- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 19, 2005

CHINA

Eggs from Vietnam carried bird-flu virus

BEIJING — Quarantine officials have found bird-flu virus in eggs carried to China by air passengers from Vietnam, state press reported yesterday.

Officials at Guangzhou’s international airport found 40 chicken, duck and goose eggs in luggage from two April 28 flights from Vietnam, Xinhua News Agency and the Guangzhou Daily reported.

Laboratory tests later found that the eggs contained the H5N1 virus, the reports said. The H5N1 strain of bird flu has appeared in eight countries since late 2003: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

PHILIPPINES

Deported Australian needs medical care

MANILA — An Australian woman wrongly deported to the Philippines four years ago requires serious medical attention upon her return home, her attorney Harry Friedman said yesterday.

He said Philippine-born Vivian Alvarez has expressed “a strong desire to return to Australia as soon as possible,” but that arrangements were still being made for her “accommodation, financial support and access to medical treatment” there.

SRI LANKA

Tsunami alert setup likely by October

COLOMBO — An interim tsunami warning system for the Indian Ocean should be in place by October after an existing network of tide gauges is upgraded, the head of the United Nations’ oceanographic body said yesterday.

By July next year, the Indian Ocean should be equipped with a high-tech array of wave and pressure sensors sending information to satellites that will alert a network of tsunami warning centers, said Patricio Bernal, chief of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

Indonesia, meanwhile, hopes to have an early-warning system able to issue tsunami alerts within five minutes on quake-prone Sumatra by the end of 2006, and an integrated network covering the country by 2010, said Wendy Aritenang, a deputy minister at the Research and Technology Department.

Weekly notes

A Colombian-born businessman lost for 10 days in dense scrub on an Australian island was so ecstatic to be found that he asked one of his rescuers to marry him. Katie Avery, 22, was among hundreds of volunteers who joined police, army and other rescue workers scouring Moreton Island off Queensland for Ricardo Sirutis, an executive for the drug company Pfizer Inc. When found Wednesday, he had had no water for five days, but joked with rescuers about buying them a beer in Brazil, where he lives, and proposed to Miss Avery. … Indonesia expects to send at least 300,000 skilled and unskilled workers overseas this year to help alleviate unemployment at home, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday. “Our economic growth this year is not expected to be strong enough to reduce unemployment,” Alwi Shihab, the minister for welfare coordination, told the paper.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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