Porn makers sue thousands
Foreign pornography producers are suing Internet users for breach of copyright by uploading their content onto local Web sites, police said yesterday. A law firm representing 50 US and Japanese porn producers has filed suit against about 10,000 people. The lawsuit was filed simultaneously through 10 police stations in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province, police said. “Police will look into the case to see whether there was any breach of the law before deciding whether to initiate criminal probes,” an officer said. Munhwa newspaper said the lawsuit argues that unlimited distribution of porn is “harmful to juveniles.” “We selected about 10,000 user IDs that earned financial benefits from habitually uploading pornography,” an official of the unidentified law firm said.
Fair features pricey tea
A 109-year-old tea has gone on sale at an international tea fair, a media report said yesterday. Just 10g of the pu-erh tea costs HK$8,000 (US$1,025), the South China Morning Post reported. Sun Sing Tea is also selling two 300g to 320g slabs of 1950 vintage pu-erh tea for HK$130,000 and HK$70,000 respectively at the three-day fair. Tea is the most popular beverage in Hong Kong, which has the highest consumption of tea of all Asian cities.
Better with butter on it
Residential property managers have turned to butter in their battle against burglars as a cheap alternative to repairing their broken surveillance system. They smeared 100kg of butter on the gas pipelines that run outside the buildings on the Mingdemen estate in the city of Xi’an, making them too slippery to climb, Xinhua news agency said yesterday. “Natural gas pipelines are often used as ‘ladders’ by burglars and burglaries are rife here,” one Mingdemen manager was quoted as saying. About 1,200 of the 2,000 units are rented out, so it can be difficult to determine who actually lives there and “some bad guys may sneak in,” he said. All the surveillance cameras were broken and the estate was facing an outstanding US$8,800 installation bill. “Butter is the most economical way,” the manager said.
Asylum seekers intercepted
A navy vessel intercepted a boat carrying 77 people off its northwest coast, officials said yesterday. The boat was found early yesterday in the Indian Ocean near Christmas Island, Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor said. It is believed that the group intended to seek asylum. “The group will be transferred to Christmas Island, where they will undergo security, identity and health checks as well as establish their reasons for travel,” O’Connor said in a statement.
Kids learn about birds, bees
A Shanghai sex-education camp for children aged eight to 13 began this week, but only six boys enrolled and the girls’ section was canceled, state media reported yesterday. The privately run three-day US$420 camp opened on Wednesday to coincide with the start of summer holidays, the Shanghai Daily reported. A recent survey at a Shanghai hospital found that less than 30 percent of callers to a health hotline knew how to avoid pregnancy, while only 17 percent were aware of venereal disease, state media said last month. But the summer camp for kids aims to answer the basic question: “Where Did I Come From?”
Briton becomes top shaker
The 35th World Cocktail Championships climaxed late on Tuesday in a hail of ice, bottles and shakers. More than 800 bartenders from 52 countries competed in two categories: “classic,” where taste is king, and “flair,” where competitors pull off jaw-dropping routines, hurling bottles in the air, spinning shakers on their heads, all backed by thumping music and wildly cheering crowds. Ever competitive, the Germans left nothing to chance this year and borrowed a trainer from the World Athletics Championships for “fitness training.” The crowd saved their loudest cheer of the night for two-time world “flairtending” champion Levent Yilmaz of Germany, who wowed them by juggling four bottles and a shaker, at one point catching a rum bottle on the bridge of his nose, to ecstatic applause. Like the ice in his cocktail, however, the home favorite’s dreams of a third world title were crushed by British contender Gianluigi Bosco, with his “Absolutely Rocking” concoction. Vladimir Banak of the Slovak Republic carried off the “classic” trophy with his “Sweet Road.”
Vatican warns on lotto
Catholic officials have warned Italians against worshiping money before God as fever mounts over a lottery prize now worth 131.5 million euros (US$187 million), the largest ever seen in Europe. People have been lining up outside tobacconists across the country to buy tickets for the SuperEnalotto, which has rolled over 82 times since January. “This is a form of idolatry, where we turn not to God but to money,” Domenico Sigalini told Vatican Radio. “History teaches us that everyone who wins billions ends up badly. It’s bad — not good — luck.”
Lotto winner keeps promise
A businessman has shared a third of his 963,000 euros (US$1.36 million) lottery win with his employees as he had promised, La Repubblica daily reported on Wednesday. “If I win, we’ll share it,” Marco Colombo, 38, had shouted to his workers a few days before entering Saturday’s SuperEnalotto draw. The jackpot in the lottery climbed to more than 130 million euros, the newspaper said. On Monday, the businessman, who runs a small metalworking business in the northern city of Turbigo, kept his promise and gave each of his five workers 70,000 euros.
Pirate Party targets polls
Sweden’s pro-file-sharing Pirate Party said it would stand in the country’s municipal elections next year, in addition to the national elections. Party leader Rick Falkvinge said the Pirate Party would continue pushing its agenda locally after its success in the European Parliament election in June. The Pirate Party advocates shortening the duration of copyright protection and allowing noncommercial file-sharing.
Bells resume tolling
Which is nicer to have echoing through a small village — the chiming of bells or the banging of pots? The church bells in Mezzema, a village near La Spezia, northern Italy, were silenced earlier this month by the local parish priest. A tourist, it seems, had complained about the early morning gonging. Some residents, though, were not happy. A dozen of them protested by banging pots and lids in the street. Anna Daneri, who led the protest, said that early Wednesday morning, after a few pot-banging protest sessions, the church bells started chiming again.
Arias recovering from flu
President Oscar Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and mediator of the Honduran political crisis, is in good spirits as he fights the swine flu, the government said on Wednesday. Mayi Antillon, a spokeswoman for the government, said Arias would continue to work from home. While the president did not enjoy having to watch a soccer match alone, he was in good spirits, Antillon said. The 67-year-old president, who was under medical care, must remain isolated in his residence for at least seven days, but will not delegate power during his absence, his brother said.
Snake in the wash
Laundry workers in Manhattan found a 1.2m snake slithering in the dirty wash. An employee at Gracie Laundry in Manhattan got a shock when she spied a boa constrictor nestled among the bags, NY1 broadcaster reported on Wednesday. “At first I thought it was a joke,” said Eddie Huerta, a friend of the worker who made the discovery. He called the city’s animal control offices. An Animal Care and Control official surmised that the 4kg boa, who was nicknamed Slither, had been abandoned, and was seeking human company. “It was somebody’s pet at one point because it’s very comfortable around humans,” Jose Ortiz said. He said Slither was “a very timid snake, not an aggressive snake at all.”
General convicted of killing
A retired general and four other members of the military have been convicted and sentenced to long prison terms in the 1976 killing of a communist activist. Retired general Santiago Riveros was sentenced to life in prison for aggravated homicide by a three-judge federal court in Buenos Aires province during televised proceedings on Wednesday. Four other retired servicemen received prison sentences of 14 to 25 years in the killing of Floreal Avellaneda, who was abducted in 1976 by a military squad.
Jury to decide Smith case
A New York City judge says a jury can decide whether the author of a best-selling book about the death of Playboy playmate Anna Nicole Smith defamed her lawyer by calling him a pimp. Federal Judge Denny Chin found plenty of reasons on Wednesday to let the jury hear a US$60 million libel lawsuit brought by lawyer Howard Stern against Blonde Ambition author Rita Cosby. The judge says the veteran television news anchor’s book contains allegations that may be too outlandish to be true, such as claims the lawyer had sex with one of Smith’s former boyfriends and acted as her pimp.
Dropped fish damages car
A woman in Ohio is telling a fish story about one that got away — from a bird — and damaged her car. Authorities in northwest Ohio say the fish — a Lake Erie freshwater drum, known as a sheepshead — smashed a car windshield on Tuesday when an eagle dropped its catch from a height of about 12m, the Sandusky Register reported. Leighann Niles says the impact felt like a brick hitting her Toyota’s windshield. The woman from the Cleveland suburb of South Euclid was vacationing along the lake in Marblehead. Niles says she had thought herself lucky to escape damage in another animal encounter shortly before the fishy one. She says a truck hit a small bird, which struck her back passenger door and startled her five-year-old daughter.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”