N Korean boat gets lost
A small boat believed to be from North Korea wandered into territorial waters, carrying three men and a dead body. The coast guard said yesterday that the three men aboard the boat were being fed and questioned. Other details were not immediately available. Media reports quoted the men as saying they had gotten lost while fishing and wanted to return to North Korea — meaning they were not defectors. The reports also said the body was that of a fourth passenger who died a few days ago while at sea.
Old reactors to close
Tokyo says it will soon require atomic reactors to be shut down after 40 years of use to improve safety following the nuclear crisis set off by last year’s tsunami. Concern about aging reactors has been growing because the three units at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant that went into meltdown following the tsunami in March last year were built starting in 1967. Among other reactors at least 40 years old are those at the Tsuruga and Mihama plants, construction of which started in 1970. Many more of the nation’s 54 reactors will reach the 40-year mark in coming years.
London-based Free Tibet says two people have set themselves on fire in Sichuan Province in the latest in a series of apparent self--immolations in protest at Beijing’s rule. The activist group said witnesses saw a man set himself on fire on Friday near a monastery in Aba Prefecture. It said security forces put out the flames and took the man away. His condition is unknown. Free Tibet says someone else died at about the same time in a self-immolation nearby. It gave no other details. The claims could not be confirmed. A woman at the prefecture government office yesterday said she knew nothing about the incidents.
Stolen painting returned
A painting by surrealist master Rene Magritte, stolen at gunpoint two years ago, has been returned after the thieves apparently failed to find a buyer, the Magritte museum in Brussels said on Friday. The work, titled Olympia, was stolen in September 2009 by two armed gunmen from Magritte’s former home, which is open as a museum by appointment only. Said to be worth about 3 million euros (US$3.8 million) at the time, experts had said the highly recognizable work would be difficult to sell. More than two years later, a person contacted an expert working with the insurance company and offered to hand it back, museum curator Andre Garitte said. “They’d visibly understood they wouldn’t be able to sell it because it was too well-known. Luckily they didn’t destroy it.”
Bletchley Park to be listed
The government has acted to protect a crumbling piece of wartime — and computing — history. The government said on Friday that it has given protected status to the derelict Block C at Bletchley Park, the site northwest of London where mathematicians and cryptographers toiled in secret to crack Nazi communications codes. Historians believe their work shortened the war by as much as two years. The steel-and-concrete Block C contained high-speed data processing machines that helped the British crack Germany’s Enigma encryption device. Heritage Minister John Penrose said on Friday that Block C “can be viewed as the birthplace of modern information technology.”