Sun, Sep 10, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Russia

Bomb disposal plant opens

Engineers covered in head-to-toe protective gear on Friday inserted neutralizing chemicals into bombs filled with a deadly nerve agent, officially starting the work at Russia's third chemical weapons destruction plant. The plant opening near Maradykovsky accelerates Russia's campaign to eliminate the world's largest arsenal of the toxins. The plant, 725km northeast of Moscow, holds 6,900 tonnes of nerve agents stored in aerial bombs and missile warheads -- more than 17 percent of Russia's stockpile.

■ France

Art shatters in museum

The Pompidou Center in Paris on Thursday admitted responsibility for the destruction of two works of art that fell off walls and smashed to pieces. The works were on loan from the US and formed part of a four-month exhibition of Californian artists called Los Angeles 1955-1985. On Thursday, Bruno Racine, president of the Paris museum, said the museum "unambiguously accepted full responsibility. It is heart-breaking for us." An investigation was launched after Untitled, a resin work worth ?22,000 fell off the wall during the night. The second work was Untitled Wall Relief, worth £48,000.

■ United States

Mugger gets a surprise

Margaret Johnson might have looked like an easy target. But when a mugger tried to grab a chain off her neck on Friday, the wheelchair-bound 56-year-old pulled out her .357 pistol and shot him, police said. Johnson was in Manhattan's Harlem neighborhood on her way to a shooting range when the man came up from behind and went for the chain. Deron Johnson was taken to Harlem Hospital with a single bullet wound in the elbow, police said. He faces a robbery charge, said Lieutenant John Grimpel, a police spokesman.

■ United States

Red Cross fined

The US government has fined the American Red Cross US$4.2 million for failing to ask blood donors proper screening questions and skipping other steps meant to keep the blood supply safe. The fine -- the largest ever levied by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a blood safety violation -- follows a multi-year battle between the FDA and the Red Cross, which collects about 45 percent of the blood donated in the US each year for transfusions.

■ United States

Dare turns ugly

Eight diners recently came down with a rare lung infection after eating live sawagani crabs on a dare. The crabs, which are usually served fried, were eaten at various southern California restaurants. Some patrons had started a tradition where they would reach into a jar of live crabs and devour them raw while being cheered on by their friends. Six to 10 weeks after eating the crabs, the participants ended up with a parasite carried by the crab that migrates from the intestines to the lungs and causes lung fluke infection. The infection -- whose symptoms include coughing, diarrhea, breathing problems, abdominal pain, fever and hives -- can lead to a very serious lung infection or damage the brain.

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