Disease outbreak kills 70
A health official says a surging outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease in the country has killed 70 people so far this year and infected more than 23,000, mostly children under the age of five. Nguyen Van Binh, head of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Preventive Medicine, was quoted by the Thanh Nien newspaper as saying most of the cases have been reported in the south. Enterovirus 71, or EV-71, is the dominant strain circulating in the country. This year’s outbreak is a sharp uptick from recent years.
Penguin passes health test
The country’s favorite penguin visitor has been given a health clearance to be returned to the wild. The news comes five weeks after he was found on a beach more than 3,200km from his Antarctic home. The emperor penguin nicknamed “Happy Feet” has been recuperating at the Wellington Zoo since he was discovered in the North Island. He is the first emperor penguin to be found in the wild in the country in 44 years. Zoo spokeswoman Kate Baker said the penguin has gained about 4kg and this week passed an X-ray and blood test. Baker said the penguin will likely be released offshore in the south of the country sometime in the next few weeks.
Butt surgery death accidental
An autopsy report has determined that the death of a Las Vegas woman who died after receiving a buttock enhancement injection in a makeshift medical office was accidental. Clark County Coroner P. Michael Murphy said on Thursday that 42-year-old Elena Caro died from an adverse drug reaction. He said the autopsy does not preclude criminal charges. Ruben -Matallana-Galvas and Carmen Torres-Sanchez of Colombia face charges of murder and practicing medicine without a license in Caro’s April death. Authorities allege the husband and wife were running a cosmetic surgery business in the back room of a tile store when they injected Caro’s buttocks with a gel substance. Caro was found roaming the streets in agony hours after the injection. She was taken to a hospital, where she died.
Three killed in two attacks
Police say a village leader and an elderly couple have been killed in a restive Russian province in the North Caucasus. Vyacheslav Gasanov, a police spokesman in the republic of Dagestan, said village chief Rabadan Omarov in central Dagestan was killed late on Thursday night when an unidentified man stormed his house and gunned him down with an assault rifle. In southern Dagestan, a married couple in their 60s known, for having conservative Muslim beliefs, was stabbed to death by a man who attacked their house on the same night. Police suspect Muslim insurgents to be behind both killings.
Minister says sorry for errors
Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti apologized in an open letter yesterday over his occupancy of a flat belonging to a former aide now under investigation for corruption. “Did I commit unlawful acts? As far as I’m concerned, no. Did I make mistakes? Yes, definitely,” Tremonti wrote in a letter to the Corriere della Sera newspaper. Tremonti has faced growing pressure over his links to Marco Milanese, a close aide being investigated for graft and influence-peddling by Naples magistrates. Tremonti until a few weeks ago occupied a flat in Rome made available by Milanese, a former tax official.
Cocaine recovered from sea
The navy, with help from its US counterpart, recovered 2.5 tonnes of cocaine from a submarine intercepted on its way from Colombia to the US, authorities said on Thursday. The drugs were on the vessel sunk off the Caribbean coast near Tegucigalpa about two weeks ago by its four-man crew after the coast guard caught up with the suspected traffickers. General Rene Osorio said the semi-submersible sub had been carrying about 5 tonnes of cocaine and that half of the narcotics shipment was still on board.
Doughnut burger unveiled
Want fries with that ... doughnut? A food booth in Syracuse will unveil the “Big Kahuna Donut Burger” at this year’s New York State Fair. For between US$5 and US$6, the adventurous eater will get a quarter-pound burger between slices of a grilled, glazed doughnut. Toss on some cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion and you’ve got yourself a 1,500 calorie meal. State fairs can be counted on to provide foods featuring offbeat ingredient combinations. Wisconsin has chocolate covered bacon on a stick, you can get fried beer in Texas, Massachusetts provides fried jelly beans and North Carolina has the “Koolickle,” pickles soaked in Kool-Aid.
Madoff recoveries secured
A trustee recovering money for investors who lost billions of US dollars through Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff’s dealings says he has secured more than a billion US dollars through settlements with associates of the second largest feeder fund group to invest with Madoff. Trustee Irving Picard announced on Thursday the settlement would boost recoveries of money available to jilted investors to more than US$8.6 billion. He said that is nearly half the approximately US$17.3 billion in principal lost by Madoff, who pleaded guilty to fraud charges and is imprisoned in Butner, North Carolina.
Hikers await final trial
The families of two imprisoned Americans are counting on a hearing tomorrow to end their ordeal. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal are due for what Iranian authorities have said will be a final hearing in their espionage case. It comes two years to the day after they were arrested with another American while hiking along the Iraq-Iran border. Sarah Shourd was freed in September last year. Bauer’s mother, Cindy Hickey, said she will be up all night praying. The families are taking recent comments by Tehran’s top prosecutor as a good sign. He said officials hoped a final decision would be made at the hearing, but did not hint at the outcome.
Billions laundered each year
Nearly US$8 billion, roughly the equivalent of 3 percent of the nation’s GDP, are laundered in the country each year, Attorney-General Viviane Morales said on Thursday. Morales confirmed the figures, citing government estimates, at a Pan-American forum on money laundering and terrorism financing. She did not specify how much of the illicit funds come from the cocaine trade. The country is the world’s largest producer of cocaine with 350 tonnes exported last year, according to UN figures. Morales said money laundering has a negative impact on the economy and causes inflation and unemployment, as well as reduces domestic production.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered