World News Quick Take

Agencies

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 - Page 7

CHINA

New rules for flies in toilets

Authorities are looking to wipe out dingy public toilets with proposed rules to limit the number of flies and flush away bad smells, Beijing said. Public toilets are generally badly maintained, particularly at public transport locations. However, draft regulations released by the health ministry this week say no more than one fly per square meter will be allowed in toilets within buildings, while in free-standing facilities three flies per square meter are permitted. The proposed rules also set standards for design, layout and management of public toilets, including classifications for odors. The new regulations stipulate that if a toilet is used by an equal number of men and women, there should be twice as many stalls for females.

SOUTH KOREA

Gangnam-binge man caught

A man who embezzled more than US$4 million and had plastic surgery to evade capture has been arrested after a hostess bar spending spree in Seoul’s upmarket Gangnam district. The 33-year-old, identified as Yoon, was finally tracked down after two of his accomplices were arrested, police said yesterday. The head of the accounting department at a semiconductor manufacturer, Yoon transferred 4.7 billion won (US$4.3 million) of company funds to a series of secret bank accounts, police said. Feigning a family emergency, he left the company early last month, withdrew the cash and went on a 10-day binge in Gangnam, spending hundreds of millions of won in high-class hostess bars and buying a Mercedes-Benz sedan. Yoon then went to the southern city of Gwangju, where he had extensive plastic surgery to assume a new identity.

NEW ZEALAND

Quake anniversary marked

The city of Christchurch yesterday marked the second anniversary of an earthquake that destroyed thousands of homes and killed 185 people. Several hundred people gathered for a memorial service in Latimer Square, near where 115 died when a six-story office building collapsed during the magnitude 6.1 quake. Others placed flowers in road cones or tossed them into the Avon River to commemorate those who died. People around the country observed two minutes’ silence at 12:51pm, the time the quake struck.

NEW ZEALAND

Stranded penguin dies

A royal penguin found stranded on a beach has died. Hikers had found the penguin on Sunday. It was emaciated and suffering kidney failure and was taken to the Wellington Zoo. It was just the fourth time in the past 100 years that a royal penguin has been found on the North Island. Lisa Argilla, the veterinary science manager at the zoo, said yesterday that they suspect the penguin suffered multiple organ failure.

UNITED STATES

Inmate executed in Georgia

Georgia has executed a 38-year-old inmate convicted of killing two college students in 1995. Andrew Cook was pronounced dead at 11:22pm on Thursday. The two Mercer University students were shot several times as they sat in a car at Lake Juliette. Cook apologized to both his family and the victims’ families. Cook did not know either victim and authorities said the crime was random. The Georgia Appeals Court on Wednesday temporarily stayed Cook’s execution to consider a challenge to the state’s lethal injection procedure, but the Georgia Supreme Court lifted the stay on Thursday. Other appeals were exhausted.

UNITED STATES

Autopsy fails to solve puzzle

An autopsy did not determine the cause of death of a 21-year-old Canadian tourist whose body was found wedged in a water tank atop a downtown Los Angeles hotel, authorities said. More tests must be performed after an autopsy performed on Thursday did not provide definitive answers into whether Elisa Lam of Vancouver was killed or if she fell victim to a bizarre accident. Coroner’s officials will await toxicology tests before making a final determination. Lam’s body was found on Tuesday in a water cistern atop the downtown Cecil Hotel. Police called her death suspicious. Guest complaints about low water pressure prompted a maintenance worker to make the gruesome discovery.

BELGIUM

Court to hear ‘Joker’ case

An assize court in Ghent yesterday was due to hear a 53-page charge sheet against a young man who disguised himself as Batman foe “The Joker” before going on a killing spree at a nursery four years ago that chilled the nation. Kim de Gelder, now 24, would be formally charged with killing two infants and their 54-year-old minder in an attack on the Fable Land daycare center in the town of Dendermonde in 2009. He would also be accused of murdering an elderly woman in a separate attack a week earlier and be charged for the attempted murder of 22 people, including 16 babies and toddlers at the creche.

UNITED NATIONS

UN rejects cholera claim

The UN has rejected a claim for damages on behalf of more than 5,000 Haitian cholera victims and their families, citing diplomatic immunity. The claim was filed in November 2011 by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, a Boston-based human rights group. It argued that the UN and its peacekeeping force were liable for hundreds of millions of dollars for failing to adequately screen peacekeeping soldiers, citing studies indicating that infected soldiers caused the cholera outbreak. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said the UN informed representatives of the group of the rejection on Thursday.

RUSSIA

‘Exploitations’ panned by US

The US ambassador to Russia has called on Russian authorities and the press to stop “sensational exploitations” of the death of an adopted boy in the US. Last month’s death of three-year-old Max Shatto fueled a fight over Russian adoptions in the US as senior Russian officials accused the boy’s mother of killing him. The medical examiner’s office in West Texas has not officially pronounced the cause of death yet. In a Friday blog post, US Ambassador Michael McFaul called on Russians to stop “sensational exploitations” of human tragedy and get back to working together.