Mega bridge opened
China formally opened what it says is the world’s longest sea-crossing structure yesterday, a 36km bridge spanning a bay just south of Shanghai. The Hangzhou Bay Bridge links Shanghai to the industrial city of Ningbo across Hangzhou Bay, cutting the driving distance between them by 120km. The bridge is a cable-stayed structure built at a cost of 11.8 billion yuan (US$1.7 billion). Construction started in November 2003. The 32.5km Donghai Bridge had been the previous longest sea-crossing structure, linking Shanghai to the port of Yangshan.
Poisoner sent to hospital
A mentally ill woman was on Wednesday sent to a psychiatric hospital for seven years for poisoning churchgoers by giving them cakes laced with psychotropic drugs. Jannifer Chan Mei-fung, 37, left the cakes as a gift for members of the Church of Christian and Missionary Alliance in August last year, the city’s district court was told. Three teenagers ended up in hospital, two in intensive care, after the cakes were served up at a youth group meeting later the same day. Tests found a psychotropic drug inside the cakes, and police said they found the same drug when they later raided the defendant’s home. Chan was found guilty of administering a poison with the intention of endangering life and was committed to a psychiatric hospital for the maximum possible term of seven years. Judge Joseph Yau (邱智立) described Chan as “a dangerous character” who not only suffered from paranoia but was also manipulative and cunning.
Group says people starving
North Korea’s food crisis has already seen some people starve to death amid fears of another famine, according to an aid group which works in the nation. People in remote rural towns in the province of South Pyongan are dying of starvation, South Korea’s Good Friends organization said in a newsletter late on Wednesday. It said local government officials fear hunger may cause massive deaths by starvation in the province and elsewhere unless the government takes urgent action and resumes suspended food rations.
Apple stays pale
Scientists have come up with an apple that does not go brown when cut. Unlike most apples, which go brown almost immediately, the fruit stays a pale pink color for several hours after it is exposed to air. It will be sold under the name Enchanted, and state minister Kim Chance said on Wednesday he hoped its unique qualities would make it popular worldwide. “The resistance of Enchanted apples to oxidation makes it much more useful and attractive for industry,” said Chance, Western Australia’s state agriculture minister. He said the fact that the apple was produced without genetic modification meant it can be marketed around the world.
Attack leaves 20 injured
An apparent suicide attack at the office of a religious organization wounded about 20 people yesterday, an official said. The blast occurred in Bara, a town about 15km from the city of Peshawar. Government official Purdil Khan said it appeared that a suicide attacker blew himself up at a gate leading to the office of an organization called Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. Sher Khan Afridi, a resident of Bara, said the group was led by Maulana Namdar, a cleric associated with a local militant leader involved in recent heavy fighting with rivals.