North violates border: South
A North Korean naval patrol boat yesterday briefly crossed the disputed Yellow Sea border with South Korea while tracking Chinese fishing vessels, military officials in Seoul said. The apparently accidental incursion lasted only seven minutes, they said. The patrol boat sailed about 36m into the southern side of the sea boundary, but swiftly retreated after a warning radioed by South Korean naval ships, the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. “We believe the North Korean boat accidentally crossed the Northern Limit Line while trying to chase away Chinese fishing vessels,” a JCS spokesman said. About 70 Chinese vessels were fishing near the border, he said.
Student accused of dissent
A 20-year-old student, missing for two weeks since a police raid on her home, is being held at a jail in Long An Province for allegedly spreading propaganda against the one-party communist state, reports said yesterday. Nguyen Phuong Uyen, a student at Ho Chi Minh City’s Food Technology University who was detained on Oct. 14, is accused of distributing anti-state leaflets and is being questioned as part of a case involving “security matters,” a brief report in the state-run Ho Chi Minh City Law newspaper said. Charges of disseminating anti-state propaganda carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.
Worker killed in accident
A construction worker was killed and 14 were injured yesterday after they were hit by falling steel rods at the construction site for a massive bridge, officials said. Rescuers rushed to the scene after the incident on an artificial island where the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai Bridge is being built near the international airport, the Fire Services Department said. “Preliminary investigation showed the steel rods which were being lifted fell suddenly and the group of workers were struck,” a spokesman said. The 50km bridge linking the territory to the two Chinese cities is due for completion in 2016.
City may bin phone books
The city state is considering stopping the publication of free telephone directories listing residential and office numbers as privacy concerns mount, a government agency said. The use of telephone directories “have declined significantly over the years,” the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) said in a consultation paper yesterday. “In addition to the trend of declining usage of Directory Services, IDA has also observed increasing public awareness, and concerns, about use and protection of personal data,” the regulatory body said. Its review follows a personal data protection law that imposes heavy fines on firms making unsolicited telemarketing calls or text messages to consumers who refuse to be contacted.
Hindu temple discovered
Construction workers in Bali have discovered what is thought to be the biggest ancient Hindu temple ever found on the island, archeologists said. The workers were digging a drain in Denpasar, at a Hindu study center when they came across the remains of the stone temple. They reported the discovery to the Bali archeology office, which then unearthed substantial foundations of a structure that the excavation team believes dates from around the 13th to 15th centuries. “We think this is the biggest ancient Hindu temple ever discovered in Bali,” team head Wayan Suantika said late on Wednesday.
A Harvard-affiliated hospital is backing away from its decision earlier this week to promote a paper linking the artificial sweetener aspartame and cancer, now saying the evidence was “weak.” Brigham and Women’s Hospital said in an e-mail to reporters that data in the paper, which was published on Wednesday in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “is weak, and that Brigham and Women’s Hospital media relations was premature in the promotion of this work.” Researchers at the hospital combed through two large studies of nurses and health professionals looking for evidence of an increased risk of blood cancers related to consumption of the artificial sweetener aspartame. When they looked at the two studies combined, they found some trends toward a higher risk of cancers that could be linked with aspartame, but the researchers admitted that the findings could also be due to chance.
Lottery wins trickle down
One in five lottery winners carry on working after they hit the jackpot and one-third invest in a jacuzzi, according to a survey published on Monday. The study of 3,000 winners who became instant millionaires showed only 59 percent handed in their notice immediately after their life-changing windfalls, while 19 percent carried on working. The National Lottery released the study to mark the creation of 3,000 millionaires since the game was introduced in 1994. It showed that winners had shared their good fortune with their children, family and friends, creating an additional 3,780 millionaires. Winners have also started or supported 900 British-based businesses employing a total of 3,195 people.
Princess Madeleine and her US-British boyfriend Christopher O’Neill announced their engagement on the royal palace Web site yesterday. The 30-year-old Madeleine is the youngest of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia’s three children and is fourth in line to the throne. The tabloid Expressen reported early yesterday that O’Neill, a 38-year-old financier she met in New York, had proposed to the princess, and the couple confirmed the news in a brief video clip posted on the royal Web site.
‘Headless’ ladybug found
A newly discovered insect tucks its head into its throat — making it not only a new species, but an entirely new genus. Ross Winton captured the insect in 2009 in traps he set in a sand dune while an entomology graduate student at Montana State University. Winton at first thought he had parts of an ant, but then discovered the bug can hide its head, much like a turtle ducking into its shell. The headless ladybug was formally described in a recent issue of the peer-reviewed journal Systemic Entomology. Just two specimens of the tan, pinhead-sized ladybugs have ever been collected, a male in Montana and a female in Idaho, scientists said, making it the rarest species in the US.
Mayans slam calendar tours
Mayans accused the government and tour groups on Wednesday of perpetuating the myth that their calendar foresees the imminent end of the world for monetary gain. “We are speaking out against deceit, lies and twisting of the truth, and turning us into folklore-for-profit. They are not telling the truth about time cycles,” said Felipe Gomez, leader of the Maya alliance Oxlaljuj Ajpop.