Human flesh pills banned
The government says it’s strengthening customs inspections in a crackdown on the smuggling of Chinese-made capsules filled with powdered human flesh. The Korea Customs Service yesterday said it has discovered 35 attempts to smuggle from China about 17,450 such capsules disguised as stamina boosters since August last year. Customs officials say the capsules were made from dead babies and infants in northeastern China, and that ethnic Koreans living there tried to smuggle them into the country. The officials say some people believe the capsules are a panacea for disease, but an investigation shows they contain superbacteria and other harmful ingredients.
Captive begs for his life
A new video has emerged of an Australian kidnapped by suspected Muslim extremists in the Philippines, with the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday saying it proved he was still alive in late March. Warren Rodwell, from Sydney, was seized from his home in Ipil on Dec. 5 and a January video showed the 53-year-old pleading with authorities to do all they could to secure his freedom. The department said Philippine authorities had received a second recording of the former soldier, confirming he was alive on March 26. The Australian Broadcasting Corp said the new video showed him holding up a newspaper dated March 26 while making a plea for a ransom payment to be made to save his life. In the January video, Rodwell said his captors were demanding US$2 million.
Hostage pleads to Obama
In a video released on Sunday by al-Qaeda, hostage Warren Weinstein said he would be killed unless President Barack Obama agrees to the militant group’s demands. “My life is in your hands, Mr. President,” Weinstein said in the video. “If you accept the demands, I live; if you don’t accept the demands, then I die.” Weinstein was abducted in August last year in Lahore, Pakistan, after gunmen broke into his home. The 70-year-old from Rockville, Maryland, is the country director in Pakistan for J.E. Austin Associates, a firm that advises a range of Pakistani business and government sectors. In a video message posted on militant Web sites in December, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri said Weinstein would be released if the US stopped airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. He also demanded the release of all al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects around the world.
Scientists yesterday said a new fossil discovery suggested dinosaurs were cosmopolitan globetrotters, unlike the “unique weirdos” of the nation’s current wildlife. Palaeontologist Erich Fitzgerald said an ankle bone fossil found 87km from Melbourne indicated that meat-eating dinosaurs known as ceratosaurs lived in what is now Australia some 125 million years ago. He said the finding suggested that back then continent had the same large, well-known predators such as tyrannosaurs and allosaurs that are found elsewhere in the world. “The dinosaurs we see here are not unique weirdos like modern koalas and kangaroos on a global scale,” Fitzgerald said. The discovery adds to the picture about dinosaurs in eastern Gondwana, the continent which broke into Australia, Antarctica and India between 80 and 130 million years ago.
Vaccine targets meningitis