who was indicted for fraud, ethical breaches, embezzlement and other charges in 2006.
Police detain clubbers
Police detained 32 patrons who tested positive for methamphetamine when they raided a nightclub in the capital early yesterday, a news report said. Police said they found the drug Eramin 5 strewn all over the floor of the premises, the Star daily reported. City police spokesman Mohamad Ashril Mohamad Johar said the club was packed with about 500 men and 34 women during the raid. Mohamad Ashril said 28 men and four women aged between 20 and 50 years old were remanded to face drug charges.
Air Force ends search
The Air Force withdrew yesterday from a weeklong search for 18 people missing after a ferry capsized and sank near Kiribati, citing a lack of fuel, a news report said. A New Zealand plane had been assisting local authorities in the hunt for bodies and survivors since the boat went down last Monday while ferrying passengers from the main island of Tarawa to outlying Maiana island, Radio New Zealand reported. Twenty survivors have been retrieved and seven bodies were recovered. The ferry, a 17m double-hulled canoe, capsized when the captain attempted to recover a crewman lost overboard in high waves.