Policeman shoots himself
A police officer shot himself in the head and died playing Russian roulette with his service revolver, a state coroner's report said yesterday. Corporal Arvin Rangoonathan, 20, had an "unusual dangerous tendency to play with his revolver," the Straits Times quoted coroner Tan Boon Heng as saying. Arvin was fascinated with his Taurus revolver and enjoyed taking pictures of himself in various poses with his camera phone, the coroner's court heard in testimony. The pictures were recovered from his cellphone at home after Arvin's colleagues found his body lying on the gymnasium mat on the fourth floor of a neighborhood police center where he worked, said Assistant Superintendent David Ang.
H5N1 mystery deepens
A woman who died last week from H5N1 avian influenza had no known contact with poultry and seldom ate poultry meat, Chinese state media said yesterday. The 41-year-old factory worker, known only by her surname, Zhou, died on Dec. 21 in the southeastern city of Sanming, Fujian Province, an urban area where China has reported no outbreaks of the virus among birds or other animals. The case was not reported until Dec. 29 "because experts could not explain how she caught the virus," an unidentified health ministry official said. All poultry raised within 3km of Zhou's home had been vaccinated by Dec. 5. Investigators tested and culled 230 birds near Zhou's home after the infection was confirmed, but found no infections. Tests on people who had close contact with Zhou also proved negative, the official said.
Mom throws baby into well
A woman in eastern Jharkhand state threw her six-month-old baby into a well to appease her husband who suspected the child was illegitimate, a news agency reported on Friday. Police in state capital Ranchi said the woman Rani Thakur admitted to having thrown her baby into a well to prove her "chastity" to her husband Gangesh Kumar, the IANS news agency reported. Kumar did not believe that the six-month male baby was his child. "Gangesh never touched his son and it was disturbing Rani. So she decided to dump the boy into a well," senior superintendent of police Anil Palta was quoted as saying.
Gas causes evacuation
Residents close to a Japanese hot spring where a family of four was killed by poisonous fumes were urged to evacuate yesterday after hydrogen sulfide gas was detected, a local official said. Sixteen people near the Doroyu hot spring in Yuzawa city, about 450km north of Tokyo, were advised to leave after officials detected hydrogen sulfide levels at more than 10 parts per million, according to city spokesman Atsuo Kondo. While the levels were not dangerous, residents were asked to evacuate as a precaution, Kondo said.
Graft group geared up
A newly formed anti-corruption group is gearing up to expose the "rotten innards" of the government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, which has come under withering criticism for graft and cronyism, local media said yesterday. The "Corruption Watch" group includes Auditor-General Jaruvan Maintaka, who some government politicians attempted to oust after she dug up corruption schemes involving public funds. "The government has done so little to stop corruption," a group member, Senator Nirun Phitakwatchara, was quoted as saying by the Nation newspaper. Rampant corruption has been a key factor in the declining popularity of Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party.