Mother accused of murder
A woman was charged yesterday with premeditated murder for allegedly tossing her one-year-old baby boy into a river, officials said. So Savoeurn, 20, claimed she is HIV-positive and had passed on the virus to her toddler, said Prak Chut, a district police chief of the southeastern Svay Rieng Province. She said she threw her son into the river because she could not afford food or medicine for him, Prak Chut said. Prak Chut said So Savoeurn had no medical documents to prove her or her son's illness. Police arrested her Thursday, two days after authorities found her son's body floating in the river.
Factory explosion kills five
Five people were killed and 2,000 were evacuated in a chemical factory explosion, state media reported yesterday. The blast at Canzhou Dahua TDI, a producer of chemicals used in the manufacturing of polyurethane, occurred on Friday afternoon in Hebei Province, the official Xinhua news agency said. "The blast in the nitration workshop section led to a fire," a Cangzhou city spokeswoman said. More than 100 people were injured, fourteen seriously, many of them suffering burns, the report said. The accident prompted authorities to move more than 2,000 residents in a nearby village in case of a toxic leak.
Authorities fight bird flu
Authorities are struggling to combat deadly bird flu as it continues to spread with more than 150,000 chickens and foul destroyed, an official said yesterday. The avian influenza, first detected in a farm near the capital Dhaka, has so far infected more than 40 farms in 11 districts. Authorities have culled 151,000 birds, government spokesman Abdul Motalib confirmed. "The situation is not grave yet. But with limited technical men and working seven-days a week, we have been struggling to combat the deadly disease," he said. Motalib said a farm in the northern Nilphamari district was the latest to be infected with the deadly virus on Friday. A total of 3137 chickens and ducks were culled.
Sixth eruption of volcano
A volcano shot clouds of grayish ash and steam 4km high yesterday, but residents were in no immediate danger from the eruption, volcanologists said. It was the sixth eruption of the 1,560m Mount Bulusan this year, said Espie del Mundo of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. "This is usually just ash, so the only hazard is from ash," such as respiratory ailments, del Mundo said. The volcanic ash caused "zero visibility" over some parts of Juban and Irosin towns, making it hazardous for motorists, said Mayor Edwin Hamor of nearby Casiguran who visited the area.
Activist lawyers sentenced
A court on Friday sentenced two activist lawyers to up to five years in jail in the latest trial of political dissidents in the communist-run state. Nguyen Van Dai, 39, and Le Thi Cong Nhan, 28, part of a new generation of Internet-based political activists with supporters overseas, were found guilty of "spreading propaganda against the state," a criminal offense. The four-hour trial was one of three this week of activists from the country's tiny dissident community, who propose alternatives to one-party rule. Hanoi People's Court Chief Judge Nguyen Huu Chinh sentenced Dai to five years in prison plus four years "administrative surveillance."
Wind power growing
Already a world leader in wind energy production and consumption, the country has built the world's largest offshore wind park in the North Sea as it aims to generate 75 percent of its electricity needs with wind power by 2025. Looking out from the port of Esbjerg, the blades of 80 giant wind turbines rotate high in the sky at the Horns Reef wind farm some 20km offshore. The 160 megawatts of wind energy capacity generated by the park is enough to meet the needs of 150,000 homes for a full year.
Thousands rally over bill
Tens of thousands of people rallied in Rome yesterday to protest a bill that would give many legal rights to unmarried couples, including homosexual couples, fueling a debate that has split Italy amid calls by Pope Benedict XVI to defend the traditional family. The legislation, which awaits parliamentary approval, has underscored long-standing tensions in the largely Roman Catholic country between a desire to hold on to traditions and a push toward greater secularization. Organizers of yesterday's "Family Day" demonstration included lay Catholic groups and family associations. While the demonstration was endorsed by Italian bishops, neither the Vatican nor the Italian bishops' conference is formally behind it. "Family belongs to believers and nonbelievers alike," said Gaetano Quagliariello, a center-right senator who helped organize the event.
Rebels kill officer
Tuareg rebels in Mali, accompanied by Tuaregs from Niger, killed a military police officer in an attack on a Saharan outpost on Friday, the first such raid since a peace deal last year. The assault against the gendarmerie post at Tin-Za, just 3km from the Algerian border, was led by Ibrahim Bahanga, a well-known Malian Tuareg insurgent chief, the territorial administration ministry said. A senior government official said one gendarme had been killed in the attack and five wounded. The Tuaregs, whose ancestral Saharan lands are split between Niger, Mali, Algeria and Libya, have long demanded greater autonomy.
Fake becomes real bust
Dutch customs police turned a fake break into a real bust on Friday when they stopped a woman trying to smuggle 1.5kg of cocaine into the country in a plaster cast on her leg. Police spokesman Rob Stenacker said the woman, whose name was not released, acted nervously while her passport was being checked and agents became suspicious about the thickness of the cast. "She had two different letters from a doctor about her leg and both of them appeared fake," he said. A sniffer dog quickly indicated that the cast contained more than plaster. The woman was taken to hospital, where an X-ray revealed the drugs but no fractures.
Court rejects royal heirs
A Moscow court has again denied a request by descendants of the last czar to have the monarch and the royal family declared victims of political repression, news agencies reported on Friday. The decision by the Moscow City Court is the second time that the court has ruled on the matter of whether to "rehabilitate" czar Nicholas II and his family. Nicholas II abdicated in 1917 and he and his family were detained. A firing squad executed them on July 17, 1918.
Oil projects face huge tax bill
Caracas on Friday said it had slapped record tax tabs of more than US$545 million on oil projects led by Conoco Phillips, the lone holdout in President Hugo Chavez's oil nationalization campaign. The nation's energy minister said days earlier that it was in "conflict" with Conoco over its refusal to sign an accord recognizing the OPEC nation's takeover of four multibillion-dollar Orinoco projects on May 1. The Seniat tax authority said in a statement it had hit the Petrozuata oil project, 50.1 percent owned by ConocoPhillips, with a tax claim of more than US$465 million for operations between 2003 and 2005.
■ UNITED STATES
Wolfowitz broke ethics rules
The World Bank executive board has concluded that bank president Paul Wolfowitz broke ethics rules in arranging a pay raise for his girlfriend and will try to end his tenure next week, the Washington Post reported yesterday. Citing unnamed senior bank officials, the newspaper said board members do not want to vote to fire Wolfowitz since that might provoke a rupture with the US. But they are inclined to adopt a resolution saying they have lost confidence in him, hoping that will persuade him to resign, the report said. Bank officials said the resolution will probably assert that Wolfowitz's continued tenure jeopardizes the bank's ability to raise funds for its campaign to eradicate poverty, the report said.
■ UNITED STATES
Calf born with two noses
Mark Krombholz had to look twice at his new calf, Lucy -- one time for each nose. "I didn't notice anything too different about her until I got her in the barn," Krombholz said. "And all of a sudden I went to feed her a bottle of milk and I thought maybe she'd been kicked in the nose and there were two noses there." The second, smaller nose sits on top of the first. "It's a functioning nose because the middle of her second nose, the flap would go in and out when she drank out of the bottle like that," Krombholz said. "It was kind of funny."
■ UNITED STATES
Man feigns mental retardation
A man was sentenced to 13 months in prison for pretending to be mentally retarded in order to claim disability benefits. Pete Costello, 28, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to defraud the government and to Social Security fraud. He began receiving disability benefits from Social Security, which pays a pension to the retired and disabled, when he was 8. He was ordered to repay the US$59,226 he has received since turning 18. Costello, who cannot read or write, dictated a letter to his public defender that was submitted to the judge before Friday's sentencing and filed in court.
■ UNITED STATES
Men caught in fish feces
Rescuers cut through a filtration tank filled with dense fish feces to reach four workers who fell into the sludge on Friday while cleaning the 5.5m tank at a western Massachusetts farm. The workers became trapped for 45 minutes after a bracket holding a plastic filtration pad collapsed as they stood on it to clean the tank, said Captain David Dion of the Turners Falls Fire Department. Dion said rescue workers cut a hole in the side of the tank and then slashed through the feces mix to pull out the workers. None of the workers appeared to have life-threatening injuries.
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable