World News Quick Take

Agencies

Thu, Sep 06, 2018 - Page 7

THAILAND

Swine fever meeting starts

An emergency meeting to head off an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) across Asia opened in Bangkok yesterday, after a mass pig cull in China sparked fears of a potential pandemic. The three-day meeting led by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization brings together specialists in animal diseases, as well as agricultural policy from nine nations neighboring China. “It’s critical that this region be ready for the very real possibility that ASF could jump the border into other countries,” the organization’s Wantanee Kalpravidh said in a statement. “That’s why this emergency meeting has been convened — to assess where we are now and to determine how we can work together in a coordinated, regional response.” Participants were from Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

PHILIPPINES

Mayor on drug list killed

A mayor on President Rodrigo Duterte’s list of allegedly narcotics-linked officials was shot dead in his own office yesterday, police said. Ronda Mayor Mariano Blanco is the latest in a spate of officials to be slain in recent months, some with and some without alleged links to the illegal drug trade. Blanco, 59, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen after midnight in his office, the local police chief said. “Witnesses said four armed persons alighted from a white van and entered the municipal hall... The mayor was there as he was sleeping in his office,” Senior Inspector Jayr Palcon said. Blanco’s killing comes nearly a year after the National Police Commission stripped him of control over the local police for allegedly being “engaged in illegal drug trade activities,” the agency said.

JAPAN

First dead from Fukushima

The nation has acknowledged for the first time that a worker at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami more than seven years ago, died from radiation exposure. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare on Friday last week ruled that compensation should be paid to the family of the man in his 50s who died from lung cancer, an official said by telephone. The worker had spent his career working at nuclear plants around Japan and worked at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant at least twice after the meltdowns. He was diagnosed with cancer in February 2016, the official said. The ministry had previously ruled that radiation exposure caused the illnesses of four workers at Fukushima Dai-ichi, the official said.

QATAR

Exit permit rule removed

Doha on Tuesday amended its residency laws to allow most foreign workers to leave the country without exit permits from their employers, a provision that labor rights groups have long said should be abolished. Doha is keen to show it is tackling allegations of worker exploitation as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup, which it has presented as a showcase of its progress and development. Employers would still be allowed to require up to 5 percent of their workforce to request permission to leave, after submitting their names to the government “with justifications based on the nature of the work,” Qatar said in a statement quoting Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs Issa al-Nuaimi. Qatar’s system still requires the nation’s 1.6 million mainly Asian foreign workers to obtain their employers’ consent before changing jobs, which the groups say leaves workers open to abuse.

UNITED STATES

Garland’s slippers recovered

Federal authorities said they have recovered a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz that were stolen from a museum 13 years ago. The slippers were taken from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in August 2005, when someone went through a window and broke into the small display case. The shoes were insured for US$1 million. Four pairs of ruby slippers worn by Garland in the movie are known to exist. The shoes are made from about a dozen different materials, including wood pulp, silk thread, gelatin, plastic and glass. Most of the ruby color comes from sequins, but the bows of the shoes contain red glass beads.

UNITED STATES

Billionaire arrested for rape

A police report said the arrest of Chinese billionaire Liu Qiangdong (劉強東), founder of Chinese e-commerce site JD.com, was over a felony rape accusation. The report did not provide details of the alleged incident. No charges have been filed against the billionaire, also known as Richard Liu. Jail records showed that he was arrested on Friday last week in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was released on Saturday. JD.com official Zhang Shuhan on Monday said that Liu had returned to China. In a statement on Sunday, JD.com said that Liu was falsely accused while in the US on a business trip and that police investigators found no misconduct.

UNITED STATES

Emanuel says to leave office

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday announced that he would not seek a third term next year. Emanuel said in a statement released by his office that being mayor “has been the job of a lifetime, but it is not a job for a lifetime.” His surprise announcement came the day before the start of one of the biggest police shooting trials in the history of Chicago — the murder trial of police officer Jason van Dyke. The release of a dashcam video two years ago of the white officer in 2014 shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times drew the sharpest criticism of Emanuel in his two terms as mayor. The trial is expected to bring added scrutiny of how the city, and Emanuel, dealt with the case.

DENMARK

Inventor to appeal sentence

Sentenced to life in prison for the murder of journalist Kim Wall aboard his homemade submarine in August last year, inventor Peter Madsen was yesterday hoping to get his jail term reduced when his appeals case opened. Madsen only appealed his sentence, not the guilty verdict handed down by a Copenhagen district court on April 25 for murdering 30-year-old Wall, chopping up her corpse and throwing her body parts into the sea last year. His lawyer has insisted that his decision to not appeal the guilty verdict should “certainly not” be interpreted as an admission of guilt.

BRAZIL

Bones found in museum ruin

Researchers held out hope that a famed skull and other valuable objects might somehow be recovered from the ashes of a massive blaze that tore through the National Museum after firefighters found bone fragments from the collection. Officials have said as much as 90 percent of Latin America’s largest collection of treasures might have been lost in a fire that broke out on Sunday. Firefighters “found fragments of bones in a room where the museum kept many items, including skulls,” museum vice director Cristiana Serejo said on Tuesday. “We still have to collect them and take them to the lab to know exactly what they are.”