Bird flu breaks out in poultry
Cambodia's Agriculture Ministry has announced that a new outbreak of bird flu in poultry has been found in the country's southeast, state television station TVK reported yesterday. It was not immediately clear from the announcement whether the detected virus was the virulent H5N1 type. The ministry said the disease had been detected on Friday in Prey Veng province, which borders Vietnam. The H5N1 virus, which re-emerged in Asia in late 2003, has killed at least 138 people worldwide, including six in Cambodia.
Church battles nude nightlub
An Australian church is trying to stop the proprietors of a nightclub from going ahead with plans to feature nude shows when it opens in a building owned by the church on Friday. The dean of St David's Anglican Cathedral in Hobart, capital of the southern island state of Tasmania, is upset that the nightclub next door has been handing out flyers promising full frontal nudity when it opens. The church has served the bar with a notice demanding an undertaking that no such activity takes place, and has threatened legal action if the opening night show goes ahead. Reverend Lindsay Stoddart said the nightclub appeared to be in breach of "moral covenants" in the lease which prevent the building from being used for "immoral purposes."
Abe unveils PM candidacy
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said yesterday he would run for the leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), a race that will decide who succeeds Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. "I will do my best with a strong ambition," Abe said at a gathering with supporters in his home constituency of Shimonoseki in western Yamaguchi Prefecture.
"I want to explain to people this ambition of mine in early September," the Jiji Press news agency quoted him as saying. Abe, the frontrunner in the race to replace Koizumi, plans to formally announce his bid for the LDP presidency on Sept. 1, Jiji said.
■ United States
Chinese pilot wants asylum
A Chinese pilot who belongs to the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement wants political asylum in the US, saying on Friday he feared punishment if he returned home. Yuan Sheng, 39, of China Eastern Airlines said he abandoned his crew after his flight carrying about 300 passengers from Shanghai landed in Los Angeles on Aug. 8. Just before his flight took off from Shanghai, he said, airport police questioned him and wanted to detain him for talking to ground safety staff about alleged withdrawals of members from the Chinese Communist Party and persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. "If I go back, [family members] would not be able to see me, and I might be tortured in prison just like other Falun Dafa practitioners," Yuan said.
Encephalitis kills 17 people
An outbreak of mosquito-borne encephalitis B has killed 17 people in a city in northern China in the past two weeks, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Health experts and local authorities in Yuncheng in Shanxi Province were working on urgent measures to prevent the spread of the disease, the agency said. It quoted the city's health bureau as having confirmed at least 40 cases of the disease, which causes inflammation of the brain.
Police renting out choppers
Serbs seeking a bit of extra protection or perhaps a helicopter for the weekend can now turn to the police, which from this month will be renting out its personnel, transport and even animals for private use. A detailed price list published in the official gazette showed that the cost of hiring a policeman to guard money transports or sports events would be 300 dinars (US$4.50) an hour. A police horse goes for 2,400 dinars a day, a trained dog for 1,800 dinars a day, and a helicopter for between 45,000 and 140,000 dinars per hour. The government said the scheme was designed as "a chance for police to gain additional financial means and have their own income."