Siri leads users to brothels
Concerns that the Mandarin version of the Apple iPhone’s new voice-activated assistant “Siri” directs users to brothels has been raised by netizens and lawyers, state media said on Monday. Users were given several options for finding prostitutes upon request, but could not verify if the listings were accurate, the state-run China Daily said. Prostitution is banned in the country, which retains a largely conservative attitude to sex. Nearly 9 million users of microblogging site Sina Weibo commented on the function. One suspected Apple of providing the service intentionally, while another noted how efficient it was at finding brothels, rather than restaurants that serve typical dishes. “When I ask Siri about beef noodle soup or hotpot, she has no idea,” the netizen said. Another message said Siri’s detailed knowledge of brothels puts law enforcement to shame. “A mobile phone can know all this while the police do not?”
Elephants stomp policeman
A herd of elephants has trampled to death a police officer in a central jungle. The victim and two other men went into the jungle on Saturday to look for apricot trees. Huynh Trung Luan, the director of the elephant conservation center in Daklak Province, said more than 20 wild elephants attacked the men as they returned home that night. Luan said two of the men escaped unhurt. The 42-year-old policeman was found dead on Sunday morning. Luan said the herd became more aggressive after two of its members were killed by villagers in August.
National symphony disbands
The national symphony orchestra has been disbanded for lack of funds, musicians said on Monday, another sign of the effects of Western economic sanctions. Orchestra members told the semiofficial ILNA news agency that they have not been paid for three months. The orchestra was reactivated just last year, after a two-year break. The step is likely tied to heightening economic woes in Iran because of government mismanagement and Western sanctions over Iran’s nuclear development program. Iran’s orchestra is one of the oldest in the Middle East, founded in the 1930s. It has hosted performances by world famous musicians like Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern in the past.
WWII dud stalls airport
A huge, unexploded World War II bomb has been found buried near the runway of one of the coutnry’s busiest regional airports, forcing all flights to be canceled yesterday, officials said. A worker rebuilding drainage systems near Sendai Airport uncovered the 225kg bomb on Monday evening. Local reports said the bomb was 110cm long and 35cm in diameter. If the bomb explodes, fragments could be scattered more than 1km, NHK news said, adding that officials were mulling an evacuation.
Obama to make SE Asia trip
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says US President Barack Obama is expected to visit Southeast Asia in the middle of next month. Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong yesterday said that Obama will travel to the capital, Phnom Penh, for an ASEAN summit. The meeting of heads of state is due to take place from Nov. 18 to Nov. 20, bringing together leaders of the 10-nation bloc. US officials have declined to confirm Obama’s travel plans. Koy Kuong had no further details, but another senior official said Obama is also expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Anti-tank death plot foiled
Three men including a “paranoid” convicted felon allegedly plotted to assassinate the attorney general using an anti-tank weapon, a police investigator told a court on Monday. The court granted a police request to keep the three suspects in police custody for eight days until investigators build their case against them. The suspected ringleader is 61-year-old Andreas Ounoufriou, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the 1996 attempted murder of a judge. The trio faces charges of conspiracy to commit murder and possession of military-grade explosives, a missile launcher and other weapons. Police investigator Ioannis Georgadjis told a Nicosia District Court that Ounoufriou allegedly masterminded the foiled killing of Attorney General Petros Clerides from behind bars a few months before he was due to be released from a four-year sentence for an earlier prison escape.
Jobs’ yacht completed
Steve Jobs’ super-yacht Venus has emerged from a shipbuilder’s yard just over a year after the Apple founder’s death. The approximately 70m long yacht was built by Royal De Vries shipbuilders in Aalsmeer, just south of Amsterdam. According to a posting on Sunday on the tech blog onemorething.nl, the ship will be presented to Jobs’ family, including his widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, and their three children, Reed, Erin and Eve. It will then be packed up and shipped by cargo to the US. Those who worked on the ship each received an iPod nano from the family, the blog said. The bridge features a control panel made up of an array of seven iMac computers. Another Mac can be seen through a porthole above the anchor. Sources told the blog that the ship took six years to design and build. Apple’s top designer, Jonathan Ive, was involved with the design.
Car crash saves life
A road crash may have actually saved the life of a taxi driver, authorities said on Monday. The 50-year-old choked on a sweet and lost control of his cab during a coughing fit while on a job in Wuppertal on Sunday, police said. First he hit a small truck parked at the roadside before losing consciousness with his vehicle headed towards oncoming traffic, hitting another parked car head-on, they said. The impact presumably dislodged the sweet from his throat and the taxi driver regained consciousness.
Secularists defy ban
Police fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse thousands of pro-secular protesters who defied a ban by the moderate Islamist government to march on Monday in Ankara to mark Republic Day. Carrying national flags, demonstrators shouted slogans including “Fully independent Turkey” and “We are soldiers of Mustafa Kemal [Ataturk],” referring to the republic’s founding father. The rally began outside the first parliament building in the historic Ulus District. Some in the group were shouting anti-government slogans such as “Turkey is secular and will remain secular,” and “We are here despite the AKP [Justice and Development Party]” government. The Ankara governor’s office had banned the Republic Day rally, saying that security services had received intelligence that groups might be planning “provocative” action.
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”