Mayor sorry over toxic leak
The mayor of Changzhi in Shanxi Province has apologized for taking five days to report a chemical leak that has affected another city’s drinking water supply, Xinhua news agency said yesterday. The mayor said the polluter had informed the municipal government of the leak on Dec. 31, but that they had underestimated its severity. Xinhua said the city was required to report the leak to the provincial environmental authority within two hours. About 9 tonnes of aniline had leaked into a river and contaminated the water supply in Handan City, Hebei Province, by the time the incident became public on Saturday. The water still could not be used yesterday, Xinhua said.
Girl finds ‘human head’
Police were carrying out forensic tests yesterday after a young girl found what is believed to be a human head washed up on a beach in a plastic bag. The gruesome discovery was made at Porpoise Bay on Sunday by the girl, who was holidaying on Rottnest Island off Perth in Western Australia with her family. “We believe it to be the remains of a human head,” Inspector Denise Grant said, the West Australian newspaper reported. “However, we are yet to confirm this. We can’t confirm it until the forensic pathologists have finished their examination.” Police would not confirm what the remains were held in, but reports said it was “double bagged.”
Infant survives python attack
A toddler had a lucky escape after being attacked by a python. Snake handler Tex Tillis said the two-year-old girl’s mother woke at 3am on Saturday to find the 1.85m reptile attached to her child as they lay in bed in Lismore. “She saw three coils of what looked like a snake around her baby’s arm,” Tillis said yesterday. “She went for what she thought was the snake’s head” in the dark, but ended up grabbing the snake below the head, he said. “It immediately started to constrict the baby’s arm and to bite the baby,” he said. “The mother then very, very courageously ... pulled the snake off the baby.” Tillis said the mother did not know the snake was non-venomous when she ripped it off her child and flung it into the corner of the room. The toddler was taken to hospital, but suffered only three superficial wounds, said Tillis, adding that he later took the reptile to visit the child and her mother, who named it Cecil.
Customs seize rhino horns
Authorities seized 18 million baht (US$586,000) worth of rhino horn from a passenger’s luggage at a Bangkok airport. Customs officer Khanit Isdul said on Sunday that officials acting on a tip-off found four rhino horns in the passenger’s luggage at Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Officials arrested Phan Quangloc, a 56-year-old Vietnamese passenger who arrived with the case from Ethiopia on Sunday. He is expected to face a jail term if convicted of smuggling.
Kim sends sweets on b-day
Leader Kim Jong-un has sent 1kg of sweets to every child to mark his birthday today, carrying on a tradition started by his grandfather, state media reported. A radio report by the North Korean Central Broadcasting Station, monitored in Seoul yesterday, said Kim had mobilized aircraft to ensure that each child in the country aged 10 or under received the candy gift in time. Villagers in outlying islands “exploded with joy” at the confectionery airlift, the report said.