Trading watercannon fire.

Tensions between China and Japan are heating up over ownership of a chain of uninhabited islands — and the first skirmish was fought last week.  More than 40 Taiwanese fishing boats traded watercannon fire with Japanese Coast Guard boats.

The hotly contested islands in the East China Sea are known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku by the Japanese.  Taiwan also claims the islands, which sit astride rich fishing waters and potentially large reserves of natural gas.

Fishing rights in the waters have long been a source of friction between Japan and Taiwan. Tensions between Japan and China also rose after Japan bought the disputed islands, a source for potential energy resources, from a private owner. The move prompted protests in many Chinese cities.

Rhode Island man sets record with 1-ton pumpkin
Organizers of a fair in northeastern Massachusetts say a Rhode Island man has set a new world record with the first pumpkin ever to weigh more than a ton.

Leaders of the Topsfield Fair say the huge gourd grown by Ron Wallace of Greene, R.I., tipped the scales at 2,009 pounds on Friday, September 28, winning him $5,500 for first place and another $10,000 as a bonus for breaking the one-ton mark.

The Guinness World Record for heaviest pumpkin is 1,810 pounds set by Chris Stevens of New Richmond, Wis., at the Stillwater Harvest Fest in Stillwater, Minn., in October 2010.

A New Hampshire man appeared to break the record on Thursday. Steve Geddes of Boscawen turned in a pumpkin weighing 1,843 pounds at the Deerfield Fair in Deerfield, N.H.

Small apartment proposal
San Francisco, CA, may soon allow construction of some of the smallest apartments in the country.

The city’s Board of Supervisors is expected to vote later Tuesday on a proposal that would change building codes to allow apartments as small as 220 square feet. The space would include a bathroom, kitchen and closet.

Current regulations require living rooms alone to be that size.

Supporters say the smaller units represent a solution to rising rental prices. But critics warn the apartments do nothing for families and could increase population density while straining city services.

They are calling for a pilot project to test the new units before fully opening the door to construction.

From The Boston Herald and The NY Post