Tue, Dec 08, 2009 - Page 5 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■CHINA

Video-sharing sites closed

Regulators have closed down hundreds of video-sharing Web sites in a new push to control Internet content, reports said yesterday. Several well-known Web sites were either closed down or ordered to delete all links to downloaded films or TV series in the past week, the China Business News said. Most content offered by peer-to-peer sites violates copyright and is not “above board,” the business daily said. BTChina, a popular video-sharing site, said in a notice that the State Administration of Video Film and Television ordered it to shut down because it has no license to provide audio and video content. UUbird.com, a similar site, said in a notice it would delete all links for downloading TV series and films by mid-February “to firmly support and comply with the state’s laws and regulations.” As of Nov. 30, authorities had shut down 414 video and audio Web sites this year for operating without a license or for containing pornography, copyright-violating content or other “harmful” information, the report said.

■INDONESIA

Group sets lantern record

An ecumenical group launched more than 10,000 twinkling paper lanterns into the night sky from a beach, setting a world record, officials said yesterday. The exact number of the white paper lanterns that floated gently above Carnaval Beach in Jakarta late on Saturday was to be determined later yesterday after Guinness World Records officials figured out how many each of the 7,000 participants launched, said organizer Yamal Hasmanan of Freedom Faithnet Global. However, it was apparent that the previous mark of 3,682 set in Colombia last Jan. 10 had been shattered. Officials have already presented the participants with certificates stating that a world record was set for flying the most sky lanterns simultaneously, Guinness adjudicator Lucia Sinigagliesi said. Freedom Faithnet Global said it the lantern release was a symbol of hope and prayer.

■JAPAN

Beer comes from space

A brewer has come up with a beer that’s truly out of this world — one made with barley grown from a line of seeds that has orbited the Earth aboard the International Space Station. Sapporo Breweries said yesterday that orders had flooded in for the special edition of 250 six-packs of “Space Barley.” The company says the amber brew was made from the fourth generation of barley seeds that spent five months in space. “We have received orders from 2,000 people by Sunday,” company spokesman Yuki Hattori said. A six-pack retails at US$110, or almost US$20 per bottle.

■ROMANIA

Basescu wins re-election

President Traian Basescu won the presidential runoff, near final results showed yesterday, in an election Romanians hope will pull the country out of its worst political and economic crisis in 20 years. With 95.7 percent of the vote counted, election authorities said centrist Basescu polled 50.43 percent of the vote, while former foreign minister Mircea Geoana received 49.57 percent. Both Basescu and Geoana claimed victory late on Sunday after polls closed. There was no immediate reaction early yesterday to official results that apparently reversed the predictions of the opinion polls.

■SPAIN

Catalonia not a ‘nation’

About 80 percent of Spaniards reject the term “nation” to describe Catalonia, an opinion poll said on Sunday, as the country’s highest court prepares to rule on the legality of the region’s statute of autonomy. To the question “Do you think Catalonia is really a nation,” 79 percent replied “no” and 18 percent “yes,” a survey released by the newspaper El Pais said. The northeastern region’s statute of autonomy, approved by parliament and endorsed by Catalan voters in a 2006 referendum, gives its government expanded powers. The debate over the statute comes as 160 Catalan towns are preparing to vote in symbolic referendums on Saturday on independence from Madrid.

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