World News Quick Take

Agencies

Wed, May 07, 2014 - Page 7

NEW ZEALAND

Jobless offered cash to move

The unemployed are being offered cash by the government to move to the earthquake-damaged city of Christchurch and join in the rebuilding effort. The government announced yesterday it would pay welfare recipients NZ$3,000 (US$2,600) to move to the city if they found any kind of fulltime work there. Christchurch has been slowly rebuilding after a 2011 earthquake killed 185 people and destroyed much of the city’s downtown. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said the city’s reconstruction is creating thousands of jobs, but some unemployed people do not have the resources to move to Christchurch. She said the money would help pay for moving expenses, accommodation, tools and other equipment. The scheme is initially limited to 1,000 people.

AUSTRALIA

Fiery debris halts flights

An explosive engine failure on a Vietnamese airliner showered fiery debris across a runway at the nation’s second-busiest airport yesterday, preventing planes landing and taking off for 40 minutes, an official said. The malfunction happened as Vietnam Airlines flight 780 was taxiing to take off on a flight to Ho Chi Minh City, Melbourne Airport spokeswoman Anna Gillett said. The twin-engine Airbus A330 came to rest at the intersection of the airport’s two runways, blocking all traffic for 40 minutes until 11:30am, she said. No one was injured. “The issue also resulted in some debris from the plane causing some spot fires on the runaway and surrounding area,” Gillett said. “There are some rumors that the aircraft itself was ablaze with fire — that’s not the case.” A passenger, who identified himself only as Peter, told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio that the jet’s nose had begun lifting for takeoff when the engine failed, forcing the pilots to abort the flight.

ANTARCTICA

New strain of flu detected

A new kind of avian influenza has been detected for the first time in Adelie penguins, though the virus does not seem to make them sick, researchers said yesterday. The virus is unlike any other bird flu known to science, said the report in mBio, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. “It raises a lot of unanswered questions,” said study author Aeron Hurt, senior research scientist at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne, Australia. The findings show that “avian influenza viruses can get down to Antarctica and be maintained in penguin populations,” he said. The study is the first to report on live avian flu in penguins, though previous research has found evidence of flu antibodies in penguin blood.

BELGIUM

Jobless mom drowns sons

An unemployed woman whose husband had just lost his job drowned her two sons, aged two and six, in the bathtub due to distress over their future, a prosecutor said. “She was upset by the dire financial situation and said it was the only solution she could find to avoid her children being unhappy when they grew up,” Philippe Dulieu, public prosecutor in the city of Namur, told Belga news agency. The woman, who was born in 1987, gave the two boys sleeping pills once her husband had left the house on Saturday, before drowning them and putting them to bed, the prosecutor said. When the husband returned “she told him the children were already in bed. They spent the evening together, watching TV.” Her husband discovered they were dead on Sunday. She was charged on Monday and placed in custody.

UNITED STATES

Plane crashes into house

A small plane smashed into a Colorado home on Monday, but the pilot was able to walk away and no one else was injured, authorities said. The plane crashed into a residence “after experiencing trouble while towing a banner over Northglenn, Colorado,” a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said. “The pilot escaped from the aircraft and parachuted safely to the ground before the aircraft went down,” he said. Nobody was home at the time of the crash, district firefighters said, and the pilot was transported to hospital, but was not thought to be badly hurt.

UNITED STATES

Naked man hit by car, killed

A naked man who had been running and doing push-ups in a Portland street was struck by a car and killed early on Sunday, police said. Portland police said they received two telephone calls about the man in a street in an industrial area of north Portland, but the man was killed before they arrived at the scene.

EL SALVADOR

Ex-president fled: authorities

The government suspects former president Francisco Flores has left the country, where he faces charges of embezzlement, illegal enrichment and disobedience. Public Safety Minister Ricardo Perdomo yesterday said that Flores is thought to have gone by boat or plane and illegally entered Panama. A judge has not issued an arrest warrant for Flores, who was charged last week with embezzling US$5.3 million while he was president from 1999 to 2004. He is also charged with mismanaging US$10 million that was donated a decade ago by Taiwan’s government during his presidency. Flores has denied wrongdoing. He says he turned the money over to the intended state projects, but has offered no proof of the handover. Perdomo would not say what proof authorities have that Flores left El Salvador.

GUATEMALA

US$2.3m cash man nabbed

Authorities have arrested a man found with nearly US$2.3 million in cash hidden in a compartment in his van, officials said on Monday. Flavio Rojas, 48, was picked up on Sunday night on a highway 10km north of the capital. An estimated half of the country’s population is below the national poverty line. Police are investigating whether Rojas was transporting the money for an organized crime group. Mexican drug organizations like the Zetas and the Sinaloa cartel have expanded their trafficking and money laundering operations in the country in recent years, sometimes in combination with local groups.

VENEZUELA

Newspapers slim down

A leading newspaper is cutting the size of its daily editions because of a newsprint shortage. El Universal says it will publish 16 pages a day as of Monday, down from its regular 24 pages. It says it can keep that up for two more weeks. Several other papers have already slimmed or shut down, blaming government currency controls. El Universal says it has had paper sitting in a port since January, but needs US dollars to release it from bond. It blames government delays in allowing it to exchange the local currency for US dollars. The government sells hard currency at low prices, but importers complain it can take months for officials to approve the exchanges, leading to shortages of imports, which result in reduced production for many goods.