‘Gift’ explodes, kills woman
Police say a gift-wrapped grenade exploded and killed a woman when she opened the package inside her house in an upscale neighborhood of Manila yesterday. Metropolitan Manila police chief Nicanor Bartolome says police are trying to establish a motive for the blast in Manila’s Taguig city and are interviewing other members of the 31-year-old woman’s family. Unwrapping the package apparently removed the pin from the grenade, triggering the blast. Bartolome says the woman died instantly.
Human feces up for sale
Shops selling human excrement began operating this year, as acute shortages of fertilizer in the sanctions-wracked country put a price on feces, an analyst said on Tuesday. Aid groups have said human waste has long been used on domestic crops in the impoverished communist state, but there is now a trade in the readily available commodity, a North Korea analyst told a seminar at a South Korean university. “Each household used to use human excrement as fertilizer. But because it’s hard to keep up with the amount, ‘human manure’ shops showed up at markets,” Kim Young-soo, a professor at Seoul’s Sogang University, told the seminar. Kim said other products making their way on to a limited must-have list for North Koreans this year included skinny jeans, after a ban on fashionable trousers was lifted. North Korean women have previously been told to wear only skirts or traditional attire in public places, but the interdiction on trousers was lifted this year, Kim said. Other popular items include secret imports like instant noodles and adult movies, he said.
Term may be extended
The parliament yesterday backed a plan for a referendum that would extend the mandate of the Central Asian state’s long serving President Nursultan Nazarbayev to 2020. The central election commission unexpectedly announced this week it had received a petition to hold a referendum which if agreed would mean the country skips 2012 presidential polls and Nazarbayev serves for another decade. Speaker Ural Mukhamedzhanov confirmed that the referendum would be on “changes in the Constitution to prolong the mandate of the president,” according to the Interfax--Kazakhstan news agency.
ArtScience museum to open
Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands will open the world’s first ArtScience museum in February, the latest attraction at its US$5.5 billion gambling complex built by US casino giant Las Vegas Sands. With a form reminiscent of a lotus flower designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie, the science museum is due to open on Feb. 17 at 1:18pm, “as advised by our feng shui master,” a Marina Bay Sands spokeswoman said. Dubbed “The Welcoming Hand of Singapore” by Las Vegas Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson, the museum hosts 10 “fingers” anchored by a round base in the middle. The design of each finger reveals different gallery spaces featuring skylights at the “fingertips” that illuminate the dramatically curved interior walls. The building features 21 gallery spaces totaling 6,000m2 that will deliver exhibits from art and science, media and technology to design and architecture, the statement said. The permanent exhibition includes objects representing accomplishments of art and science through the ages, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Flying Machine, a Kongming Lantern and a high-tech robotic fish.