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BANGLADESH

Baby boy survives first case of bird flu

DHAKA - Bangladesh reported its first confirmed case of human bird flu yesterday, but said the 16-month-old victim recovered.

The baby boy from a Dhaka slum was diagnosed with the H5N1 strain of the virus in January, but this was not confirmed by a U.S. laboratory until this week, the government said.

Saluddin Khan, who works for the livestock ministry and is coordinating Bangladesh's battle against bird flu, said the boy "has now made a complete recovery."

PAKISTAN

U.N. asked to help probe Bhutto killing

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's government said yesterday that it is ready to ask the United Nations to investigate the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a move opposed by President Pervez Musharraf.

Law Minister Farooq Naek said officials had finalized a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asking for the probe. Mr. Naek said he and Pakistan's foreign minister would carry the letter to U.N. headquarters in New York "very soon," once Mr. Ban gives them an appointment.

Mr. Musharraf and the United States have said that a U.N. investigation is unnecessary. Washington is urging Pakistan's new government to focus on tackling Islamic militancy and mounting economic woes.

Scientists warn of shark extinction

PARIS - Overfishing driven in part by an insatiable appetite for shark-fin soup has threatened 11 species of the ocean-dwelling predators with extinction, according to a report released yesterday.

The first study to assess the worldwide status of 21 species of pelagic sharks and rays - those living and hunting in open seas - found that more than half are rapidly being fished out of existence.

Particularly vulnerable species include the short-finned mako, the thresher and the silky, said the report, to be published in the journal Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems.

Many big shark species have fallen prey to booming Asian economies, where shark-fin soup is prized as an obligatory delicacy at weddings and other banquet occasions.

CHINA

Dalai Lama seeks pressure from Britain

LONDON - China lacks the moral authority needed to be considered a superpower, and the world should use this situation to press Beijing to show more respect for human rights, the Dalai Lama told British lawmakers yesterday.

He said China meets most of the criteria to become a leading power, but still lacks the moral standing required to achieve the global status it craves.

The Dalai Lama is on an 11-day visit to Britain. He is due to meet with Prime Minister Gordon Brown today.

China accuses the Tibetan spiritual leader of seeking independence for Tibet, a charge the Dalai Lama denies.

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