Woman, money disappear
Authorities have been scrambling to track down a bank employee who has vanished along with US$1.1 million. Shokofa Salehi, 22, worked in the money transfer division at the headquarters of Azizi Bank, a major lender in Kabul, officials said. She disappeared around two months ago, according to Azizi chief executive Inayatullah Fazli. Investigators say she is suspected of transferring about US$1.1 million out of the bank’s coffers to accounts of relatives. Besides Salehi, at least nine people are believed to be involved in the case. An Interpol red notice describes authorities as seeking Salehi on charges of fraud and misusing her authority. Afghan officials believe Salehi used fake documents to reach India after transferring the money; her current whereabouts are unknown.
Hygiene, Alzheimer’s link
Improvements in hygiene could partly explain increased rates of Alzheimer’s disease seen in many developed countries, according to research into the link between infections and the condition. The researchers studied the prevalence of the disease across 192 countries and compared it with the diversity of microbes in those places. Taking into account differences in birth rate, life expectancy and age structure, the scientists found that levels of sanitation, infectious disease and urbanization accounted for 33 percent, 36 percent and 28 percent respectively of the discrepancies seen in Alzheimer’s rates between countries. They concluded that hygiene was positively associated with risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Countries with a greater degree of sanitation and lower prevalence of pathogens had a higher burden from the disorder. Countries with a greater degree of urbanization and wealth also had higher Alzheimer’s burdens. Exposure to micro-organisms is important for the body to develop proper immune responses. The research’s hygiene hypothesis suggests that as societies have become cleaner, the reduced level of contact with bacteria and other kinds of infectious agents might stall the development of elements of the immune system.
Parliament computer scandal
Parliamentary authorities monitored nearly 300,000 attempts to access pornography from their computers in the past year, official records show. The figures, released by the IT department for the Houses of Parliament, cover computers used by more than 1,300 lawmakers, their staff and other parliamentary employees. However, officials insisted the figures were inflated by Web sites automatically refreshing, while pop-up adverts not requested by users could also have added to the count. They are also investigating huge variation in the monthly number of attempts to access pornographic Web sites, with nearly 115,000 attempts in November last year, but only 15 in February this year.
Patient kills psychiatrist
Investigators say a patient stabbed his psychiatrist about 40 times, killing the woman during their appointment at a public health facility. Police said the attacker, a man in his 40s with a history of drug and alcohol abuse and a criminal record for drug dealing, was subdued by a colleague of the 52-year-old doctor. She had been meeting privately with the patient on Wednesday in Bari, in the southern region of Puglia. Prosecutors said investigators were examining the attacker’s medical records to learn why he was under treatment. No motive for the attack was immediately known.