Radioactive victim dies
Radioactive waste found in a New Delhi scrap metal market earlier this month has killed one person, who died in hospital of multiple organ failure, police said yesterday. Seven people were hospitalized after the discovery on April 12, which caused panic in residential areas surrounding the scrap yard. The six others hospitalized are still in hospitals. Police and a team of experts from an atomic research center took away waste containing cobalt-60, a radioactive metal used in radio therapy machines in hospitals and sterilization in industrial food processes. Search teams have found cobalt-60 in 10 scrap metal shops in the yard but they had yet to establish where the material came from, the police officer said.
Ban on Indian films to stay
The government yesterday abandoned an attempt to lift a ban on the screening of Indian films following furious protests by local actors and directors. The government announced last week that a four-decade-old ban on movies from Bollywood had been lifted in a bid to boost cinema audiences. However, demonstrations by homegrown stars and studio heads claiming that the country’s film business would be swamped by big-budget Indian movies prompted a swift policy U-turn. The number of cinemas in the country has fallen from 1,600 in 2000 to 600 this year.
Cocaine shipment seized
Police said yesterday they had made their largest haul of cocaine yet, seizing 372kg of the drug that local media said might have been shipped to the territory by mistake. A family of eight, ranging in age from 22 to 84, were arrested on Sunday after police raided their home in a New Territories village when searching for a missing person. “Police are still searching for the missing person and investigations by Narcotics Bureau and Crime Headquarters of New Territories South are continuing,” a police statement said. The missing person was reportedly negotiating for the return of the drug shipment, local media reports said. It was unclear how the drugs may have been shipped to the territory by mistake.
Ex-president’s zoo seized
Investigators said yesterday they had seized a private zoo owned by ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, home to several endangered species including rare snow leopards. The animals, discovered during a police raid on a home owned by Bakiyev outside the southern city of Jalalabad, include a pair of Tien Shan snow leopards, bear cubs, an African ostrich, four Indian ducks, golden eagles, falcons and peacocks. The prosecutor’s office said it was still considering how best to ensure the care and safety of the animals.
Chair-sniffer Buswell sacked
A politician who made headlines two years ago for admitting sniffing the chair of a female colleague resigned for a second time yesterday after misusing entitlements to carry on an affair. Troy Buswell stepped down as West Australia’s state treasurer after revealing he used a ministerial car several times to meet Greens Member of Parliament Adele Carles, with whom he had a four-month liaison. Buswell wanted to reimburse the government for the costs of the car and the misuse of a hotel benefit and keep his job, but was told by West Australia Premier Colin Barnett his position was untenable.
Shots fired at mosque
Gunshots were fired at a mosque in the city of Istres, Prime Minister Francois Fillon said on Monday, pledging support to the Muslim community. No one was hurt, and police are investigating. Police say about 30 shots were fired at the mosque’s facade before dawn on Sunday. Mosque officials discovered the damage later. On Saturday night, a butcher’s shop specializing in meats prepared according to Islamic dietary law was also targeted by gunfire in Marseille, police said. No one was hurt.
Top mafia boss arrested
Police have arrested a top mafia boss who was among the country’s 30 most dangerous fugitives, the ANSA news agency reported. Giovanni Tegano, 70, who had been on the run for 17 years, has been sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for murder and mafia association. Interior Minister Roberto Maroni hailed Monday’s arrest, saying it was the “hardest blow that could be dealt today to the ’Ndrangheta, being the No. 1 wanted from Calabria.” Tegano is considered the boss of the ’Ndrina clan of the ’Ndrangheta.
Hostages taken in Niger
The Foreign Ministry said on Monday it is trying to secure the release of a Frenchman kidnapped last week in northern Niger. Algeria confirmed that one of its citizens was taken as well. The kidnapping “occurred in a red zone,” where French authorities firmly advise people not to travel because of security concerns, ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said. Niger authorities said that al-Qaeda-linked militants are suspected in the kidnapping, and that an Algerian man was also taken hostage.
Elephants rumble over bees
The buzz of angry bees can stir elephants to sound a “rumbling” alarm, signaling troop members to flee their attackers, a study released on Monday said. Not only do they run from the sound of bees, they also take cover when the their rumble is played back even in the absence of bees, reseachers from Oxford University, Save the Elephants and Disney’s Animal Kingdom said. The team made the discovery in an ongoing study of elephants in Kenya. “In our experiments we played the sound of angry bees to elephant families and studied their reaction,” said Lucy King of Oxford University’s zoology department and charity Save the Elephants. “Importantly we discovered elephants not only flee from the buzzing sound but make a unique rumbling call as well as shaking their heads.” As well as being a response to threat, the rumble may also be a way of teaching inexperienced young elephants to beware, said the study, which was published in the PLoS One journal. It is yet to be established whether the rumble call is a response to threats other than from bees.
Transport strike snarls cities
Lisbon commuters were bearing the brunt of a strike by public transport workers over a pay freeze yesterday. Train engineers, bus drivers and ferry staff were among the workers walking off the job. Main roads into the city were clogged during the morning rush-hour as commuters chose to head into work by car. Lisbon’s subway system was running, however, and some bus services were in operation as required by law. The Socialist government has introduced a pay freeze for civil servants and staff at publicly owned companies as part of an austerity plan to reduce the country’s debt burden.
Matador on the mend
Top Spanish matador Jose Tomas was showing a “phenomenal” recovery after being gored and hurled into the air by a bull, his agent said on Monday. Tomas, 34, was breathing without help from a respirator and could leave the intensive care ward in the next 24 hours, said Geronimo Aguayo, director of the Miguel Hidalgo hospital in the city of Aguascalientes. Tomas’ condition went “from grave to delicate,” Aguayo told reporters. The bullfighter’s agent, Salvador Boix, said that he spoke to his client, who he said “has made a phenomenal recovery.” Tomas “expects to have a birth certificate from Aguascalientes — because, for him, he was born again Saturday night,” Boix said.
Chocolate sweeter for some
People suffering from depression eat more chocolate, and the amount increases with the severity of their illness, a new study released on Monday found. “Our study confirms long-held suspicions that eating chocolate is something that people do when they are feeling down,” said Beatrice Golomb of the University of California at San Diego, a co-author of the study appearing in Mondays issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers looked at chocolate consumption and mood in about 1,000 adults who were not on anti-depressive medications and did not have heart disease or diabetes. Participants were asked about the amount of chocolate they ate in a week. Their degree of depression was assessed on a scale called the “Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale.” The researchers found that test subjects with the highest rankings — that is, those who were most depressed — consumed almost 12 portions of chocolate (each one about 28g) per month, compared to five a month in the same time period for those with no depression symptoms. Moderately depressed subjects ate eight portions a month. “The findings did not appear to be explained by a general increase in caffeine, fat, carbohydrate or energy intake, suggesting that our findings are specific to chocolate,” Golomb said. Nor was there any difference in consumption of other antioxidant-rich foods, such as fish, coffee, fruits and vegetables between those with depression and those who were not depressed, she said.
Fugitive on hunger strike
A convicted Bosnian murderer is on a hunger strike in an effort to fight deportation to his native country. Elvir Pobric escaped from a Bosnian prison in 1996 where he was serving 20 years for two counts of murder and was arrested in Calgary, Alberta last year. Speaking before Pobric was scheduled to appear at a detention hearing on Monday, Canada Border Service Agency hearings officer Catherine King said Pobric has been on a hunger strike since March 29 without providing details of his condition.
Cop faces drug charges
A fired Vancouver police officer was ordered by a court on Monday to languish behind bars after being arrested last week for allegedly selling marijuana on the job. A British Columbia provincial court ruled Peter Hodson would remain in custody until May 4 as his lawyer, Vincent Michaels, sought a bail hearing for his client. Appearing in court for only a few minutes, Hodson looked anxious as he surveyed a pack of reporters who have documented his alleged actions, providing juicy fodder for the local papers over the past four days. Dubbed a “rogue officer” by Vancouver police chief Jim Chu, the 31-year-old Hodson was arrested and fired last Wednesday.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable