Police rescue US boy
Police say they have rescued a four-year-old US boy who was held for ransom for eight days and that five suspects have been arrested. Isagani Nerez, head of the police anti-crime unit, said yesterday that the boy was seized by three gunmen on Dec. 6 in Manila while traveling in a car with his Philippine mother. A ransom was paid three days later, but the kidnappers demanded more money before releasing the boy. Nerez said police feared the boy would be harmed and traced his location with the help of FBI agents to the kidnappers’ hideout in Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon province. On Wednesday, police stormed the site and rescued the boy unharmed. Nerez said the boy was in good health and reunited with his family.
‘Bunker-buster’ being made
The country is developing a bomb capable of penetrating North Korean bunkers or caves housing artillery pieces, a member of parliament’s defense committee said. An aide to lawmaker Song Young-sun quoted her as saying that the state-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD) launched a 6.2 billion won (US$5.35 million) project last year to develop the “bunker-buster.” “ADD is developing a bomb capable of penetrating 1.5m concrete walls with a view to completion by 2013,” Song was quoted as saying on Thursday. North Korea’s long-range artillery is often hidden in fortified caves and rolled out to fire shots before being rapidly pushed back. For this reason, troops were unable to retaliate effectively when the North shelled Yeonpyeong Island near the disputed Yellow Sea border in November last year. The ADD also plans to develop another bomb capable of penetrating 5m or 6m once the initial bunker-buster is completed, Chosun said.
Christian Bale roughed up
Hollywood actor Christian Bale was roughed up by Chinese security guards as he attempted to visit a blind legal activist whose detention has sparked a domestic and international outcry, CNN reported yesterday. Bale, who plays crime-fighting superhero Batman, and a camera crew from CNN were jostled by men in plainclothes from Dongshigu Village in Shandong Province, where activist Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) has been under house arrest for 15 months, according to a video released by CNN on its Web site. “Why can I not visit this man?” Bale asked several security officers, while they were pushing him.
Record wish-list made
These days, Santa Claus could well feel nostalgic about the time when the country was communist and its governments frowned upon Christmas. Why? Because now that it is a democracy and capitalist, Romania is trying to set an all-time record for the world’s longest wish list for Father Christmas. And while the gifts children want are not all that surprising, the adult requests include everything from a new husband and a 365-day holiday to a Nobel prize. Many people in the country still believe in witchcraft, so few were surprised when managers at a shopping mall recently conducted a survey and found that many adults believe in Santa as much as children do. That prompted the Liberty Center mall in south Bucharest to begin trying to create the world’s longest wish-list letter to Santa, with handwritten requests from children and grown-ups. So far, the list is more than 60m long and growing by the day, with more than 1,000 requests. The letter to Santa Claus started on Dec. 1 and it will close on Dec. 23.