Rains kill one, five missing
Heavy rains have drenched part of the country, killing one person, leaving five fishermen missing and sending nearly 10,000 people to emergency shelters. Disaster officials said most of the evacuations have been taking place along the Agusan River in Mindanao. Rising knee-deep floodwaters have damaged 60 houses, cut off roads and water and power supply. Flights to the regional capital in Butuan have been suspended. The national disaster agency said yesterday one man drowned and five fishermen were missing earlier this week in the north.
Thousands flee quake
Local authorities have evacuated 64,500 people from their homes in Yunnan Province, following a quake that damaged hundreds of houses, state media reported yesterday. The magnitude 4.8 quake rattled an area near the border with Myanmar shortly after 3pm on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said. A total of 678 homes were damaged, but only one collapsed, Xinhua news agency said. No casualties have been reported in the quake. County officials said emergency supplies of tents, quilts, coats and rice had been sent to the area.
Links to Parkinson’s found
An international consortium of scientists has found five variants of genes that are linked to Parkinson’s disease, bringing the tally to 11, a paper published by The Lancet yesterday said. Until the first genetic clue was found in 1997, the medical consensus was that Parkinson’s had environmental — ie, non-inherited — causes. The five variants were netted in an overview of genomic studies carried out by scientists in Britain, Germany, France, Iceland, the Netherlands and the US. None of the tiny DNA changes is responsible by itself for causing for this complex disease of the nervous system, but in conjunction with other variants, boosts the risk of it. The 20 percent of patients who had the highest number of variants were two-and-a-half times likelier to develop Parkinson’s compared with the 20 percent with the least variants, the researchers said. found.
Rebel’s brother detained
The brother of the nation’s most prominent Islamist rebel, Doku Umarov, was detained in Italy on his way to seek political asylum, newspapers reported on Tuesday, citing Italian immigration officers. Chechen native Ruslan Umarov was traveling from France to Italy when he was detained in a train station outside Venice for entering the country illegally. Media reports said he was detained on Jan. 6. He was based in Europe after he won a 2008 case in the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights against Russia. Ruslan’s brother, Doku, leads the Caucasus Emirate, an Islamist insurgent group seeking to establish an independent Islamic state for the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus region.
‘Largest orchid’ on show
The “largest orchid in the world” was growing in a botanic garden in Brasilia, at a height of 2.5m, with some stems measuring as long as 3m, the environmental agency said on Tuesday. Displayed at the Brazilian Orchids Project garden, the flower — part of the Grammatophyllum genus — has been growing for five years and already has 19 long stems, on which 400 flowers bloom, the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources said. Experts are working on a special hybrid species of orchid by crossing Grammatophyllum flowers with the Cyrtopodium genus.