■ NEW ZEALAN
Mortuary switches ashes
Two families have swapped ashes after an apparent mix-up at a funeral parlor saw one family bid farewell to a male stranger instead of their mother, a hospital said on Monday. Mortuary staff at Waikato Hospital in Hamilton on North Island realized hours after the cremation that they still had the elderly woman’s body, said Melinda Ch’ng, an official with the Waikato District Health Board. Mortuary staff immediately contacted the families of both deceased to inform them of the situation, Ch’ng said.
Police suspect serial killer
Police were questioning a man yesterday on suspicion that he murdered his lover and at least four other people, a police detective said. Verry Henyanksyah was arrested last week after a dismembered male body was found in a suitcase in the capital, Jakarta, police Colonel Carlo Tewu said. He said Henyanksyah allegedly said the victim was his lover and confessed to the murder. He then led police to four other bodies buried outside his parents’ home in east Java, Tewu said. Henyanksyah told police all the victims were male and that one was a Dutch citizen, he said. The bodies, which were unearthed on Monday, were too decomposed to immediately identify them or establish their sex.
Twins to be separated
Surgeons said yesterday they were preparing to separate three-month-old conjoined twins despite similar attempts in the past leading to the deaths of one or both children. Banya (“Flood”) and Barsha (“Rain”), born in the north on March 24, are joined at the stomach and chest but have separate heads and limbs. Their mother, a nurse, brought them to the capital, Dhaka, this week where doctors at the country’s most prestigious hospital examined them. Paediatric surgeon Shafiqul Haq, from Bangabandhu Medical College Hospital, said doctors were optimistic the twins would survive the surgery.
ASEAN cuts costume show
Russia’s foreign minister came as Darth Vader in 2005. The next year the top Japanese diplomat hammed it up as Dick Tracy and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice offered up a classical number on piano. Lighthearted dinner skits by foreign ministers of 27 countries have been the highlight of the annual Asia-Pacific security dialogue, hosted by the ASEAN. But host Singapore has scratched the top-billing event at this year’s ASEAN Regional Forum without giving any reason. ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said yesterday it could be because some delegations were taking “the performances too seriously to the point where it felt uncomfortable to compete.”
Frenchman dies in jail
A French visitor to Sydney was found dead yesterday at a jail in the country’s largest city, a report said. The Department of Corrective Services for New South Wales, which manages the state’s prisons, confirmed that a man had been found dead in the morning at Silverwater jail, but would not give details. News Limited named the man on its Web site as Herve Youdem, 27. It said he had arrived on June 18 as a tourist and had been arrested during the Roman Catholic Church’s World Youth Day celebrations, which ended on Sunday. An official at the French consulate in Sydney could not confirm the man’s identity. The official, however, said the man was not a World Youth Day pilgrim.