Dengue toll now at 634

JAKARTA: A widespread dengue fever outbreak has killed 634 people in Indonesia so far this year and is still far from over, the health ministry said on Tuesday. It said the number of infections, at 54,176, was greater than for the whole of last year. “The dengue fever outbreak is still far from over,” said Rita Kusriastuti, coordinator of an anti-dengue team. “The rainy season is not yet over and is only expected to end in May.” — AFP

Trial for last Bali suspect

JAKARTA: The last suspect in the Bali bombings case will go on trial next week charged with taking part in the twin-nightclub attacks as well as the bombing of the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta, his lawyer said on Tuesday. Jhoni Hendrawan, a 31-year-old militant, is charged under the country’s anti-terror law and faces death if convicted, attorney Easter Yulia said. — AP

Dead man wins 800 votes

JAKARTA: A candidate in last week’s legislative elections in Indonesia won nearly 800 votes despite having died three months ago, poll officials said on Tuesday. “It’s a bit ridiculous,” said Andi Mappinawang, an election committee member in Sulawesi. “Maybe the voters didn’t know he had died.” Mirdin Kasim passed away in February, shortly after the deadline for printing ballot papers had passed, he said. It was impossible to inform all the people in the region of his death, Mappinawang said. — AFP

People smuggler gets life

BEIJING: A Chinese degree holder who smuggled hundreds of people out of the country has been sentenced to life in jail, state media reported on Tuesday.

The “snakehead”, identified as Li Zhongxun, was sentenced at a court in Wenzhou for smuggling 541 people to more affluent countries, the China News Service reported. Li and his accomplices undertook their first operation — sending 21 emigrants to France — in 2000, and continued their business for two years. — AFP

Politician joins Bollywood

CHENNAI: While stars from Bollywood are hitting the political trail, the film industry in Kerala is witnessing a reverse migration. Rajmohan Unnithan, a leader expelled from the Congress, has signed on the dotted line to act with Mammooty in Shaji Kailas’ new film Brand. It is being said that Unnithan’s media conference after being expelled from the party, telecast live on local news channels, caught the director’s attention and the latter found his villain! But Unnithan is playing safe. He has requested the director to etch his character with care, so as not to tarnish his political image. — HNS

16 killed in B’desh mishap

TANGAIL: A head-on collision between two buses on Tuesday near Dhaka killed at least 16 people and injured nearly 25 others, police said. The accident happened at Mirzapore in Tangail, said a police officer. Passengers from both buses were among the casualties. Rescuers pulled out 16 bodies from the twisted wreckage of the buses. The dead included a one-year-old child, four women and 11 men. — AFP