Marathon surgery successful
Doctors said yesterday they had separated a two-year-old girl from her twin and reconstructed her body after a marathon operation at a Bangalore hospital. Lakshmi, born with four arms and four legs but a single head, was under observation at the intensive care unit of Sparsh Hospital, said Sharan Patil, the surgeon who led the team that operated on her. "She has withstood the operation, she is safe and doing well," Patil said. Lakshmi had been fused to the headless conjoined twin that had stopped developing in their mother's womb. She had been attached to the "parasitic twin" at the pelvis. She had absorbed the organs and body parts of the undeveloped fetus -- a condition that occurs once in 50,000 twin births. The operation lasted more than 24 hours.
Boy dies after class beating
A 14-year-old boy died after his teacher allegedly beat him in class for scribbling in his notebook, police said yesterday. Ajay Kumar had been breathing through a ventilator in a New Delhi hospital since Oct. 23. He died on Tuesday, said Rajan Bhagat, spokesman for the New Delhi Police. Police are investigating the case, Bhagat said. "My son's fault was that he was scribbling in his notebook" and writing over his teacher's signature, Satya Prakash told the Hindustan Times. The teacher then beat the teen until he collapsed, the father was quoted as saying. Officials also said they will order an inquiry.
Police won't arrest Marines
Police have decided against arresting four US Marines over the alleged sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman in Hiroshima Prefecture last month, police spokesman Kyoji Yokoyama said yesterday. Police handed over the case to prosecutors to make a final decision on whether to continue an investigation, but they are likely to drop it because of discrepancies between the accounts of the woman and the Marines, Yokoyama said. "It would be difficult to press formal charges against the four men," he said. The Marines allegedly met the woman at a restaurant or bar, drove her to a nearby parking lot, raped and robbed her.
Seven die in school slaying
At least seven people died when a gunman opened fire at a school in Tuusula yesterday, hours after a video was posted on YouTube predicting a school massacre. A teacher at Jokela High School said the gunman was one of its pupils. "At this moment its seven [deaths] or more, higher," said Eero Hirvensalo, the head of the medical response team. The YouTube video, set to hard-driving music, shows a still photo of a school that appears to be Jokela High School. The photo then fragments to reveal a red-tinted picture of a man pointing a gun at the camera. Three people were wounded, early reports said. One of those shot was the school principal, said Tuula Panula, spokeswoman for the Tuusula municipality, some 60km from Helsinki.
Police seal off village
Scores of heavily armed police sealed off the mountain village of Zoniana on the island of Crete yesterday after suspected drug smugglers ambushed police, leaving three officers with gunshot wounds. Special police units searched house-to-house in the village of 1,600 inhabitants as snipers took up positions on the hills above and helicopters flew overhead. Police Chief Anastasios Dimoshakis traveled to Crete to coordinate the effort on the island, where gun ownership is widespread and police for decades have battled blood feuds as well as drug and arms-smuggling by criminal gangs based in close-knit communities.