Maid jailed over blood broth
An Indonesian maid was in jail yesterday awaiting trial for mixing her menstrual blood in a pot of vegetables she was cooking for her employer. Indra Ningsih, 26, allegedly told police she mixed the blood into the meal in a superstitious effort to make her Chinese employer “more amiable and less picky” toward her. Ningsih was arrested on Tuesday and charged at a hearing on Wednesday with administering a poison or other noxious substance with an intent to injure. She was remanded in custody until May 13. Ningsih was arrested after her employer peered through the kitchen door and saw her acting suspiciously as she cooked vegetables for lunch. When the employer checked, she found a blood clot-like substance mixed with the vegetables and a used sanitary napkin in the kitchen bin, a report in the Hong Kong Standard newspaper said.
Town to auction off schools
A small town with a falling birthrate plans to auction off four primary schools on the Internet, a local official said yesterday. Niikappu, on the northern island of Hokkaido, plans to start the auction next month on the Yahoo Japan online auction site, said Hidenori Tsutsumi, who is in charge of the auction. The farming and fishing town of 11,000 people last year closed seven of its nine schools. Three were turned into a corporate office, a nursing home and a horse-racing center, but the town was unable to find buyers for the others. With no immediate buyers for the other four, the town decided to list the schools on Japan’s largest auction site.
Orangutans captured as pets
Orangutans are still being captured for pets in the country, further threatening the survival of the critically endangered great apes, conservationists said yesterday, blaming poor law enforcement. Despite years of legal protection and awareness campaigns, the capture and trade of these apes for pets or local zoos continues to contribute to their decline, said Chris Shepherd, acting director in Southeast Asia for TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network. “Without serious penalties, this illegal trade will continue, and these species will continue to spiral toward extinction,” he said. Shepherd said the animals were generally caught when they are young.
ICRC talks to hostages
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says it has spoken for the first time in two weeks with two of its workers being held by Abu Sayyaf militants in the Philippines. The ICRC said staffers in the Philippines talked to kidnapped Swiss worker Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni on the phone on Tuesday. Spokeswoman Dorothea Krimitsas said on Wednesday the agency was glad for the contact, but she declined to comment on the content of the phone conversation. The two have been held on Jolo island since January.
Belgian kills wife, self
A 60-year-old Belgian man killed his 37-year-old Filipina wife and then shot himself in a fit of jealous rage in the northern province of Cagayan, a police officer said yesterday. Constant van Girt allegedly shot dead his wife, Rosaly, during a heated argument inside their house in Iguig town on Wednesday. Senior Inspector Wilfredo Dupaya said Van Girt then shot himself. The couple was rushed to hospital, but the husband was declared dead on arrival and his wife died two hours later.