Authorities provide aid
The authorities rushed to bring food and other emergency provisions yesterday to more than 2 million people affected by widespread flooding, as the death toll rose to 66, an official said. The flooding that submerged 80 percent of Manila earlier in the week has largely subsided, allowing people to return to their homes, but low-lying farming regions to the north remained under water. Nearly two weeks of monsoon rains across the Philippines’ main island of Luzon peaked with a 48-hour deluge earlier this week that battered Manila and surrounding regions.
Man dies of bird flu
A man has died of bird flu, the health ministry said yesterday, in the country’s ninth fatal case this year. The man was hospitalized on July 24, according to the report. He died on July 30. Authorities do not know how the man contracted the virus, but said he lived near poultry farms. Indonesia has been hardest-hit by bird flu, with 159 fatalities reported since 2003 out of 359 worldwide, according to WHO figures, which include the latest death.
Lightning strikes mosque
At least 13 people were killed and 15 injured when lightning struck a makeshift mosque in a remote village as locals were holding special Ramadan prayers, police said yesterday. A powerful lightning bolt hit the flimsy tin and thatch building at Saraswatipur village in the northeast late on Friday. About 35 people from the village, which is in the lake district of Sunamganj, were holding prayers known as taraweeh, offered during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when the lightning struck, police chief Bayes Alam said.
Prince quits politics again
Prince Norodom Ranariddh on Friday announced that he was quitting politics for a second time after he was perceived as an obstacle to a merger between royalist parties. The son of former king Norodom Sihanouk agreed in May to combine his Norodom Ranariddh Party with Funcinpec in a bid to reinvigorate the royalist movement ahead of next year’s general elections. Ranariddh was ejected from Funcinpec in 2006 for alleged fraud involving the illegal sale of the party’s headquarters. He formed his own party shortly afterwards. He was sentenced in absentia to 18 months in jail over the charges the following year and quit politics in late 2008 after receiving a royal pardon. He returned to the political scene in late 2010, vowing to reunite the royalists.
Kidney-for-iPad trial starts
A surgeon and four other people are on trial over the case of a teenager who is said to have sold a kidney to buy an iPhone and iPad 2, state media reported on Friday. The China Daily newspaper said that 18-year-old Wang Shangkun is in serious condition after receiving an illegal transplant operation last year. The five people on trial stand accused of intentional injury and illegal organ trading over the removal and sale of the organ and face three to 10 years in prison if convicted, the paper said. Citing court documents, the China Daily said Wang agreed to sell his kidney after contacting an illegal agency online. Wang’s mother, Ou Linchun, told the court that her son did not sell his kidney to purchase the Apple devices. “My son was tempted by the illegal organ traders and might have been afraid of getting caught with such a large amount of money, so he bought a cellphone and a tablet PC,” she said, according to the paper. The kidney was sold for 150,000 yuan (US$23,600) and US$10,000 in cash, though Wang received just 22,000 yuan, the paper said.