Uproar over giraffe’s death
The Copenhagen Zoo on Sunday sparked outrage when it put down a young giraffe, then chopped it up and fed it to lions as visitors, including young children, looked on. The fate of 18-month-old Marius shocked animal lovers around the world, with thousands signing an online petition to save him and a billionaire offering to buy him and keep him in her Beverly Hills garden. The zoo said the action was necessary to prevent inbreeding and Marius was put down with a bolt gun after being anesthetized. A crowd looked on as an autopsy was carried out and the animal skinned and chopped up. Some grimaced while others took photographs. “It was put down at 9:20. It went as planned. It’s always the people’s right to protest. But of course we have been surprised,” zoo spokesman Tobias Stenbaek Bro said. He said some zoo staff had received death threats, including its scientific director. Under European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) rules, inbreeding between giraffes is to be avoided, the zoo said on its Web site. Although Marius was healthy, his genes were already well represented in Europe and he could not be taken in by the 300 other EAZA-affiliated zoos because that would cause inbreeding, the zoo said. The feeding of Marius’ remains to the lions proved popular at the zoo. Stenbaek Bro said it allowed parents to decide whether their children should watch what the zoo regards as an important display of scientific knowledge about animals.
Fourth Antarctic station opens
The country’s fourth Antarctic research station — the flying saucer-shaped Taishan — has officially opened, in another step for its exploration ambitions in both earth and space. A fifth station is also being planned, reports said. China is a relative latecomer to Antarctic exploration, sending its first exploration team to the remote continent in 1984 and establishing its first research base a year later. About 30 nations operate permanent research stations in Antarctica.
Crackdown on ‘sin city’
Authorities have carried out a rare crackdown on the sex trade in the “sin city” of Dongguan following a candid report by the state broadcaster on the underground industry. The country outlawed prostitution after the communist revolution in 1949, but it returned with a vengeance following landmark economic reforms three decades ago, and has helped fuel a rise in HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. Media said 67 people were arrested and 12 venues were shut down in a sting operation involving thousands of police in the Dongguan region at the heart of the Pearl River Delta industrial hub in the southern province of Guangdong. Two city police chiefs were suspended.
US man tried for mob crimes
A US businessman is standing trial in the country for allegedly heading a violent mob that kidnapped rivals and operated illegal casinos, charges he says he was tortured into confessing. The trial of Vincent Wu (胡煒升) and 31 of his associates opened yesterday in Guangzhou. Wu’s lawyer Li Zhuang (李莊) says Wu’s defense team told the judge that Wu is a US citizen and should be treated as such. Authorities refuse to acknowledge Wu’s US citizenship because he last entered mainland China on his Hong Kong residence pass. Wu has been denied US consular access since his June 2012 detention. Wu’s case underscores the risks faced by individuals working in China who have travel documents from more than one country because Beijing does not recognize dual nationalities.