Bird-flu restrictions lifted
China lifted restrictions on the movement of people and poultry in a bird-flu-stricken town for the first time yesterday but said this did not mean the health scare was over. Officials on Friday confirmed two more suspected cases of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu that has killed 22 people and spread to eight countries in Asia. A magistrate in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region announced "the ending of isolation" imposed on the town of Dingdang, Xinhua news agency reported. Ducks on a farm in Dingdang were confirmed last month to have died from the H5N1 strain.
Dengue fever death toll rises
The death toll from an outbreak of dengue fever in Indonesia rose to 224 yesterday, with a total of more than 11,700 reported cases this year, a health official said. "As of Sunday, a total of 224 people have died from dengue fever disease," said Sumardi, spokesman of the Health Ministry. Sumardi said as many as 11,724 people have been infected by the mosquito-born disease in 19 of the country's 30 provinces. Jakarta, the Indonesian capital of about 12 million people, has been one of the worst-hit areas, where a total of 3,930 people have been hospitalized, with 47 of these cases fatal. Most of the other cases are on Java, the densely populated island home to more than 60 percent of Indonesia's 215 million inhabitants.
Abu Sayyaf strikes
Abu Sayyaf Muslim guerrillas struck again in separate areas in the southern Philippines, leaving one Abu Sayyaf fighter dead and a girl wounded, the military said yesterday. An Abu Sayyaf member was gunned down Saturday after he sneaked into an army camp in the southern island of Jolo and attacked a soldier with a machete, a military report said. It was believed that the slain man was seeking to steal firearms when he was spotted by a sentry, prompting him to attack. Another group of Abu Sayyaf fighters opened fire on houses in Talipao town on Saturday, wounding a young girl, the military said. The motive for the attack remains unknown.
Curfew set in temple town
Authorities clamped an indefinite curfew on a temple town in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh after clashes between Hindus and Muslims, police said yesterday. Officials said two people received injuries in the clashes late on Saturday night. Witnesses put the number at more than 50. Saturday's clashes began after authorities demolished a row of shops near a mosque, angering Muslims, to widen a road ahead of a Hindu fair held every 12 years. Inspector General of Police Sarabjeet Singh told Reuters the curfew was imposed in Ujjain, 350km from state capital Bhopal, to prevent a major flare-up.
More troops reach Gulf
A second contingent of Japanese troops, a group of 140 soldiers, reached Kuwait yesterday on their way to a reconstruction mission in neighboring Iraq. The troops, who will beef up Japan's first military deployment since World War II in a country where fighting is under way, arrived at this military base 20km south of Kuwait City, aboard a Boeing 747 Japanese government plane. The soldiers were taken by bus to Camp Virginia, a US military outpost in the desert some 70 km southwest of Kuwait City.
Bus crash kills at least 31
At least 31 people were killed Saturday when a bus heading to the northern Brazilian state of Bahia plunged into a ravine, transportation officials said. Officials from bus company Viacao Itapemirim said the accident occurred before dawn near the town of Barro. The driver was among the dead. Officials said the death toll could eventually exceed 40, but so far 31 bodies had been found and retrieved. Rescue teams worked to retrieve the bus and any possible survivors, according to the company.
Five die in bus crash
Five people were killed and more than 20 injured on Saturday when a double-decker bus mounted a curb and crashed into pedestrians waiting at a stop on one of Dublin's busiest streets. Police said two men and three women were killed. The wounded, including six people with serious but not life-threatening injuries, were taken to four Dublin hospitals. Twelve victims remained hospitalized Saturday night. One of the dead was not Irish, said police, who released no details of the victim's nationality.
■ United States
Judges name best water
Ice Mist from Morarp, Sweden, was crowned best bottled water in the world, while Bosec of Harghita County, Romania, won the carbonated bottled water category in an international water tasting contest in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. Tap water form Desert Hot Springs, California, won the gold medal for municipal water, and Pure StoneClear Springs of Vanleer, Tennessee, won for purified drinking water, at the 14th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Taste on Saturday. Water from Bosnia and Canada also won prizes in the contest where judges sipped samples from six countries. Generally, the more natural a water is, the better it tastes and the better it fares in competition.
■ United Kingdom
Officers planned for Belgium
Britain plans to follow on its success in posting immigration officers on French soil by doing the same in Belgium, Home Secretary David Blunkett said yesterday. Writing in the weekly People newspaper, Blunkett said statistics due out this week will show progress in government efforts to slash the number of foreigners seeking asylum in Britain. "Our UK figures will show we are getting there in tackling abuse of the asylum system, not least we have successfully moved our border controls to France -- a move we expect to extend to Belgium soon," he wrote.
■ United Kingdom
BBC pays for damaging tree
The BBC has stumped up
?250 (US$465.50) in compensation after its star motoring personality deliberately crashed a Toyota pick-up truck into a tree in a village church parking lot. Jeremy Clarkson, irreverent host of the popular Sunday night car show Top Gear, rammed the 30-year-old chestnut tree in the North Somerset village of Churchill, in the west of England, to demonstrate how tough the truck might be. Top Gear didn't reveal where Clarkson conducted the stunt when it was telecast, but a young sharp-eyed viewer from the Churchill area quickly made the link. "We looked at the tree [after the program was aired] and saw red paint and glass, so I contacted the BBC," recalled Churchill parish council deputy chairman and church warden Pam Millward.
■ United States
White House dog dies
President George W. Bush's dog Spot, the 15-year-old English springer spaniel who had remained eager to please despite increasing health troubles, died on Saturday. Bush and his wife, Laura, went along with a veterinarian's recommendation to put Spotty, as the longtime Bush family pet was known, to sleep, according to White House spokesman Allen Abney. She had suffered a series of strokes recently, including one this week, he said. "The President and Mrs. Bush and the entire Bush family are deeply saddened by the passing of Spot," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Saturday in a statement.
Accountant goes love-crazy
A love-crazy Italian, incensed because his chosen would have nothing to do with him, tried to kill her by spreading anti-snail poison around her Turin apartment, court officials said after his arrest on Saturday. The 30-year-old was detained as he left the woman's place in Turin, where she lived with her boyfriend. "She blew me away, not so much by her beauty but by her intelligence," accountant Matteo Porzio told a judge. He had snuck into the apartment and put the poison into yogurt, jam, salt and water. The couple became suspicious when they found small blue stains in the food, along with traces of footprints.
■ United States
New Mexico joins gay fray
Rural New Mexico became a second frontier in the battle over gay marriage after the county clerk offered licenses to same-sex couples before being shut down by the state attorney general. San Francisco had rocked the political world over the past week by officiating some 3,200 gay marriages in defiance of California state law. Gay and lesbian couples in Bernardillo, seat of New Mexico's Sandoval county, made a rush for the courthouse on Friday after hearing on the radio that Republican County Clerk Victoria Dunlap would issue them marriage licenses, the first in the state. Sixty-six gay couples were issued licenses and were married in the tiny courtyard behind the courthouse before Sheriff Paul Trujillo and his deputy blocked the door.
■ United Kingdom
Random drug tests planned
Schools are to be given new powers to enforce random drugs tests on pupils, similar to those enjoyed by schools in the US, British Prime Minister Tony Blair disclosed in an interview with the News of the World newspaper yesterday. "If heads believe they have a problem in their school then they should be able to do random drug testing," he said. Blair, who will be 51 in May, made clear that he intended to lead the party into the next general election, which must be held by the middle of 2006.
Speaker falls on revelers
Millions of revelers hit the streets on Saturday across Brazil to celebrate the beginning of carnival, tirelessly dancing and showing off elaborate costumes. The largest party took place in the northeastern city of Recife in the state of Pernambuco, where more than a million people -- including federal ministers and other celebrities -- danced to the region's frevo music. Festivities in the business centre of Sao Paulo were overshadowed by an accident that injured five revelers when a loudspeaker fell on a float. A foreign national was hospitalized but her injuries were not life-threatening, reports said.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
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
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic