Sat, Feb 19, 2005 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Japan

Police seek cat killer

Police in the western Japanese prefecture of Osaka have launched an investigation following the grisly discovery yesterday of 17 dead cats dumped in a city park. The unfortunate felines are believed to have been poisoned elsewhere before being scattered along a hiking route in the park, according to officials of Ikeda city in Osaka, where the park is located. Under new laws for animal protection, those convicted of aggravated animal cruelty or knowingly inflicting severe pain and suffering face a maximum of three years in prison or a ?500,000 (US$4,700) fine.

■ Hong Kong

Rat scratch prompts suit

A Hong Kong mother is seeking HK$50,000 (US$6,400) in compensation from fast-food giant KFC alleging a rat in one of its outlets scratched and hurt her two-year-old son. Tsui Fung-fai said a fist-sized black rat dropped "from the sky" onto her son while they were eating at a KFC restaurant in Hong Kong's New Territories area last year. She said the rodent landed on top of the boy's head and then slid down his cheeks and his thigh before running away. The boy's face was scratched and they both had suffered recurring nightmares ever since and had to seek psychiatric help, she said.

■ Pakistan

Militants blow selves up

Two suspected Sunni Muslim militants blew themselves up with explosives after being cornered by Pakistani security personnel in the southwestern city of Quetta, police said. The militants traded gunfire with police for more than 30 minutes, throwing at least two hand grenades in a bid to break a cordon round their hideout in a congested part of the city, said Rafi Pervez Bhatti, a deputy inspector general of police. "One of the militants kept the police engaged in gunfire while the second detonated the explosives," Bhatti said. Police were trying to identify the dead men, who are suspected of belonging to the outlawed Sunni Muslim extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

■ Australia

Dogs get high on toxic toads

Dogs in Outback Australia are getting hallucinogenic "highs" from licking the backs of cane toads, a vet in the Northern Territory town of Katherine said yesterday. Megan Pickering said she was getting used to dogs being brought in that had developed a taste for the poisonous secretions. "We have had quite a number of cases of dogs that are getting addicted to the toxin," Pickering told the Northern Territory News. "They lick the toads and only take in a small amount of the poison -- they get a smile on their face and look like they are going to wander off into the sunset," she said.

■ United Kingdom

No loose nukes: regulators

A civilian nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in northwest England cannot account for enough plutonium to produce seven or eight nuclear bombs, but regulators said Thursday it was due to bookkeeping errors and no material had left the facility. "This is material that is unaccounted for, and there is always a discrepancy between the physical inventory and the book inventory," said a spokesman for the British Nuclear Group which audited the plant, confirming a report in the daily The Times that some 30kg of plutonium could not be traced. "There is no suggestion that any material has left the site," which is located in Sellafield, northwest England, she added.

■ Spain

Kenyan penises rebuilt

Two Kenyan boys whose penises were cut off to be sold for making anti-AIDS potions have had them reconstructed in Spain, the doctor treating them said. The adolescent boys, from a remote region near the border with Uganda, were mutilated after being given drugged food or drink by strangers. "They had attacked them to cut off their penises to sell ... for making a type of potion which according to a local belief cures AIDS," Doctor Pedro Cavadas, from the Levante Rehabilitation Center told radio station Cadena Ser. One of the boys also lost an ear trying to fend off his attackers after regaining consciousness during the mutilation.

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