Snail poisoning saga ends
All 160 people who contracted meningitis after eating undercooked snails at Beijing restaurants have recovered and have been released from hospitals, a news report said yesterday. The meningitis cases occurred since late June and were blamed on undercooked giant Amazonian snails that carried the parasite angiostrongylus cantonensis, which can cause meningitis. Most were infected after eating at the Chinese capital's Shuguo Yanyi Restaurant. The government hasn't said where else diners were infected or how many restaurants were involved. Earlier reports said two of the patients were under age 13. Health authorities reportedly inspected hundreds of Beijing restaurants after the outbreak.
A former member of China's legislature was executed on charges of rape, weapons possession and misappropriating US$15 million, a news report said yesterday. Sang Yuechun (桑粵春) was executed on Friday in the northeastern province of Jilin. Sang, president of Jigang Industrial and Trade Group Corp and a former deputy to China's legislature, the National People's Congress, was convicted of taking bribes, rape, weapons possession and misappropriating 120 million yuan (US$15 million), the Xinhua news agency said.
Mass murderer apprehended
Chinese police have arrested a man accused of slaying 13 people after a massive manhunt in the country's northeast, state media reported yesterday. Shi Yuejun (石悅軍) killed eight people in rural Jilin Province a week ago and killed five more while on the run from police, the China Daily reported. Shi left another four injured, three seriously, the report said. The dead included four members of the same family, according to earlier local newspaper reports. The 37-year-old professional pig butcher was finally caught on Friday in a cornfield near his hometown after a hunt involving 14,000 people, including 2,000 police.
Crackdown on illegal aliens
Malaysia will continue to arrest illegal aliens despite a critical lack of space at detention centers throughout the country, news reports said yesterday. "If they have to sleep on floors right next to one another, so be it," Home Affairs Minister Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said. "But we do not feel nice about making them do this, so we need to find more space for them." As of Thursday, 7,467 alleged illegal aliens were held at 15 centers nationwide, including 1,482 women and 303 children. The majority are Indonesians, he said. Radzi said the situation could become worse early next year because Malaysia plans to launch a major operation to round up illegal aliens.
A wealthy Japanese businessman accused of killing British woman Lucie Blackman sent ¥100 million (US$850,000) to the former British Airways flight attendant's family, Kyodo news agency reported yesterday. Quoting defense lawyers for Joji Obara, charged with killing Blackman in 2000, Kyodo said the Japanese man had sent the "condolence money" to her family in Britain. A millionaire property developer, Obara, 54, is accused of drugging, raping and killing Blackman, who had been working at a hostess bar in Tokyo's Roppongi entertainment district.
Broadband in EU schools
Almost all schools in the EU have access to the Internet and just over two-thirds have high-speed, broadband connections, the European Commission said on Friday. However, it said the broadband picture is mixed across the 25 EU nations, ranging from 90 percent of schools in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia and Malta to under 35 percent in Greece, Poland, Cyprus and Lithuania. By comparison, 95 percent of US public schools have a broadband connection, said the survey, which assessed the use of information technologies in European schools. The survey found that the number of pupils sharing computers connected to the Internet ranges from 3.8 to 5.5 in Denmark, Britain and Luxemburg to as many as 19 in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Greece.