World News Quick Take

Agencies

Thu, May 09, 2013 - Page 7

CHINA

Dogs used to predict quakes

A city is using dogs to predict earthquakes, an official said on Tuesday, after media reported that neighbors were complaining of nightly false alarms — in the form of barking. The earthquake authority of Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi Province, keeps dogs since they will “act abnormally when an earthquake is coming,” an official surnamed Song said. The bureau used the dogs at the request of the provincial government, he added, saying that chickens and ducks could be effective as well. However, neighbors are complaining on social media about the animals’ nightly howling, according to the official provincial news Web site Dajiang. “The compound of the Nanchang earthquake authority has I don’t know how many dogs, every night at 11pm they start barking over and over,” it quoted one as saying. Song said the dogs had now been sent to a lower-level earthquake bureau in the city, but denied they had been barking.

JAPAN

‘Abenomics’ bra unveiled

The Japanese division of lingerie maker Triumph International unveiled an “Abenomics” bra yesterday, which it says offers a “growth strategy” and a potential lift toward Japan’s elusive inflation target. Launches of Triumph’s concept bras in Tokyo have become a regular event and are an important publicity tool for the company. The “Branomics Bra” follows earlier solar-powered, recycled and “husband-hunting” models but, like its predecessors, will not go on sale. The “Branomics Bra” is a take on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “three-arrow” economic revival plan that combines monetary strategy aiming to reach 2 percent inflation in two years and pro-growth reforms. It features a rising trendline and arrows as motifs and promises a 2 percent increase in volume with extra padding.

ISRAEL

Hawking to boycott event

British physicist Stephen Hawking has decided to pull out of a conference next month hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres, event organizers said yesterday. “Hawking joined the academic boycott of Israel and pulled out of the Israeli Presidential Conference: Facing Tomorrow 2013, under the auspices of President Peres,” they said in a statement. The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, which supports the academic boycott of Israel and opposes its occupation of Palestinian territories, said Hawking had “declined his invitation.” Conference chairman Israel Maimon slammed the decision. “The academic boycott against Israel is in our view outrageous and improper, certainly for someone for whom the spirit of liberty lies at the basis of his human and academic mission,” he said.

Poland

Tourists escape axe attack

Tourists visiting a castle in Krakow yesterday narrowly escaped an attack by an axe-wielding local dubbed as “a madman.” The 48-year-old identified by local media only as Grzegorz S. reportedly drove his car into the courtyard of the historic Wawel royal castle, then jumped out and began wildly swinging an axe at a group of young Polish students. “The Wawel is my home, I don’t want any strangers here,” he screamed, commercial radio RMF FM reported. He lunged toward the visitors, but when guards tried to tackle him he jumped back into his car and attempted to run them over, the report said. Guards were able to bring him under control after shooting one of the vehicle’s tires. “It all looked like an attack by a madman, without any kind of logical motive,” Krakow regional police spokesman Dariusz Nowak told local media.

UNITED STATES

Chinese petition Obama

Internet users in China, a country with a long tradition of petitioning, are appealing to a new authority to resolve grievances and controversies such as the merits of salty or sweet tofu — the White House petitions Web site. The online petitioning system was designed as an “easy way for Americans to make their voices heard,” according to the Web site. However, President Barack Obama may have underestimated its global appeal in the Internet age. “We request that the US government make sweet the official flavor of jellied tofu, namely through the addition of syrup, granulated or brown sugar or other sweeteners,” said one petition, written in Chinese, on the site. The number of signatures for the appeal created on Tuesday was steadily climbing. As of yesterday morning, it had received more than 1,000 endorsements. There is a regional divide in China on how jellied tofu should be consumed, with a slightly sweetened variety enjoyed in many parts of the south and a saltier style common in the north. “Send troops to liberate the Chinese people,” reads another petition, this one with more than 3,500 signatures.

FRANCE

Coronavirus case reported

The first case in the country of new strain of coronavirus emerging from the Middle East was confirmed in a person recently returned from the United Arab Emirates, the health ministry said yesterday. “The person has been placed in isolation in an intensive care ward,” it said in a statement. There have been 30 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus worldwide including 18 deaths, since it came to scientists’ attention in September last year, WHO data shows. The coronavirus is from the same viral family as the common cold and triggered the SARS outbreak in 2003 that killed 775 people.

GUATEMALA

Teen suspect nabbed

Police have arrested a 14-year-old gang member on suspicion of killing two women and a one-year-old boy. The National Civil Police said in a statement on Tuesday that the teenager was allegedly a member of the “Little Psycho Criminal” youth wing of the Mara 18 street gang, with the numbers 1 and 8 tattooed on his arms. He allegedly confronted police with a gun while trying to flee the scene of the killing.

COLOMBIA

Fake nuns had cocaine

Three women dressed as nuns were caught at an airport on the island of San Andres trying to smuggle cocaine taped to their bodies, police said on Tuesday. The women were caught on Saturday after arriving on a flight from Bogota. They thought the disguise would spare them from being searched. However, their habits were shabby and the women acted nervously, which gave them away, San Andres police chief Jorge Gomez said. Each had 2kg of cocaine taped to her body.

UNITED STATES

Singer arrested over plot

The lead singer of Grammy-nominated heavy metal band As I Lay Dying was arrested on Tuesday in Southern California as authorities said he tried to hire an undercover detective to kill his estranged wife. Tim Lambesis, 32, was arrested at a retail business in Oceanside, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. The statement said detectives received information on Thursday last week that Lambesis had solicited someone to kill his wife, who lives in nearby Encinitas. A task force from several law enforcement agencies quickly launched an investigation that led to the arrest.