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BEIJING: A Chinese city is searching for a foreign traveller to become a “modern Marco Polo”, with a 40,000 euro ($52,000) salary on offer to the winner, a tourism official said yesterday. Hangzhou in eastern China, renowned for its canals and bridges, was described as the “most beautiful and elegant city in the world” by the Venetian traveller, whose The Travels of Marco Polo composed in 1298 was one of the first detailed accounts of China written by a European. Now the city is “calling people around the world to follow Marco Polo’s steps,” said Chen Li, of Hangzhou’s tourism commission. The Marco Polo will be recruited via Facebook, banned in China, and will undergo training before being flown to the city for a 15-day trip. Duties include making a short video about Hangzhou and promoting the city online. Both men and women are eligible.
Thailand denies shooting Rohingya
BANGKOK: Thailand yesterday denied accusations its sailors shot Rohingya boat people fleeing sectarian strife in Myanmar, after a rights group urged a probe into the alleged deaths of at least two migrants. Survivors of the alleged incident on February 22 told Human Rights Watch that sailors opened fire on around 20 Rohingya migrants, killing two of them, as they jumped overboard to escape custody after drifting into Thai waters. But the incident near a pier in Kuraburi district, southern Phang Nga province, was strenuously denied by Thai officials. “The Thai navy commander responsible for that area has rejected the report,” said foreign ministry spokesman Manasvi Srisodapol, adding there is “no reason to shoot or hurt” Rohingya.
Tsunami town on watch for shark deal
Kesennuma: An international agreement to protect sharks could spell trouble for one tsunami-wrecked port in Japan as it struggles back to its feet two years after being swept away, locals say. Shinichi Sato said his shark processing business in Kesennuma has only just re-started, but he fears a global vote to regulate trade in several species of the predator could put paid to its recovery. “We don’t just take fins and dump the fish in the way now criticised by the world,” Sato said as he laid out the boomerang-shape fins to dry in the sun. Kesennuma has been Japan’s sharkfin hub since the 19th century, and once dealt with 90 percent of all shark landed in the country. As well as the fins, which are used to make sharkfin soup or stew, a highly prized delicacy in China and Japan, other parts are used in the production of supplements such as liver oil, while the skin is used as leather.
Japan duo jailed for killing Nepalese
TOKYO: A court jailed a 22-year-old Japanese man for killing a Nepalese restaurateur in an unprovoked street attack in which the victim was repeatedly kicked as he lay unconscious on the ground, reports said. The court in the western city of Osaka found tattoo artist Hiroki Shiraishi and his female acquaintance Miyoko Shiraishi, 23, guilty of causing the death of 42-year-old immigrant Bishnu Prasad Dhamala last year. Shiraishi was jailed for 19 years, and Shiraishi for nine. It was not known if they were related. The duo were drunk before they began what the court said was a random assault on the street. During the trial, security camera footage showed the Nepalese collapse to the ground after being hit.