Giant spiders attack villages
Officials say colonies of giant biting spiders have attacked villagers and sparked panic in the remote northeast. Two bite victims have died in Tinsukia district. Authorities say it is unclear whether they died from venom or from treatment by traditional doctors who cut them with razor blades to drain the wounds. Another seven bite victims have been treated with antibiotics against infection after they also tried to drain their wounds, said Anil Phapowali, a doctor at the Sadiya town hospital. The hairy spiders were first noticed about a month ago across Tinsukia district’s grassy plains and dense jungle forests north of the Brahmaputra River. Officials say the spiders are now also showing up south of the Brahmaputra.
Drunken granny has to pay
A drunken grandmother who punched a passenger in the face on a Qantas flight to New Zealand was yesterday ordered to pay the cost of the aircraft having to return to Melbourne. Frances Macaskill, 58, pleaded guilty in a Melbourne court to one charge of offensive and disorderly behavior, and another of assault. She was fined A$3,500 (US$3,409) for the assault and given a four-month suspended jail term for the other charge. The New Zealand national, who lives in Perth and was traveling to Wellington to see her children, was also ordered to pay Qantas A$18,245 — the cost to the airline of having to turn the flight back to where it took off.
Chinese men kidnapped
Two Chinese men have been kidnapped, the military said yesterday, becoming the latest victims to be abducted in the country’s troubled south. Six armed men marched the pair, known locally as James Lou and Jampong Linyuan Kai, out of their house on Mindanao Island and into a van waiting outside late on Monday, local military spokesman Captain Albert Caber said. The two Guangdong natives had lived in the town of Kabasalan for almost two years, buying manganese ore from local miners, said Caber, quoting local authorities. Caber said the crime was likely the work of former Muslim guerrilla-turned-bandit leader Waning Abdulsalam.
Missile test successful
A fifth nuclear-capable missile was tested yesterday since India launched a new long-range weapon capable of hitting China just over six weeks ago. The Hatf VII cruise missile has a range of 700km, can carry conventional warheads and has stealth capabilities, the military said. It described the “low flying, terrain-hugging missile with high maneuverability” as having “pinpoint accuracy” and “radar avoidance features.” India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947. Each has carried out routine missile tests since both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability in 1998.
Pedophile to be deported
A Russian pedophile controversially pardoned in Cambodia’s most widely known child-sex scandal will be deported after he was arrested at the home of a teenage girl, police said yesterday. Alexander Trofimov, who built a US$300 million tourist resort in the country, was arrested at the house of an under-aged girl outside the capital Phnom Penh, police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said. Keo Vanthan, head of Cambodia’s Interpol office, said the Russian is also on the organization’s most-wanted list for sex offenses in his home country and will be deported.