No MPs leaving UMNO
Domestic Trade Minister Shahrir Samad said yesterday that no members of the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) were resigning, despite calls by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who had quit the party, that others follow suit. “Nobody is moving out of UMNO ... none of us is leaving UMNO,” Samad said after a meeting between Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and UMNO lawmakers. On Mahathir’s decision to resign from the party, Shahrir, an Abdullah loyalist, said: “We have to respect his rights.”
Fake fundraisers arrested
Two suspects have been arrested for allegedly tricking people into handing over cash claiming they were collecting for the earthquake victims of Sichuan Province. Police said yesterday that a 16-year-old had posted a message on an Internet forum with the intention of luring people into giving him money. The second man, aged 32, had posted notices around the screens of ATMs asking that donations for emergency relief be submitted to a specific bank account. Investigations showed that approximately HK$8,000 (US$1,025) had been deposited into the account, which was the suspect’s personal account.
Bus crash kills 25
Twenty-five pilgrims were killed in a bus crash and about 20 more are missing or presumed dead, police said yesterday. The overcrowded bus skidded off a mountain road and plunged into a fast-flowing river on Monday. “Eight more bodies were pulled from the river this morning,” said a police official in Dang district, 280km west of Kathmandu. “The confirmed death toll is now 25, and 34 people are undergoing treatment at various hospitals,” he said. Police said that the bus was carrying about 100 passengers.
North close to declaration
US Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill said on Monday that North Korea was near the point where it would produce an overdue declaration of its nuclear programs, but he declined to predict when this might happen. “We are getting to the point where the declaration is coming,” Hill told reporters. “I can’t tell you precisely days or weeks but I think we are getting to the point where we are going to be, possibly, getting to this declaration.” The declaration is part of a broader multilateral deal under which North Korea has agreed to abandon all its nuclear programs in exchange for economic and diplomatic incentives.
Bull charges through house
A family in Aachen were stunned when a rampaging bull burst through the back door of their house, charged around the living room, and then left by the front door. “The animal basically did a tour of the hall, the kitchen and the living room before leaving the building,” said Paul Kemen, a police spokesman on Monday. “It came in the back and went out the front.” No one was injured, but the bull laid waste to furnishings, causing an estimated 10,000 euros (US$15,600) in damage. The bull left after the owner of the house opened the front door for it. The bull was part of a herd of cattle that had escaped from a farmer and overrun part of the nearby town of Monschau. A hunter later shot the animal.
Elderly suffer trauma stress
A new study presented on Monday by German and Swiss researchers shows that older Germans who survived World War II traumas are now manifesting high instances of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While studies of post-traumatic stress disorder in other countries — such as the US, Canada, Australia and Mexico — have shown that older people tend to have lower instances of the disorder, research by Andreas Maercker of the University of Zurich and Leipzig University colleague Elmar Braehler showed the opposite. Almost all the older Germans who reported suffering from symptoms of PTSD had been affected by a traumatic wartime experience, Braehler said. Often the effects of the trauma do not appear until after retirement, when people have been able to take stock of their lives, Braehler said.