Officials recreate Kremlin
Local officials in a Beijing suburb have built themselves a white-walled, gold-domed office complex resembling Moscow’s Kremlin, state media reported, prompting anger among Chinese who condemned the lavish buildings. Photos published by the Beijing Youth Daily newspaper show the sprawling complex, whose arched windows and gleaming spires resemble those of the Cathedral of the Annunciation in the Russian presidential palace, flanked by factories churning out smoke in the background. The buildings, which were built to house the local weather, seismological, water services and landscaping bureaux, range in cost from 9.3 million yuan (US$1.5 million) to 21 million yuan, the paper reported. They were constructed in the mostly-rural Beijing suburb of Mentougou, whose name means “the ditch in front of the gate” in Chinese.
Men build Lego car
It is the stuff children dream about, but a crowd-sourced project by a man and a Romanian teenager has made driving a car built with 500,000 Lego bricks a reality. The life-sized two-seater has a top speed of 30km per hour and is powered by four orbital engines with 256 pistons — all made of Lego — that run on compressed air. The car was designed by entrepreneur Steve Sammartino and Romanian tech guru Raul Oaida through a crowd-funding venture via Twitter. “I wanted to do something interesting that shows there are a myriad of possible innovations for cars. We wanted to be an example to open people’s minds,” Sammartino said. The yellow and black car, designed like a hotrod, took 20 months to complete. Apart from structural gear such as the wheels, tires, gauges and load-bearing components, only Lego bricks were used. Forty Australians supported the “Super Awesome Micro Project” campaign. and the car was built in Romania before being shipped to Melbourne for finishing touches.
Diplomat charged with arson
A diplomat in charge of accounting at the embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was charged yesterday with setting fire to the mission where US$260,000 has gone missing. Shinya Yamada, 30, the third secretary at the embassy in Kinshasa, was arrested earlier this month in Tokyo over allegations he set the blaze in June. Tokyo prosecutors indicted Yamada on charges that he had poured gasoline on offices at the premises and then set light to them. Yamada told police he was trying to destroy the mission to cover up the fact that he had embezzled embassy money, local reports have said. Yamada was reportedly a regular at casinos in Kinshasa and frequently borrowed money from colleagues. Police believe he had taken embassy money to fuel his gambling habit and the arson was his bid to remove evidence of his crime.
Elephant kills zookeeper
A zookeeper was killed by a 2 tonne elephant after he tried to sneak into its cage to paint a fence, an official said yesterday. “The elephant lifted him up with his trunk and smashed him onto a water tank next to the cage,” said Nguyen Van Sang, an official at the Dai Nam tourism center where the zoo is located in southern Binh Duong Province. He said the victim was well known by the elephant, which had been at the zoo since the age of two in 2008. The handler, Doan Huu Tai, 27, was rushed to hospital after the attack on Monday, but did not survive, Sang said.