SARS cure moves forward
Hong Kong virologists say a SARS vaccine has been developed and will soon be tested on animals, a news report said yesterday. Researchers at the University of Hong Kong said they have been collaborating with their counterparts in China to develop experimental vaccines, the South China Morning Post reported. Yuen Kwok-yung, head of the university's department of microbiology, said an inactivated strain of the SARS coronavirus was ready to be tested in animals, adding that "this is an important first step in the development of a vaccine."
Tribesmen sent to jail
Fifteen ethnic minority men in Vietnam were given sentences of up to 10 years in prison for "violating the national unity block" after organizing protests in the troubled Central Highlands region, a judge said yesterday. on The men, members of the Ede tribe, were sentenced Monday at the end of a one-day, closed-door trial in the central province of Dak Lak, said Judge Nguyen Loc from the provincial People's Court. The sentences are the latest in a string of prison terms following mass anti-government protests that broke out in 2001. The men sentenced on Monday were accused of holding follow-up protests last year.
■ New Zealand
Old scam finds new guise
New Zealand police have warned that e-mail letters purporting to offer millions of US dollars of funds from Iraq are being received in the country, a newspaper reported yesterday. One claims to be from the financial adviser to Saddam Hussein's son Uday, and offers a 20 percent share of more than US$100 million if the money can kept in the recipient's account for "safekeeping" until it is safe to hand back to the government in Iraq, Wellington's Dominion Post reported. "It is like old crime in new bottles," said police electronic crime unit national manager Maarten Kleintjes. "Use your common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, then don't get into it."
Animals attack in zoo
Hungry tigers and lions have been attacking each other at a Chinese zoo that says it can't afford to feed them due to a slump in visitors amid SARS fears. A 5-year-old lion was killed and two tigers injured in brawls at the Xiamen Haicang Wild Animal Park in the southeastern coastal city of Xiamen, said Liu Huichun, its general manager. "Hunger has made the animals irritable and they have returned to the laws of the jungle," Liu said. Zoos and other tourism-dependent businesses have been devastated by official efforts to contain the disease by discouraging Chinese from traveling. The public also is anxious about pets and zoo animals after reports the disease might have originated in animals.
Man castrated by in-law
A man was castrated by the brothers of his wife who opposed his marriage in the northern city of Agra, a report said yesterday. The Times of India newspaper reported that Meghendra was invited for dinner by his two brothers-in-law on Sunday. When he arrived with his wife, they beat him up and cut off his genitals. He rushed to a police station in the city bleeding profusely and was sent to a hospital. The accountant had married his current wife, an office assistant, after throwing out his first wife after she become disabled in an accident.
Exhibit shows lives of labor
Their jobs make them feel invisible, but using donated cameras a group of America's low-paid workers -- janitors, doormen, cleaners and dishwashers to name a few -- have documented their lives in photographs. In an exhibition called "Unseen America" now showing at the Labor Department in Washington, the pictures record the lives of people who are usually never in the public's eye. "Most people don't think about all of those millions of people who make our lives what they are -- the people who make our clothes, look after our children, open doors, wash dishes in restaurants," said Esther Cohen, who developed the show.