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In brief: Cough syrup blamed in deaths, illnesses

Sun., Dec. 30, 2012

LAHORE, Pakistan – Pakistani authorities are investigating reports that cough syrup has killed 33 people over the past three days, a government official said Saturday.

The deaths occurred in the eastern city of Gujranwala and nearby villages, said local official Abdul Jabbar Shaheen. Another 54 people thought to have consumed the syrup are also being treated at city hospitals. Officials believe the victims drank the syrup to get high, he added.

Investigators are trying to determine if the victims drank too much syrup, or whether there was a problem with the medicine itself, he said.

Frenchman accused of plotting deported

CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan authorities said Saturday that they had deported a man they described as a French intelligence agent who was jailed for alleged involvement in a plot to assassinate President Hugo Chavez.

The minister of prisons, Iris Varela, announced the expulsion of Frederic Laurent Bouquet in a Twitter message Saturday.

Varela said Bouquet was arrested on June 18, 2009, and confessed that he came to Venezuela to assassinate Chavez. She said he was caught with weapons.

It was unclear if he was ever formally charged.

Jet leaves runway; four killed in crash

MOSCOW – A passenger airliner sped off the runway at Russia’s third-busiest airport and partly onto a highway while landing on Saturday, broke into pieces and caught fire, killing at least four people.

Officials said there were eight people aboard the Tu-204 belonging to Russian airline Red Wings that was flying back from the Czech Republic to its home at Vnukovo Airport.

A spokesman for Russia’s top investigative agency said initial indications were that pilot error was the cause.

Prison terms OK’d for animal cruelty

MEXICO CITY – Mexico City lawmakers have approved prison terms for animal cruelty, previously considered a civil offense sanctioned with fines and detentions.

The capital’s legislative assembly unanimously agreed that people who intentionally abuse and cause animals harm will face up to two years in prison and pay up to $500. If the animal is killed, the perpetrator can face up to four years in prison and a $2,000 fine.


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