Priest beaten over site plan
A Catholic priest was beaten unconscious by a group of “thugs” following the destruction of a house he intended to turn into an orphanage, the church said in a statement. The Reverent Nguyen Van Binh had built the house on a piece of land he purchased near his church in Chuong My District outside Hanoi, the Office of the Hanoi Archdiocese said in a statement posted on its Web site. It said Binh, who wanted to turn the site into an orphanage, visited the house last weekend and found it had been destroyed and was then attacked and knocked unconscious by a group of men at the site.
Dam forces more moves
Another 100,000 people may have to move away from the Three Gorges Dam because of the risk of disastrous landslides and bank collapses around the reservoir of the world’s biggest hydroelectric facility, state media said yesterday. The number of landslides and other disasters has increased 70 percent since the water level in the US$23 billion showcase project rose to its maximum level in 2010, Liu Yuan, an official with the Ministry of Land Resources, was quoted as telling China National Radio. Surging waves from such events also pose a threat to shipping, said the report, which was posted on a government Web site and carried by the Shanghai Daily newspaper.
Early election called
The president announced yesterday that he would call for an early presidential election amid opposition demands following a contentious power transfer earlier this year. President Mohammed Waheed Hassan said the election would be held in July next year, the earliest permitted by the constitution, according to a statement from his office. The vote was originally scheduled for late next year. Hassan took over in February when his predecessor, Mohamed Nasheed, resigned after weeks of public protests and eroding support from the police and military. Nasheed claimed he was forced to resign at gunpoint and challenged Hassan to order early elections.
Baldness study fuels hope
Researchers have successfully grown hair on hairless mice by implanting follicles created from stem cells, they announced yesterday, sparking new hopes of a cure for baldness. Led by professor Takashi Tsuji from Tokyo University of Science, the team bioengineered hair follicles and transplanted them into the skin of hairless mice. The creatures eventually grew hair, which continued regenerating in normal growth cycles after old hairs fell out. When stem cells are grown into tissues or organs, they usually need to be extracted from embryos, but Tsuji and his researchers found hair follicles can be grown with adult stem cells, the study said.
Metro breaks down again
Disruptions paralyzed a new multibillion-dollar line on the city-state’s metro yesterday, the third straight day of rush-hour delays on the gleaming train system. The problems as commuters rushed to work lasted two hours and affected eight stations on the new 36km section of the metro, including stops that opened only six months ago. It came two days after the start of public hearings focusing on a massive disruption in December last year affecting 127,000 commuters, some stranded for hours underground in the worst breakdown since the metro was inaugurated in 1987.
Libyans sue Jack Straw