Monk jailed for tobacco
A monk caught carrying US$2.50 worth of tobacco has been jailed for three years, becoming the first person punished under the country’s draconian anti-smoking law, reports said yesterday. Sonam Tshering was caught in January carrying 48 packets of chewing tobacco, which he said he had bought in India before traveling back home. The nation banned the sale of tobacco in 2005 and tightened up its law further last year to combat smuggling, requiring consumers to provide valid customs receipts for their cigarettes. An eight-page judgment from a district court in the capital, Thimphu, said that Tshering had violated the tobacco control act because he had not paid duty for the tobacco.
Official Web sites attacked
The Korea Communications Commission issued a cyber security alert as the Web sites of 29 government and other agencies came under attack yesterday. A commission spokesman said the “distributed denial of service” attacks had initially been expected to hit 40 Web sites, but only 29 were actually affected. They included those of the presidential Blue House, the US forces, the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, the ministries of foreign affairs, defense and unification, parliament and the tax office. The commission said in a statement the government was working closely with Internet security agencies and others to deal with the problem.
China warned over Spratlys
Hanoi yesterday said it had lodged a complaint against Chinese military exercises near islands claimed by both countries, accusing its neighbor of violating its sovereignty. Foreign ministry officials met Chinese embassy staff on Wednesday in response to reports of Chinese naval activity last month around the Spratly Islands, which are also claimed by Taiwan and the Philippines. “The Vietnamese side clearly stated that by conducting the drills in Truong Sa Archipelago [Vietnam’s name for the Spratlys], China had violated Vietnamese sovereignty,” a statement from the ministry said. It said officials urged China to “refrain from activities that would further complicate the situation.”
Police sound pig alert
Police said they were searching for 100 live pigs stolen from a truck by armed robbers. Police official Roslan Bek Ahmad said three men with machetes hijacked the truck on Wednesday as it was leaving a pig farm in northern Perak state. The driver was tied up and left by the roadside. Roslan said police had recovered the vehicle in central Negri Sembilan state, but it was empty. He said police believed the pigs, worth about 83,000 ringgit (US$27,000), were transferred to another truck.
Silvio’s Ruby attends ball
“Ruby,” the teenager at the heart of a sex scandal involving Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, was the star turn on Thursday at the Vienna Opera Ball. The Moroccan-born pole dancer Karima El Mahroug, nicknamed “Ruby the Heart Stealer,” joined entrepreneur Richard Lugner in his box and attracted frenzied attention. Dressed in a long embroidered gown, the 18-year-old hogged the media limelight with photographers jostling to shoot her. Opera Ball organizer Desiree Treichl-Stuergkh threatened to cancel Luge’s loge next year, saying: “This is the biggest embarrassment that Mr. Lugner has ever made. It’s sad, humiliating and disrespectful.”
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year