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In Brief

In Brief

South Korea denies Kim Jong-il report
SEOUL, South Korea
South Korea's Unification Ministry yesterday denied a report that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il may be ill or that the military has plotted against him.
The report by Japan's Jiji Press, quoting a source in South Korea, said he may be under house arrest at his villa in Wonsan on the east coast.
"We know of nothing to back it up," a ministry official said on condition of anonymity. "There are no unusual circumstances."
Separately, a South Korean intelligence source told Reuters the Jiji report had "no credibility."
In Tokyo, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki, asked about the report, said: "We have not heard information of that kind."
Python eats 11 dogs
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia
Guard dogs protecting a fruit orchard in Malaysia have met their match - a 7.1-meter-long python that swallowed at least 11 hounds before it was finally discovered by villagers.
"I was shocked to see such a huge python," orchard-keeper Ali Yusof told the New Straits Times in an article published beneath a picture of the captured snake, which was almost long enough to span the width of a tennis court and as thick as a tree trunk.
Villagers did not harm the snake, which was tied to a tree then handed to wildlife officials, the paper said yesterday.
Bangladesh killings
DHAKA, Bangladesh
Human Rights Watch accused Bangladesh security forces yesterday of a spate of extra-judicial killings and arbitrary arrests under a state of emergency and called on authorities to halt the abuses.
The New York-based group, quoting local rights groups, said that "security forces are implicated in a spate of extra-judicial killings since a state of emergency was declared in the country on January 11" to end weeks of political unrest.
"The killings have been attributed to members of the army, the police, and the Rapid Action Battalion, an elite anti-crime and anti-terrorism force," it added.
Bangladesh's leading human rights group, the Law and Mediation Center, has said at least five people have been killed in army custody and 22,000 arrested since then.
Japan poultry cull
TOKYO, Japan
Officials began culling tens of thousands of chickens at a poultry farm in southern Japan yesterday, following a new outbreak of bird flu this week.
It was not yet clear whether the virus that killed 3,000 chickens earlier this week at the farm in Hyuga, in Japan's southern Miyazaki prefecture, was the deadly H5N1 strain.
A state-owned laboratory near Tokyo was analyzing a virus taken from the dead chickens, and results were expected over the next few days.
About 150 officials from the prefectural government and livestock-related organizations began culling about 49,000 remaining chickens at the Hyuga farm and packing the dead birds in bags, said official Hisao Takase.
In another Miyazaki town earlier this month, 4,000 chickens died from the H5N1 strain.
The H5N1 virus has ravaged poultry stocks in Asia since 2003 and has killed at least 163 people around the world, according to the World Health Organization.
One human H5N1 infection has been confirmed in Japan, but no reported human deaths.


Updated : 2021-05-13 01:54 GMT+08:00