Gunmen kidnap official
Gunmen abducted the deputy public works minister in Kabul yesterday, officials said, a grim reminder of the insecurity plaguing the nation as most foreign troops prepare to withdraw at the end of the year. Public Works Deputy Minister Ahmad Shah Wahid was on his way to work when five gunmen ran his car off the road in northern Kabul, dragged him into their four-wheel-drive vehicle and sped away, police chief of investigations Gul Agha Hashim said. The armed men allegedly shot and wounded Wahid’s driver when he tried to drive away to safety, Ministry of Public Works spokesman Soheil Kakar said. It was not immediately clear who was behind the abduction.
Health scam suspects held
Authorities have detained 160 suspected members of a criminal group in Shanghai after the group reportedly swindled patients by luring them to fake medical clinics and selling them overpriced drugs, Shanghai police said yesterday. The group reportedly cheated more than 500 victims out of 1.7 million yuan (US$273,400), reportedly employing corrupt doctors to inflate drug prices and prescribe large amounts of medicines to patients, the city’s police department said in a posting on its official microblog. Corruption in the nation’s healthcare system is said to be rife, with a scarcity of doctors and bribery pushing up the cost of care and creating tension between healthcare workers and patients. More than 600 Shanghai police launched a sting operation on April 2, after seven months of investigation, detaining 160 suspects in raids around the city and seizing crates of medicine and fake firearms, the statement said. The group would allegedly lure patients into four fraudulent clinics by placing people at hospitals and metro stations to praise the quality of the care. Unqualified doctors would then allegedly sell them prescription medicines at prices often inflated to more than 10 times the real value.
Cannibal arrested again
Police re-arrested a convicted cannibal on Monday after finding a young boy’s head in his home. Mohammad Arif, 35, and his brother Mohammad Farman, 30, from the town of Darya Khan, served two years in jail for cannibalism and were released last year. Police said the two had dug up more than 100 corpses from the local graveyard and eaten them. “Residents informed police after a stench emanated from the house of the two brothers. We raided the house on Monday morning and found the head of a young boy,” district police chief Ameer Abdullah told reporters. “We have arrested one of the brothers, Mohammad Arif, and are conducting raids for the arrest of the other brother.” Police were searching nearby graveyards to see if they had been disturbed, he said.
Neutral gender recognized
The nation’s highest court yesterday recognized the existence of a third gender that is neither male nor female, in a landmark judgement hailed by transgender people. “Recognition of transgenders as a third gender is not a social or medical issue, but a human rights issue,” Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan told the Supreme Court while handing down the ruling. The court directed state and federal governments to identify transgenders as a neutral third gender who should be granted access to the same welfare schemes as other minority groups in India. “Transgenders are citizens of this country and are entitled to education and all other rights,” Radhakrishnan said.