Thu, Mar 25, 2010 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■SOUTH KOREA

Photos point to Kim’s illness

North Korea’s leader is suffering from kidney failure which requires dialysis and partial paralysis following a 2008 stroke, the head of Seoul’s Institute for National Security Strategy said yesterday. “Chairman Kim Jong-il is suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure and we believe he is undergoing kidney dialysis every two weeks,” Yonhap news agency quoted Nam Sung-wook as telling a Seoul forum. “[The pale color of] his nails indicates he has chronic kidney failure.” Nam used color photographs to illustrate his point. “At his most recent public appearance on the occasion of a public rally in Hamhung on March 7, he was slamming down his right palm on his unmoving left palm,” Nam said.

■JAPAN

Tea firm halts animal tests

The world’s largest supplier of green tea has stopped testing its products on animals, a procedure previously used to verify the health claims used to market the beverage. “It may cost extra money to carry out alternative tests, but we believe protecting animals is a global trend,” Ikuo Sato, a spokesman for Ito En of Japan, said in a statement on Tuesday that was welcomed by animal rights’ activists. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said it believed Ito En was first major Japanese consumer products firm to stop all animal testing and called on other companies to follow its “progressive lead.”

■CAMBODIA

New gecko species found

A new species of gecko has been discovered in the foothills of the Cardamom Mountains, scientists said yesterday. Cnemaspis neangthyi is olive colored with light blotches containing a central black dot, conservationist group Fauna and Flora International said.

■INDIA

Staircase blamed for deaths

Firefighters in Kolkata yesterday blamed a locked fire escape for the high death toll from a blaze in a prestigious colonial-era building that killed 24 people. In all, 240 firefighters battled for eight hours on Tuesday to control the fire on a major commercial street in central Kolkata, capital of West Bengal, state fire service chief Gopal Bhattacharya said. Of the 24 dead, four were killed when they jumped out of windows, while two more died in hospital, Bhattacharya said. “The bodies of 18 others burnt to death were recovered from the staircase of the building. The door to the top roof was locked. They could have been alive if they had reached the roof,” he said. Kolkata Mayor Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya said the building was a “heritage” structure, dating back at least 100 years.

■PAKISTAN

Jet strike kills at least 14

Security forces backed by jets pounded militant hide-outs near the Afghan border yesterday, killing at least 14 insurgents, a government official said. Rasheed Khan said the military used ground forces and fighter jets during operations in the Orakzai tribal region and cleared out three militant strongholds. One soldier was wounded.

■CHINA

Lead levels remain high

Nearly 200 people have been diagnosed with excessive lead levels in their blood in an area that suffered a similar health scare last year, state media reported yesterday. Local authorities said 45 children and 152 adults were diagnosed with lead poisoning in Hunan Province, and more cases were expected to emerge as other people were tested, the China Daily said. The victims were all from Guiyang County, which is adjacent to Jiahe County, where more than 250 children were found to have excessive lead levels in their blood in September, the report said.

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