Help offered to ill toddler
A top private hospital in New Dehli has offered to treat an 18-month girl whose head has swollen to more than double its normal size because of hydrocephalus. Roona Begum, whose parents are too poor to pay for her treatment, was discovered last week living in remote Tripura State. The publication of pictures taken by an Agence France-Presse photographer on Friday last week led numerous well-wishers to offer donations, while a Web site has been set up to collect money for her. Sandeep Vaishya, who is the head of neurosurgery at a hospital for the private Fortis Healthcare group, has promised to examine the girl and see if surgery was possible.
Anti-protest bill attacked
Rights groups and conservationists yesterday condemned a move to ban protests at sea, accusing the government of pandering to the interests of oil companies. A planned new law allows the military to arrest protesters in the nation’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and ramps up the penalties facing demonstrators to include jail terms of up to a year and fines reaching NZ$100,000 (US$84,000). Greenpeace campaigner Steve Abel said Resources Minister Simon Bridges was trying to silence opposition to plans to exploit the EEZ, which is believed to contain significant oil reserves. More than a dozen group, including Amnesty International, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and the World Wildlife Fund, have also signed a joint letter slamming the law as “a sledgehammer designed to attack peaceful protest at sea.”
The moon affects sharks
The moon and water temperature affect the diving behavior of sharks, researchers said yesterday, in a discovery that could help prevent fishermen from inadvertently catching the marine predators. A team from the University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute and the Australian Institute of Marine Science spent nearly three years monitoring gray reef sharks off Palau in the Pacific Ocean. They found the sharks stayed in deep water on full-moon nights, but rose to the shallows with the new moon. The study also said it may be an anti-predator response where reef sharks seek to avoid increased light nearer the surface that may aid the hunting abilities of larger sharks.
An election tribunal on Monday disqualified former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf from contesting next month’s general elections over graft allegations, an official said. Ashraf, a candidate for the Pakistan People’s Party, was prevented last week from standing in his native Gojar Khan district in Punjab Province after his opponent accused him of corruption. He filed an appeal, but both high court judges on the tribunal rejected the appeal and disqualified him.
Mubarak stays in jail
Former president Hosni Mubarak will remain in custody on new corruption charges, despite a court order to release him before his retrial over the killing of protesters in the uprising against him. The order on Monday by the Cairo Criminal Court followed Mubarak’s request to be released after two years in detention without a final verdict. The court said Mubarak could be released on bail if he was not wanted for any other court cases, but prosecutors then pointed out that Mubarak has three other cases pending. The 84-year-old Mubarak has been in detention since April 2011.