Election candidate disrobes
A candidate running in a state poll stripped off at an electoral commission office yesterday in a bid to highlight the rights of nudists, a report said. Stuart Baanstra disrobed at the central Sydney building before being ushered away by security, carrying a sign saying “nude is not rude,” the AAP news agency reported. Speaking outside the commission room, where he arrived wearing a robe and a bow-tie bearing the Australian flag, Baanstra said he was a nudist and a gay man who “believes in the rights of people to live without clothes.” Baanstra, who is standing as an independent for an upper house seat in the New South Wales State election later this month, made the bold move during a draw to determine the position of candidates on the ballot paper.
Rains bring more misery
Soaking rains have cut roads to a handful of towns in the northeast of the country and added more misery to a region still cleaning up after a massive cyclone. Fresh floodwaters have inundated several homes that were damaged and leaking from the earlier storm, causing authorities to close schools yesterday in at least one affected town. A huge band of monsoon rain hanging over a coastal area south of Cairns has prompted flash-flood warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology in Queensland State. The area was battered by months of deadly floods that began late last year and by a giant cyclone last month. Officials say they are closely monitoring food and other supplies in the towns where roads have been cut.
Seven pirates arrested
Authorities have arrested seven Indonesians who allegedly tried to rob a tanker off the south of the country. First Admiral Zulkifli Abu Bakar of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency says the men, who were armed with axes and bayonets, boarded the Majuro-registered vessel anchored off Johor State before dawn on Wednesday, but the crew, led by a Russian captain, managed to sound the alarm. Patrol boats rushed to the scene within minutes and authorities caught the suspects, confiscating their wooden boat.
Tigers training in India: PM
Remnants of Sri Lanka’s defeated Tamil Tiger rebels are undergoing military training in India in a bid to revive their separatist campaign at home, the prime minister said yesterday. D.M. Jayaratne said an unknown number of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fighters were based at secret camps in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. “We have intelligence reports of three clandestine training centers operated by the LTTE in Tamil Nadu,” the prime minister said in a statement. He said the rebels, who were defeated by Sri Lankan government troops in May 2009, were hoping to relaunch their decades-long fight for an independent homeland. “Their next target is to create small-scale attacks,” Jayaratne said.
Tourist city bans birds
Birds cultivated for their edible nests are being banned from the capital of a Malaysian tourist island after the UN cultural agency warned that the business endangers efforts to preserve buildings. The bird breeders voiced fears yesterday that the ban would disrupt the lucrative business that existed for years before Georgetown became a World Heritage Site. The restrictions pose a problem for those who convert old buildings into small farms where sparrow-like swiftlets live.