- - Thursday, June 30, 2011

THAILAND

Prime minister accuses rivals of hidden agenda

BANGKOK | Thailand’s embattled prime minister lashed out against his opponents Thursday, three days ahead of a key election, accusing them of talking of reconciliation as a “cloak” to bring back his archrival.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s Democrat Party is struggling to match the appeal of the opposition Puea Thai, unofficially led from abroad by Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted from power by a military coup in 2006.

Puea Thai’s main candidate for the top job is Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra, who has discussed an amnesty for convicted politicians to bring reconciliation to Thailand, which could pave the way for her brother’s return.

“Reconciliation is now being used as a cloak for amnesty for Thaksin so far as Puea Thai is concerned. That is not right,” Mr. Abhisit said.

INDIA

Government probing infant deaths at state-run hospital

NEW DELHI | Authorities are investigation the deaths of at least 17 infants within 48 hours at a government-run hospital in eastern India, media reported Thursday.

Television news channels showed images of weeping and wailing parents outside the B.C. Roy Hospital for Children in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal.

The hospital director told Press Trust of India that the babies were either premature, suffering from septicemia or had low birth-weight problems. He denied any negligence by the hospital.

In 2006, 22 infants died in three days at the same hospital because of prematurity or acute forms of either meningitis, encephalitis or septicemia.

State-run hospitals here are often overcrowded and ill-equipped.

MYANMAR

Court convicts, then frees newspaper publisher

YANGON | A judge sentenced an Australian publisher to a month in prison Thursday for assaulting a Myanmar woman but granted his release for time already served.

The case drew attention to the risks for foreign investors in Myanmar, a country fraught with corruption and cronyism and ruled by the military for five decades until a civilian government led by retired generals took office in April.

Ross Dunkley, co-founder of the Myanmar Times newspaper, was found guilty of assault and immigration offenses but walked free after paying a fine of $120, his attorney Min Sein said.

Dunkley was arrested in February and spent a month in one of Myanmar’s toughest jails before his release on bail in March.

PHILIPPINES

Police destroy fake goods to mark Anti-Counterfeit Day

MANILA | Police slashed fake Louis Vuitton bags and drove armored vehicles over pirated DVDs on Thursday to mark World Anti-Counterfeit Day, a first step in destroying a five-month haul of counterfeit goods.

The destruction of the fake luxury items at police headquarters in Manila involved a portion of the goods seized from January through May, a police official said. The rest will destroyed later, he said.

The entire haul would be worth $39.4 million if the items were authentic, the official said.

AUSTRALIA

Beached sea turtle starves after eating plastic

SYDNEY | A green sea turtle that washed ashore likely starved to death after swallowing 317 pieces of plastic, a marine biologist said Thursday.

Rochelle Ferris of Australian Seabird Rescue said an autopsy on the turtle found fishing line, packing tape, lolly pop sticks, lids and a variety of plastic bags.

She said the turtle’s digestive system became impacted with material it couldn’t digest and the animal slowly starved.