Uproar over expulsions
Schools in Urumqi have expelled students who tested positive for hepatitis-B, sparking outrage from central government authorities, the China Daily reported yesterday. The 19 students were banned from attending middle schools under guidelines issued by the city government, the paper said. "I am in a desperate situation now. No school is willing to accept me with a drop-out paper in my hand," one expelled student was quoted as saying. The school reportedly expelled the children because of fears they could spread the virus, even though it is mainly transmitted only through sexual contact and blood.
■ Czech Republic
Dalai Lama urges dialogue
The Dalai Lama called for a continuous dialogue between religions to avoid conflict on Tuesday at a Forum 2000 conference in Prague on "The Risks of Globalization." "In the past, like today, there have been divisions in the name of religion" and to overcome them "we should have a continuous dialogue between different religions," he said. The conference brought together a panel of political experts, intellectuals and religious leaders from around the world.
Bird flu back in the press
Beijing has reinstated daily reporting of the results of bird flu monitoring, the Xinhua news agency said yesterday. The daily reports, published by Xinhua, were to prepare for the huge number of migratory birds expected to fly over the country in coming weeks. "Officials should be aware of the dangers and should not underestimate the difficulty of controlling the virus," the vice minister of agriculture was quoted as saying.
Leopard on the loose
A leopard is loose in the British embassy compound in Addis Ababa, the embassy said on Tuesday. "There have been lots of wildlife in the compound, including mongoose, jackals and civet cats. The leopard which we are talking about has caused no injuries," spokeswoman Holly Tett said. "The embassy is looking at different ways on how to deal with the leopard," she said, including trapping it. There were no details about how the predator entered the large compound.
Madonna adopts boy
Madonna has adopted a one-year-old Malawian boy whose mother died a month after childbirth, the baby's father claimed, saying he was happy his son was escaping poverty. Malawian government officials said last week the pop star planned to adopt a Malawian boy while she is in the impoverished African nation visiting projects she funds for AIDS orphans. However, they declined to comment on Yohame Banda's claim that his son David had been adopted by the singer. Madonna has made no public comment since her arrival.
■ South Africa
Baby killed in shootout
A one-year-old girl was killed and seven people wounded in a shootout in the center of Johannesburg on Tuesday, police said. Khensani Athel Mitileni died after shooting broke out between a gang of armed men and two security guards who had been robbed of a box of cash, Superintendent Mary Martins-Engelbrecht said. The little girl's body lay covered on the bloodstained road next to a pile of vegetables as workers on their lunch breaks looked on in shock. The shooting caused chaos as people in the crowded downtown streets tried to flee from the scene.
Six charged on defense theft
Six people, including men from Ireland, Israel and Romania, were charged on Tuesday with illegally obtaining classified defense documents. Court papers allege the men worked with three Nigerian Defense Ministry officials to obtain information "related to a protected place." The information was to be passed on to the defense attache at the Russian embassy in Nigeria, according to the court papers. The three foreigners and three Nigerians were brought to court in Abuja under tight security. Each pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors said the alleged offenses were committed with a Russian and another Irish man now at large.