Diseases in B’desh


Waterborne diseases are spreading rapidly in northern Bangladesh after a week of incessant rain, threatening to boost this year’s monsoon death toll that has hit 25, officials said on Saturday. As many as 100,000 people remained stranded, many without fresh water, and new areas were submerged after a flood protection embankment was breached. Seven-year-old Dipok Chandra Roy died of diarrhoea on Friday in Nilphamari district, said local relief official Siddiq Hossain. — AP

Thaksin’s Europe tour


Thailand’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is headed for Europe for the next week to hold talks with the leaders of five nations about trade and transfers of technology. In a radio address on Saturday, Thaksin said he will be visiting France, Belgium, Great Britain, Finland and Russia during the weeklong trip. He said he will also meet Richard Hecklinger, the acting secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. — AP

Four held for attacks


Bangladeshi police made four new arrests in connection with a series of bombings in the predominantly Muslim nation that killed four people and wounded 150 others, a news report said on Saturday. The men, believed to be members of the banned Islamic group Jumatul Mujahideen Bangladesh, were arrested in Joypurhat district late on Friday, area police chief Abdullah Al Azad was quoted by the United News of Bangladesh as saying. — AP

Vaccine supply scam


An internal audit at Indonesia’s agriculture ministry has found suspected corruption in the provision of vaccines to fight a bird flu outbreak which has killed at least three people in the country, reports said on Saturday. Zainal Baharuddin, inspector general at the ministry, said suspected corruption between 1999 and 2004 had causes losses amounting to $73.3 million, the Jakarta Post and Media Indonesia dailies reported. — AFP

China flood toll


China’s current flood season has claimed more than 1,200 lives and caused billions of dollars in damage to property, state media said on Saturday. Citing Vice-Minister of Water Resources E Jingping, the official China Daily newspaper said 1,247 lives were lost and property damage amounted to 176 billion yuan ($16.8 billion) as a result of flooding and landslides this year. — AP