Bird flu kills man
The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed a 31-year-old man, the second fatality reported in the southwest. The Guizhou provincial health department said on its Web site that the man died of multiple organ failure two days ago at a hospital in Guiyang. The man was the second person to have died in Guiyang after contracting bird flu earlier this month. The first fatality was a 21-year-old woman. Xinhua news agency says both patients had close contacts with birds. Xinhua says 110 people who had contact with the patients have been released from quarantine.
Sisters’ killers hunted
Police were searching villages in the west on Friday for suspects in the rape and killing of three young sisters, as a country still angry over the fatal gang rape of a woman on a New Delhi bus in December last year faces another heinous sexual attack. The bodies of the sisters, aged 7, 9 and 11, were found on Feb. 16 in a village well in Bhandara District in Maharashtra after they had gone missing from school two days earlier, police officer Abhinav Deshmukh said. The area is more than 1,000km south of New Delhi. Police did not take the case seriously and did nothing for several days until villagers held protests, the victims’ mother said. Ten teams of 30 investigators were working on the case and that he was confident they would find the killers soon, Deshmukh said on Friday. Police first dismissed the deaths as accidental, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency reported. Villagers forced shops to close, burned tires and blocked a national highway in the area for hours earlier this week, demanding justice. Police eventually registered a case of rape and murder after a post-mortem of the girls found that they had been sexually abused and brutally killed, PTI said. One police officer has been suspended.
Bears found in factory
Two rare Malayan sun bears have been rescued after being discovered in an abandoned garment factory, a zoo official said on Friday. The male and female bears were rescued by officials from the Phnom Tamao Zoo and the Wildlife Alliance, who found them in the factory in Kandal Province last week, zoo director Nhek Rattanak Pich said. “The bears were left with no food and no one to care for them after the factory owner fled the country,” the Wildlife Alliance said on its Web site. Local authorities had called them after the bears were found in purpose-built cages at the factory, which closed without notice in December last year, the group said. The bears are now being cared for at the zoo, its director said, adding that he did not know why they had been kept at the factory. Bears are among many species that have been decimated by wildlife trafficking in Asia, which is fueled in large part by China’s appetite for exotic meats and animal parts for traditional medicine.
Ruling party chair resigns
The chairman of Indonesia’s ruling party, Anas Urbaningrum, announced his resignation yesterday after the country’s anti-graft body named him a suspect in a multimillion-dollar corruption case. “I quit as the chairman of the Democratic Party,” he told reporters in a press conference. Urbaningrum, aged 43, was named a suspect two days ago for allegedly receiving “gifts or a promise of gifts” in a graft case linked to the construction of the Hambalang sports center project near Jakarta, worth about 1.17 trillion rupiah (US$120.5 million).