Psy beats Jennifer Lopez
Pop sensation Psy’s Gangnam Style has become the second-most-watched YouTube video of all time with nearly 620 million hits.
The 34-year-old singer, whose real name is Park Jae-sang, rocketed to international fame after the video became a worldwide hit following its debut in July. The video went viral online with its goofy signature horse-riding dance and yesterday ousted Jennifer Lopez’s dance hit On the Floor from second place. However, it still trails behind Canadian teenage heartthrob Justin Bieber’s Baby, which has had 790 million hits.
‘Honor killing’ arrests made
Police have arrested a couple for allegedly killing their 15-year-old daughter by throwing acid on her because she supposedly had an affair with a boy. Local government official Masood-ur-Rehman said the couple was arrested on Tuesday in Kashmir. Police officer Imtiaz Ali said the parents confessed to killing the girl a day earlier because they believed she had sullied the family’s honor. He said yesterday that an autopsy confirmed that the girl died of acid burns.
No more inmates’ organs
A health official said China would start phasing out its reliance on organs from executed prisoners for transplants early next year as a new national system of donations is implemented. Wang Haibo (王海波) said in an interview in this month’s edition of the WHO journal Bulletin that Chinese officials acknowledge that a transplantation system that uses mostly organs from death-row prisoners is neither ethical nor sustainable. Wang is a health ministry official who is leading the nation’s efforts to design a nationwide organ donation system.
Official protests UK auction
A cultural heritage official has hit out at a planned auction in Britain of two antiques it claims were looted from Beijing in the 19th century, state media said yesterday. London-based auctioneers Bonhams will auction a Qing dynasty jade disc and a jade hanging vase that were “retrieved from the abandoned Summer Palace in Beijing” in 1860, the company said in an online statement. “Cultural relics should be returned to their country of origin. We’ll keep a close eye on the matter,” said Tan Ping (譚平), an official from the State Administration of Cultural Heritage. The Old Summer Palace was pillaged by British and French military forces in 1860, when Beijing says 1.5 million relics were looted, though it is likely some antiques were sold off by local dealers. The items will go up for auction on Thursday, the auctioneer said.
Surfer punched away shark
A California surfer who survived a shark attack says he punched the beast in the head until it finally released him. Scott Stephens said the great white pulled him underwater on Tuesday at a popular surf spot and let him go only after receiving the blows to its head. Doctors say Stephens suffered at least seven deep lacerations, but none of his vital organs was damaged. He was in fair condition on Wednesday. The 25-year-old thanked the doctors who operated on him and strangers who came to his aid. He says he plans to surf again.
Winehouse dresses stolen
Two dresses belonging to the late soul singer Amy Winehouse, including the one she wore to her wedding, have been stolen from her home in London, a spokesman said on Thursday. The dresses, which were due to be sold to raise money for charity, are thought to have been taken by someone entering the property in Camden [north London] during events after her death in July last year, not as the result of any break-in. The spokesman said the white minidress printed with red anchors that Winehouse wore to her 2006 wedding to Blake Fielder-Civil in Miami had been expected to sell for ￡100,000 (US$161,000) at a forthcoming New York fundraiser. The other dress, a newsprint cocktail dress, was expected to fetch a further ￡30,000, he said, adding that both items “are part of Amy’s story.” Her family is working with police to secure their return.
Floods engulf Venice
High tides have flooded Venice, leading Venetians and tourists to don high boots and use wooden walkways to cross St Mark’s Square and other areas under water. Flooding is common this time of year and Thursday’s level that reached a peak of 140cm was below the 160cm recorded four years ago in the worst flooding in decades. Still some shops and ground floor apartments were flooded. Moveable barriers that would rise from the sea bed to protect Venice from high tides have been in the works for years, but will not be operational before 2014.
Astronauts take space walk
Two astronauts spacewalked outside the International Space Station in an attempt to find an ammonia leak in a critical radiator system. Station commander Sunita Williams and Japanese crewmate Akihiko Hoshide ventured out on Thursday morning in a bid to isolate plumbing to help flight controllers locate the leak and open a spare radiator.
Prehistoric town unearthed
An archeologist says a prehistoric town unearthed in the east of the country is the oldest urban settlement found to date in Europe. According to Vasil Nikolov, a professor from the country’s National Institute of Archeology, the stone walls excavated by his team near the town of Provadia are estimated to date between 4,700 BC and 4,200 BC. He says the walls, which are 3m high and 2m thick, are believed to be the earliest and most massive fortifications from Europe’s prehistory. According to Nikolov, the settlement was home to some 350 people who likely mined salt at the nearby rock-salt deposits. Samples of the excavations have been sent to scientific centers abroad for further evaluation.