■ Floods kill 18 people
Flooding in central Vietnam killed at least 18 people this week, while rivers in the area have increased to an alarming level for the third time in a month, officials said yesterday. The official death toll rose from 13 on Friday, with most the victims perishing in strong currents of streams and rivers. The dead came from Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Ngai, Quang Nam, Quang Binh and Quang Tri provinces. Four people remained missing, a report from the national flood and storm control committee in Hanoi said. Soldiers have been mobilized in Thua Thien Hue Province to help restore damaged houses, schools and medical clinics, it said.
Mayor arrested for extortion
Police have arrested Khulna City Mayor Sheikh Tayebur Rahman on extortion charges after he allegedly demanded thousands of dollars from a staffer in return for a promotion, an official said yesterday. Dhaka police official Abdul Mottalib said Rahman was arrested after a suspended Khulna city official, M. Hafizur Rahman, filed a case against the mayor, claiming he took 250,000 takas (US$3,620) from him after threatening to prevent his promotion unless he handed over the money. Mottalib said investigators were questioning the mayor.
Rescue dog recovering
An Australian sheepdog that saved its owner from a huge and deadly snake was expected to make a full recovery from a poisonous bite the serpent inflicted, a veterinarian said on Friday. Tess the kelpie was close to death after attacking the 2m eastern brown snake as it chased her owner Fay Palethorpe on her property on Queensland's Gold Coast last Sunday. Palethorpe, 68, and her two other dogs survived the incident unscathed, but Tess was bitten on the ear and was bleeding internally by the time she was taken to a veterinarian and given an urgent dose of antivenene. A spokeswoman for the Tugun Veterinary Surgery said the dog was expected to return home yesterday.
Ex-official faces drug probe
A former Indian foreign minister has been accused of illegal drug possession after he allegedly offered guests milk laced with opium, a traditional drink in the country's north, the lawyer who filed the complaint said. Jaswant Singh has denied the charges and will face a special court hearing to determine whether authorities will order an inquiry into the incident. The accusations were filed on Friday by Om Prakash Bishnoi, a resident of Jodhpur in the northern state of Rajasthan, said his lawyer, Malam Singh Choudhry. The incident took place on Wednesday when Singh welcomed a group of politicians to his ancestral village. Singh said the drink was made of tea and unrefined sugar and did not include opium.
Court approves divorce
A district court has granted a man permission to divorce his HIV-positive wife on the grounds that he could no longer enjoy sex with her, a report said on Friday. Judge Rajnish Bhatnagar ruled in favor of the unnamed husband, saying "marriage without sex is anathema," the Hindustan Times said. "The disease being sexually communicable, the petitioner cannot be reasonably expected to live with her and lead a happy married life," Bhatnagar was quoted as saying. The Delhi district court also held the petitioner's wife guilty of not disclosing her HIV-positive state before marriage.