Roadside bomb kills one
A roadside bomb planted by suspected separatist rebels killed one soldier and wounded five yesterday in the insurgency-torn south, police said. A 47-year-old sergeant major died after the powerful blast overturned a military pick-up truck in Pattani Province, police said. Among the five wounded soldiers, two of them were in serious condition in a Pattani hospital, the local police chief said. The bombing came as military-installed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont traveled to the Muslim-majority south, which is observing Ramadan, for the ground-breaking ceremony of a new Islamic school.
Shows deemed `too explicit'
Chinese regulators have ordered 11 radio shows off the air for talking too explicitly about sex. The order on Friday by China's broadcast agency added to a series of recent moves to ban radio or television programs deemed too vulgar or sexually oriented. The latest shows targeted broadcast material of an "extreme pornographic nature" about sex lives, the effectiveness of sex-related drugs and other topics, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television said. Regulators said those responsible would be "dealt with" but gave no indication whether they might face criminal charges.
Junta cuts phone lines
Myanmar's military junta has cut off the phones of 50 activists and organizations, including the National League for Democracy (NLD), in an apparent attempt to halt weeks of protests, sources said on Friday. "They have cut off the phone line to my home and our headquarters," Myint Thein, an NLD spokesman, said. Other dissident sources said that, in all, 50 mobile and landline telephones had been cut off, possibly to prevent contact with the foreign media or exile news organizations whose reports are broadcast back into the former Burma on shortwave radio.
Sex trade recruits virgins
The strong demand for young virgin girls from men who patronize prostitutes in Cambodia fuels the entry of underage women into the commercial sex trade, a humanitarian group said in a report on Friday. More than one-third of female sex workers surveyed for the report by the International Organization for Migration said they entered the sector through the sale of their virginity. The report said 203 women and girls were interviewed in depth for the study. The average age of girls who sold their virginity was 16-17 years old, it said. Though some girls sold their virginity voluntarily, many were tricked into the trade by friends and relatives or were forced by poverty and domestic violence into it.
Workers stranded at airport
Thousands of foreign workers, mostly from Bangladesh, have been forced to camp in the parking lot of Kuala Lumpur's international airport while waiting for their employers, a report said yesterday. The Star newspaper said the immigration department had turned a section of the car park into a temporary shelter for the foreigners. One worker, Bangladeshi Kho Kan, told the daily that he had arrived two days ago with 24 other men who had been told they would be working in Malaysian factories. An agent said that delays were often caused by miscommunication. "Some agents had no idea that their workers had arrived, so they were not here to pick [them] up," he told the Star.
Man keeps word, burns van
An Albanian fishmonger set fire to his van in a burst of anger after the national soccer team lost to the visiting Dutch side, and firefighters failed to extinguish the blaze because someone had stolen their water. Vilson Alushi had vowed to burn his fish-delivery van if Albania failed to win a point against the Netherlands on Wednesday. Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy put paid to his hopes with a goal in injury time to end the game 1-0. Alushi duly doused his car with gasoline in the southern town of Delvine and watched indifferently as his friends alerted the firefighters, newspapers reported. They arrived promptly and unreeled the hose, only to find it was dry. It seems that residents had drained the tank to help them cope with Albania's chronic water shortage.
Senate pans sexy banks
Nigerian banks must stop using attractive women to persuade customers to open accounts, Senate President David Mark was quoted as saying in newspapers on Thursday. Mark said that despite a consolidation of the sector in 2005 that reduced the number of banks to 25 from 89 and was supposed to make them more efficient, many banks still used women to attract new business. "Banks have made it a policy to employ beautiful ladies and give them targets to meet," Mark said during the inauguration of the new Senate committee on banking and insurance Wednesday. "Why is it that all these girls are now moving around hustling as if they are looking for something other than money?"
Hailstones kill man
A man was killed by hailstones in southern Jaen Province and two other people were missing after heavy rain, authorities said on Friday. The dead man was working in his garden when he was hit by a sudden storm. "[The storm] hit him by surprise and he didn't get a chance to react to the amount of hail which fell in such a short time," the mayor of the town of Chilluevar told state radio. Police are searching for two people after the remains of their car was found on a road in the Andalusian province.
Madonna rings in New Year
Clapping and singing, pop music star Madonna joined in a Kabbalah conference on Friday in Tel Aviv to celebrate the Jewish New Year. Madonna was singing Jewish songs with the crowd of hundreds at the David Intercontinental Hotel where the conference on Jewish mysticism was being held. At one point she pressed another participant -- apparently a friend of hers -- up to the front where he danced excitedly, making her and the crowd giggle and clap enthusiastically.
Mosquito fells bullfighter
After surviving 57 bullfights this season with the usual share of gorings, tramplings and tossings, bullfighter Jose Maria Manzanares has been hit by dengue fever. Manzanares, 25, likely contracted the tropical virus transmitted by mosquito bite during a Latin America tour involving appearances in Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela, doctors say. Manzanares had been fainting and generally feeling unwell for months, but doctors could not decide what was wrong with him until detailed tests showed he was suffering from one of the milder forms of dengue.
Man fined for going to work
A sick bakery worker has been fined C$1,000 (US$970) for ignoring an order to stay at home until he recovered from symptoms of salmonella poisoning, medical officials said on Thursday. Health inspectors in Edmonton, Alberta, had told Adam Duerr to stay at home until tests showed he had recovered. But Duerr, 20, failed to have himself tested and went back to work. He appeared in court on Wednesday. In addition, the bakery was fined C$1,500 and the owner C$1,000.
■ UNITED STATES
Carriage horse dies in NYC
A carriage horse died near Central Park on Friday after it was startled by a loud noise and darted onto a sidewalk, where it became stuck between two poles and died while it tried to lunge forward, police and witnesses said. The events began about 4:50pm on Central Park South between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas, where several carriage horses waited in a row. According to witnesses, a man walked past the horses while beating a small drum, which caused a brown horse that was hitched to a carriage to bolt onto the sidewalk, darting between two poles that were about 60cm apart. The horse made it through but the carriage did not, and as the horse struggled to move forward, it collapsed and died, witnesses said.
■ UNITED STATES
Fake obit investigated
Prosecutors are investigating whether a phony obituary was placed in an Indiana newspaper in an attempt to keep a convicted forger out of prison. The obituary reporting the supposed death and cremation of Shawnda Hatfield was faxed to Delaware Circuit Court Judge Robert Barnet Jr. But Hatfield, 41, was later found at her home and arrested. Barnet sentenced her on Thursday to four years in prison for altering a check drawn on the account of White Feather Farms, where she formerly worked. Hatfield said she had no idea how her obituary ended up in the Star Press.
■ UNITED STATES
O.J. Simpson investigated
O.J. Simpson says he went into a casino hotel room only to retrieve memorabilia that he felt was stolen from him. But police are investigating it as an armed robbery and named the fallen football star as a suspect in yet another surprising chapter to his legal saga. In an interview on Friday, Simpson insisted there were no guns involved and that he went to the room at the Palace Station casino on Thursday night only to get stolen mementos that included his Hall of Fame certificate and a picture of the running back with former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. "It's stolen stuff that's mine. Nobody was roughed up," Simpson said.
■ UNITED STATES
Nudity no longer as shocking
Two decades after a nude photo scandal helped cost a Miss America her title, Americans may be adopting a more ho-hum attitude toward people who bare it all for the cameras. Specialists say the Internet and more explicit TV are fostering a more relaxed response to public displays of bare flesh. Take, for example, the muted reaction to nude photos of 18-year-old Vanessa Hudgens, the star of Walt Disney squeaky clean High School Musical franchise. One day after the photos surfaced on the Web on Thursday, Hudgens issued an apology and family-friendly Walt Disney Co said it would continue negotiating her appearance in the third installment of the popular series.
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
A squad of gun-toting police officers patrolled Myanmar’s sacred site of Bagan under the cover of night, taking on plunderers snatching relics from temples forsaken by tourists due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each evening as dusk falls, about 100 officers fan out across the plain of Bagan covering 50km2, sweeping flashlights over the crumbling monuments to scour for intruders. “Our security forces are patrolling day and night,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Sein Win told reporters. “We have it under control for the moment, but it’s a challenge.” The central Burmese city is strewn with more than 3,500 ancient monuments — stupas, temples, murals and sculptures