Fri, May 20, 2011 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

AUSTRALIA

‘Planker’ left in a coma

A man was in a coma yesterday after falling off a car reportedly while “planking” as three others were charged for taking part in the Internet craze on the roof of a moving vehicle. Simon Hallam, 20, may never recover from horrific head injuries after falling heavily onto the road from a fast-moving car as he attempt to “plank,” according to local reports. The “planking” craze involves someone lying flat on their stomach with their arms against their bodies in unusual and sometimes dangerous situations, with photos of their exploits posted on social media sites. Hallam’s father, Terry, told the Brisbane Courier-Mail that what happened to his son was a strong warning to others thinking about joining the craze. “The Internet and Facebook, they’re just dreadful things ... they encourage this sort of behavior among the young ones,” he said. Separately, Queensland police charged three men in their 20s with public nuisance for “planking” on the roof of a moving car. Toowoomba District Acting Inspector Jim Fenton said he was in disbelief. “We would question their level of intelligence and due regard to self-preservation,” he told reporters.

GERMANY

Students consider sex work

One in three university students in Berlin would consider sex work as a means to finance their education, a study by the Berlin Studies Center said on Wednesday. The figure in Berlin was higher than students surveyed in Paris (29.2 percent) and in Kiev (18.5 percent), the three cities included in the report. The study found about 4 percent of the 3,200 Berlin students surveyed said they had already done some form of sex work, which includes prostitution, erotic dancing and Internet shows. The results surprised the authors, who said they undertook the study because student prostitution had been often reported, but little was known about its relationship to education policy. “It’s possible that because educational reforms have increased student workloads, they have less time to earn money. Coupled with higher student fees, in this instance, [that] leads students into prostitution,” said Eva Blumenschein, one of the study’s authors and a 26-year-old student at Berlin’s Humboldt University.

SOUTH AFRICA

Crocodiles delay voters

A crocodile-infested river forced election officials to delay the opening of a polling station in Limpopo Province on Wednesday, the local elections chief said. Officials running the voting station for the country’s local elections had to wait for a special army vehicle to ferry them across the perilous Olifants River, delaying the poll opening by two hours, provincial election officer Nkaro Mateta said. “It is really quite dangerous. If you cross on foot then you will be attacked by crocodiles,” she said. Another station “on top of a mountain” also opened two hours late because a helicopter had to be used to take election staff there, she said.

SWITZERLAND

Suicidal patient shoots monk

Police say a suicidal hospital patient has mistakenly shot dead his roommate, an 87-year-old monk. Police in the eastern canton of St Gallen say the 80-year-old man was handling a gun on Monday when he triggered a shot that injured his fellow patient. The monk from a nearby Benedictine abbey died shortly afterwards. The incident happened at a hospital in Uznach, about 30km east of Zurich. Police spokesman Hans Peter Eugster was unable to say on Wednesday how the man managed to take a firearm into the hospital undetected or whether he would face charges.

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