Tue, Oct 07, 2003 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ AustraliaEuthanasia device unveiled

Euthanasia advocates yesterday unveiled do-it-yourself machines, designed to bring death within minutes to anyone suffering a terminal illness. Made from plastic containers, the machines cost A$15 to A$20 (US$10 to US$13.50) to build and deliver the poisonous gas carbon monoxide through plastic tubing to the nose. "You can just lie in bed, hook that up, close your eyes and go to sleep," said Sandra Milne, who built her own machine at a workshop organized by the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Queensland. Milne said she was in good health and never planned to build the machine, which took around half an hour to build.

■ China

Man poisons reservoir

An unemployed man poisoned a reservoir, sickening 64 people, because he wanted to boost sales for water purifiers, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday. Police detained Cao Qian, 27, after the reservoir that provides drinking water to homes in an area of Ruyang County in the northern province of Henan was found tainted by poison Wednesday. Cao, who had been laid off, was trying to run a small shop selling water purifying devices. No deaths were reported, but 42 people were poisoned badly enough to be hospitalized, the report said. It said Cao "claimed to poison the water in a bid to have his water purifying devices sell well." No details were given.

■ China

Species face extinction

About 15 to 20 percent of animal and plant species in China are in danger of extinction, higher than the world level of 10 to 15 percent, state media reported yesterday. According to statistics from the State Forestry Administration, over 300 species of terrestrial vertebrate animals and some 410 species of wild plants are at risk, the Xinhua news agency said. By 2010, China will have a total of 3,000 to 4,000 plants on the brink of being wiped out, the report cited experts as warning.

■ Japan

Another mad cow found

Japan has detected a possible eighth case of mad cow disease, the Health Ministry announced yesterday, underlining concerns about how widespread the illness may be in Japan. The finding, still to be confirmed as an actual case, comes nearly nine months after the last mad cow diagnosis in January. The latest animal tested positive for signs of the disease on Sept. 29 when it was brought to a slaughterhouse in Ibaraki Prefecture just north of Tokyo, said Health Ministry official Makoto Kanie. Follow up tests by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases backed the initial findings.

■ China

S Korean consulate to shut

South Korea's consulate in the Chinese capital will close for business indefinitely because it is housing too many North Korean refugees to continue operating smoothly, a South Korean diplomat said yesterday. The South Korean diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the closure will take effect today. She couldn't say how long the office would be shut, nor would she say exactly how many North Korean asylum-seekers were inside. The move means that anyone in China seeking a visa to South Korea is out of luck for the immediate future. "The number of North Korean refugees who are staying within the inside of the consulate is beyond our capacity," the diplomat said in a telephone interview. "So it makes it difficult to do our consular jobs."

■ United KimdonMagician dodges bullet

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