Soldier punished for photo
A young soldier has been punished for selling a fake photo of the son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, Yonhap news agency said yesterday. Japan’s TV Asahi last month aired what it called an exclusive image of Kim Jong-un, thought to be the likeliest successor to his father. It retracted its report after the picture turned out to be that of a South Korean construction worker. A 24-year-old staff sergeant, identified by his surname Oh, demanded 2 million won (US$1,600) for the photo, Yonhap quoted an unidentified army official as saying. The official said Oh has been suspended from duty for three months but he escaped a tougher penalty because his act was not a breach of military security.
Nigerians held in drug probe
Police have arrested five Nigerians in a probe into a smuggling ring suspected of trafficking heroin from India to China, Vietnam News Agency reported late on Wednesday. “The suspects, including five Nigerians and four Vietnamese, have apparently transported a significant amount of drugs by air from India to Ho Chi Minh City,” the agency said. Counternarcotics officers had seized more than 2kg of heroin, it said. The gang allegedly used Vietnamese women to transport the heroin from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi and then to China, the agency said.
Murder palace to be rebuilt
The government will restore the palace in which the late King Birendra and almost all his family were gunned down at a family dinner eight years ago, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal said. The king, Queen Aishwarya and seven other royals were killed in 2001 by a drugged and drunk Crown Prince Dipendra, who was angered by his parents’ refusal to let him marry a women he loved. He later killed himself. Birendra’s brother Gyanendra, who succeeded him, ordered the demolition of the mansion and only a small brick wall now stands. “The Tribhuvan Sadan must be rebuilt. It will be restored to its old position,” the prime minister said on Nepal Television late on Wednesday.
Model accepts sentence
A woman sentenced to flogging for drinking beer has accepted the Islamic court’s order, saying she wants the punishment to be carried out soon, news reports said yesterday. Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32-year-old model, was arrested on charges of drinking beer after Islamic authorities raided a hotel nightclub last year. She was sentenced on Monday to six lashes with a rattan cane after pleading guilty in the Shariah High Court. Consuming alcohol is a religious offense in Malaysia for Muslims. Some politicians and women’s rights activists have criticized the sentence as too harsh. Kartika said she wants the penalty carried out quickly so that she can resume her life with her husband and two children.
Rudd upset by bomber’s age
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said yesterday he found it “sickening” that one of the Jakarta bombers was apparently a boy aged just 16 or 17. Rudd’s comments came after Indonesian police released digitally reconstructed images of two militants suspected of last week’s blasts, which killed seven. “If those reports are true, it is sickening that these evil terrorists would prey on children to do their dirty work,” Rudd said. “The thought that terrorists engaged in their evil business would also prey upon children defies any standard of civilized behavior.”