Ex-wrestler in dog poo tiff
Hawaiian-born former sumo wrestler Konishiki admitted on Thursday to a physical confrontation with a neighbor in a dispute over dog poo. Konishiki, 47, now a popular television personality, said on his blog that he was trying to defend his wife over charges she had allowed her dog to foul private property in Tokyo. Media reports said Konishiki, who weighed 275kg during his time in the ring, pushed a man who demanded that the former wrestler’s wife clean up the mess. The incident happened on Nov. 12 as the couple walked their dogs near an apartment building. She denied that her dog was responsible and tried to walk away, the apartment owner’s son told the Sports Nippon newspaper. Konishiki stepped between them and pushed the man, who was not injured, but reported the incident to police as an assault, Kyodo News said.
Chinese tourist numbers up
Chinese visits to Japan rose last month, the first increase since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and a sign that recovery for the nation’s tourism industry may be near. Arrivals last month from China, the nation’s second-biggest tourist market after South Korea, jumped 35 percent from a year earlier, according to Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). Visits from Hong Kong rose 23 percent, the agency said. The number of visitors from China, which fell by 50 percent in April, was unchanged from a year earlier in October. While the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis drove almost 230,000 people to flee the country, hotel chains across Japan are expanding and airlines are adding international flights, betting Chinese tourists will lead a recovery.
Metro hit by new disruption
The troubled metro system was hit by a fresh disruption yesterday, two days after a severe breakdown that required emergency evacuations of people trapped in trains. Metro operator SMRT Corp gave no reason for the latest disruption, which affected services in the Orchard Road shopping belt and Raffles Place financial district. An estimated 127,000 commuters were affected when a power fault, that lasted five hours, hit the same North-South line on Thursday, in what is believed to be the worst breakdown in the metro’s 24 years of operation. SMRT, which also runs taxis and buses, further enraged the public when an electronic message went out to its cabbies during the outage saying there was an “income opportunity” to ferry stranded train passengers.
Nuclear suspension agreed
Pyongyang has agreed to suspend its enriched-uranium nuclear weapons program, a key US demand for the resumption of disarmament talks, news reports said yesterday. Yonhap news agency and the Chosun Ilbo daily quoted an unidentified diplomatic source saying that Washington had also agreed to provide the North with up to 240,000 tonnes of food aid. The nation pledged “to implement initial measures of denuclearisation that include a suspension of its uranium enrichment program,” Yonhap said. The agreements came when US special envoy for North Korean Human Rights Robert King met with Ri Gun, head of North American affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday and Friday in Beijing, the source said.
UN troops accused of abuse
The UN said on Friday it was investigating allegations of assault and attempted homicide by peacekeepers in the country, the latest charges of misconduct to be leveled against the blue--helmeted force. Local media have alleged that a group of Brazilian peacekeepers working for the UN mission in the country, known as MINUSTAH, severely beat and left for dead three young Haitian men earlier this week. “The mission is doing everything it can to establish the facts as soon as possible,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters. “It [MINUSTAH] reiterates its zero tolerance policy regarding misconduct of its personnel and will examine all allegations with the utmost seriousness,” he said.