Rhino regains vision
An orphaned rhinoceros blinded by poachers who hit it on the head in the same attack that killed its mother has regained its vision after cataract surgery, its owners said on Monday. Roccy the rhino underwent the surgery on Jan. 3 in the University of Pretoria’s veterinary hospital and has now returned to his native Elandela game reserve in the country’s northeast. “His character has changed. He’s now less dependent on humans,” owner Rocco Gioia said. “He’s now more and more acting like a rhino.” After the attack by poachers in June, the reserve’s owners created a foundation to save Roccy, then three months old. They also acquired Clova, a young female rhino that was also orphaned by poachers. Roccy has been spending much of his time with her since regaining his sight, Gioia said.
Bathers attacked by piranhas
Carnivorous fish attacked bathers in a river in the south, leaving about 20 of them with bite wounds on their hands and feet, a news Web site said on Monday, citing lifeguards. The unusual attack occurred on Sunday when a school of palometas, a species of piranha, surprised hundreds of tourists bathing at a beach in Toropi, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Lifeguards told the G1 Web site that 20 of the bathers suffered cuts on their hands and feet, and that they were treated at the scene. Firefighters said low water levels in the river, resulting in scarce food sources, may have prompted the feeding frenzy.
Paris hotels post boom year
The number of nights spent in Paris hotels hit a record last year, the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau said on Monday, with a big jump in visits from China. In total, visitors spent 36.9 million nights in the City of Light last year, a 3.1 percent increase from 2010. Business visitors and tourists from new markets contributed significantly to the success, the office said. Average occupancy rates in Paris reached 79.5 percent, up 2.3 percent from 2010, and average income per room, a key industry benchmark, rose 10.3 percent, it said. French visitors accounted for 37 percent of hotel nights last year, but the bureau forecast that visits from nationals would drop this year because of the poor economic outlook. International visitors were mostly from the US (3.6 million nights), the UK (2.4 million) and Italy (1.8 million). Nights spent in Parisian hotels last year by Chinese visitors jumped by 21.6 percent to 407,000.
Destroyed Korans protested
About 200 people demonstrated outside the main US military base yesterday after a report that foreign troops had improperly disposed of a large number of Korans and other religious materials. General John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, offered his “sincere apologies” for the actions in an apparent bid to prevent anti-Western anger from spreading across Afghanistan. “When we learned of these actions, we immediately intervened and stopped them. The materials recovered will be properly handled by appropriate religious authorities,” he said. “This was not intentional in any way.” The protests, which authorities described as largely peaceful, took place outside Bagram airfield, an hour’s drive north of the capital, Kabul. It also houses a prison for Afghans detained by US forces. The center has sewn resentment among Afghans because of reports of torture and ill-treatment of suspected Taliban prisoners.