‘Harry Potter’ up for auction
Ever wondered what went through author J.K. Rowling’s mind when she wrote the first Harry Potter novel? Fans of books about the boy wizard will have a chance to bid on a unique first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, annotated by the author, at a charity auction this month, the English PEN organization said on Friday. The book contains Rowling’s handwritten thoughts and commentary about the book and the film adaptation, as well as 22 hand-drawn illustrations. It includes a 43-page “second thoughts” segment from the author, with phrases such as, “I wrote the book ... in snatched hours, in clattering cafe or 3 in the dead of night. For me, the story of how I wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is written invisibly on every page, legible only to me…”
Woman gets bionic hands
A woman who lost both hands, her left leg and right foot after contracting a flesh-eating disease has been fitted with prosthetic hands. Aimee Copeland, 25, was fitted with a pair of hands with 24 programmable functions that will improve her dexterity, her father, Andy, told reporters. Copeland contracted a rare infection called necrotizing fasciitis in May last year after falling from a zip line and gashing her leg. She spent two months at the Shepherd Center, a rehabilitation clinic in Atlanta, Georgia, learning to move, eat and bathe without prosthetics. She spent part of the week at Touch Bionics being fitted for the prosthetics that her father said will be controlled by her muscle movements. “All four days she sent us videos of things she could do,” Andy Copeland said. “The second day she was moving water between cups. On the third day she was cutting a cucumber. On the fourth day she was doing more typical things, like applying makeup to her face and more personal things.” He said the hands were given to Aimee in exchange for serving as a Touch Bionics ambassador.
Slave labor ring uncovered
Police have uncovered a trafficking network involving Bangladeshis who were smuggled into the country with promises of good wages, but ended up doing slave labor. About 80 Bangladeshis working in slavery-like conditions were discovered in eight homes on the outskirts of Brasilia, Police Commissioner Dennis Cali said on Thursday, Agencia Brasil reported. No arrests have been made, but four suspected Bangladeshi smugglers have been identified, he said. The gang consisted of Bangladeshis who lured their countrymen with false promises of salaries of US$1,000 to US$1,500, and charged up to US$10,000 for smuggling them into Brazil, a federal police statement said.
Men sentenced for fatal drug
A court on Friday sentenced two officials from a pharmaceutical company to seven years in prison over the sale of an adulterated teething drug which killed 84 babies in 2008. Children between two months and seven years old died from renal failure after taking the painkiller, which was found to contain high levels of diethylene glycol, a poisonous solvent mostly used in brake fluid and as an engine coolant. Federal High Court Judge Okechukwu Okeke convicted Adeyemo Abiodun and Egbele Austine Eromosele of “conspiracy” and “selling dangerous drugs” to a Lagos-based pharmacy. They were charged in March 2009. He ordered the closure of Barewa Pharmaceutical Limited, the manufacturer of the drug, and its assets frozen. The judge said a lighter term had been given following pleas for mercy.