- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 10, 2005

CHINA

Bird-flu virus found in pigs

HONG KONG — Bird-flu virus has been found in pigs bred in China’s Hunan province, which means the virus could be closer to infecting humans on a large scale, reports said yesterday.

Ming Pao Daily News quoted an interview on China’s Phoenix Satellite TV in which a deputy agricultural minister in Hunan said that bird-flu virus had been found in pigs for the first time. A spokesman from the farm ministry said officials had not gathered enough information to disclose further details.

Local and foreign health officials are investigating whether a 12-year-old girl, her brother and another man in Hunan were infected with bird flu last month. The girl died after eating a sick chicken, and the other two recovered from flulike illnesses.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

HIV carriers slain by villagers

PORT MORESBY — Sorcery and fear of AIDS in the jungle villages of Papua New Guinea have led to infected people being thrown into rivers to drown, dumped into graves to die or abandoned to starve to death, say those fighting the disease.

To have HIV/AIDS in Papua New Guinea, a jungle-rich, mountainous South Pacific island nation, is to be an outcast in a country struggling with modern times where some villages had not learned about the outside world until the 1930s.

About 12,000 people in the country are reported to be infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, but health care workers estimate the real number is between 80,000 and 120,000.

The island’s 5.4 million people, most of whom live a rural subsistence life, face an epidemic on a par with Cambodia, Burma and Thailand. but AIDS researchers say that, with an annual infection rate of 33 percent, Papua New Guinea is on the verge of an African-style epidemic that could kill millions of people and destroy the economy.

Weekly notes …

Russia’s energy ministry published a timetable yesterday for construction of a 1,400-mile oil pipeline section that eventually could bring oil from Siberia to the Pacific coast and perhaps China. The project sets Nov. 1, 2008, as the completion date for a pipeline section from Taishet in Irkutsk province to Skovorodino in Amur province, and separately, an oil terminal at Perevoznaya, a Pacific port. … The fifth round of the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, which got under way Wednesday in Beijing, is likely to enter a break today, said a Japanese official in the Chinese capital. The negotiations are expected to resume sometime after the annual meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum next week in Pusan, South Korea.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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