■ ChinaJapan sends experts
Tokyo has sent experts to investigate drums of poison gas thought to have been left by the Japanese army after World War II that sickened dozens of people in China's northeast last week, a Japanese official said yesterday. Two people were "close to death" with breathing problems after exposure to the gas in the city of Qiqihar, the state newspaper China Daily said. It said 32 others were hospitalized, including one man with chemical burns on 95 percent of his body. The poison, believed to be mustard gas, was released Aug. 4 after construction workers unearthed the five drums at a building site.
Governor-general sworn in
Queen Elizabeth's new representative in Australia was sworn in yesterday, three months after her previous envoy was forced to resign in the wake of two sex scandals. Major-General Michael Jeffery, a decorated Vietnam War hero, was appointed Australia's 24th governor-general in a formal ceremony at the national parliament. Jeffery replaces Peter Hollingworth, a former Anglican archbishop, who left the job amid public anger over his protection of a pedophile priest in the 1990s and over a 40-year-old, unproven rape case that was eventually dismissed.
Abudction issue to be raised
Japan plans to raise the abduction of its citizens by North Korea at six-way talks to be held late this month in Beijing on the crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, a Japanese official said yesterday. But the official said the issue of the abductions, which took place decades ago but have dogged relations between Japan and the reclusive communist state, would be resolved bilaterally. "This is an important issue so this will be raised," the official quoted Japanese chief Cabinet secretary Yasuo Fukuda as saying at the end of a three-day visit to Beijing. North Korea has admitted kidnapping 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s to help train spies, saying eight of them subsequently died.
Penis enlargement blasted
Men who want their penises surgically enlarged are showing signs of profound psychological disturbance as well as risking infection, the president of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgery said yesterday. Dr Alfred Lewis said that the same could not be said of women seeking breast enlargement. "Breasts are public organs and the penis isn't -- it's a private organ," he told reporters at an international plastic surgery conference in Sydney. Lewis said he would personally never perform a penis enlargement. "It's a completely and absolutely unnecessary operation which I think, in the patient requesting it, is showing a fairly profound psychological disturbance," he said.
Man kills relatives
A man sneaked into his brother's home and shot to death his sister-in-law and his four teenage nieces, apparently because he believed two of the nieces had disgraced the family's honor by having affairs, police said yesterday. The man, Shaukat Ahmed, shot each of the women in the head at close range Sunday, said police spokesperson Mirza Liaqat Ali. The brother was away from home at the time of the attack, which took place in Muridke, 30km north of Lahore. Only the eldest niece, 18-year-old Misbah, made it to a hospital, where she died during emergency care.
Mother strongly sacrificial