Islands dispute continues
Hanoi has accused Beijing of violating its sovereignty with a scientific survey in waters around two disputed island chains in the South China Sea, the foreign ministry said. It called on China to “immediately cease and refrain” from further such acts. Tensions are already running high between the neighbors over claims to the potentially oil-rich Paracel and Spratly archipelagos. The statement yesterday referred to a report carried by China’s Xinhua news agency that said a research vessel, Tan Bao Hao, had conducted a scientific survey in the sea between the two island groups. “The Vietnamese foreign ministry’s representatives met the Chinese side and stated Vietnam’s points of view, lodging Vietnam’s protest against China’s acts, which violate the sovereignty and jurisdictional rights of Vietnam,” ministry spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga said.
Wong, partner having baby
Finance Minister Penny Wong (黃英賢) yesterday announced her female partner was expecting their first child, sparking renewed debate on the country’s ban on gay marriage. Wong said her long-term partner, Sophie Allouache, was pregnant, in a statement that also thanked the child’s biological father “for giving us the opportunity to raise a child together.” Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she was pleased with the news, but remained steadfast in her opposition to gay marriage. “Penny Wong is a colleague of mine, she’s also a very long-term friend, so I’m very pleased for Penny and her partner, Sophie, as they look forward to a new baby and the next phase of their lives,” Gillard told reporters. “Clearly there are strong views about same-sex marriage in the community. I’ve made my views clear.”
Abuse, work hours linked
Long working hours can more than triple the risk of alcohol abuse and addiction, an Otago University research has found. The study of more than 1,000 people aged 25 to 30 found a statistically significant link between the amount of hours worked and alcohol abuse. “Individuals working 50 or more hours per week had rates of alcohol-related problems that were 1.8 to 3.3 times higher than those for individuals who were not employed,” study leader Sheree Gibb said. The research, to be published in the British peer-reviewed journal Addiction, found the figures were similar for males and females. Gibb said increased alcohol abuse among those who worked long hours might be an attempt to reduce stress associated with their jobs. She also suggested that social contact with workmates might make people more likely to abuse alcohol.
Jilted groom files suit
A man is suing his former fiancee for more than US$360,000 for leaving him just six hours before their wedding. Lawyer Latifah Ariffin said 32-year-old Masran Abdul Rahman and his family were distressed and deeply embarrassed when Norzuliyana Mat Hassan called off the June wedding at the last minute. Latifah said Masran had invited 1,200 guests to the reception and was seeking compensation for damages and defamation from Norzuliyana and her father. The suit was filed on Monday in a court in northeast Kelantan state. Latifah said yesterday that Norzuliyana did not give any reason for backing out of the arranged marriage. Norzuliyana could not immediately be reached for comment.