Pesticide sickens hundreds
More than 300 people across the nation have fallen ill after eating frozen food products contaminated with pesticide, the Asahi Shimbun and other local media said yesterday. Consumers have reported vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms of food poisoning after eating food produced at a plant run by a subsidiary of the nation’s largest seafood firm, Maruha Nichiro Holdings. The company said last month that some of its frozen food products were tainted with malathion, an agricultural chemical often used to kill aphid in corn and rice fields. The Asahi said the number of people who fell sick “exceeded 300,” while national broadcaster NHK said on Monday that it had counted 359. Maruha Nichiro said the products had not been shipped overseas.
Consulate fire arrest made
A Chinese-born man has been arrested over an arson attack on China’s consulate in San Francisco, officials said on Monday. Yan Feng, 39, surrendered to police on Friday and has been charged with criminal offenses, including causing damage to a diplomatic mission, the FBI said. Yan, who is a permanent US resident, told FBI agents that he was driven not by politics, but by “voices he had been hearing,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He called police two days after the New Year’s Day blaze, and said via an interpreter that he had “made the fire,” it said.
Smog warning issued
The government warned people in north and central parts of the country to stay indoors yesterday as heavy smog blanketed the region. The level of PM2.5 — fine air particulates that pose the greatest health risk — was as much as 539 micrograms per cubic meter at 11am in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, data from the China National Environmental Monitoring Center showed. That level of smog, the highest on a government scale from one to six, triggers warnings for people to avoid outdoor activities. Levels of PM2.5 hit 612 in Jinan and 332 in Wuhan yesterday, according to the government.
Police removed from posts
About 350 police officers were removed from their posts in Ankara overnight, CNN Turk reported yesterday, in the biggest single reported police shakeup since a corruption probe rocked the government last month. Hundreds of police have been dismissed or reassigned across the country since Dec. 17. About 250 people, mostly from outside Ankara, have been appointed in place of the reassigned officers, who will take up duties in traffic police departments and district police stations.
Asylum seekers rebuffed
The government last month turned a boat carrying asylum seekers back to Indonesia, the first time Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government has implemented a new immigration policy. The 47 asylum seekers were found on Dec. 19 on Rote Island in East Nusa Tenggara Province, where their boat had run aground after being intercepted and turned back by the Australian navy, Indonesia’s Antara news agency quoted police as saying. “I will not comment on a specific incident... But on the policy itself, let me once again put on record that Indonesia rejects Australia’s policy to turn back the boats because such a policy is not actually conducive to a comprehensive solution,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa yesterday told reporters in Jakarta.