Odor-eliminating pants a hit
Underpants that reportedly can neutralize the smell of flatulence are proving a hit in the country, whose hard-working businessmen seem to like the idea of breaking wind without getting rumbled. A textile company has developed a range of underwear that it says prevent unwelcome odors. The underwear is manufactured with niff-absorbing ceramic particles in the material fibers. The company’s range has now expanded to 22 items, including socks that prevent feet from smelling and t-shirts that mask the whiff of sweaty armpits.
President’s wife in probe
President Lee Myung-bak’s wife, Kim Yoon-ok, will be questioned in writing by special prosecutors probing alleged irregularities in the purchase of a retirement home for her husband, officials said yesterday. Prosecutors have already grilled Lee’s brother and son, but assistant special counsel Lee Chang-hoon said protocol dictated that Kim would not be required to appear before the investigation team in person. The probe is focused on alleged irregularities in the purchase of a plot of land on the southern edge of Seoul to build a retirement home for Lee Myung-bak when he leaves office in January. The president’s wife and brother have been included in the investigation because of reports that they each loaned Lee Si-hyung 600 million won (US$550,000) to buy the lot.
Islands budget tripled
A parliamentary committee has agreed to nearly triple a special budget for promoting Seoul’s sovereignty over an isolated set of islands also claimed by Japan, officials said yesterday. The Foreign Affairs Committee approved the 6.2 billion won budget on Friday, a foreign ministry official said. The money — up from this year’s budget of 2.3 billion won — would be used to fund state-led activities promoting the ownership of the Dokdo Islands, which are known as the Takeshima Islands in Japan.
Central Venice flooded
Heavy rains and seas whipped up by strong winds have flooded Venice and brought the lagoon city’s high-tide mark to its sixth-highest level since records began being kept 150 years ago. News reports said the same weather system that put 70 percent of central Venice under water on Sunday was wreaking havoc elsewhere in the country, with about 200 people evacuated from their homes in hard-hit Tuscany. Moveable barriers that would rise from the sea bed to protect Venice from high tides have been in the works for years, but will not be operational before 2014.
Police make big cocaine haul
Anti-drug police said on Sunday they seized 1,700kg of cocaine at a remote site on the border with Brazil and arrested 19 suspects. “This is possibly the largest shipment ever seized up to now,” the head of the country’s anti-drug force, Francisco de Vargas, said on Telefuturo TV network. Among those arrested was the country’s most-wanted criminal, Ezequiel de Souza, who was carrying both Brazilian and Paraguayan identification papers. Police found the drugs at an indigenous community known as La Paloma, located 600km northeast of the capital, Asuncion. The suspects were immediately flown to the capital to face charges of possessing drugs, drug trafficking and criminal association. They face sentences of up to 25 years in prison. Ten suspects were Paraguayan — including police officers.