Siri leads users to brothels
Concerns that the Mandarin version of the Apple iPhone’s new voice-activated assistant “Siri” directs users to brothels has been raised by netizens and lawyers, state media said on Monday. Users were given several options for finding prostitutes upon request, but could not verify if the listings were accurate, the state-run China Daily said. Prostitution is banned in the country, which retains a largely conservative attitude to sex. Nearly 9 million users of microblogging site Sina Weibo commented on the function. One suspected Apple of providing the service intentionally, while another noted how efficient it was at finding brothels, rather than restaurants that serve typical dishes. “When I ask Siri about beef noodle soup or hotpot, she has no idea,” the netizen said. Another message said Siri’s detailed knowledge of brothels puts law enforcement to shame. “A mobile phone can know all this while the police do not?”
Elephants stomp policeman
A herd of elephants has trampled to death a police officer in a central jungle. The victim and two other men went into the jungle on Saturday to look for apricot trees. Huynh Trung Luan, the director of the elephant conservation center in Daklak Province, said more than 20 wild elephants attacked the men as they returned home that night. Luan said two of the men escaped unhurt. The 42-year-old policeman was found dead on Sunday morning. Luan said the herd became more aggressive after two of its members were killed by villagers in August.
National symphony disbands
The national symphony orchestra has been disbanded for lack of funds, musicians said on Monday, another sign of the effects of Western economic sanctions. Orchestra members told the semiofficial ILNA news agency that they have not been paid for three months. The orchestra was reactivated just last year, after a two-year break. The step is likely tied to heightening economic woes in Iran because of government mismanagement and Western sanctions over Iran’s nuclear development program. Iran’s orchestra is one of the oldest in the Middle East, founded in the 1930s. It has hosted performances by world famous musicians like Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern in the past.
WWII dud stalls airport
A huge, unexploded World War II bomb has been found buried near the runway of one of the coutnry’s busiest regional airports, forcing all flights to be canceled yesterday, officials said. A worker rebuilding drainage systems near Sendai Airport uncovered the 225kg bomb on Monday evening. Local reports said the bomb was 110cm long and 35cm in diameter. If the bomb explodes, fragments could be scattered more than 1km, NHK news said, adding that officials were mulling an evacuation.
Obama to make SE Asia trip
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says US President Barack Obama is expected to visit Southeast Asia in the middle of next month. Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong yesterday said that Obama will travel to the capital, Phnom Penh, for an ASEAN summit. The meeting of heads of state is due to take place from Nov. 18 to Nov. 20, bringing together leaders of the 10-nation bloc. US officials have declined to confirm Obama’s travel plans. Koy Kuong had no further details, but another senior official said Obama is also expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Anti-tank death plot foiled
Three men including a “paranoid” convicted felon allegedly plotted to assassinate the attorney general using an anti-tank weapon, a police investigator told a court on Monday. The court granted a police request to keep the three suspects in police custody for eight days until investigators build their case against them. The suspected ringleader is 61-year-old Andreas Ounoufriou, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the 1996 attempted murder of a judge. The trio faces charges of conspiracy to commit murder and possession of military-grade explosives, a missile launcher and other weapons. Police investigator Ioannis Georgadjis told a Nicosia District Court that Ounoufriou allegedly masterminded the foiled killing of Attorney General Petros Clerides from behind bars a few months before he was due to be released from a four-year sentence for an earlier prison escape.
Jobs’ yacht completed
Steve Jobs’ super-yacht Venus has emerged from a shipbuilder’s yard just over a year after the Apple founder’s death. The approximately 70m long yacht was built by Royal De Vries shipbuilders in Aalsmeer, just south of Amsterdam. According to a posting on Sunday on the tech blog onemorething.nl, the ship will be presented to Jobs’ family, including his widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, and their three children, Reed, Erin and Eve. It will then be packed up and shipped by cargo to the US. Those who worked on the ship each received an iPod nano from the family, the blog said. The bridge features a control panel made up of an array of seven iMac computers. Another Mac can be seen through a porthole above the anchor. Sources told the blog that the ship took six years to design and build. Apple’s top designer, Jonathan Ive, was involved with the design.
Car crash saves life
A road crash may have actually saved the life of a taxi driver, authorities said on Monday. The 50-year-old choked on a sweet and lost control of his cab during a coughing fit while on a job in Wuppertal on Sunday, police said. First he hit a small truck parked at the roadside before losing consciousness with his vehicle headed towards oncoming traffic, hitting another parked car head-on, they said. The impact presumably dislodged the sweet from his throat and the taxi driver regained consciousness.
Secularists defy ban
Police fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse thousands of pro-secular protesters who defied a ban by the moderate Islamist government to march on Monday in Ankara to mark Republic Day. Carrying national flags, demonstrators shouted slogans including “Fully independent Turkey” and “We are soldiers of Mustafa Kemal [Ataturk],” referring to the republic’s founding father. The rally began outside the first parliament building in the historic Ulus District. Some in the group were shouting anti-government slogans such as “Turkey is secular and will remain secular,” and “We are here despite the AKP [Justice and Development Party]” government. The Ankara governor’s office had banned the Republic Day rally, saying that security services had received intelligence that groups might be planning “provocative” action.
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable