Woman admits to poisoning
Nineteen primary-school children in China have been hospitalized after drinking yoghurt said to be laced with rat poison and herbicide, Xinhua news agency said. A 34-year-old woman from Loudi City in Hunan Province confessed to poisoning the yoghurt drink before delivering to the pupils, Xinhua said yesterday. It said the woman was suspected to be suffering from a mental disorder. Three children were in serious condition, but their lives were not in danger, Xinhua said. Investigations were ongoing.
Bolivian Tupac launched
A Chinese rocket launched Bolivia’s first telecommunications satellite early yesterday, with the president of the South American country declaring it a success. The Long March-3B carrier rocket blasted off from the Xichang satellite launch center in China’s southwestern Sichuan Province at 00:42am, television images showed. Xinhua reported that China had “successfully” sent the satellite into orbit. “I’m very happy, satisfied and moved by the successful launch” of satellite Tupac Katari, said Bolivian President Evo Morales, who traveled to China for the mission. The launch was beamed live on Bolivian television and hundreds of people watched the event on a giant screen at the Plaza de Armas, the site of Bolivia’s parliament, in La Paz. The satellite, which is expected to be operational in March, was named after an indigenous leader who fought against Spanish colonial rule.
Bullet charms bother Macau
Rising numbers of Philippine visitors are being arrested and deported by Macau for carrying amulets and lucky charms made of bullets, the foreign department said Friday. “The consulate has noticed an increase in the number of cases where Filipino nationals were apprehended... in Macau SAR’s ports of entry because they had bullet amulets in their checked in and carry-on luggage,” it said in a statement. Although the Philippines is an overwhelmingly Catholic nation, belief in amulets and good-luck charms is pervasive. Some Filipino males keep amulets, including rocks, bones, bullets or shell casings suspended from key chains or necklaces, in the belief they will keep them from harm or bring them good luck.
Freeman taken for Mandela
The owner of a billboard dedicated to Nelson Mandela was red-faced on Thursday after the discovery that a photo of US actor Morgan Freeman, who played Mandela in the 2009 film Invictus, was used instead of one of the anti-apartheid hero. The billboard was erected on the side of a road in the southern city of Coimbatore as part of memorials across the country and the world to Mandela, who died on Dec. 5. However, Freeman’s face loomed large in the billboard over small images of rights icons Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi. “We should be proud that we were part of an era when they lived,” read the Tamil-language condolence message on the board. Cloth merchant Chandrashekhar, who paid for the board in a private capacity as a mark of respect to the former South African president, said it was a mistake. “We will replace it with the correct picture of Mandela,” the merchant, who uses one name, said by telephone from the state capital, Chennai, adding that he did not know how the gaffe occurred.
Alleged cannibal in court
A former soldier, who served in Afghanistan and who killed a 90-year-old man in the south of the country, apparently to eat his heart and tongue, was charged on Friday over the death. Jeremy Rimbaud, 26, was charged with murder and attempted murder for attacking another man on Nov. 15, the day he bludgeoned the elderly man to death, said Sebastien Ellul, the deputy prosecutor in the town of Pau. Rimbaud owned up to the murder to investigators and said he ate his victim’s heart and tongue. He also said he heard voices in his head. Some remains of cooked meat were found on a plate with some beans, next to the 90-year-old’s body.