Weekly World News Brief

Friday, April 20, 2007

Written by Adam A. Donaldson

Liar, liar… bidet’s on fire

In what has to be one of the weirdest tales to cross the News Brief desk all year; it was announced this week that two of Japan’s largest toilet fixture manufacturers have recalled bidet models because of reports of smoke and, in a few cases, fire. The announcement from the companies Toto and INAX came in close succession with Toto saying they were looking at 180,000 units for possible repairs and INAX reporting that their had been 26 cases of smoking bidets and an additional three incidents of bidets catching on fire. No injuries have been claimed, but a Toto spokesman says that the company, which has 60 per cent of the market share in Japan, has received 100,000 phone calls on the matter since Monday. In case you were wondering, the matter of the bidets overheating has to do with the seat warmers.

Brazen shooting rocks normally quiet Japan

Speaking of Japan, the city of Nagasaki was shocked on Tuesday when the city’s mayor, Kazunaga Ito, 61, was shot twice in an apparent gang-related shooting. Mayor Ito died later in hospital, but the assailant was quickly arrested and identified as Tetsuya Shiroo, 59, a member of Japan’s largest organized crime group, the Yamaguchi-gumi. An unnamed police source told the New York Times that Shiroo shot Ito over a matter of a four-old traffic accident that resulted in Shiroo having to pay 100,000 yen (or $1,000 US) to the city, but to many observers in Japan, this seems penny-ante. There has been speculation that Ito’s activism in Japan’s peace and anti-nuclear proliferation movements are more likely the cause as a similar fate befell another Nagasaki mayor, Hitoshi Motoshima. In 1990, Motoshima said that Emperor Hirohito bore some responsibility for World War II and was wounded by gunfire a short time later. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has demanded a thorough investigation.

Some people just love to create controversy

Who remembers Paul Wolfowitz? He’s the former deputy to former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and chief architect of the War in Iraq. Well, he got a job as head of the World Bank in June 2005, but our pal Wolfowitz just can’t shake that need to create controversy – except this time; it’s personal. It has to do with Wolfowitz’s girlfriend Shaha Riza, a WB employee sent on assignment to the US State Department to avoid conflict of interest when Wolfowitz was named head of the Bank. The thing of it is though, that Wolfowitz sent along with her a hefty pay raise that sees Riza make more money in a year then her State Dept boss Condoleezza Rice. Naturally, US Treasury Secretary Harry Paulson has been supportive of his former colleague, but support for Wolfowitz is sparse given the fact he ascended to head of the WB despite the objections of many people both inside and out of the organization. The 24 executive directors of the Bank were set to meet on Thursday to discuss Wolfowitz’s fate.

More disturbing truths about Va. Tech shooter

In the wake of the fallout and grief of Monday’s mass killings on the campus of Virginia Tech, the strange revelations about the life of shooter Cho Seung-hui continue to pile up. A package received at NBC News on Wednesday contained a typewritten manifesto and a DVD disc on which were video clips, still pictures with captions and an audio clip. Cho sent the package himself, apparently during the time between the first shooting in the Johnston Hall dormitory and the second at Norris Hall. Early reports saying that Cho was romantically obsessed with his first victim, Emily Hilscher, have not been substantiated. His true motivations are still not yet known, except that the note found his body mentioned "rich kids", "debauchery" and "deceitful charlatans". A great deal about the man himself has been reveled though including the fact that two female students had previously reported Cho to campus police after incidents of stalking, at least two of his professors referred Cho to counseling and his roommates have said that Cho took to referring to himself as “Question Mark” and was known to have signed class attendance sheets with the punctuation symbol. Many have mentioned Cho’s recent fascination with the Korean movie Old Boy as another point of interest about the now famous mass murderer that nobody seemed to know anything about.

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