Typhoon kills 27
Extreme weather caused by Typhoon Rammasun has killed 27 people, with the storm unleashing flash floods, landslides and lightning strikes, officials said yesterday. Heavy rain flooded 7,200 houses and 4,200 hectares of cropland, with the north of the country worst hit, the national flood and storm control committee said. The cost of the damage was estimated at about US$6 million.
Medical kickbacks probed
The government has ordered an investigation into doctors and laboratories suspected of offering kickbacks for referring patients for medical tests, following a sting operation by Hindi news channel News Nation TV. The channel showed laboratories in New Delhi offering commissions as high as 50 percent to doctors who referred patients to their diagnostic centers. Officials at one laboratory visited by News Nation’s undercover reporters said they had kickback arrangements with 10,000 doctors, with monthly payments running into tens of thousands of rupees for some neurosurgeons who prescribe expensive tests.
Police officers arrested
Authorities yesterday arrested 55 senior police officers in a criminal probe over alleged corruption and abuse of office, the latest apparent crackdown on opponents of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of presidential polls. Forty serving and former top police officers were arrested in Istanbul, including the former head of the anti-terrorism unit of Istanbul police, television reports said. Fifteen others were arrested elsewhere. The suspects are accused of espionage, illegal wire-tapping, forgery in official documents, violation of privacy, fabricating evidence, and violation of secrecy of investigation.
Bishops caution president
Catholic bishops yesterday warned President Benigno Aquino III to resist temptations to bully the Supreme Court to reverse a decision that an economic stimulus fund was illegal, asking him to uphold the constitution. Aquino has warned the court of a possible constitutional crisis if it does not reverse its decision that the Disbursement Acceleration Program was illegal. “There is a very important distinction between what is popular — or appears to be so — and what is right,” said Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
Senator sorry about joke
A federal senator who told breakfast radio she would only date men who were rich and “well-hung” apologized yesterday, saying she had tried to hide her embarrassment with a joke. Jacqui Lambie told Tasmania’s Heart 107.3 that she had not been in a relationship for more than a decade. When the hosts offered to help her find love, she replied: “Now they must have heaps of cash and they’ve got to have a package between their legs, let’s be honest. And I don’t need them to speak, they don’t even need to speak.” A young male listener rang the show to say he met her criteria. “I’m just a bit concerned because you’re so young, I’m not sure you’d be able to handle Jacqui Lambie,” the politician said. “Are you well-hung?” “Like a donkey,” he replied. Lambie later apologized. “When Kim and Dave on Hobart’s Heart FM 107.3 this morning asked me about my love life in a light-hearted segment — I tried to cover up my embarrassment by making a joke,” she said. “A lot of people laughed, some people may have got offended.”