Bird flu killed thousands of turkeys on a French farm, raising fears Friday of the European Union’s first outbreak of the lethal strain of the disease in commercial poultry and scaring Japan into banning foie gras.
Tests were pending on whether the turkeys had the deadly H5N1 strain, a development that could hobble the European Union’s largest poultry industry if the virus spread.
The spread of deadly flu to French commercial poultry would be the first infection of a European poultry farm – a sobering sign for developed countries that consider themselves well protected against the virus.
So far, the only confirmed cases of H5N1 in France were in two wild ducks found dead near the turkey farm in the southeastern town of Versailleux.
Ex-Taliban leader may be in Pakistan
President Hamid Karzai has handed intelligence to Pakistan that indicates Mullah Mohammed Omar, supreme leader of the Taliban regime ousted by U.S.-led forces, and key associates are hiding in Pakistan, a senior Afghan official said Friday.
The intelligence comes after a wave of suicide attacks that have fueled Afghan suspicions that militants are operating out of Pakistan.
Afghanistan also provided information about the locations of alleged terrorist training camps along the border and in Pakistani cities, said the official.
Omar has been at large since the Taliban was ousted by U.S.-led forces in late 2001 for sheltering al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Venezuela to ban Continental, Delta
Venezuela plans to prohibit Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines from flying into this South American nation and is restricting flights by a third major U.S. carrier, American Airlines, the head of the nation’s federal aviation agency said.
Francisco Paz, president of the National Aviation Institute, said the action was taken because the U.S. had placed a similar ban on some Venezuelan carriers serving routes to the United States 10 years ago due to safety violations. Venezuela said the U.S. has failed to recognize improvements since then.
Relations between Caracas and Washington have been tense recently, with U.S. officials criticizing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has threatened to cut off oil exports to the U.S.
Market director charged in collapse
The director of a Moscow market where the roof collapsed, killing at least 61 people, was charged with negligence, prosecutors said Friday, as hope faded for finding more survivors after Europe’s second most deadly such accident this winter.
Prosecutor Anatoly Zuyev said the market’s director, Mark Mishiyev, had been charged with negligence leading to deaths, which carries a maximum sentence of at least three years.
Officials had all but ruled out terrorism as the cause of the collapse, saying it was probably due to the buildup of heavy snow, design flaws or maintenance errors.