Eight more miners perish
A gas explosion at a coal mine has killed eight miners and trapped an unknown number just days after a flood at another mine stranded 57 underground, official media reported yesterday. Monday's accident in the northern province of Henan, following last week's flooding at a pit in neighboring Shanxi province, reinforces China's reputation for running the world's deadliest mining industry. The owner of the unlicensed Henan mine and some of his officials had fled.
Holiday gone wrong
A Thai court on Wednesday sentenced a British man to 10 years in prison for killing his girlfriend during an argument on the resort island of Phuket, a court official said. Paul Chetwynd-Talbot, of Bristol, said when he was arrested last August that he had thrown 31-year-old Debra O'Hanlon on a bed during a drunken argument, apparently breaking her neck. He then tried to kill himself by slitting his wrists. Phuket provincial judge Noparat Suwanakul sentenced Chetwynd-Talbot to 10 years in prison.
Teach your children well
The prime minister yesterday denied criticism that a bill revising the education law to teach ``love of the nation'' and other patriotic themes would promote militarism. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said criticism of the bill -- drafted by the ruling coalition and approved by the Cabinet on April 28 -- was based on a "contorted view." "We are not intending a law that would draw us into war. The bill [places] heavy importance on an education suitable for a new era and is aimed at nurturing admirable manpower for the benefit of Japan," he told a parliamentary committee.
Confiscated drugs missing
Drugs seized during 12 police raids in Malaysia last year went missing from a vault where they were being kept as evidence, a news report said yesterday. The drugs went missing from Kota Bahru police headquarters in Kelantan State, and included more than 1,000 psychotropic pills, seven grams of heroin, and 0.4l of a banned cough syrup mixture, the New Straits Times reported. Also missing were investigation papers relating to trafficking and drug possession implicating at least 10 suspects, the report said. The drugs were estimated to have a street value of about 40,000 ringgit (US$11,000).
Fat pets a big worry
The nation's animal lovers may be loving animals to death as they pass on rising levels of obesity by overfeeding their cats and dogs, the country's main animal welfare body says. Obesity rates for Australians have doubled over the past 20 years, with 62 percent of men and 45 percent of women now deemed overweight or obese. The same trend applies to household pets, said the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), which even had one case of an obese pet mouse. Lawrie said surveys had found that between 40 and 44 percent of dogs and more than one in three household cats were now overweight, due to poor diet and a lack of exercise.
Suharto feeling better
Ailing former president Suharto has started recognizing family members and is conscious for longer periods, but his health remains critical, doctors said yesterday. The former autocrat, who turns 85 next month, was admitted to hospital early this month due to bleeding in his digestive system, which lowered his body's oxygen level, including to his brain. His health worsened on Tuesday due to fresh internal bleeding, but a doctor, Adji Suprajitno, said the bleeding had since stopped. Indonesia's attorney-general said this month that his office had stopped pursuing graft charges against Suharto because of his poor health. His illness had prevented his prosecution on charges of corruption.