Fri, Sep 01, 2017 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

THAILAND

Case against ex-PM dropped

The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed a case against former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for ordering a crackdown on demonstrators protesting against his government in 2010. More than 90 people were killed in the unrest, one of the bloodiest episodes in more than a decade of turmoil stemming from rivalry for power between former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the conservative establishment. Abhisit and his deputy, Suthep Thaugsuban, were accused of murder and attempted murder in connection with the crackdown on Thaksin’s Red Shirt supporters to end their two-month street protest in Bangkok.

SOUTH KOREA

North threatens reporters

North Korea yesterday vowed to execute reporters from two newspapers, saying they insulted the nation’s dignity while reviewing and interviewing the British authors of a book about life in the country. Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency carried a statement expressing anger over the descriptions of North Korean lives as increasingly capitalist. It also objected to the translated title of the South Korean edition as Capitalist People’s Republic of Korea and the book’s cover, which replaced the red star in the North’s official seal with the US dollar mark. The court also “sentenced to death” the presidents of the newspapers and said the North will “track down to the end and cut off the dirty windpipes” of those responsible for such provocations. The North did not directly threaten the British authors of North Korea Confidential: Private Markets, Fashion Trends, Prison Camps, Dissenters and Defectors, but said the book “viciously defamed and distorted” the country’s realities. The book was written by Daniel Tudor, a former reporter for the Economist, and James Pearson, a Reuters correspondent.

UNITED STATES

Cancer treatment approved

Health officials have approved a breakthrough treatment that genetically engineers patients’ own blood cells into an army of assassins to seek and destroy childhood leukemia. The Food and Drug Administration called the approval “historic,” the first gene therapy to hit the domestic market. Made from scratch for every patient, it is one of a wave of “living drugs” under development to fight additional blood cancers and other tumors, too. Novartis Pharmaceuticals has set the price for its one-time infusion of so-called “CAR-T cells” at US$475,000, but said there would be no charge for those treated with it who did not show a response within a month.

UNITED STATES

Pete Frates honored

The man who inspired the ice bucket challenge has been honored by the Roman Catholic prep school he attended in Massachusetts. St Johns Prep on Wednesday announced Pete Frates as its distinguished alumnus for next year. The headmaster also announced the dedication of the school’s baseball diamond in Frates’ name and the retirement of his No. 3 jersey in football, ice hockey and baseball. Frates called it a “tremendous honor.” He graduated from the all-boys school in Danvers in 2003. Frates inspired the ice bucket challenge that has raised more than US$220 million for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS — also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — research since 2014. The former Boston College baseball star was diagnosed in 2012 with the disease.

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