US, Chinese work together
The US and Chinese militaries are finishing up a modest disaster-relief exercise meant to build trust between armed forces that often view each other as adversaries. Not a full-fledged operation, the two-day exercise that ended yesterday saw officers from the US and Chinese militaries sitting around a table discussing how they would respond to an earthquake in a fictional third country. US Major General Stephen Lyons said the exercise is a step toward the day when the two militaries will operate side-by-side in a humanitarian operation. Though Washington and Beijing have talked about improving military cooperation for more than a decade, distrust runs high and disagreements over Taiwan, North Korea and China’s claims to disputed territories in the East and South China seas remain potential flashpoints.
Sex slaver gets death
A man who imprisoned six women as sex slaves underground and killed one of them was sentenced to death yesterday in central China, Xinhua news agency said. Li Hao (李浩) was convicted of abducting the six women in August 2009, holding them in his basement and raping them “many times,” Xinhua said. He killed one of them in 2010 and had three of the women kill another last year, it reported.
Talking robot going to space
A small humanoid robot that can talk will be sent into space to provide conversational company for a Japanese astronaut on a six-month mission, according to new plans. The miniature robot is to arrive at the International Space Station next summer, a few months ahead of astronaut Koichi Wakata, Japan’s Kibo Robot Project office said on Thursday. At 0.34m tall and weighing about 1kg, the little android is programmed to recognize Wakata’s face and to communicate in Japanese, the project office said. A cartoon sketch of the space buddy was released on Thursday and showed a black-and-silver figure with bright red boots. Mission organizers are asking for suggestions from the public for a name for the robot, which is also to have a twin brother on Earth doing public relations.
City awaits ‘Broken Tooth’
The Asian gambling mecca of Macau is bracing for the release of a notorious organized crime boss who was at the center of the gangland violence that plagued the city in the late 1990s. Wan Kuok-koi (尹國駒), also known as “Broken Tooth Koi,” is scheduled to be released from prison today after serving most of a 15-year sentence. Wan was convicted in 1999 of loan sharking, money laundering and being a gang leader. As head of Macau’s 14K triad, Wan waged a brutal war with rival gangs.
Suspect signs cards
George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watchman charged with murdering black teenager Trayvon Martin, will mail signed thank-you cards to people who send donations to his defense fund, his defense team said on Thursday. Zimmerman’s defense fund, which opened in May, has received US$140,000 in seven months, but is now running lower than ever “and new funds must be raised to support George’s living expenses and legal costs,” reads a statement on the George Zimmerman Defense Fund Web site. The site, managed by Zimmerman’s defense attorney Mark O’Mara, said that it “will begin sending Thank You Cards to people who have contributed to the Defense Fund. Each card will be personally signed by George.” The Web site promises that donations “will be used for George Zimmerman’s ongoing living expenses, legal costs, and fees,” and the funds “are being administered by a third-party administrator.”