Australian researchers yesterday unveiled a breakthrough treatment for cancer that uses genetically altered blood cells to attack and kill tumors. Associate professor Joe Trapani said the treatment involved taking hundreds of millions of white blood cells from the sufferer. The cells' DNA is then genetically altered so they can recognize the tumor and attack it. "Instead of having a very, very few, perhaps one in 1,000 cells that can recognize the tumor, now we have virtually 100 percent of them that can home in and so the attack on the tumor is much, much greater," said Trapani. Human trials are due to commence in two years.
WHO urges SARS vigilance
SARS may have been contained for the moment but the international community must take immediate steps to prepare for a recurrence or the outbreak of a new disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday. "We cannot rest on our success so far. SARS may return and we should be ready for it," said Dr. Shigeru Omi, the WHO's regional director for the Western Pacific. His comments, read out on his behalf by Pascale Brudon, the UN agency's representative to Vietnam, came on the opening day of a two-day conference in Hanoi analyzing strategies used to contain the recent SARS crisis.
3,200kg of hashish seized
Authorities seized 3,200kg of hashish in the back of a truck in southern Pakistan, stashed in wooden crates labeled "Strawberries." Two men were arrested, a government minister said Sunday. The seizure was made near Nawab Shah, a town in the province of Sindh, about 850km southwest of the capital Islamabad, said Rauf Siddiqui, the Sindh minister of excise and taxation. He was quoted by the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan news agency. The truck allegedly carrying the hashish was coming from Mardan, a town in the North West Frontier Province, bordering Afghanistan, and was headed to the port city of Karachi, the agency said. It was not known when the seizure was made.
■ South Korea
Defectors arrive in South
A group of 21 North Korean defectors who were holed up in the South Korean Embassy in Beijing have arrived in South Korea, a news agency reported yesterday. Among 120 defectors who sought refuge in the embassy, 21 of them arrived in South Korea on Sunday after traveling through a third country, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported. Early this month, South Korea closed consular services at its embassy in Beijing because it was housing too many North Korean refugees to continue operating smoothly and issue visas. The consular services resumed early yesterday.
■ Sri Lanka
Grenade set off in argument
A soldier threw a grenade at his wife after an argument in a busy street of a southern Sri Lankan town yesterday, killing a 10-year-old girl and wounding 34 other passers-by, officials said. The wife was in a critical condition in hospital along with the other wounded, said hospital officials in the town of Galle, 110km south of Colombo. "The soldier was arrested and was being interrogated," said M.N. Junaid, secretary to the interior ministry, which is in charge of the police. He said among the injured were several students on their way to school. The soldier was also injured after passers-by beat him up after the grenade explosion, witnesses said.
Man fined for using loo
A Malawi court fined a foreign journalist on Sunday for breaching security rules by trying to use a business class toilet on a state airliner carrying Vice-President Justin Malewezi. "Your Worship ... I did not know that it was an offense on Air Malawi to visit the toilet in the business class," Peter Chilambwe told Presiding Magistrate Arthur Mtalimanja. The Zambian journalist said after being fined 50 kwacha (US$0.47) on a charge of conduct likely to cause a breach of public peace that he would never travel with Air Malawi again. Regional Police Prosecutor Paul Jeremani said Chilambwe was not armed or violent, but police had treated the case seriously because the security of the vice-president -- who was sitting in the business class section -- had been at stake.
■ United Kingdom
Tube crash injures seven
Seven people were injured on Sunday when a London underground train derailed and slam-med into a tunnel wall in the network's second accident in 48 hours. Rail unions and London's mayor said the accident raised serious questions about safety on the network, which saw another derailment on one of its busiest lines on Friday. A spokesman for the London Underground said one passenger broke a leg and six others suffered minor injuries after part of the train jumped the tracks and careered into a wall. The accident at Camden Town station brought much of the line to a standstill as police, fire engines and ambulances raced to the scene. The cause of the accident was not known.
Government out of fuel
Zimbabwe's state fuel company has run dry, paralyzing virtually all government departments and stopping many trains, buses and cars across the country. Police operations in many areas are being carried out on foot, bicycle or by public transport, while ambulances have had to be refuelled by patients' relatives. The government has responded by blaming the British government. One official said some fuel was expected this week. International oil companies closed off supplies to Zimbabwe in December 1999 because the government had failed to meet payments.
Breakfast beats record
Thousands of Croats took part Sunday in a mass, nationwide breakfast in hopes of breaking a Guinness world record held by Taiwan. Croatian officials said 38,660 Croats ate polenta, yogurt and apple during an hourlong breakfast than began at 9am in 11 cities -- more than 15,000 more than in Taiwan in 2001. The authorities of the Guinness Book of Records have yet to issue a ruling. "We have to promote our country any way we can," said 49-year-old Olga Caldarevic, who ate with her husband and two children in a tent set up at the Zagreb's main square.
Izetbegovic dead at age 78
Former Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic, who led the Balkan country through a turbulent decade of war and peace in the 1990s, died in Sarajevo on Sunday after a long period of heart illness. He was 78. Doctors said Izetbegovic died from chronic heart disease and complications after he fell at home last month and broke four ribs. "He was in a real sense the father of his people," said Paddy Ashdown, the West's top peace envoy in Bosnia.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete