■ SRI LANKA
Troops recapture town
Government troops recaptured a strategic town from Tamil rebels after killing at least 15 rebels and losing two soldiers in military operations in the area, military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said yesterday. Adampan town, 312km north of the capital, was taken early yesterday, he said. Troops have been fighting in the area for more than four months. Seven soldiers were injured in the operations, but rebels during the last hours had put up very little resistance, he said. The town was a strategic point used by the rebels to smuggle in essential items, including fuel, into the areas held by them.
35 bird flu cases reported
Bird flu outbreaks have spread to most of the country despite the massive culling of chickens and ducks across the country, the agriculture ministry said yesterday. The latest outbreak reported last weekend in the eastern city of Chuncheon is now confirmed to have been caused by the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus, the ministry said. It has brought to 35 the total number of bird flu cases in South Korea. The outbreak has spread as far north as Seoul and to the southeastern cities of Ulsan and Daegu. The ministry also said two suspected cases had been reported in the southeastern city of Busan, the country’s largest port.
Exports to Egypt to resume
The government will resume exporting live cattle to Egypt, a practice stopped two years ago because of cruelty concerns, Agriculture Minister Tony Burke said yesterday. Burke said the trade would recommence under new conditions designed to safeguard the treatment of the animals and agreed to by the Australian and Egyptian governments. “This decision has not been taken lightly and is subject to strict conditions,” Burke said in a statement. “They [cattle] will be handled and slaughtered in accordance with international standards for animal welfare.” Exports were halted after images of animals having their eyes poked out and tendons slashed by Egyptian workers were aired on Australian television in 2006.
Everest opened to tourists
Authorities allowed the climbing season on Mount Everest to resume yesterday after blocking access to hundreds of climbers so that a Chinese team could ascend with the Olympic flame without any threat of protests on the mountain. Tourism Ministry official Dinesh Adhikari said yesterday that the climbers who had been waiting at the Mount Everest base camp could now depart for higher ground, lifting a nine-day ban on ascents. Chinese climbers took the Olympic torch to the 8,850m summit on Thursday from the Tibetan side of the mountain. Though they were climbing from the north side, Nepal also had banned climbing on the Nepalese side to the south to prevent any anti-China protests on the mountain.
Teacher fired for photos
A Sydney primary school teacher said yesterday she would take legal action to get her job back after being sacked for appearing nude with her husband in a women’s magazine. Lynne Tziolas was dismissed by her head teacher last week after a complaint from a parent over a spread in Cleo magazine that had nine couples talking about their sex lives. “As teachers we’re expected to be somewhat superhuman and not have a private life,” she said. “It’s denying the fact that teachers are normal. Yes we have sex, yes we enjoy it.”