Inquest told of Coke habit
An inquest has been told a woman’s 10 litre a day Coca-Cola habit may have contributed to her death, reports said on Friday. A coroner’s inquest was told Natasha Harris, a 30-year-old mother of eight from Invercargill in the south, who died in February 2010, drank huge amounts of the caffeinated beverage, Fairfax Media reported. It said pathologist Dan Mornin told the inquest that he believed Harris died from cardiac arrhythmia and was also suffering from low potassium levels and caffeine toxicity. Mornin testified her excessive soft drink consumption probably contributed to her medical condition, along with poor nutrition, Fairfax reported. Harris’ partner, Christopher Hodgkinson, said she was addicted to Coke and the dead woman’s mother-in-law, Vivien Hodgkinson, had called for soft drinks to carry health warnings, Radio New Zealand reported. “The first thing she would do in the morning was to have a drink of Coke beside her bed and the last thing she would do at night was to have a drink of Coke ... she was addicted to Coke,” Christopher Hodgkinson said.
Japan looks to joint action
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has sent a letter to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on efforts to coordinate policies towards North Korea, a presidential spokeswoman said on Friday. The letter was delivered by Japan’s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tsuyoshi Saito when he visited the presidential Blue House on Friday before an upcoming three-way summit including China next month, she said. It also reviewed achievements at last month’s summit on nuclear security which was hosted by Seoul. The spokeswoman denied a Japanese media report that the message touched on the issue of Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops during World War II. Saito met Chun Young-woo, senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and security, and exchanged views on next month’s tripartite summit in Beijing.
Fishermen set free
Beijing said authorities have released 21 Vietnamese fishermen whom they had detained for more than a month on a disputed island in the South China Sea. The official Xinhua news agency said late on Friday that according to the South China Sea Fishery Bureau, the fishermen were released after they guaranteed in writing not to “infringe on China’s maritime rights, especially fishing, in its territorial waters.” Chinese security forces intercepted the fishermen’s two boats in early March near the Paracel Islands (西沙群島), which are also claimed by Taiwan. Vietnam had said the arrests of the fishermen violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over the island chain and demanded their release.
Quake hits off Papua
A powerful earthquake hit waters off eastern Indonesia yesterday, sending panicked residents running from their homes, offices and schools. There was some damage, but no immediate reports of injuries. The US Geological Survey said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 and hit 83km off Papua Province. It was centered just 30km beneath the ocean floor. Children in the town of Manokwan, closest to the epicenter, were seen running from their schools screaming. Streets also filled with those escaping shaking buildings. “I ran out of my house with my kids as soon as I felt the tremors,” said Pinta Uli, a mother of two, adding that they saw one street lamp topple to the ground.