United Nations

Briefs, October 10, 2012

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2012, 4:04am

UN revises number of hungry to 870 million

ROME - The UN food agency revised down the number of the world's hungry to just under 870 million, but slammed the figure as "unacceptable" and warned that the fight against hunger was slowing down. One in eight people around the world are still going hungry, it said. The Food and Agriculture Organisation, which compiled the report along with the World Food Programme and International Fund for Agricultural Development, said the number of hungry was down from 925 million in 2010. The figure is well under the one-billion barrier crossed in 2009. AFP


Police blogger hacked by Times wins payout

LONDON - A police blogger unmasked after The Times hacked his e-mail has been awarded £42,500 (HK$530,000) in damages from the newspaper's publisher. Rupert Murdoch's News International, which publishes The Times, said yesterday it had agreed to pay damages and legal costs for Richard Horton. The newspaper unmasked Horton as the detective behind the award-winning NightJack blog in a 2009 article that Horton tried to suppress. AP


Reunited twins told of 12 other siblings

STOCKHOLM - Twins who were separated at birth in Indonesia when they were put up for adoption and who found each other this year in Sweden have discovered they have another 12 siblings. "We spoke to our biological mother this spring on Skype. She is around 65 years old. We have 11 brothers and sisters in Indonesia and one brother who was put up for adoption," Emelie Falck, 29, said. "My biological mother said that my 14-month-old son was her 22nd grandchild," added her twin sister Lin Backlund. The twins found each other living in two nearby towns. AFP


British POW who wrote The Railway Man dies

LONDON - Eric Lomax, a former prisoner of war whose moving tale of torture and forgiveness is being turned into a film, has died. He was 93. Lomax was a British Army officer when he was captured by Japanese forces as they overran Singapore in 1942. Lomax suffered for years at the hands of his Japanese captors, but when he tracked down his interrogator, it set the stage for a dramatic act of forgiveness that formed the heart of his celebrated 1996 memoir The Railway Man. The film, starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, will be released next year. AP


13,000 given bad jabs linked to meningitis

TENNESSEE - About 13,000 people in 23 American states may have received steroid injections linked to a rare fungal meningitis outbreak that has killed eight people, but far fewer are likely to contract the disease, the Centers for Disease Control said. So far, 105 cases of the rare form of meningitis have been confirmed in nine states, with Tennessee the worst-hit Tennessee. The widening outbreak has focused attention on the regulation of pharmaceutical compounding companies. Reuters


Kenyan MPs vote 'yes' to their $110,000 bonus

NAIROBI - Demonstrators in the Kenyan capital have branded their MPs "greedy hyenas", after the lawmakers voted themselves a US$110,000 send-off bonus - which tax hikes are expected to pay for. The lucrative proposed pay off - at a cost to the country of US$24.7 million - comes after Kenya's parliament dismissed the majority of wage demands of striking public sector workers, including doctors and teachers. The demonstrators, waving placards with messages such as "MPs are thieves" and "greedy hyenas", marched through central Nairobi to parliament. AFP


Curiosity over bright sight on planet Mars

LOS ANGELES - Nasa officials say the Curiosity rover has made its first scoop of the surface of planet Mars and detected a bright object on the ground. Officials suspect the object might be a part of the six-wheeled rover, but they won't sample or scoop any more until they figure out what it is. The Curiosity has already beamed back pictures of bedrock that suggest a fast-moving stream once flowed on the planet. AP


Georgian president graceful in defeat

TBILISI - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili promised a peaceful transfer of power to his victorious rival Bidzina Ivanishvili, at their first talks since the ruling party's shock poll defeat. The surprise victory of Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition over Saakashvili's once dominant party in last week's hard-fought parliamentary polls had raised fears of political turmoil. But Ivanishvili, standing next to Saakashvili in a brief televised statement in the courtyard of the presidential palace, said his coalition would "treat our opponents with honour". AFP


Russian art vandal admits Rothko crime

LONDON - Police in Worthing, southern England, have arrested a 26-year-old man suspected of defacing a mural by American artist Mark Rothko at London's Tate Modern gallery. Russian Vladimir Umanets claimed responsibility for writing on the painting. Umanets is a founder of "Yellowism", which he calls "neither art, nor anti-art" on the movement's website. AFP