Fri, Jul 15, 2011 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take



Embassies cough up fines

The embassies of Kazakhstan and Nigeria in London have paid parking fines of £40,000 (US$65,000) ahead of a government report naming and shaming foreign missions for unpaid penalties, a council said on Wednesday. Westminster City Council said it was writing to the heads of state of countries who still have not paid up, including US President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Kazakh embassy was the worst offender on the council’s list, but it has now coughed up £37,160 for 627 parking tickets built up from 2007 to last year, the council said in a statement. The Nigerian embassy, meanwhile, paid £3,450 for clocking up 78 parking tickets. The worst remaining offenders are the embassies of China, Turkey, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus, who collectively owe £72,880. Foreign embassies in London still owe the council a total of £1.1 million. “Citing ‘diplomatic immunity’ as an excuse for not paying tickets is clearly unacceptable,” said Lee Rowley, the council’s Cabinet member for parking. “It’s time these diplomats started to respect the rules of the road in the UK and stopped thinking they can do what they like at the expense of our taxpayers.”


Elephants surprise passersby

Two runaway circus elephants surprised passersby and police by showing up at a bus stop during a brief bid for freedom, officials in Hannover said. Dunia, a 40-year-old Indian elephant, and her counterpart Daela, a 25-year-old African elephant, were apprehended by police near the western city of Hannover last weekend nonchalantly munching on tree leaves and looking for all the world as if they were waiting for a bus. The pair had escaped from their enclosure at a nearby traveling circus and walked about 50m to the bus stop, police said. “It was simply an unlucky situation for the circus,” Hannover police spokesman Heiko Steiner said. “The two elephants were quite cooperative and peaceful. Everyone was amused.” If the two were trying to make an escape, they were not going far, Steiner said. The police station is only a stone’s throw from the bus stop, which is out of use during the summer school holidays.


Body found in undercarriage

Authorities at Madrid’s airport found the body of a Cuban man in the undercarriage of a plane that arrived from Havana on Wednesday, police said. The man “probably died from being crushed” after apparently hiding in the rear landing gear of the Iberia flight before it left Cuba, but an autopsy would determine the exact cause of death, a source in the Civil Guard police force said. Spanish media said the man had injuries to his head and chest.


Stinky feet help fight malaria

The smell of stinky feet may help scientists fight malaria-causing mosquitoes. Bed nets and indoor spraying have already substantially reduced the number of fatal malaria cases, but so far scientists have not come up with a good way to help combat mosquitoes outdoors. Fredros Okumu, the head of a research project at Tanzania’s Ifakara Health Institute, says that traps scented with the odor of human feet may be the answer as they attract four times as many mosquitoes as a human volunteer. The mosquitoes who fly into the trap are then poisoned. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Grand Challenges Canada said on Wednesday they are giving Okumu US$775,000 to create an affordable trap that could be used outside homes.

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