Official jailed over bribes
A former official in Anhui Province has been jailed for 10 years for taking bribes, the official Procuratorial Daily said yesterday. The Anqing Intermediate People's Court said Shang Jun (尚軍) had accepted about 900,000 yuan (US$114,000) plus US$200 from 41 people for arranging official jobs over the course of several years, the Procuratorial Daily reported. Shang, 53, was a former police officer who served as president of the Fuyang Intermediate Court before becoming vice mayor of Fuyang and then deputy head of the provincial health authority.
Bird flu outbreak confirmed
The agriculture ministry has confirmed that a bird flu outbreak at a poultry farm in a southwestern prefecture was caused by the H5N1 virus, making it the fourth such outbreak to hit the nation this year. The ministry said in a statement yesterday that test results had shown that the outbreak in Miyazaki prefecture, first detected earlier this week, was due to the H5N1 virus.
Man's penis rebuilt
Doctors in Guangzhou have successfully reconstructed the penis of a man whose significant appendage was bitten off by a dog, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday. Doctors used skin and muscles from the 35-year old man's chest, and bone from his hip to reconstruct the penis, it said. The man, identified only as Zhen, had his testicles bitten off by a dog when he was a boy, the report said. With a 14cm long newly constructed organ, Zhen can "have a sex life and enjoy pleasant sensations -- but not as intensely as other people because he still doesn't have testicles," plastic surgeon Zhang Jinming said.
Eagles attack paraglider
Britain's top female paraglider has cheated death after being attacked by a pair of "screeching" wild eagles while competition flying in Australia. Nicky Moss, 38, watched terrified as two huge birds began tearing into her parachute canopy, one becoming tangled in her lines and clawing at her head 2,500m in the air. "I heard screeching behind me and a eagle flew down and attacked me, swooping down and bouncing into the side of my wing with its claws," Moss said on Friday. "Then another one appeared and together they launched a sustained attack on my glider, tearing at the wing," she said.
■ Sri Lanka
Police defuse bomb safely
A bomb was found inside a three-wheeler taxi in the heart of Colombo yesterday, but was safely defused by police, the defense ministry said. A civilian alerted police after he saw the bomb inside the motorized rickshaw, which was parked in a garage for repairs, an official at the government's national security media center said on condition of anonymity citing the agency's policy. He said the bomb, which weighed about 2kg, was removed by police and defused. Further details were not available.
Truck explosion kills 50
The death toll from an explosion of a truck carrying compressed carbon dioxide has reached 50, a senior military official said yesterday. The truck, which was originally thought to be carrying liquefied petroleum gas, exploded on Friday on a highway in Zamboanga del Sur Province, around 800km south of Manila. A packed passing bus took the full force of the blast. "The death toll climbed to 50 and more than 40 are still in critical condition," said Major General Raymundo Ferrer, commander of the army's first infantry division. Ferrer said soldiers were still recovering charred body parts from a nearby ravine after a fireball destroyed the truck and bus.
Cops sorry for shooting man
Police have apologized and compensated the family of a man mistakenly shot and killed by an officer as he rode into his line of fire intended for a cell phone thief, state media and police said yesterday. Huynh Minh Phu, 43, was shot in his chest on Thursday and died later that day in Ho Chi Minh City hospital, an officer at the Ho Chi Minh City Police Department said. The incident occurred as police were chasing down two unarmed men stealing mobile phones from people on a busy city street. An officer fired at one of the men as he tried to escape by blending into a crowd. Phu, a motorbike taxi driver, was hit by the bullet as he rode past. Ho Chi Minh City police later apologized for the mistake and agreed to pay his family US$1,875 for his funeral.
■ United States
Korean's wallet found in US
A South Korean auto worker who misplaced his wallet last year while at work has been reunited with it after it turned up at a car dealership in New York State, according to a local report. Factory inspector J.W. Joh was checking the wiring on a vehicle at the Seoul assembly plant of General Motors and Daewoo several months ago when the wallet apparently fell under the back seat of the car, the Buffalo News reported. By the time Joh realized his wallet was missing, the car was on its way to a container terminal, from where it was shipped to California. It was then transported across the US to New York by train and truck -- in total a journey of more than 13,000km.
■ Vatican City
Court hears annulment cases
Smoke got in his eyes. Too much of it, so he asked the Roman Catholic Church to annul his marriage when his wife refused to kick the nicotine habit. That is just one of the hazy cases that wound up before the Vatican's Sacra Romana Rota, a top court which hears the most complicated of marriage annulment requests. Others included women who wanted annulments because their husbands were mammoni (mamma's boys) who were not able to cut the psychological umbilical cord with their mothers even though they are in their 30s or 40s or beyond.
Security accord signed
The US will provide equipment and training under an accord on Friday to combat trafficking of radioactive material via the Caucasus state, which said last week it jailed a Russian uranium smuggler. Border patrols and the country's nuclear regulatory agency will be boosted by US specialist technology and training under the agreement signed by foreign minister Gela Bezhuashvili and the US ambassador. "We invite everybody and first of all our neighbors to cooperate in this sphere," Bezhuashvili told journalists after the signing, adding that Tbilisi was ready to reach the same agreement with Russia.
■ United Kingdom
Slavery enters curriculum
Britain's 300-year role in the world's slave trade will be taught to all children for the first time as part of planned reforms to be outlined tomorrow. Education Secretary Alan Johnson wants every pupil aged between 11 and 16 to study slavery, the Commonwealth and the legacy of the Empire to help understand "Britishness." A debate over what it means to be British has resurfaced in recent years, in part fuelled by globalization, immigration and the growth of regionalism. Politicians and newspaper commentators have argued over the intangible mix of values, customs and outlook that defines "Britishness."
Children die in storms
Rainstorms lashed the rural city of Kuito, 300km southeast of Luanda, killing five children aged between four and 12, a news report said on Friday. The children were playing on Thursday when they were swept away by the rain-swollen torrent, Roman Catholic radio station Ecclesia reported from the city. Ecclesia broadcast interviews with witnesses who said two of the children drowned as they tried to save the other three. Storms last month killed at least 71 people across the Southwest African country. In Luanda the rain has left large areas under water, worsening a cholera epidemic that broke out a year ago.
■ Saudi Arabia
Saudi anti-terror forces have arrested 10 people suspected of raising and smuggling funds for "suspicious bodies," the official news agency said yesterday. The suspects "raised donations illegally and smuggled and transferred funds to suspicious bodies that use them to lure citizens and attract them into turbulent parts", the Saudi press agency quoted an interior ministry spokesman as saying. The agency added that the group rounded up on Friday in the Jeddah and Medina comprised nine Saudis and one foreign resident. It said they were arrested in the drive to combat terrorism and its funding, but gave no further details.
Ex-cop arrested in shooting
A former police officer was arrested Friday in connection with the shooting a wheelchair-bound lottery winner, authorities said. Anderson Silva Souza, who denied involvement, turned himself in with a lawyer and was being interrogated, police spokesman Renato Barone said. Souza was not immediately charged because the investigation was still under way, but Barone said that based on evidence he was suspected in the shooting of Renne Senna, a former subsistence farmer and butcher who won 52 million reals (US$24.4 million) in July 2005. Earlier this week, Senna's 29-year-old widow, Adriana Almeida, was arrested on suspicion of having ordered the murder of her 54-year-old husband.
Swimmer takes on Amazon
Slovenian swimmer Martin Strel on Friday completed the second day of what may be his most ambitious adventure yet: a 5,430km trip through the murky waters of the Amazon River that he expects will take him some 70 days. Strel, 52, who holds two Guinness distance and endurance records and has swam the length of Europe's Danube River and China's Yangtze, embarked Thursday on his swim "for peace" and to raise money for victims of Alzheimer's disease. Wearing a wet suit to keep warm, Strel set off from the Peruvian town of Atalaya, some 365km northeast of the capital of Lima.
■ United States
`Chewbacca' arrested in LA
A man dressed as Chewbacca from the Star Wars movies was arrested after police said the street performer head-butted a tour guide operator in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Frederick Evan Young, 44, of Los Angeles was booked Thursday for investigation of misdemeanor battery, police Lieutenant Paul Vernon said. Police said the 1.93m street performer was seen arguing Thursday afternoon with a tour guide who had expressed concern the wookie impersonator was "harassing and touching tourists" in violation of city law. Security guards escorted Young off theater property, but Chewbacca decided to strike back and head-butted the tour guide, Vernon said.
■ United States
Hepatitis C report released
Heavy alcohol use increases mortality with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) to a greater extent in women than in men, according to a report. "Previous studies indicated that alcohol use is a risk factor for HCV disease progression, but they seldom examined the effect on women and men separately," lead author Dr. Chiung Chen, from CSR, Inc, said. Chen and colleagues analyzed 132,468 deaths due to HCV and/or heavy alcohol use. Female hepatitis C patients who were not heavy drinkers died at an average age of 61.0 years, while those who drank died at 49.1 years. By contrast, heavy drinking had less effect on lifespan in men, lowering the average age of death with hepatitis C from 55.1 to 50.0 years.
■ United States
Doctor admits taking hand
A doctor pleaded guilty on Thursday to stealing a severed hand, which he gave to a stripper who displayed it in her New Jersey apartment. Ahmed Rashed faces five years probation for stealing the hand in 2002 from a cadaver at a New Jersey medical school. Rashed practices medicine at a hospital in Los Angeles and stole the hand while studying in New Jersey, the prosecutor said. The woman kept the hand in a jar of formaldehyde in her apartment where it was discovered by police.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and