Stranded killer whales die
A pod of nine killer whales died yesterday in a rare mass stranding in a loss conservationists said was a major blow to the local orca population. The pod, comprising eight adults and one juvenile, beached themselves at the remote Blue Cliffs Beach on the far south coast of the South Island, Department of Conservation spokesman Reuben Williams said. “By the time we were able to reach them they were all dead,” he said. Mass strandings of pilot whales are common in New Zealand, but Williams said it was unusual for so many orcas to run aground at the same time. “We don’t know the reason why they stranded [themselves],” he said. “It’s unfortunate and will have quite a major impact on the national population, which is sitting around 200 animals.” Williams said the carcass of one whale had been retrieved for research and local Maori, who consider the animals sacred, were being consulted about disposing the rest.
Former neurologist jailed
A former neurologist was sentenced to three years in jail on Tuesday for a series of wrong diagnoses that led to the suicide of a patient, in the first case of its kind in the country. Ernst Jansen, 68, “has been found guilty of intentionally compromising the health of eight patients,” between 1997 and 2003, the Almelo district court said in a statement. “He wrongly diagnosed the eight patients and used the wrong treatments.” It said Jansen wrongly diagnosed serious diseases such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and atrophy. In one case, a patient was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and confined to a wheelchair when he was actually suffering from a hernia, media reported. In another, the former specialist wrongly told a patient she was in the final stages of two terminal diseases and therefore she committed suicide, the court said.
Body found after 35 years
The body of an English climber missing since 1979 has been found on the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps, police said on Tuesday. Police said human bones were spotted by a helicopter pilot on the north face of the Matterhorn in August last year. A police team recovered the remains and equipment including an ice-axe. They checked them against a database of 280 climbers listed as missing in the region since 1926. Thanks to DNA tests, experts have finally be able to identify the remains as those of an Englishmen who went missing in December 1979. Police declined to reveal the 27-year-old man’s name, citing Swiss confidentiality rules. As Alpine glaciers melt due to global warming, the remains of long-lost climbers have increasingly emerged from the shrinking mountain ice.
Morrissey review wins award
It was Morrissey who once sang Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now. The former Smiths frontman may wish to replay the song. A savage review of his best-selling memoir won Britain’s Hatchet Job award on Tuesday for the year’s most cutting book review. Writing in Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper, journalist A.A. Gill said Morrissey’s Autobiography was “utterly devoid of insight, warmth, wisdom or likability.” Autobiography topped the British best-seller lists when it was published last year. It appeared under the Penguin Classics imprint, a rare designation for a living writer. In his review, Gill said that publishing the book as a classic “doesn’t diminish Aristotle or Homer or Tolstoy; it just roundly mocks Morrissey.”