Wed, Nov 09, 2005 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take


■ China
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."

■ China

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.

■ Thailand
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.

■ Singapore

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.

■ Japan

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.

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