The Asian Reporter 19th Annual
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From The Asian Reporter, V26, #19 (October 3, 2016), page 2.
China begins operating world’s largest radio telescope
BEIJING (AP) — China has begun operating the world’s largest radio telescope to help search for extraterrestrial life. The project, along with the recent launch of China’s second space station, demonstrates the country’s rising astronomical ambitions and its pursuit of international scientific prestige. The official Xinhua News Agency said hundreds of astronomers and enthusiasts attended the launch of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST. Researchers quoted by state media said FAST would search for gravitational waves, detect radio emissions from stars and galaxies, and listen for signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life. The telescope, measuring 500 meters in diameter, is nestled in a lush green karst landscape in southern Guizhou province. Construction took five years and cost $180 million. Its size surpasses that of the 300-meter Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
Indonesia detains ship with cargo of unregistered fertilizer
BALI, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian authorities say they have detained a ship carrying an unregistered cargo of nearly 30 tons of fertilizer that may have been intended for use in making illegal fishing bombs. Explosives are sometimes used to stun fish so they can be easily gathered. Officials said the ship was intercepted off the tourist island of Bali. It was headed for Selayar, an island off the southern coast of Sulawesi. The director of the police economic crimes unit, Agus Setya, said there have been three similar cases since April in which police suspected fertilizer was to be used for making fishing explosives. Local media reported last year that two women were killed in an explosion at a housing complex in South Sulawesi where police said fishing bombs were being made.
Cambodian court gives two Chinese life in prison for drugs
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A Cambodian court has sentenced two Chinese citizens to life in prison after finding them guilty of producing and trafficking heroin and methamphetamine in one of the country’s biggest drug cases. The Phnom Penh municipal court found Deng Yuan Ping, 53, and Ly Yong, 42, guilty of smuggling 120 pounds of the illicit drugs worth an estimated $3 million from Laos in June last year. The drugs were believed destined for both Cambodia and other countries. Two Cambodian men involved in the case also received life sentences, one in absentia as police are still seeking him. A report earlier this year from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime described Cambodia as an increasingly important hub for smuggling heroin and methamphetamine as well as chemicals used in their manufacture. At the time of the arrests, police said most of the drugs were intended for Taiwan after being diluted in Phnom Penh to increase their bulk and therefore their value. Ly and Deng were described as familiar with drug-making processes. The drugs seized were 84 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, 35 pounds of methamphetamine tablets, and 12 ounces of heroin.
Snake wrapped around armrest halts ‘bullet’ train
TOKYO (AP) — A passenger recently spotted a snake curled around the armrest of another passenger’s seat on a Japanese Shinkansen "bullet" train, forcing the train to make an unscheduled stop. No one was injured in the incident. The train’s operator, JR Tokai, or Central Japan Railway Co., said the passenger sitting in the reserved seat was unaware the snake was wrapped around his armrest for about 50 minutes until the person behind him saw it and notified a conductor. Experts suspected the snake may have been brought onto the train accidentally in someone’s luggage or with maintenance equipment. The footlong snake, initially thought to be a small type of python, was later identified as a rat snake after police consulted with a local zoo, according to Japanese media. Railway spokesman Atsuo Utano said the train crew made an announcement asking if anyone had lost a pet snake and informing passengers of an unscheduled stop, but nobody came forward. The super-express train made a stop at Hamamatsu station about 25 minutes later. Railway police removed the snake and the train departed in about one minute, Utano said. He said the train arrived in Hiroshima, its destination, on time. The snake incident was not the first on the high-speed "bullet" train line. Five years ago, a train crew spotted a snake on an unoccupied seat, according to the railway.
Seoul says North Korean soldier crossed border to defect
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s military has said a North Korean soldier crossed the border between the rivals to defect. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said military officials were investigating the North Korean solider, who defected across the central-east portion of the military demarcation line, which is inside the 2.5-mile-wide Demilitarized Zone that separates the countries. The military provided no other details. The Koreas have shared the world’s most heavily fortified border since the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War. The conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula in a technical state of war. Despite the heavy military presence at the border, North Korean soldiers occasionally find room to sneak into the South. Another North Korean solider defected in June last year after crossing the military demarcation line. In 2012, a North Korean soldier managed to walk south of barbed-wire fences without being caught by guards, which led to criticism on how South Korean soldiers were guarding the border. More than 29,000 North Koreans have defected to capitalist South Korea since the end of the Korean War, according to Seoul’s government. Most of them reached South Korea after travelling to China.
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