Seized arms ‘legitimate’
The government said on Wednesday that Cuban arms seized from a Pyongyang-flagged ship near the Panama Canal were part of a legitimate deal, amid concerns UN sanctions may have been violated. Havana said the arms, discovered on the ship among tonnes of sugar, were “obsolete” Soviet-era missiles and parts, which were being sent to North Korea for repair — an account backed up by its allies in Pyongyang. “This cargo is nothing but aging weapons which are to be sent back to Cuba after overhauling them according to a legitimate contract,” Korea Central News Agency quoted the foreign ministry as saying. “The Panamanian authorities should take a step to let the apprehended crewmen and ship leave without delay.”
Nuclear plant steaming
Steam or vapors appeared to be coming from a damaged reactor building at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant yesterday, but the plant operator said radiation levels were steady. The video images showed a small amount of vapor or steam, but the origin was not clear. It was detected in the morning and was continuing in the afternoon. The reactor’s spent fuel pool was stable and measurements of the temperatures and pressure have not changed significantly, Tokyo Electric Power Co said.
Enforcers kill fruit vendor
Urban enforcers beat to death a roadside fruit seller in a dispute, reports said yesterday, highlighting abuses by the units and provoking outrage online. Images posted online showed Deng Zhengjia (鄧正加), who sold watermelons at a street stall in Hunan Province, lying motionless on the ground after being beaten by local regulation enforcers known as chengguan. They kicked and punched Deng and one used a metal measuring weight to smash his head, the Beijing Times quoted Deng’s wife, Huang Sujun (黃素君), as saying. Local officials have promised to investigate the death, the report said, without giving details of what triggered the row.
Losers given ‘weight in gold’
Shedding weight is being rewarded in gold under a new initiative by the municipality of the Gulf emirate aimed at fighting obesity, local newspapers reported on Wednesday. “Your Weight in Gold” is the title of a campaign promising 1g of gold for every kilogram shed, provided a minimum of 2kg of weight are lost by Aug. 16. The three campaign-winning losers will each receive a gold coin worth 20,000 dirhams (US$5,449) through a lucky draw. Other weight losers will share gold coins worth 200,000 dirhams.
‘Anti-shark’ wetsuits sold
A research firm yesterday launched what is being touted as the world’s first anti-shark wetsuit, using new discoveries about the predators’ eyesight to stave off or evade an attack. Working in conjunction with the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) Oceans Institute, entrepreneurs Hamish Jolly and Craig Anderson have developed two lines of wetsuit designed to protect divers and surfers from sharks. The blue-and-white “Elude” for divers and snorkellers uses research about sharks’ perceptions of light and color blindness to essentially “hide you in the water column,” Anderson said. The “Diverter” — mainly for surfers — is based on what sharks perceive as danger signs in nature, with a bold black and white banding patten to imitate an “unpalatable food item,” UWA researcher Shaun Collin said.