Foot-and-mouth disease has spread across the country following its first outbreak in Pyongyang late last year, the nation said. The official Korean Central News Agency reported on Thursday that thousands of animals, including cows and pigs, have died. Agriculture Ministry official Ri Kyong-gun told KCNA that quarantine officials are working to prevent the spread of the virus.
Cargo ship detained
The navy yesterday detained a foreign cargo ship and its Russian crew for allegedly failing to rescue a man who fell overboard, an official said. Navy spokesman Kosala Warnasuriya said the DD Vigor, registered in St Vincent and the Grenadines, was impounded while leaving the island after failing to report or attempting to rescue its second engineer. “We don’t know the exact circumstances, but it transpired that the vessel failed to report the matter to the authorities on Thursday,” Warnasuriya said. “The seaman was lucky to have been saved by a bunkering vessel.”
Ancient carvings found
Scientists hunting for fossils of giant rats stumbled on unique rock carvings up to 12,000 years old, Australia’s research agency said. The experts were digging in Timor’s Lene Hara cave, a treasure trove of fossils and rock art, when they chanced upon a group of stylized human faces etched in the rock. “Looking up from the cave floor at a colleague sitting on a ledge, my head torch shone on what seemed to be a weathered carving,” said Ken Aplin of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation. “I shone the torch around and saw a whole panel of engraved prehistoric human faces on the wall of the cave.”
Cyclone traumatizes crocs
A group of ferocious crocodiles were so traumatized by a maximum-strength cyclone last week that they hid under water and stopped eating, wildlife park officials said yesterday. Bob Flemming from Townsville’s Billabong Sanctuary in the northeast said the 12 saltwater crocodiles, some more than 4m long, took days to recover from Tropical Cyclone Yasi.
‘Arms fraud’ investigated
The defense ministry is investigating a US arms dealer and its local agency for supplying sub-standard parts for anti-aircraft guns safeguarding Seoul’s skies, news reports said yesterday. The investigation followed complaints by the army that some of the Oerlikon 35mm twin cannons had defective barrels that cracked when fired, Yonhap news agency said. Out of the 72 barrels on 36 Oerlikons deployed to guard key sites including the presidential office, 49 turned out to be sub-standard, Yonhap and Hankook Ilbo newspaper said. A defense ministry spokesman said police were investigating the “arms provision fraud” case, but declined to give details. The reports said a US dealer signed a contract in 1998 with the arms procurement agency to import barrels for the anti-aircraft guns by 2003. However, its local agency allegedly arranged for an unqualified local firm to make sub-standard gun barrels, ship them to Hong Kong and import them back to the country as apparently authentic products, earning millions of dollars. “The investigation will also look into allegations of bribery involving local procurement officials,” an unidentified defense ministry official was quoted as saying.
Russia to absolve Poles