Death ‘rehearsals’ offered
For those facing a run of bad luck and wanting to start things over, one temple has an unusual solution: “rehearse” death with a mock funeral, including lying down in a coffin. Pram Manee temple in Nakorn Nayok Province holds two of the rituals every day: at exactly 9:09am and 1:09pm, since the number nine is believed to bring good luck. Participants in a recent ritual stood in front of their designated coffins, holding flowers and praying for bad luck to go away, then asked to receive good luck. All had paid 180 baht (US$6) for the flowers, a white sheet and “merit set” — a collection of necessities sometimes including toothpaste, toothbrushes and food — to be offered to monks and the promise of a better life.
Annual Arirang games begin
Thousands gathered in Pyongyang for the opening of the Arirang mass games, an annual spectacle celebrating the country’s leaders and history, even as their nation suffers from chronic food shortages and asks other nations for aid. Monday night’s opening performance took place on the 63rd anniversary of the nation’s founding with hundreds of thousands of people taking part in carefully choreographed dances and gymnastics displays, KCNA said. The Arirang performances will continue for more than a month.
Bludgeoning suspects caught
Police yesterday said they have detained two people on suspicion of bludgeoning a man to death after he reportedly posted negative remarks about a girl he had “friended” on Facebook. “The two men are in a police lock-up. They are being investigated for murder,” a senior police official in Kedah state familiar with the case said on condition of anonymity. Twenty-year-old Mohamad Amran Romli died in hospital on Friday shortly after sustaining severe head injuries in an attack by two men believed to be brothers of the girl, the Malay-language Berita Harian daily said. The two men beat Amran with motorcycle helmets in an alley behind a supermarket in Kulim town in Kedah, it said. Local police chief Ghuzlan Saleh was quoted as saying that Amran had befriended the girl through Facebook. However, their online relationship eventually “turned sour” and the victim allegedly posted disparaging comments about the girl and her family.
Man sorry for killing NZ man
A man has apologized for killing a New Zealand taxi driver and asked for leniency during a hearing at a court in Shanghai. Twenty-four-year-old Xiao Zhen was arrested last year in China and charged with the murder of Auckland taxi driver Hiren Mohini in New Zealand in January last year. Yesterday, Xiao told Shanghai’s Second Intermediate Court that he was guilty and asked the court to consider his young age and that he had no prior criminal record. The court has not formally convicted him. The case marks the first time a person accused of a murder in New Zealand has been tried in another country.
Ramadan begins day later
The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan was to begin in the country yesterday, it was officially announced. “The crescent moon has been sighted in several cities and towns” across the country, including Islamabad and Karachi, late on Monday, said Muneeb-ur Rehman, chairman of the state moon-sighting committee. Ramadan in the country starts one day after Saudi Arabia because local authorities did not confirm sighting the new moon on Sunday.