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TOKYO: Japan’s weather agency announced the official beginning of cherry blossom season in Tokyo yesterday, equalling the record for the earliest ever start.
The national weather service used the capital’s central Yasukuni Shrine as a barometer to judge the start of the season, which sees an explosion of colours that last only about a week.
The March 16 date equals the previous record set in 2002, according to the agency, which has monitored cherry blossom since 1953.
Marking the coming of spring, the blooming of cherry trees is a beloved natural spectacle in Japan, involving nationwide parties and celebrations to take in the flowers’ short-lived beauty.
Military corruption less under Aquino
MANILA: Corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines has been minimised under President Benigno Aquino’s administration, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said last Friday.
“It’s now minimal. The extravagant lifestyle of many officers has changed. This is an indication that corruption in the military organisation has been reduced,” the former Navy officer said in a television interview.
Trillanes also said it was “impossible” for his three colleagues — Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr — not to have known how their pork barrel funds amounting to nearly P200m ended up with a non-existent private foundation.
Severed heads of HK couple found
HONG KONG: The severed heads of a Hong Kong couple were found in a refrigerator at a bloodstained apartment in a gruesome murder, for which their 29-year-old son has been arrested, according to reports.
Police said in a statement last Friday that “some sections of human body” had been found at a flat in Tai Kok Tsui on the outskirts of the city and that they suspected the victims were a 64-year-old man and his wife.
They had been reported missing last Saturday, police said.
The couple were identified as Chau Wing-ki, and his wife Siu Yuet-yee, by Hong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
Their heads were found in the refrigerator and parts of their arms and legs were also discovered in the flat, according to the SCMP, while their bodies remain missing.
Google chairman to visit Myanmar
YANGON: Google chairman Eric Schmidt will visit Myanmar next week, highlighting increasing Internet freedom in the former pariah state just weeks after a controversial trip to communist North Korea.
Schmidt will speak in Yangon, Myanmar on March 22 as part of an Asian tour, the Internet giant said, aiming to boost web access in the country, ruled for decades by a repressive military junta.
Under the military regime, the Internet was strictly controlled, with access to anti-government sites and sites such as YouTube blocked.
Sri Lanka bars Briton with Buddha tattoo
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka denied entry to a British tourist sporting a Buddha tattoo on his arm because he showed disrespect to Buddhism, a newspaper report said Saturday.
The unnamed Briton was turned back at Bandaranaike International Airport late Friday, according to the daily Lankadeepa Sinhalese.
“When questioned about the tattoo, he spoke very disrespectfully about Buddhism,” an immigration official told the newspaper.
“If he expressed such views after entering the country, it would have been a threat to his own safety.”
An airport official confirmed the report, but declined to give details.