S. Korea’s last polar bear dies ahead of British retirement

In this file photo, Tongki eats iced fruits given out to help beat the summer heat at South Korea’s Everland Amusement and Animal Park in Yongin, south of Seoul, on June 21, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 18 October 2018
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S. Korea’s last polar bear dies ahead of British retirement

  • Tongki — a 23-year-old male named after a Japanese cartoon character of the 1980s — lived in a 330-square-meter (3,500-square-foot) concrete enclosure at the Everland theme park outside Seoul
  • The autopsy results suggested that Tongki appeared to have died of old age

SEOUL: The last polar bear kept in South Korea has died of old age only weeks before his planned departure to better living conditions in Britain, zoo officials said Thursday.
Tongki — a 23-year-old male named after a Japanese cartoon character of the 1980s — lived in a 330-square-meter (3,500-square-foot) concrete enclosure at the Everland theme park outside Seoul.
The zoo had planned to move him to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park next month to allow him to enjoy his final days in more appropriate surroundings — the facility in northern England has a 40,000 square meter polar reserve — and had thrown him a farewell party in June.
But Tongki was found dead on Wednesday night and autopsy results suggested that he appeared to have died of old age, the zoo said in a statement, adding it plans to conduct more tests to determine the exact reason for his death.
The average life span of polar bears is around 25 years and Tongki was the equivalent of around 80 in human terms.
“We have designated this week as a period of mourning for Tongki and decorated his living space so visitors can say farewell,” a zoo official told AFP.
Born in captivity at a zoo in the southern city of Masan, Tongki was the only polar bear still living in South Korea and had been alone at Everland since the last fellow resident of his species died three years ago.
Everland said Tongki will not be replaced, and other South Korean zoos have no plans to import the animals, which are classed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of endangered species.


Chris Brown denies rape allegation

Chris Brown at an event last year. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2019
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Chris Brown denies rape allegation

PARIS: Singer Chris Brown said on Tuesday that a rape allegation against him was false, a day after the French prosecutor’s office said that he had been arrested in Paris with two other suspects.

Brown, who is a US citizen, has been released from police custody as authorities were still investigating the case, the French prosecutor’s office added.

The arrests were first reported by Closer magazine, which said Brown, his bodyguard and a friend were detained after a 24-year-old woman alleged she was raped at the singer’s suite at the Mandarin Oriental hotel on the night of Jan. 15.

“I wanna make it perfectly clear ... This is false,” Brown said in a post on his Instagram account. “For my daughter and my family, this is so disrespectful and is against my character and morals.”