Tue, 24 May 1994


Scorpion spotted in phone booth

TOKYO (AFP): When a bar owner wanted to use the telephone directory in a public phone booth the other day in a busy district in southern Japan, she found a live 15 centimeter-long poisonous scorpion sitting on it.

Experts said the dark blue scorpion was indigenous to Southeast Asia. A prankster probably intentionally released the arachnid brought from abroad, the Mainichi Shimbun reported Monday.

"It was not until touching the scorpion, causing its feet to start moving, that I realized it was a real, not a rubber toy," said the woman bar manager who found it in Kagoshima prefecture, 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo.

She put the creature, which appeared lethargic, in a plastic bag and took it to her bar where she transferred it in a bottle filled with spirits, the paper said.

The poison in a scorpion's tail stinger is not life- threatening but it can cause severe pain in areas of the body where the poison is introduced.

Flesh-eating 'bug' baffles doctors

LONDON (Reuter): Doctors at a western England hospital are baffled by a bacteria that literally eats away the flesh of its victims, causing painful disfigurement and even death.

A spokesman at Gloucester Royal Hospital said the latest victim was a 45-year-old woman who is in critical condition.

Six other people living in the area have also been struck by the mysterious bacteria. Three of them have died and others have had limbs amputated to stop its progress.

Doctors have said the organism could be a mutated form of a usually harmless organism that lives in the throats of many people.

Frustrated police try faster car

LONDON (Reuter): London police, fed up with being forced to eat the dust of criminals in high-speed cars, said they were trying out a 250 kilometer per hour Porsche pursuit car.

"We are conducting an evaluation of high-performance cars, including a Porsche, and their role in preventative policing of motorways," said a Scotland Yard spokesman.

Despite question marks over the safety of high-speed pursuit, British police have complained their relatively modest patrol cars are being outrun by car thieves and so-called "ram raiders" who use stolen cars to crash through shop windows.

Bomb victim wakes up from coma

BELFAST (Reuter): A three-year-old girl critically injured in an IRA bomb attack more than a week ago woke from her coma and asked for her mother on Saturday, hospital staff said.

Emma Anthony stunned medical staff at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children by suddenly regaining consciousness and saying "I want my mummy".

Hospital spokesman Gerry Carson said all staff were delighted by the improvement. "It's amazing -- her condition has changed. She is off the ventilator, she has improved and is described as stable."

The little girl had been in a coma and critically ill since being injured by a car bomb that killed her father on May 13.

Cleaner Fred Anthony died instantly when the Irish Republican Army booby-trap bomb blew up his car. His wife and son, who were also in the car, escaped serious injury but Emma was badly hurt.

Farmer bearly survives zoo bath

BEIJING (Reuter): A Chinese farmer who jumped into the polar bear enclosure at Beijing Zoo was grabbed by one of the huge animals and dipped repeatedly into a pool "like someone washing a chicken", the China Daily said.

Li Rongxing, 24, clambered over a five-metre (yard) wall to enter the bear cage saying he wanted to star in a film about the bears, the newspaper said.

As onlookers "began shouting and hurling stones", zoo keepers were able to distract the bears and lure them back into their cages. Li was removed from the enclosure with a few scratches and "teeth marks on his buttocks", the paper said.

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Protesters 'just want orgasm'

TAIPEI (Reuter): Three hundred Taiwan students and workers marched through Taipei to protest against sexual harassment at school, work and hospital.

"We Just Want Orgasm. We Don't Want Sexual Harassment," the demonstrators chanted as they staged a sit-down protest outside a high school, where a woman was murdered six years ago when she tried to fight off a rapist.

"Orgasm" and "harassment" rhyme in Chinese.

The protesters sang and presented flowers in memory of the victim.

Japan regarded as most feared

SEOUL (Reuter): South Korean teenagers regard Japan as the nation to be most feared, as well as most emulated, according to a poll released on Monday by the information ministry.

The survey of 1,600 teenagers, conducted early this month, showed 48.9 percent put Japan, Korea's harsh colonial master between 1910 and 1945, as the nation to be most closely watched.

The United States, South Korea's long-time ally, ranked second with 19.1 percent and Stalinist North Korea was third with 8.2 percent.

Just over one-third of the teenagers thought Japan was the country to which South Korea should be most closely allied, followed by the United States, China and then North Korea.

More than 61 percent of those polled thought South Korea should model itself on Japan before any other country.