March 19, 2006 in Nation/World

Tests find woman died of bird flu

The Spokesman-Review

Initial tests at a U.S. Navy lab show that a 35-year-old woman who died last week in Egypt had bird flu, officials said Saturday. If the results are confirmed, she would be the country’s first known human casualty from the disease.

In Israel, veterinarians on Saturday slaughtered thousands of turkeys suspected of having the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, trying to prevent the disease from spreading throughout the Holy Land.

In Egypt, the Cairo lab found that the woman, who died Friday, had the H5N1 strain, lab spokesman Andrew Stegall said. The World Health Organization will conduct further tests in an effort to confirm the findings, said Hassan el-Bushra, the WHO’s regional adviser for emerging diseases.

Kabul, Afghanistan

Ex-governor killed in ambush

Militants ambushed an influential former governor near his home Saturday, killing him and four others, while three suspected Taliban rebels died in a botched attack on a current governor, Afghan officials said.

The violence came just days after Taliban commander Mullah Omar purportedly threatened a major rebel resurgence.

Both of Saturday’s attacks occurred in Ghazni, a province in eastern Afghanistan that had been spared the worst of fighting that has wracked the country the past year.

Taipei, Taiwan

Rally backs Chen’s stance on China

Tens of thousands of government supporters marched Saturday to protest China’s threats against Taiwan and defend President Chen Shui-bian’s tough policy on the communist country.

The protest came less than a week after the opposition Nationalists mobilized an estimated 40,000 demonstrators, accusing Chen of stoking tensions between the Taiwan and China.

Chen last month decided to abolish a committee responsible for unifying the island and the mainland, which split amid civil war in 1949.

Seoul, South Korea

Report: U.S. plans costly for farmers

Hundreds of elderly farmers face forcible eviction from their land to allow the expansion of a U.S. military base near Seoul, according to the human rights group Amnesty International.

Some of the farmers – mainly in their 60s and 70s – suffered bloodied noses and several human rights activists were detained during clashes with riot police earlier this month, the London-based group said in a statement posted on its Web site.

Police had come to evict the farmers from their homes in Daechuri village in Pyongtaek, 50 miles south of Seoul, it said.

Ahn Jung-hoon, a South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman, declined to comment, saying he had not seen the Amnesty International statement.

In December, South Korea’s Land Expropriation Committee approved the seizure of the village so the U.S. military can expand Camp Humphreys and move its command from the current headquarters in Yongsan Garrison, central Seoul.

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