Blast on bus kills eight
An explosion on a passenger bus killed at least eight people and seriously injured 19 others in Hunan Province, just days after a similar incident in another province, state media said yesterday. The explosion in Hunan's Guiyang County on Sunday evening killed eight people instantly and left seven in critical condition in local hospitals, the semi-official China News Service said. The cause of the explosion was still under investigation, the agency said.
Boy has bird flu
A 16-year-old Indonesian boy being treated for flu-like symptoms at a Jakarta hospital has tested positive for bird flu, a health official said yesterday. But the official said more tests were needed to confirm the results after preliminary findings showed that the boy had contracted the deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus. Ningrum, an official at the health ministry's bird flu post center, said the boy was receiving treatment at Jakarta's Sulianti Saroso Infectious Disease Hospital, which is designated to handle bird flu patients.
Olympics official upbeat
The 2008 Olympics in Beijing will not be shrouded in smog or choked by traffic jams, state media said yesterday, citing the city's top Games official. There are only two years to go before Beijing is to host the world's biggest sports event, but that will be enough time to solve the problems, according to Liu Qi (劉淇), who also heads Beijing's Communist Party. "The problems that exist in Beijing, such as traffic jams and environmental pollution, are things we have to solve, whether we are hosting the Olympics or not," said Liu, according to the China Daily newspaper.
Prize exhibit declared fake
A Vincent Van Gogh painting that for 65 years has drawn millions to a Melbourne art gallery has been declared a fake by British experts. National Gallery of Victoria director Gerard Vaughan said yesterday that Head of a Man would be worthless if the bulk of art historians concurred with the view of Michael Daley, director of Art Watch UK, that the gallery's prize exhibit had "all the hallmarks of a pre-existing picture tricked up to resemble a Van Gogh."
■ Hong Kong
Tsang sued over fish
A prankster is suing Chief Executive Donald Tsang (曾蔭權) over the death of a pet fish, a statement said yesterday. Matt Pearce, a British-born teacher who stages public spectacles to promote liberal political causes, filed a writ with the small claims tribunal alleging that Tsang failed to return a koi carp he lent him which later died. Pearce is claiming HK$50,000 (US$6,400) in compensation. He said the fish was named "Democracy" and that his action was a protest against the slow pace of democratization in the territory.
Bicycle bombers blow up
Separatist rebels tossed grenades at a paramilitary convoy in northeastern India, wounding eight troopers, while two suspected militants died when the explosives they were carrying blew up, police said yesterday. Elsewhere in the northeastern state Assam, a trader was shot by suspected rebels trying to extort money from him, police said, as violence in the region escalated ahead of India's Independence Day next Tuesday. The grenade attack on a convoy of the Central Reserve Police Force came on Sunday near the town of Bhojo, about 300km east of Gauhati, Assam's capital. Separately, two suspected militants were killed as the explosives they were carrying in a bicycle went off in the town of Tezpur.