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Canine care

Bangkok, Jan. 6 (Reuters): Faced with a rapid rise in the number of stray dogs in Bangkok, Thai police have decided to put the canines to work sniffing out illicit drugs, the justice ministry said today.

The first batch of 100 abandoned hounds have begun training in narcotics sniffing and will eventually be deployed at train stations and airports, said justice minister Purachai Piumsombun.

The initiative was undertaken after Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who recently published a book about his own pet dog which was a stray, suggested homeless dogs be given jobs.

“Those strays with wet noses, healthy looking, and with no skin diseases will be selected,” Purachai said.

There are around 100,000 dogs abandoned and wandering on Bangkok’s streets and the city administration has tried various means to control their numbers, including neutering.

High horror

Kuala Lumpur (Reuters): An Australian man on Monday won an annual contest for parachuting off the world’s tallest office building, the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, and said fear helped him master the sport. “Oh yeah, I’m scared, I’m always scared and if I think I stopped being scared, then I should stop doing this,” Dwain Weston, a 29-year-old computer systems designer from Sydney, said after being crowned champion. Weston won prize money of around 20,000 ringgit ($5,260) for his acrobatic feats from the 88-storey, 452-metre towers in Kuala Lumpur. Nearly 60 contestants from 15 countries jumped from a platform 298m from the ground, winning points for both accuracy and creativity as they flipped and corkscrewed their way down towards a eight metre wide target.

Thief trap

Sydney (Reuters): An Australian thief got more than he bargained for when he grabbed a bag off a car’s passenger seat and found a venomous, red-bellied black snake inside. A police spokeswoman said the thief stole the canvas bag after yanking open the door of a four-wheel drive at traffic lights in the Sydney inner-city suburb of Redfern late on Saturday. But the car’s driver, snake handler Bradley McDonald, had the last laugh. The bag contained a 1.2 metre long snake that he had just snared in a nearby car park. “It might teach him a lesson. The snake is the innocent party in this,” McDonald said. A bite from a red-bellied black snake, which can grow to up to 2.5 metres long, is very painful and could kill a small child.

Body bother

Hong Kong (Reuters): Hong Kong’s top university owned up on Monday to mistakenly dumping human body parts in a landfill and apologised for sending police on a wild goose chase. Tip workers late last week stumbled on three lower torsos, three right legs, two thighs and a left foot. The gruesome find sent squads of police and reporters swarming over the landfill. Police found the body parts had been injected with formaldehyde and traced them to the University of Hong Kong. Lam Shiu-kam, a professor and dean of medicine, said the body parts were used by the faculty for research. They were then mistaken for construction waste and unceremoniously dumped.

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