London police were searching yesterday for two teenagers who carried out a series of "violent and random" attacks on people in the popular South Bank area, which ended in the beating to death of one victim. The assaults occurred within a 15-minute period early on Saturday. David Morley, a 37-year-old barman from west London, was beaten by youths who attacked him and a friend as they walked alongside the river at about 3:30am, the police said. Morley was taken to hospital, where he died. Police said they were searching for two teenagers, one white and one black, who were accompanied by two young women.
Thousands of locusts invade
Cyprus was invaded by a swarm of thousands of locusts on yesterday, a rare occurrence on the east Mediterranean island, which left farmers scrambling to protect their crops. Authorities described the insects as "big, pink locusts" which were first detected on the western shores of the island on Sunday and spread inland yesterday. Tests were pending on specimens to identify the insect, thought to have spread on winds from north Africa and attracted by unseasonably hot weather. "It is pink with clear wings with black dots on it. I have never seen this in Cyprus before," said Andreas Kazantzis, a senior officer of the Agriculture Ministry.
■ United Kingdom
Embryos checked for cancer
Parents with inherited forms of cancer have won the right to select embryos free from genes that might trigger the disease in future generations, The Times reported yesterday. Four couples affected by a genetic form of bowel cancer will start the procedure by the end of the year, after the government's fertility watchdog allowed a London clinic to screen in-vitro fertilization (IVF) embryos for the disorder, the paper reported. Infants would otherwise have a 50 percent chance of inheriting the colon cancer. The ruling is bound to deepen the controversy over designer babies.
■ United Kingdom
Abuse policy raises hackles
A proposal that medical professionals should ask all pregnant women whether they are suffering physical abuse at home as a matter of routine antenatal care has provoked controversy. Public Health Minister Melanie Johnson announced the plans at a London conference, citing statistics that around 30 percent of domestic violence either starts or intensifies during pregnancy. Opposition politicians attacked the plans as intrusive and pointless. Conservative Member of Parliament Ann Widdecombe said: "This is carpet-bombing everybody for the sake of getting information about a minority. The Daily Mail tabloid described the pro-posal as "the ultimate in nanny state intrusion." But a member of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) supports the move.
Ruling party wins vote
President Festus Mogae of Botswana and his ruling party are to return to power after having won a majority of seats in the general election in the diamond-rich southern African country, it was announced yesterday. When results late Sunday showed the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) had clinched a majority -- 29 of the 57 constituencies being contested -- Chief Justice Julian Nganunu declared Mogae the winner, allowing Mogae to begin a second five-year term in office.
■ United StatesAlert for northern Europe
The US on Sunday warned citizens living in or passing through the Nordic and Baltic states of possible imminent terrorist attacks in crowded public places in those countries. The State Department, in notices issued by the US embassies in Finland and Latvia, urged Americans to be particularly vigilant in shopping centers and mass transportation hubs in Nordic and Baltic nations. It said the warning should be heeded "especially in centers of ground-based mass transit." A separate but similar notice issued by the US embassy in Riga urged Americans in the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to avoid such shopping and mass transit areas altogether beginning yesterday.