Chinese snap up baby milk
Supermarkets and pharmacies were running out of popular baby formula yesterday after unprecedented sales reportedly due to Chinese customers trying to secure supplies. Nutricia, supplier of top-selling formula brand Karicare, said there had been a sudden surge in demand for its products, which had seen stocks plummet and left shelves empty. Major supermarket Coles said it was trying to arrange extra shipments of infant formula. Some pharmacies were rationing sales across brands to a few cans per customer. Media reports said Chinese residents or tourists in Australia were buying formula in bulk and shipping it back to their native country for family or sometimes sale online. “Chinese visitors buy as many cans as they can fit into their luggage to take back to China,” one manager of a pharmacy near a major international hotel in central Sydney told the Daily Telegraph newspaper. Many Chinese are suspicious of domestically produced milk following a major food safety scandal in 2008, in which six children died and 300,000 fell ill after drinking milk tainted with the industrial chemical melamine.
Cold snap kills over 100
Police say more than 100 people have died of exposure in the north because of historically cold temperatures. Police spokesman Surendra Srivastava yesterday said that at least 114 people have died from the cold in the state of Uttar Pradesh. At least 23 of those died in the past 24 hours. Srivastava said many of the dead were poor people whose bodies were found on sidewalks or in parks. The weather department said temperatures in the state were 4°C to 10°C below normal.
Drug trials ‘causing havoc’
The Supreme Court yesterday said that unregulated clinical trials of new drugs were causing “havoc to human life” in the country as it ordered the health ministry to monitor any new applications for tests. The comments were made during a hearing on a petition detailing deaths and health problems caused by clinical trials carried out on Indians, often without their knowledge or consent. “There are so many legal and ethical issues involved with clinical trials and the government has not done anything so far,” Justice R.M. Lodha said. Low costs, weak laws and inadequate enforcement and penalties have made India an attractive destination for the tests, activists say. The petitioners in the public interest litigation case — a group of doctors and a voluntary organization — claim several patients seeking medical help in the central state of Madhya Pradesh were used in drug tests.
Man kills three, injures two
A man shot and killed three people and wounded two in the village of Daillon, and was then arrested by officers who shot and injured him, police said yesterday. Police in the southern state of Valais said they were alerted to the shooting just before 9pm on Wednesday. Three of the victims died at the scene and the two injured people were taken to hospitals. A police statement early yesterday gave no detail on their injuries. When officers arrived at the scene, “the shooter pointed his weapon at our colleagues, so they had to open fire to neutralize him, to avoid being injured themselves,” police spokesman Jean-Marie Bornet told Swiss radio. He said the shooter lived in Daillon. His possible motives “are not clear at all,” Bornet said.