Tamiflu sales restricted
Swiss drug maker Roche Holding has stopped external sales of its bird flu drug Tamiflu in China since Nov. 1 and is instead sending all supplies to the health ministry. The move follows similar temporary suspensions by Roche of Tamiflu supplies to pharmacies in the US, Canada and Hong Kong to head off hoarding by consumers worried about the spread of bird flu as the world heads into the start of the influenza season. "The immediate distribution of anti-viral resources to affected areas during the time of a pandemic outbreak is crucial for the prevention of the spread of the disease," Shanghai Roche said, adding that "the government is in the best position to handle rapid response and distribution during such time."
Protesters hold up mayor
Riot police were called in to rescue Shenzhen Mayor Xu Zongheng when former military construction workers surrounded him while protesting their compensation in Shenzhen, news reports said yesterday. The protests by up to 5,000 former workers of the army's construction corps highlight festering anger over losses of pay and benefits as government companies, often headed by corrupt managers, are converted into private enterprises. Reports said that the protests began last week, as workers took to the streets to demand more compensation. The workers surrounded a local police station to demand the release of two protesters detained by police, reports said. It said the workers had been paid only a few thousand yuan (a few hundred US dollars) in lieu of company shares they expected to receive following a government-ordered pay system restructuring.
Murder suspect arrested
Police have arrested an Italian man on Samui island as the chief suspect in the murder of Japanese-Brazilian Mazio Nirako. Daniele Testoni, 22, was arrested on Monday at the Samui Mae Maid Bungalows and charged with murder, theft and illegal possession of a pistol. Testoni is the chief suspect in the murder of Nirako, 31, whose body was found on Saturday with stab wounds and head injuries at the side of a public road in Samui, south of Bangkok. Nirako's notebook and other possessions were found in Testoni's bungalow. Police speculated that the two men were lovers who had quarrelled.
Girl testifies at sex trial
A girl who allegedly had sex with three footballers and another youth at a public park when she was 12 testified behind closed doors at their trial. Footballers Syed Shafreen Syed Kasim, 17, Syed Hashreen Syed Kasim, 19, Muhammad Taufiq Mansor, 18, and their friend, Muhammad Noor Kamurudiin, 18, allegedly took turns having sex with the girl on Sept. 26 last year. Each of the four faces a charge of having sex with a minor, an offense which carries a jail sentence of up to five years and a maximum fine of US$5,917. The girl is the prosecution's only witness. She is now 13. The Football Association of Singapore has suspended the three players from all matches.
Princess to be a commoner
Her Imperial Highness Princess Sayako, scion of one of the world's oldest monarchies, will marry her commoner fiance on Nov. 15, becoming plain Mrs. Sayako Kuroda. Marriage to Yoshiki Kuroda, a Tokyo urban planner, means the only daughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko must leave the sequestered environment of the Imperial family for a new life as a housewife. No daughter of an emperor has married out since 1960 and Japan's media are watching closely for clues as to how the reserved 36-year-old princess, a keen birdwatcher and student of traditional dance, will cope with the transition.
Dreaded bandit shot dead
One of the country's most wanted bandits, linked to more than two dozen murders and 100 kidnappings, has been shot dead after a fierce encounter. Nirbhay Gujjar, armed with automatic weapons and boasting a flamboyant handlebar moustache, had wreaked havoc in the rough ravines of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh states for more than a decade. He kidnapped small traders and affluent farmers, killing them if ransoms were not paid, police say. Gujjar, who was about 50, was shot dead by a police special taskforce in Uttar Pradesh on Monday.
Abductions block nuke talks
Japan will not hold further bilateral talks with North Korea unless it moves to resolve the cases of Japanese citizens it kidnapped in the 1970s and 1980s, a top Japanese official said yesterday. The two countries held full talks last week for the first time in a year, but progress was limited. North Korea wants normalization of ties, but Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said solving the kidnapping cases was the highest priority."Unless there's progress on the abduction issue, we will not move onto the next round of talks," Abe said. Abe, who has called for tough measures against North Korea in the past over the abductions, did not specify what steps would be considered progress.
Grenade game turns deadly
A hand grenade being used instead of a ball in a game of catch exploded early on Saturday, killing three young people in the town of Novi Grad, police and news agencies said. Two youths aged 19 and 20, one of them from Croatia, were killed instantly while a 20-year-old woman died on her way to hospital, police said. Her sister was slightly injured but two other youths suffered serious injuries. The blast occurred at 2am at a place in the town center frequented by youngsters. ONASA news agency quoted witnesses as saying the youths tossed the hand grenade to each other before it exploded in the hands of one of them.
■ South Africa
Bees kill driver after crash
Mariana Carmichael, 60, was stung to death by bees minutes after she crashed her car into a nest of hundreds of thousands of the insects, news reports said yesterday. Her husband James was being treated in hospital. The couple reportedly escaped injury when they crashed their car into an electrical substation in suburban Johannesburg inhabited by bees, but became surrounded by bees when they stepped out of the vehicle. Paramedics called to the scene could not save Carmichael and were themselves stung. Police have arranged for the removal of the bees.
■ United Kingdom
Murderer faces sentencing
A man who made a tearful nationwide TV appeal after he reported that his girlfriend had vanished on Valentine's Day admitted on Monday to her murder and was to be sentenced yesterday. Paul Dyson pleaded guilty at Hull Crown Court to murdering Jobcenter worker Joanne Nelson, 22, having admitted in May that he unlawfully killed her. The disappearance of Nelson prompted a massive police search, but her body was not found until five weeks later in north Yorkshire, far from her Hull home. When Dyson appealed for information about Nelson, he said the pair had exchanged Valentine's Day cards and a kiss. But detectives believe Nelson was already dead. One police officer noted that Dyson had given comfort to Nelson's family despite knowing there was no hope she would be found alive.
Fireballs spark UFO rumors
Numerous sightings of massive fireballs in the skies this week have led to an upsurge in reports of UFOs, but scientists believe the cause could be a bizarre annual meteor blitz. According to NASA's Web site, such fireballs have been reported elsewhere in the world and may also be due to the fact that the Earth is now orbiting through a swarm of space debris. Many Germans have noticed the fireballs, said Werner Walter, an amateur astronomer in Mannheim. "The last reported sighting was yesterday at 7:30pm in a corridor near the border of the Netherlands," he said. "This week we have had at least 15 e-mails and phone calls from people reporting these fireballs," he said. "Some people said it looks like something out of a science-fiction horror film."
Hu leaves for Europe
President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) left Beijing yesterday to visit Britain, Germany and Spain, state media said. Hu was scheduled to visit Britain from yesterday through tomorrow, then Germany until Sunday, and Spain from Sunday until next Tuesday. Sources said deals worth US$1.7 billion were expected to be signed during Hu's visit to Germany.
■ United States
Radio host arrested
A Missouri radio talk show host has been arrested for allegedly poisoning his wife by spiking her beverage with a chemical found in antifreeze. Prosecutors said James Keown, 31, began poisoning his wife when the couple moved to Massachusetts in January last year, after he lied to her about being accepted to Harvard Business School. District Attorney Martha Coakley said the motive for the killing may have been financial: The couple was broke, and Julie Keown, 31, had a US$250,000 life insurance policy. Her husband was never able to collect because the death came under investigation.
■ United States
Dealers hail `narco saint'
A bandit out of Mexican folklore has become a patron saint to many drug dealers in Bakersfield, California, and some even have altars to him in their homes. Jesus Malverde is known as the "narco saint" by many law enforcement officers and drug dealers. His existence has never been verified, but legends claim that Malverde was caught and hanged as a thief in the early 20th century before he began appearing to people in peril to save them. Up to 80 percent of Mexican nationals involved in the Bakersfield drug trade have Malverde's likeness on a personal item, police estimated.
■ United States
Rangers charged in assault
Five US Army Rangers in Iraq alleged to have punched and kicked Iraqi detainees and hit them with a broomstick have been charged with assault, the military said on Monday. A US army spokesman said the five special operations troops had been charged with assault and maltreatment of prisoners and dereliction of duty in the incident, which occurred on Sept. 7 in Baghdad. He said they were still being held in Iraq, and the International Committee of the Red Cross had been given access to the detainees in question. Boyce said the abuse allegedly occurred after the men were arrested and before they were taken to prison.
Police force to expand
The Jamaican government wants to expand the island nation's struggling police force by around 30 percent to stem a surge in murders and crime that threaten its crucial tourist trade. Jamaica's minister of national security, Peter Phillips, said late on Sunday that 2,500 police officers would be added to the country's 8,500-strong force within 18 months. Fueled largely by the drug trade, there have been 1,417 murders in Jamaica so far this year, compared with last year's record of 1,469. Phillips said that an all-out effort would be made to capture gang leaders and drug lords. More than 500 policemen would be taken off desk duty and sent into the streets to fight crime as part of the new strategy, he said.
Detectives face lie detectors
Colombia's scandal-shaken state security agency will investigate detectives' bank accounts and make them take lie detector tests in a drive to root out corruption. The anti-corruption drive comes as the Administrative Security Department, or DAS, which is Colombia's equivalent to the FBI, is reeling from the resignation of its chief, Jorge Noguera, amid media reports that agents had links to right-wing paramilitaries. The paramilitaries have their origins in vigilante groups set up by drug smugglers and cattlemen to fight Marxist rebels and have been proven to have links to sectors of the armed forces in the past.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
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
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete