...and abroad

Townsville Bulletin - - Weekend Extra - CANADA — CHINA —

The web­site YouTube that showed us air gui­tar im­pre­sar­ios, Diet Coke ex­plo­sions, and nine months of ges­ta­tion in 20 sec­onds, has helped catch a sus­pected killer. Au­thor­i­ties in Hamil­ton, On­tario, had posted sur­veil­lance video ear­lier this month on the pop­u­lar web­site — in which users share video clips — hop­ing for help to iden­tify two ‘peo­ple of in­ter­est’ in a mur­der case. Calls flooded in af­ter the one-minute video’s post­ing, show­ing two young men en­ter­ing a bar be­fore two oth­ers were stabbed in a brawl out­side. Al­most 16,000 peo­ple viewed the Hamil­ton po­lice video on­line.

Some of the T-shirts bear only the date: 01.02.09. The oth­ers spell it out: ‘Bush’s Last Day’. But both, along with an as­sort­ment of ‘‘Bush’s Last Day’’ caps, mugs, bumper stick­ers, but­tons, and other col­lectibles are see­ing strong sales as po­lit­i­cally minded US gift givers stock up for this hol­i­day sea­son. One of the most pop­u­lar items is a pocket-sized clock that counts down the min­utes — and yes, sec­onds — left in Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush’s fi­nal term in of­fice.

A man was re­leased from hospi­tal two months af­ter he was crit­i­cally in­jured in a stingray at­tack that left a 30cm-long barb in his heart, his fam­ily said. James Ber­takis, 82, of Light­house Point, was hurt on Oc­to­ber 18 when a stingray flopped on to his boat and stung him. He later un­der­went surgery to re­move the barb that was lodged in his heart. The ac­ci­dent came just weeks af­ter Aus­tralia’s Steve Ir­win was killed by a stingray while snorkelling on the Great Bar­rier Reef off Port Douglas.

A vil­lage in the Ital­ian Alps is fi­nally bask­ing in win­ter sun­light thanks to a gi­ant mir­ror in­stalled on a moun­tain top to re­flect the sun’s rays into the main square. Vi­ganella, with a pop­u­la­tion of less than 200, lies in a val­ley so steep that each year from Novem­ber 11 to Fe­bru­ary 2 it hardly re­ceives any sun­shine. The 5m by 8m mir­ror, which cost around $167,000, was un­veiled to the de­light of the vil­lage’s res­i­dents. ‘‘Here it’s very cold in the win­ter and res­i­dents, many of whom are el­derly, used to stay inside all the time,’’ said Maria Velona, who works at the lo­cal town hall.

Bri­tish de­tec­tives be­lieve the ra­dioac­tive sub­stance used to kill for­mer Rus­sian spy Alexan­der Litvi­nenko cost more than $12.8 mil­lion, The Times re­ported. Ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per, pre­lim­i­nary re­sults from the post mortem on Litvi­nenko’s body have shown he was given more than ten times the lethal dose of polo­nium 210, large quan­ti­ties of which were found in his urine. Sev­eral of his friends have blamed the Krem­lin for the mur­der, but Rus­sia has re­peat­edly de­nied in­volve­ment.

Em­bat­tled Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe, 82, has con­sol­i­dated his grip on power with sup­port from his party to ex­tend his rule by two years to 2010, but an­a­lysts say this will also de­lay the re­cov­ery of Zim­babwe’s crum­bling econ­omy. An an­nual con­fer­ence of Mu­gabe’s rul­ing ZANUPF party ‘noted and adopted’ a mo­tion ap­prov­ing a plan to move pres­i­den­tial polls from 2008 to 2010 so they can be ‘har­monised’ and held at the same time as par­lia­men­tary elec­tions.

About half of the bil­lions of dol­lars do­nated by in­di­vid­u­als, com­pa­nies and gov­ern­ments world­wide to help the vic­tims of the South East Asian tsunami two years ago has still not been spent, the BBC says. Sev­eral for­eign gov­ern­ments have also given only a small pro­por­tion, and at times none, of the money they promised. China of­fered $385 mil­lion to help Sri Lanka re­cover from the dis­as­ter, but has thus far de­liv­ered just $1.28 mil­lion. Spain and France de­liv­ered the amount af­ter promis­ing $77 mil­lion and $79 mil­lion re­spec­tively. The US has given about 38 per cent of the money it promised.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il plans to pro­vide more karaoke ma­chines to the coun­try’s mil­i­tary af­ter find­ing they help boost morale, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port in the coun­try’s of­fi­cial news­pa­per. ‘‘I plan to send more song-ac­com­pa­ny­ing ma­chines to the Peo­ple’s Armed Forces,’’ Kim said in the Rodong Sin­mun, the news­pa­per of the Work­ers Party of Korea. The re­port quoted Kim as say­ing dur­ing his meet­ing with mil­i­tary com­man­ders in March that ‘the at­mos­phere changed com­pletely’ in di­vi­sions that were pro­vided with karaoke ma­chines.

Ea­ger to put on its best face for for­eign guests ahead of the 2010 World Expo, Shang­hai is send­ing teams of ‘smil­ing vol­un­teers’ on to the streets to teach stony-faced cit­i­zens to beam at strangers. Forty univer­sity stu­dents have signed up to smile at peo­ple in pub­lic places, af­ter a sur­vey by a lo­cal chew­ing-gum maker showed that only 2 per cent of Chi­nese peo­ple smile at strangers. ‘‘We ask all the mem­bers to prac­tise smil­ing at home,’’ team-leader Xu Xiao­hong said. ‘‘We not only smile with our mouths but also with our eyes.’’

Drop­ping breast can­cer rates in New Zealand have been linked to the mas­sive re­duc­tion in the use of hor­mone re­place­ment ther­apy (HRT) by women. New Zealand fig­ures for breast can­cer fell 6 per cent in 2003, to 80.6 cases per 100,000 — 2297 women. The year be­fore, a large Amer­i­can study found com­bined oe­stro­gen-pro­gesto­gen HRT in­creased the risk of breast can­cer. Fol­low­ing the study’s re­lease, the num­ber of pre­scribed HRT drugs — used to con­trol menopausal symp­toms — fell by about a third of the num­ber used in 2001.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.