Man sets fire to ministry
Police say a 61-year-old man set a fire at Seoul’s main government complex before killing himself. Seoul police cited witnesses as saying the man used a lighter and papers to start the fire at an Education Ministry office on the complex’s 18th floor yesterday and then jumped to his death. The blaze was quickly put out, and it caused only minor damage. Police say the motive for the arson was not immediately known. In 2008, a 69-year-old man set a fire that destroyed a 14th-century gate in Seoul in a fit of anger over a land dispute unrelated to the landmark. Yesterday’s fire occurred at one of the two main government complex buildings, which houses the Unification Ministry, the Public Administration and Security Ministry and other offices.
Pandas once eaten: scientist
A scientist says that humans used to eat pandas. In a newspaper interview, Wei Guangbiao says prehistoric man ate the bears in what is now part of the city of Chongqing. Wei, the head of the Institute of Three Gorges Paleoanthropology at a Chongqing museum, says many excavated panda fossils “showed that pandas were once slashed to death by man.” The Chongqing Morning Post quoted him as saying: “In primitive times, people wouldn’t kill animals that were useless to them” and therefore the pandas must have been used as food. However, he says pandas were much smaller then. Wei says wild pandas lived in Chongqing’s high mountains between 10,000 and 1 million years ago. Pandas do not eat much apart from bamboo.
Family of 10 die in fire
Police say 10 members of a family were been burned to death after an electrical short circuit caused a fire that engulfed their home. Police spokesman Surendra Srivastava says the accident took place before dawn on Saturday in Agra in Uttar Pradesh State. The dead included three children. Two other people were injured in the accident. Srivastava says it took fire engines a long time to reach the building because it was located in a crowded area with narrow, winding lanes.
Voyeur avoids charges
A “peeping Tom” who used a pen-shaped camera to take an upskirt photograph of a cabin attendant during a domestic flight has avoided charges after prosecutors failed to decide which prefecture the plane was flying over at the time, reports said. The 34-year-old man extended his hand with the micro-camera while seated and took the picture of the flight attendant, the Asahi Shimbun said on its Web site yesterday. He was arrested by police and admitted what he had done, saying he was “aroused by uniforms,” the report added. The man was on a Japan Airlines flight from Takamatsu in the southwest of the country to Tokyo last month, according to an earlier report by Kyodo News. The police tentatively determined the photograph was taken over the western prefecture of Hyogo based on witness accounts and their analysis of flight data, it said. However, prosecutors judged they were unable to rule out the photograph may have taken when the plane was over neighboring prefectures, Kyodo added. “Peeping Tom” offenses typically fall under prefecture-level law to prevent public nuisances and their applications require prosecutors to state exact locations of the crime.
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500