Thu, Jan 19, 2012 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

JAPAN

Scientists crack butt scanner

Put your fingerprint scanners away. Stand aside iris measurers. Buttocks are the new way to prove who you are. A team of scientists claim their pressure sensor sheet can accurately identify an individual’s backside and when placed on a driver’s seat could be used as a last line of defense to stop someone else driving away your motor. “The sheet has 360 sensors, which collect data for 39 features to recognize a person, such as pressure patterns and the dimensions of the buttocks,” said Shigeomi Koshimizu, who led the research. However, he said, there are still a few hurdles to clear before the technology makes it to market. “The recognition tends to be compromised by different clothes,” he said. “Sensors read different signals from a pair of trousers and a pair of jeans.”

HONG KONG

Shangri-La drops shark fin

Luxury hotel chain Shangri-La has announced it will stop serving shark fin at its 72 properties worldwide, as the campaign to protect the marine predators gains ground among Chinese consumers. The group said it would cease serving shark fin in all of its restaurants as well as accepting new orders for shark fin products in banqueting with immediate effect, under its “sustainable seafood policy.” Shangri-La said it would also phase out Bluefin tuna and Chilean sea bass, which are under the threat of extinction, at all restaurants within the year.

JAPAN

Kim son not so confident

A new book claims that the eldest son of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il believes the regime may be destined to collapse and fears his young half-brother isn’t ready to lead. The book by Tokyo-based journalist Yoji Gomi went on sale yesterday. He says it is based on e-mail exchanges he had with Kim Jong-nam over many years. The book drew immediate attention as a rare view into the family that has led the secretive country for decades. Since Kim Jong-il’s death on Dec. 17, North Korea has been led by his youngest son, Kim Jong-un. “Jong-un will just be a figurehead,” the book quotes Kim Jong-nam as saying. It claims he said the collapse of North Korea’s economy is “within sight” unless it initiates reforms, which could also bring it down.

INDIA

Court mulls general’s age

The government and its army chief are asking the Supreme Court to answer a peculiar question: Just how old is the nation’s top soldier? General Vijay Kumar Singh says he was born in May 1951 and will not reach the mandatory retirement age of 62 until next year. However, the Ministry of Defense says its records show he was born a year earlier and must retire in four months. The disagreement, the first time a serving general has dragged the government to court, is complicated because Singh’s army records and school certificates show different dates. Like many of his generation, Singh has no birth certificate.

HONG KONG

Police search for ring

Police said yesterday they were investigating the theft of a US$1.6 million gem-encrusted ring reportedly left in a hotel washroom by co-president of Swiss jewelers Chopard. “A female foreigner left an emerald ring valued at HK$12 million in the washroom on the fourth floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong,” a police spokeswoman said. “A few minutes later when she returned to look for the ring, it was gone.”

FRANCE

Worker guilty of ‘crap’ insult

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