Bird flu victim dies
Tests confirmed that a 25-year-woman who died overnight in the capital had bird flu, officials said yesterday, as they investigated the possibility that several members of one family were infected by the virus. Ilham Patu said the government would wait to update its human bird flu death toll, which now stands at seven, until the woman's lab tests were confirmed by a World Health Organization-accredited laboratory in Hong Kong. That could take several days. The H5N1 bird flu virus has ravaged poultry stocks across Asia since 2003, and jumped to humans killing at least 68, most of them in Vietnam and Thailand. So far, most human cases of the disease have been traced to contact with infected birds.
Five Tibetan monks arrested
Chinese authorities have arrested five Tibetan monks in a widening crackdown on followers of the exiled Dalai Lama, the US broadcaster Radio Free Asia said yesterday. Security officers also reportedly sealed off the Drepung Monastery -- Tibet's largest -- for two days when monks there staged a silent protest. The monastery, home to 300 monks, has since reopened to the public. The five monks, all from Drepung, were arrested on Nov. 23 as authorities were leading a patriotic education campaign aimed at boosting support for Beijing inside Tibet's monasteries. Officials reportedly insisted that the monks condemn Tibetan Buddhism's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 during an uprising against Chinese rule.
Differences must be resolved
Japan and China must resolve their differences in the interest of regional stability, the US ambassador to Tokyo said yesterday, adding that Washington's role as a mediator was limited. US Ambassador Thomas Schieffer also said Japan should be allowed to decide for itself how to honor its war dead, siding with its ally on an issue that has been at the root of recent tensions between Japan and China, and backed moves by Tokyo toward changing its pacifist constitution. "We hope Japan and China can resolve their differences because it's important for the whole region that everyone get along," Schieffer said at a news conference in Tokyo.
China is `encroaching'
Bhutanese lawmakers have accused China of encroaching on the tiny Himalayan kingdom's territory, warning that it could threaten national sovereignty, the country's official media has reported. The representatives levelled the charges at a National Assembly session in the capital, Thimphu, the government-run weekly newspaper Kuensel said in its latest edition dated Monday. "The Chinese government did not adhere to the 1998 understanding signed between Bhutan and China by constructing several roads in our territory," Kuensel quoted a lawmaker of Bhutan's Haa Province as saying.
Bomb death toll rises
The death toll from overnight bomb attacks by Islamic militants rose to 11 yesterday as two critically wounded people died in hospitals, officials said. The condition of at least 40 injured victims of the twin blasts have worsened since late Tuesday, raising fears that the death toll could climb. The explosion was set off by a powerful device tied to the body of a suicide bomber inside the district court building in Gazipur, a semi-industrial town 55km north of the capital Dhaka.