Authorities in southwest China are investigating a mysterious disease that has killed 17 farm workers and left 41 others ill after they handled sick or dead livestock, state media said today. The government of Sichuan province has dismissed speculation that the deaths were caused by bird flu or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars), an assessment affirmed by the World Health Organisation.
"From the information we have it doesn't seem to be related to bird flu. We made that distinction based on the symptoms described to us by the government," Bob Dietz, a WHO spokesman in Manila, told Reuters by telephone. "This (disease) doesn't seem to have a large pneumonia content or a large respiratory problem," Dietz said.
The deaths were probably caused by a bacteria that spreads among pigs, the state-run China Daily quoted Zeng Huajin, a senior official with the Sichuan provincial health department, as saying.
The above was e-mailed by Tara and is from a Reuters story in The New Zealand Herald entitled "Mysterious disease kills 17 in southwest China."
Skip e-mails to note "ALP calls for regional cooperation on bird flu" from Australia's ABC:
The Federal Opposition has called on the Government to raise the issue of combating bird flu at a meeting of ASEAN leaders in Laos this week.
Labor's foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd, says the spread of bird flu is emerging as one of the largest security threats for the region.
Dominick e-mails to note "First pigs slaughtered in bird flu scare" from Ireland's BreakingNews.ie.:
Indonesia today became the first known country to destroy pigs in its efforts to contain the rapid spread of bird flu, which has killed at least 57 people across Asia and devastated poultry stocks.
But plans to slaughter 200 swine were sharply reduced as authorities wrangled over the best way to combat the deadly disease.
Eighteen pigs that tested positive for the H5N1 strain of the virus were killed on two farms on the outskirts of Jakarta, the capital. After being injected with drugs that rendered them unconscious, they were loaded on trucks, taken to a field and thrown into a fire.
Healthy animals escaped the culls, despite Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono’s earlier pledge to kill all birds and pigs on farms hit by the deadly avian influenza.
Skip also noted "Officer breaks silence on Timor intelligence filtering" (also from Australia's ABC):
A high-ranking defence intelligence officer has spoken publicly for the first time over allegations that a pro-Jakarta lobby caused intelligence reports to be distorted in favour of Federal Government policy.
Lieutenant Colonel Lance Collins has told ABC TV's Australian Story program that he is leaving the Army because of its culture of bullying and recrimination.
While in charge of intelligence gathering for the Australian forces in East Timor in 1999, Colonel Collins tried to highlight the Indonesian Army's links with local militia.
In February this year, he received backing from the inspector-general of intelligence for his long-standing allegation that the Defence Intelligence Organisation deliberately cut the flow of intelligence to the Army at the time to ensure Indonesian Army officers were not linked with militia.
Gina e-mails to note Peta Thornycroft's "Zimbabwe opposition turns on its own" (UK's The Telegraph):
After devoting his life to opposing Zimbabwe's regime, Frank Chamunorwa was beaten up on a street corner. Yet he was not attacked by thugs loyal to President Robert Mugabe.
Instead, his assailants were drawn from his own party, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which is paralysed by violent factional rivalry.
"I have never been so dejected in my life because my own party perpetrated atrocities on me," said Mr Chamunorwa, 55. "I was not only beaten but forced to bend down, lie on the ground by youths, most of them younger than my first-born child."
The gang of about six abducted him from his home in the capital, Harare, last month. They deliberately humiliated Mr Chamunorwa, throwing him to the ground, kicking and beating him.
Brady e-mails to note Carl Schreck's "Activist and Her Son Shot Dead in Komi" (The Moscow Times):
A Vorkuta activist who campaigned against cuts in social benefits for miners and higher utility charges was shot dead along with her son Thursday in what a prominent human rights organization said could be a politically motivated slaying.
Lyudmila Zhorovlya, 55, had publicly clashed with the city's mayor last year over hikes in utility bills and had reportedly been threatened recently after saying she would sue city authorities over compulsory charges for television antennas.
Zhorovlya was shot and killed at about 6 a.m. Thursday at her apartment in the Komi republic city after she opened the door to her assailant, Yelena Tokareva, spokeswoman for the republic's Interior Ministry, said by telephone Friday from Syktyvkar, the republic's capital.
Also killed in the attack was Zhorovlya's son Konstantin, 22, Tokareva said. Tokareva said that there were no signs of forced entry, and it appeared that Zhorovlya had opened the door herself. She declined to give further details, citing the ongoing investigation by prosecutors.
No suspects had been detained as of Friday afternoon, Tokareva said.
Lynda e-mails to note Nick Allen's "No change in shoot-to-kill policy" (The Irish Examiner):
SENIOR British police officers last night insisted there would be no change to a controversial shoot-to-kill policy after an innocent man was gunned down.
Scotland Yard Commissioner Ian Blair apologised to the family of Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, in what was a major setback for anti-terrorist police.
But he refused to revoke officers' licence to kill and admitted more people may die as a result. Meanwhile, Egypt was left counting the cost of Islamist terror after a series of attacks on a tourist resort left at least 88 people dead. Hundreds of foreign tourists packed their bags and flew home from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik yesterday after three bombs killed scores of people in the worst attack in Egypt since 1981.
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