Tue, Oct 21, 2003 - Page 6 News List

World News Quick Take

■ Australia
Cancer breakthrough

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.

■ Vietnam

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.

■ Pakistan

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.

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