- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 9, 2003

CHINA

SARS survivors get bone disease

HONG KONG — Hong Kong health officials said yesterday some patients who recovered from the potentially fatal SARS are suffering from bone disease, possibly linked to steroid treatment used to combat the virus.

A spokeswoman for the Hospital Authority said some patients who recovered from severe acute respiratory syndrome are suffering from avascular necrosis. This results from interrupted blood supply to the bones, causing bone tissue to die. “We are still studying whether the bone disease is linked to the treatment … or whether it is caused by SARS itself,” she said.

Meanwhile, the head of the World Health Organization said his agency is bracing for another SARS outbreak this winter and is setting up a rapid-reaction center at the WHO’s Geneva headquarters.

AUSTRALIA

Sheep slaughter looms offshore

CANBERRA — About 53,000 Australian sheep on the “ship of shame” are reported likely to be slaughtered at sea and dumped overboard. The sheep have been stranded on the ship in sweltering heat for more than two months since their Saudi buyer rejected them over a disease scare.

New Zealand’s Auckland Herald Sun reported Australian agriculture officials drafted the plan two days ago, although just last week Australian Prime Minister John Howard said slaughter at sea was an absolute last resort.

The newspaper said Mr. Howard is apparently under pressure from livestock industry representatives and agriculture officials who fear that bringing the sheep home could contaminate the country’s $1 billion live-export industry. If the sheep are to be killed, the gruesome task would require shooting each in the head.

THAILAND

Singaporean arrested for threats to APEC

BANGKOK — A Singaporean man has been arrested for threatening by e-mail to kill Singaporean Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and bomb two embassies during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit here Oct. 20-21, Thai police said yesterday.

Kevin Chia was arrested at his downtown apartment late Wednesday after reputedly sending e-mails threatening the assassination and bombings of the Singaporean and U.S. embassies in Bangkok, police said.

Thailand’s national police chief, Gen. Sant Sarutanond, told reporters that the man did not pose a serious threat.

Weekly notes …

China’s President Hu Jintao will visit Thailand Oct. 17 for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum before state visits to Australia and New Zealand, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing announced yesterday. Spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said: “We hope that the meeting will discuss major issues and reach consensus on questions affecting the world, and we hope APEC will continue to support the multilateral trade regime and promote and coordinate economic and social development.” … Cambodian Prince Norodom Narindrapong, the second son of King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Monineath, has died of a heart attack in Paris at 49, the late prince’s half-brother Prince Norodom Ranariddh told reporters in Phnom Penh yesterday. Narindrapong, who was married with two daughters, was a prisoner with his parents and brother, Prince Norodom Sihamni, in the royal palace during the 1975-79 Khmer Rouge regime.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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