Maoists snatch weapons
A group of about 50 Maoists attacked a police post at a customs office in the town of Sugauli, in southern Nepal, and made off with about a dozen weapons, police said yesterday. The attack late Sunday was the first on a police post since the rebels and the government announced a ceasefire on Jan. 29. "The Maoists warned the policemen -- three constables -- to leave their post and after they ran away the rebels seized the arms," a police spokesman said.
Confessed killers cry foul
Three Malaysian men charged with killing an American woman in an occult ritual to obtain lottery numbers have accused police of beating them to obtain forced confessions, defense lawyers said yesterday. The skeletal remains of 35-year-old Carolyn Janice Ahmad, whose maiden name was Bushell, were discovered in a shallow grave at an oil palm plantation in northern Malaysia in June 2001. She had been missing for 19 months. A native of Duluth, Minnesota, Ahmad had been married to a Malaysian doctor and lived in this Southeast Asian country since 1987. The couple had three children.
Crows find abandoned baby
Two scavenging crows drew the attention of passers-by and led them to an abandoned newborn girl left in a trash can in a northwestern Bangladesh city, a Dhaka newspaper reported Monday. The baby, wrapped in a bloodstained plastic bag, was found on Sunday in Rajshahi city, 232km northwest of the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, Inqilab daily reported. Curious onlookers stopped to watch the two cawing birds trying to seize the bag and attacking each other. They discovered the baby after it started crying, the report said.
Thieves make off with bones
Thieves broke into a museum near Sydney and snatched the fossil of a 110-million-year-old midget dinosaur on loan from China, officials said yesterday. The skeleton of the parrot-beaked dinosaur, one of only six worldwide, was an evolutionary link between modern-day birds and the "typical Tyrannosaurus-type of huge dinosaur," said Gavin Fry, director of the Newcastle Regional Museum, north of Sydney. "It's the size of a dog but the skeleton is more like that of a turkey," he said. The specimen of Psittacosaurus mongoliensis, about 60cm high and 90cm long, was on loan from the Beijing Natural History Museum as part of an exhibition tracing the evolution of present-day birds from dinosaurs.
■ Solomon Islands
Peacekeepers on the way
An Australian warship left for the lawless Solomon Islands on yesterday carrying the first contingent of a 2,000-strong force of troops and police hoping to restore order to the near-bankrupt South Pacific nation. The 8,500-tonne HMAS Manoora transport ship will act as a floating command post, hospital and supply base for the Australian-led peacekeepers, whose deployment was approved last week by the Solomon Islands parliament. The commanding officer, Commander Martin Brooker, said the vessel and the 600-crew and support personnel aboard expected to drop anchor off the Solomons capital Honiara on Thursday, when the rest of the force is due to be airlifted.
Pizza may reduce cancer risk
Gorging on pizza could reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer, Italian scientists say. In a twist to the accepted medical wisdom that food you really enjoy tends to be bad for you, researchers at a Milan pharmacology center found that eating one or more pizzas a week dramatically reduced the incidence of some types of cancer. A study of 8,000 Italians found that regular pizza-eaters were 59 percent less likely to contract cancer of the esophagus, while the risk of developing cancer of the colon fell by 26 percent.