SARS ruled out in flu cases
Eighteen people who were rushed to a Hong Kong hospital last week had influenza and not SARS, a government spokeswoman said, quashing fears that the deadly respiratory disease had resurfaced in the city. "It's confirmed that they have influenza A. It's definitely not SARS," said the Health Department spokeswoman yesterday. Sixteen of them are patients at a mental institution, one a staff member and another a relative of a patient. Another 18 people from the same institution and three other places were subsequently taken to hospital but they too were found to be suffering from influenza A, the spokeswoman said. "The conditions of all 36 are stable," she added.
Death requested for bomber
Indonesian prosecutors yesterday demanded that the Islamic militant accused of masterminding last year's bombings on the Indonesian island of Bali be sentenced to death. Around 50 people present in court, several of them relatives of foreign victims of the Oct. 12 attack, applauded when the sentence demand was read out. Imam Samudra, a 33-year-old computer expert, has already admitted to taking part in the blasts that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists enjoying an evening out in a popular nightclub strip on the island.
Suu Kyi may be released
Myanmar's foreign minister said yesterday that pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi would not be detained indefinitely and indicated that the military junta was working on her release. Win Aung was speaking after talks with his Indonesian counterpart, Hassan Wirajuda, and before meeting President Megawati Sukarnoputri. Myanmar is facing mounting international pressure over the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, detained since a deadly May 30 clash between her supporters and a pro-government group. Win Aung denied ASEAN was putting pressure on Myanmar, saying Yangon's neighbors were working with it to resolve the issue.
Aftershocks hit in Miyagi
Several tremors, including one measuring a strong 5 on the Richter scale, shook northeastern Japan early yesterday, the latest aftershocks from a series of more powerful earthquakes that left hundreds injured over the weekend. The tremor hit northern Miyagi prefecture, about 300km north of Tokyo, shortly after 4am, an official at the Japan Meteorological Agency said. Police in the mostly rural area with a population of around 2.3 million said Saturday's quakes injured more than 420 people, as well as causing landslides and power blackouts. The prefecture authorities put the injury toll higher at over 560.
■ New Zealand
Man stabbed in brain
A man was recovering in Wellington Hospital on Monday after surgeons worked for five hours to remove a knife embedded in his brain. Police said a 37-year-old man would appear in court on an assault charge. They said the two men knew each other and had a long standing disagreement. The early morning stabbing took place in a street in central Wellington and an ambulance took the man to hospital with the knife still stuck in his brain.
ETA bombs airport
The Basque separatist group ETA struck again on Sunday in its summer campaign against tourism targets and the Spanish economy, exploding a car bomb outside the airport at Santander, in northern Spain. The bomb, hidden inside a Renault 19 in the airport car park, caused damage to the airport building and other cars but did not cause any injuries. A telephoned warning gave the police an hour to evacuate the airport before the bomb exploded. "ETA does whatever it can whenever it can," the interior minister, Angel Acebes, said. The attack was made less than a week after ETA exploded bombs in tourist hotels in Benidorm and Alicante.