- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 17, 2007

JAPAN

Boy, 3, abandoned at box for unwanted

TOKYO — Japan’s first anonymous drop box for unwanted babies triggered a wave of anger and soul-searching at midweek after it was discovered that a preschooler — and not an infant — was left by his father on the service’s first day.

Newspapers condemned the father and warned that the operation was open to abuse and could traumatize youngsters. “Stork’s Cradle,” the drop-off for infants, was begun May 10 by the Roman Catholic Jikei Hospital in the southern city of Kumamoto to discourage abortions and the abandonment of children in unsafe places. The same day, a boy now thought to be 3 was found inside.

The boy, who was in good health, reportedly said he was left by his father, who was seen holding the youngster’s hand as they approached the hospital. They apparently rode a “bullet train” to Kumamoto, but it was not clear where they lived.

CAMBODIA

Rare giant turtle found in Mekong

PHNOM PENH — A rare soft-shell turtle thought to be on the brink of extinction has been discovered here in a former stronghold of the Khmer Rouge, conservationists said Wednesday.

A 24-pound female Cantor’s giant turtle — known for its rubbery skin and jaws powerful enough to crush bone — was captured and released by researchers in March, U.S.-based Conservation International and World Wildlife Fund said in a statement.

Scientists from the two groups and Cambodian wildlife officials found the animal and a nesting ground during a river survey. “We thought it might be almost gone, but found it in abundance in this one pristine stretch of the Mekong,” said David Emmett, a Conservation International wildlife biologist. “This discovery means a unique turtle can be saved from disappearing from our planet,” he said.

AUSTRALIA

Wading woman bitten by shark

PERTH — A shark bit a woman as she waded in knee-deep water while carrying her baby at a beach in Western Australia state, an emergency official said yesterday.

The 39-year-old woman was bitten on the calf at Warra Beach, 620 miles north of Perth, the state capital, on Wednesday, a Fire and Emergency Services spokeswoman said. The baby was unharmed.

The woman, who was not identified, was in stable condition yesterday at a Perth hospital, a hospital spokesman said. It was not clear what kind of shark attacked the woman.

Weekly notes …

TAIPEI, Taiwan — This island’s new prime minister named the presidential chief of staff as his deputy yesterday in a Cabinet reshuffle that saw several key ministers retain their posts. Chiou I-jen, chief of staff for President Chen Shui-bian, was named vice prime minister, the government announced. The Cabinet ministers will serve until next May when Mr. Chen steps down and a newly elected president takes office. … Landlocked Laos has agreed to join the International Whaling Commission at Japan’s request and is highly likely to support Tokyo’s high-profile campaign in favor of whaling, Japanese officials said yesterday. Japan seeks to overturn a moratorium on commercial whaling, but it was not clear if Laos could complete membership in time for the next commission meeting May 28-31 in Anchorage, Alaska. Laotian Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh announced the accord this week during talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who afterward announced new development aid of $1 million to Laos for the removal of buried unexploded bombs. Laos has no coastline and no tradition of whaling or eating whale meat.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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