Poo-powered bike unveiled
The nation’s best-known toilet maker, TOTO, yesterday unveiled a “poop-powered” motorcycle that can travel as far as 300km on a tank filled with animal waste. Billed as the world’s first waste-powered vehicle, the three-wheeler has a toilet in place of a regular seat and huge paper roll at the back. However, as a young female model climbed aboard for a test drive yesterday, the toilet giant was quick to point out that she would not supply the “gas.” “The biogas it uses as fuel is not made from human waste. It’s made from livestock waste and sewage,” company spokesman Kenji Fujita told reporters in a Tokyo suburb. The company — which makes toilets equipped with an array of features including heated seats, water jets with pressure and temperature controls, and ambient background music — has no plans to commercialize the motorcycle.
Tymoshenko appeal denied
Kiev’s high court yesterday upheld former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s conviction and seven-year jail sentence for abuse of power linked to a disputed 2009 gas deal with Russia. “The judicial panel has ruled that the appeal filed by Tymoshenko is not subject to approval,” judge Olexander Elfimov told the court. The ruling by the nation’s highest court means that Tymoshenko has now exhausted her domestic legal recourse and is free to appeal her full case before the European Court of Human Rights. About 100 supporters of the 2004 pro-democracy Orange Revolution co-leader waved Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party flags during a quiet rally held outside the Kiev courtroom.
War papers to be released
Russia will release documents concerning thousands of Japanese held in labor camps after World War II which may provide clues about how and where they died, the government said on Tuesday. The documents, which will be handed over next year, were expected to reveal details of prisoners of war taken to camps after the war ended, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. About 575,000 Japanese soldiers and others were taken to Soviet labor camps in Siberia and Mongolia after the war. Most eventually returned home, but roughly 53,000 people were believed to have died in the camps with the fate of about 18,000 others unknown. “By analyzing the data, the records may shed light on who died where and how,” a ministry official said. “It may say something about those who died while being transported between labor camps. This kind of data has never been made available before.”
Academics slam English use
A group of academics has said English-language abbreviations which have become part of everyday life should be struck from the country’s top dictionary. A letter signed by more than 100 academics condemned the inclusion of terms including NBA and WTO in the latest edition of the nation’s most authoritative dictionary, the Global Times daily reported yesterday. Acronyms and other abbreviations derived from English are widely used in the country, where millions of basketball fans refer to their favorite league as the NBA, rather than Mei Zhi Lan, the official Chinese translation. English abbreviations for international bodies such as the WTO are also widely used, while PM2.5, a measure of air pollution, has become a familiar term among urban residents, who are increasingly concerned about air quality.