Dust shrouds Lhasa
The country’s pollution reached new heights yesterday as the Tibetan capital of Lhasa was shrouded in a cloud of dust that halted flights and rendered one of its most-recognizable landmarks nearly invisible. Lhasa, which at 3,700m above sea level is one of the highest cities in the world, was named by the Ministry of Environmental Protection last month as one of 10 cities with the country’s best air quality. However, yesterday the picturesque city was enveloped in a thick cloud of pollution that the Hong Kong-based ifeng.com news Web site said was caused by dust that had blown in from north of the Tibetan Plateau. Visibility in some areas was reduced to 5km, flights were grounded and the city’s air quality index exceeded 500, the highest level, the report said. Photos posted online by ifeng.com showed the world-famous Potala Palace, a sprawling Buddhist complex and UNESCO World Heritage Site that previously served as the winter palace of the Dalai Lama, nearly invisible from a few kilometers away.
Woman finds semen in water
A woman is suing a deli after drinking bottled water that allegedly contained semen, lawyers said yesterday, with claims that DNA showed it matched the owner of the business. Alicia Cooper has filed a writ of summons in the District Court of Western Australia against the owner, who no longer runs the business, according to media reports that were confirmed by Slater and Gordon, the legal firm representing Cooper. Among its accusations the writ states the owner knowingly placed the sperm in the bottled water and allowed its sale. “Instantly I knew something was not right, I just knew,” Cooper, who is seeking damages and medical expenses for the stress and depression suffered from drinking the water, told Fairfax Media. After Cooper lodged a complaint about the water with the health department in the city of Stirling, a sample was collected for testing and the results revealed it contained spermatozoa, the Fairfax report said. A DNA sample was taken from the owner and testing confirmed his sample was a profile match for the sperm in the water.
Body found at US base
A human body decomposed “beyond recognition” has been found at a US military camp on the island of Okinawa, military and police officials said yesterday. The corpse was discovered on Wednesday inside a former housing area at Camp Foster, but the identity of the person, including their gender and approximate date of death, were unknown, a spokeswoman for the base said. The US Naval Criminal Investigative Service is leading a probe into the case, she added. The body was badly decomposed, but was presumed to be that of an adult, an official at Okinawa prefectural police headquarters said. It was found by Japanese workers contracted to dismantle buildings and survey the grounds in the housing area.
UN choppers to evacuate staff
The UN sent four helicopters to evacuate staff from one of its bases in the country’s Jonglei State where three UN peacekeepers were killed on Thursday in violence gripping the world’s newest nation. Fighting has spread since the attack on Sunday last week outside an army barracks in the capital, Juba, with the violence leaving as many as 500 people dead, while at least 20,000 have sought shelter at UN compounds, according to the government and UN. The government lost control of Bor, the capital of Jonglei State, on Wednesday to a group linked to former vice president Riek Machar, who is being hunted by security forces for staging a failed coup this week. Machar denies that accusation. The violence has heightened ethnic tensions, with Machar’s Nuer group pitted against the Dinka people of President Salva Kiir.