Maid attack details emerge
An Indonesian maid was allegedly raped twice by a neighbor, who then cut and strangled her before throwing her out of the window of a second-story apartment, media reports said on Tuesday. The maid, who was 26 at the time of the alleged attack, survived the ordeal despite suffering serious injuries, the High Court heard in proceedings reported by the Straits Times daily. The identities of the victim and the accused — a 44-year-old former security guard — were not published on court orders. The newspaper said the incident took place in September 2009, when the maid stepped outside the apartment where she worked to reach the circuit box located outside after the electricity tripped. The accused, who lived in the opposite flat, then pushed her into the empty apartment and forced himself on her before cutting her with a pair of scissors and strangling her with a piece of string, the court heard. Police found the woman lying at the foot of her housing block, seriously injured, but alive.
Bear bile farm opens doors
A traditional Chinese medicine company at the heart of an angry Internet campaign accusing it of violating animal welfare opened one of its controversial bear bile farms to journalists yesterday. Bear bile has long been used to treat various health problems, despite skepticism about its effectiveness and outrage over the bile extraction process, which animal rights group say is excruciatingly painful for bears. The Guizhentang pharmaceutical company in Fujian Province last year announced plans to raise millions of dollars through a stock exchange listing in order to increase production of the bile. However, the announcement sparked a noisy Internet campaign against the listing that brought into question the medical effectiveness of the bile and the cruel manner in which it is extracted from living bears.
Sex education book pulled
The government has ordered bookstores to stop selling a children’s sex education book by a British author over concerns it could “corrupt people’s minds” in the conservative Muslim-majority country. The Home Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that bookstores were no longer allowed to sell Where did I come from? by Peter Mayle pending a review. The ministry did not specify how long the review would take or how many copies were in circulation. The illustrated book aims to help parents explain to children such topics as sex, conception and birth, according to a book preview on online retailer Amazon.
Snow fears grip parents
A city on the subtropical island of Okinawa was forced to cancel a traditional snow event for kids after parents said the snow shipped from the northeast might be radioactive, officials said yesterday. The city of Naha had planned the annual event for today with the Maritime Self-Defence Force’s aircraft group, which carried more than 600km of snow from northern Aomori Prefecture. However, dozens of parents, who have fled from the disaster-hit region to the southern island in fear of radioactive contamination from the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, demanded the event be canceled. Soldiers from the aircraft group make the annual trip to Aomori — about 360km from Fukushima — for training and for the past 18 years they have taken with them Okinawa sugarcane while returning to the south with snow.