Aid targets killer diseases
Myanmar will receive US$99.5 million in aid to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, the three leading causes of death in the country, replacing funds withdrawn by a UN-formed international fund, state-run media reported yesterday. The aid comes from a newly created consortium which, unlike the UN-created Global Fund, aims to provide money directly to non-governmental organizations rather than to the country's military junta.
■ Hong Kong
Police nab attack suspects
Police have arrested four men in connection with a brutal attack on a lawmaker, news reports said yesterday. Three of the men were being held in Hong Kong while the other was in custody in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, the Standard newspaper quoted unidentified police and government sources as saying. Pro-democracy lawmaker Albert Ho (何俊仁) was attacked by bat-wielding thugs in a busy McDonald's restaurant in August. The attackers ran off after the assault. Ho has said the attack was probably linked to his legal work. Ho, a solicitor by profession, said he handled many cases that would "jeopardize the interests" of triad gangs.
School hit by food poisoning
The latest in a string of food poisoning outbreaks in schools has sickened as many as 200 students and teachers, news reports said yesterday. The incident occurred on Wednesday at the school in Guangzhou and involved students aged six to 12, according to the government's Xinhua News Agency and the Beijing Morning Post newspaper. At least 96 were admitted to hospital but were expected to be released yesterday, Xinhua said.
Suicide bomber kills eight
A suicide bomber in a car targeted a NATO convoy in the south, killing eight civilians and wounding five other people, including two NATO soldiers, alliance and police officials said. The attack in southern Kandahar city also damaged two NATO and two civilians vehicles, said Abdul Wasae, a police official at the scene. The two NATO soldiers wounded in the blast were taken to a military medical facility for treatment, said NATO spokesman Squadron Leader Jason Chalk.
Militia head faces extradition
A self-confessed Serb paramilitary commander will face an extradition hearing later this year after a federal court postponed his appeal yesterday. Croatian authorities have accused Dragan Vasiljkovic of ordering the torture, killing or expulsion of Croatian prisoners of war and civilians while commanding a rebel Serb paramilitary unit during the 1991 Serbo-Croat war. The 51-year-old Australian citizen -- known as "Captain Dragan" -- has been held in a Sydney jail since Jan. 20 pending extradition to Croatia on the charges, which carry a maximum 20-year prison sentence.
Inmate becomes pregnant
A death-row inmate held in solitary confinement for almost a year is pregnant and is seeking a pardon to give birth, a newspaper reported on Thursday. The Lao Dong newspaper quoted a police doctor as saying tests in September confirmed that convicted heroin trafficker Nguyen Thi Oanh, 39, was then 11 weeks pregnant. The report said it was the first time that a death-row prisoner had become pregnant in Vietnam. Oanh's husband is serving a jail sentence at another prison, the newspaper said.
Priest held for pimping
An 81-year-old priest has been arrested for sexual abuse of minors and pimping in a town near San Marino on the Adriatic Sea, press reports said on Thursday. Don Giuseppe Giacomoni, who ran a homeless shelter, had two accomplices, an Italian restaurant owner and a young Romanian man, who were also arrested on Wednesday in the town of Cesena. Prosecutors told the daily La Republica that illegal immigrants who came to Giacomoni's shelter had to choose between prostituting themselves or being turned in to the customs authorities.