World News Quick Take

Agencies

Sat, Mar 05, 2011 - Page 7

BHUTAN

Monk jailed for tobacco

A monk caught carrying US$2.50 worth of tobacco has been jailed for three years, becoming the first person punished under the country’s draconian anti-smoking law, reports said yesterday. Sonam Tshering was caught in January carrying 48 packets of chewing tobacco, which he said he had bought in India before traveling back home. The nation banned the sale of tobacco in 2005 and tightened up its law further last year to combat smuggling, requiring consumers to provide valid customs receipts for their cigarettes. An eight-page judgment from a district court in the capital, Thimphu, said that Tshering had violated the tobacco control act because he had not paid duty for the tobacco.

SOUTH KOREA

Official Web sites attacked

The Korea Communications Commission issued a cyber security alert as the Web sites of 29 government and other agencies came under attack yesterday. A commission spokesman said the “distributed denial of service” attacks had initially been expected to hit 40 Web sites, but only 29 were actually affected. They included those of the presidential Blue House, the US forces, the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, the ministries of foreign affairs, defense and unification, parliament and the tax office. The commission said in a statement the government was working closely with Internet security agencies and others to deal with the problem.

VIETNAM

China warned over Spratlys

Hanoi yesterday said it had lodged a complaint against Chinese military exercises near islands claimed by both countries, accusing its neighbor of violating its sovereignty. Foreign ministry officials met Chinese embassy staff on Wednesday in response to reports of Chinese naval activity last month around the Spratly Islands, which are also claimed by Taiwan and the Philippines. “The Vietnamese side clearly stated that by conducting the drills in Truong Sa Archipelago [Vietnam’s name for the Spratlys], China had violated Vietnamese sovereignty,” a statement from the ministry said. It said officials urged China to “refrain from activities that would further complicate the situation.”

MALAYSIA

Police sound pig alert

Police said they were searching for 100 live pigs stolen from a truck by armed robbers. Police official Roslan Bek Ahmad said three men with machetes hijacked the truck on Wednesday as it was leaving a pig farm in northern Perak state. The driver was tied up and left by the roadside. Roslan said police had recovered the vehicle in central Negri Sembilan state, but it was empty. He said police believed the pigs, worth about 83,000 ringgit (US$27,000), were transferred to another truck.

AUSTRIA

Silvio’s Ruby attends ball

“Ruby,” the teenager at the heart of a sex scandal involving Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, was the star turn on Thursday at the Vienna Opera Ball. The Moroccan-born pole dancer Karima El Mahroug, nicknamed “Ruby the Heart Stealer,” joined entrepreneur Richard Lugner in his box and attracted frenzied attention. Dressed in a long embroidered gown, the 18-year-old hogged the media limelight with photographers jostling to shoot her. Opera Ball organizer Desiree Treichl-Stuergkh threatened to cancel Luge’s loge next year, saying: “This is the biggest embarrassment that Mr. Lugner has ever made. It’s sad, humiliating and disrespectful.”