Penis cutter suspect on trial
A Chinese woman is on trial for killing her former boyfriend with a hammer after first cutting off his penis with scissors, the South China Morning Post reported yesterday. Yeung Ki, 41, has admitted killing 32-year-old piano teacher Zhou Hui on Dec. 26, 2012, but denies murder. Yeung, who had had an affair with the married Zhou for years, killed him after he beat her, slapped their daughter and then raped Yeung, the High Court has heard. She drugged him with soup laced with sleeping pills, cut off his penis and flushed it down the toilet, then when he was awakened by the pain, beat him to death with a hammer, the prosecution said on Monday.
Almost perfect poll turnout
Pyongyang yesterday confirmed near-perfect turnout for its parliamentary election on Sunday in which single candidates stood uncontested in 687 constituencies nationwide. “According to the election returns available, 99.97 percent of all the voters registered ... took part in the election,” the KCNA news agency said. Of the votes cast, “100 percent” were for the candidates, KCNA said. However, turnout was slightly lower than the last election in 2009, when 99.98 percent of voters cast ballots.
Tamils protest in Geneva
Thousands of Tamils demonstrated in Geneva on Monday to protest Sri Lanka’s rejection of calls for an international probe into alleged war crimes at the end of its civil war. About 4,000 people marched through Geneva and crowded into the square outside the UN’s European headquarters. The demonstrators blocked traffic and police were forced to use pepper spray to contain the situation when protestors began pressing against the security barriers.
Research recall urged
A coauthor of a study that promised a revolutionary way to create stem cells has called for the research to be retracted over claims its data was faulty. The findings, published by Haruko Obokata and US-based scientists in the January edition of British journal Nature, outlined a simple and low-tech approach in the quest to grow transplant tissue in the lab. However, allegations have been raised that researchers used erroneous image data for the article. Teruhiko Wakayama, a Yamanashi University professor who coawrote the article, said the research should be retracted.
Key vows flag referendum
Prime Minister John Key yesterday pledged to hold a referendum on changing the national flag if he wins a third term in office in September. Key had been tipped to hold the referendum alongside Sept. 20 elections, but said he did not want the campaign dominated by debate over the flag. He said he supported ditching the current flag in favor of a silver fern on a black background, the emblem used by the nation’s sport teams.
Volcanoes help survival
The steam and heat from volcanoes allowed species of plants and animals to survive past ice ages, a study published yesterday said. “Volcanic steam can melt large ice caves under the glaciers, and it can be tens of degrees warmer in there than outside,” said Ceridwen Fraser, the joint team leader from the Australian National University. “Caves and warm steam fields would have been great places for species to hang out during ice ages.”
General’s trial ‘politicized’
A military judge in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on Monday found that politics had been unlawfully injected into the rare court-martial of Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair, but refused to dismiss the sexual assault charges against him. The judge said he would allow Sinclair to renew an offer to plead guilty to some lesser charges in exchange for the most serious allegations of coercive sex acts being dropped. Military leaders at Fort Bragg rejected a previous proposal by the general after giving improper consideration to a letter from the main accuser’s lawyer that invoked politics while urging them to deny the offer, Colonel James Pohl ruled.