Rain electrocutes 15
A public holiday was declared in the southern city of Karachi yesterday after the heaviest rains for four years killed at least 15 people, mostly by electrocution. All government offices and schools in the port city of 12 million people were closed for the day, Sindh Province government spokesman Salahuddin Haider said. Electrocution is a common problem after rains here, where the infrastructure is often basic and many people set up crude illegal power lines to steal electricity.
H5N1 death suspected
A woman died of suspected bird flu in a village that has been hard hit by the disease, a hospital official said yesterday, as health workers investigated a new possible cluster of the H5N1 virus. Euis Lina died on Thursday night -- three hours after being admitted to hospital in West Java Province with symptoms of the disease, said Yati Maryati, the hospital's director. He was awaiting laboratory test results to confirm the cause of death. Lina was from Cikelet, a hamlet 150km southeast of Jakarta, where bird flu killed a 9-year-old a girl earlier this week.
Chopsticks receive boost
A company is conducting a campaign to help the country's fast-food addicted population to re-learn the fading art of eating with chopsticks, according to a report in the Yomiuri Shimbun yesterday. Hyozaemon has dispatched its employees around the nation to give 20-minute lectures on how to use the utensils correctly. The instructors teach how to grip them, and provide tips on choosing the right size chopsticks for your hands.
Street kid gets 20 years
A court has sentenced an 18-year-old street boy to 20 years in prison for stabbing a British bar owner to death during a botched robbery in February, a court official said yesterday. Lao Chamrong, also known as Tong Chen, was arrested near the royal palace in Phnom Penh as he was cleaning blood off his knife after stabbing David Mitchell, from Walsall, England, five times in the chest, police investigators said. "He admitted to the court that he murdered the British man," prosecutor Ngeth Sarath said. "We sentenced him to 20 years in jail." Lao Chamrong told the court he broke into Mitchell's house looking for food but was interrupted.
Court rejects appeal
The Tokyo High Court rejected an appeal yesterday from a chemist sentenced to death for allegedly producing Nazi-invented sarin gas used in his cult's deadly 1995 attack on the Tokyo subway. Masami Tsuchiya, 41, was convicted of heading the chemical unit of the Aum Supreme Truth cult, whose nerve gas killed 12 people and injured thousands of others on rush-hour trains. "The court has dropped the appeal," said a High Court official, upholding the 2004 sentence given by the Tokyo District Court over the 1995 subway attack and other crimes. Tsuchiya conspired with the cult's guru Shoko Asahara, who has also been sentenced to death, to develop deadly chemicals.
Authorities ordered the evacuation of thousands of people yesterday in the central and northern regions to avoid flash floods and landslides triggered by prolonged rains that have killed at least 19 people. Floods after torrential rains since last Friday hit the central highlands' coffee-growing region and four central coastal provinces, killing at least eight people in Binh Thuan Province and four in Nghe An Province, a government report said. Six others drowned in four provinces and one died in the Mekong delta province of Dong Thap. The floods also displaced thousands of people, inundated 5,000 houses and submerged nearly 40,000 hectares of crops.