Dead fetus found in woman
Doctors in Vietnam successfully removed a 50-year-old calcified fetus from a 75-year-old woman on Wednesday, the operation's head surgeon said yesterday. Dinh Thi Thu was hospitalized more than a week ago with abdominal pain. Doctors were shocked to discover she was carrying a fetus believed to be 50 years old. Scans revealed the skull, backbone, ribs and limbs to be the size of a normal eight-month-old fetus that appeared to be the result of an ectopic pregnancy. Because it was outside her womb it had not interfered with the woman's ability to give birth to three children in her 30s.
■ New Zealand
Man undone by egg in undies
Border authorities have arrested a New Zealand man who tried to smuggle a bird's egg from Australia by hiding it in his underwear, officials said yesterday. The man arrived at Auckland's airport on Jan. 11 from the Australian city of Melbourne, said Tina Nixon, an official with New Zealand's biosecurity agency. A sniffer dog picked up the scent of the egg, which officials later found in the man's underpants, Nixon said in statement. The alleged smuggler will be charged under New Zealand's biosecurity laws, and if convicted, faces up to five years in prison and a 100,000 New Zealand dollar (US$705,000) fine. The egg is being kept in quarantine facilities until it hatches "to aid the identification of the species," Nixon said.
■ South Korea
Trainees forced to eat feces
South Korean Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung publicly apologized yesterday after army recruits were allegedly forced to eat human excrement at boot camp. A 28-year-old army captain was arrested on Thursday after he was accused of ordering 192 trainees under his command to eat feces as punishment for not flushing toilets. The incident, described by the defense ministry as "outrageous, inhumane behavior," allegedly occurred at a training camp in Nonsan, 200km south of Seoul. It was disclosed after recruits complained to their families who posted protests on the Internet. All adult males must complete 24 months' training in South Korea's military.
Robbery ends in shootout
Police exchanged shots with a gang of armed robbers outside the New Century Hotel casino in the territory, security officials said yesterday. The shootout, which left one man injured, took place when a gang of robbers tried to rob a couple leaving the complex. Police intervened and the robbers attempted to escape by car, leading to a car chase and a shoot-out, a spokesman for the security officials said. One man from Hong Kong was arrested but police are still seeking five other suspects who were involved in the attempted robbery.
Judge warns Blair
British Prime Minister Tony Blair was effectively reprimanded by a British judge sitting at the court martial in Osnabruck, Germany of three soldiers who are alleged to have abused Iraqi looters they captured and held in their camp. Judge advocate Michael Hunter urged the British government not to make any further statements with regard to the case dubbed "Britain's Abu Ghraib,'' after Blair, in the House of Commons in London on Wednesday, mentioned a series of photographs taken from soldiers' cameras depicting the alleged mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners. Hunter added, "I would like to make an appeal that no public statements, if possible, be made with regard to this trial."