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Notebook carrying a deadly message

A rather macabre craze is sweeping primary schools in China and South Korea. It is inspired by a popular Japanese comic book series which features a special red notebook that can curse, injure or even kill someone if its owner writes their victim's grim fate in its pages.

In both countries, reproductions of the red Death Note book are being sold and have been snapped up by pupils eager to cause their classmates and teachers horrible accidents.

China TV reported that in one school in Nanking, half the class had bought one of the books. A presenter interviewed a pupil who had written details of how his foe would be admitted to hospital, then fatally poisoned by a nurse who gives the victim the wrong medicine by mistake. "Quite an imagination," the alarmed presenter muttered.

Strangely there have been no reports of the craze reaching schools in Japan, even though that is where the comics originated and an award-winning spin-off film, entitled Death Note, was produced.

But then, if the horror films are to be believed, people are probably too busy cursing each other using haunted video tapes.

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