Sunday, November 27, 2005

Serbia deportee fights Australia A man deported by Australia to a country he had never before set foot in has vowed he will campaign until he is allowed to return "home".
Robert Jovicic, 38, who had lived in Australia since he was two, has been camping on the steps of the Australian embassy in Serbia's capital, Belgrade.
Mr Jovicic was born in France to Serbian parents.
He was deported to Serbia in 2004, when his permanent residency was revoked after a jail term for drug crimes.
Belgrade has not recognised Mr Jovicic - who had never been to Serbia before his deportation - as a citizen, leaving him stateless with no right to work or welfare.
If I'm considered Australian trash that I will rot on Australia soil Robert Jovicic
His plight is the latest immigration row to hit the government in Canberra which has faced growing criticism from human rights groups for its tough immigration policies.
The Australian authorities have recently been under fire for mistakenly deporting one of its own citizens to the Philippines and locking up a German-born Australian national in an Outback detention centre.
But the government has shown some sign of modifying its approach.
Earlier this year, the government ended its policy of detaining children suspected of being illegal immigrants.
'I'll die'
Mr Jovicic began the protests in Belgrade two days ago.
"I've explained to the embassy if I'm considered Australian trash, that I will rot on Australia soil," he told Australia's ABC television.
"If I don't... get back home, I'll die".
Mr Jovicic was sent to Serbia on "character grounds", following his conviction for a series of drug-related burglaries.
His brother and sister, who live in Australia, are demanding his immediate return to Melbourne.
"You can't just throw someone who's been here all their lives and calls this place his home, and just dump them somewhere else," Susanna Jovicic told ABC.
Australia's department of foreign affairs official said that Mr Jovicic had been given temporary accommodation and the embassy has arranged for a medical examination.
Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone said in a statement that she had asked her department for a detailed report on Mr Jovicic's case.
Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/4465908.stmPublished: 2005/11/24 12:40:32 GMT© BBC MMV
Kazakh widow makes bugging claims
By Ian MacWilliam BBC News, in Almaty
The widow of an opposition politician apparently murdered in Kazakhstan earlier this month has accused the authorities of bugging her house.
Zamanbek Nurkadilov's widow also said she feared the police were going to accuse her of killing her husband.
Mr Nurkadilov had accused the Kazakh president and his family of massive corruption.
His unexplained death in the run-up to Kazakhstan's presidential poll has cast a shadow over the election campaign.
Mr Nurkadilov's widow, Makpal Zhunusova, called a news conference in Almaty to display what she and her lawyer said was an illegal listening device, which she had found hidden in her house on Wednesday.
She said it had probably been planted the day before while police were searching her house.
The lawyer said the police apparently wanted to gather evidence illegally by eavesdropping on private conversation.
Suspicious death
Mr Nurkadilov was found dead in the house nearly two weeks ago with one bullet wound in his head and two in his chest.
The police have said they are investigating the case as either a suicide or murder.
But Ms Zhunusova, who is well known in Kazakhstan as a singer, said that suicide was out of the question because her husband had not been in a depressed mood.
She suggested that unnamed relatives of her husband might have been involved in his death.
Her lawyer has said the killing was connected with Mr Nurkadilov's political activity. A former minister, he was a close associate of the president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.
But last year he unexpectedly accused the president and his family members of massive corruption. Nurkadilov said he was gathering information to prove they had illegally acquired many state properties and enterprises.
The main opposition alliance, whose candidate is President Nazarbayev's chief electoral rival, has also said the killing was politically motivated.
Nurkadilov's violent death has thus become the main event of an otherwise unremarkable electoral campaign.
Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/4467088.stmPublished: 2005/11/24 16:44:06 GMT© BBC MMV
S Korea cloning pioneer disgraced A cloning pioneer regarded as a hero in his South Korean homeland has resigned and apologised for using human eggs from his own researchers.
Professor Hwang Woo-suk was chairman of the World Stem Cell Hub, which opened this month, based in Seoul.
"I am very sorry that I have to tell the public words that are too shameful and horrible," he announced publicly.
International medical standards warn against using eggs from researchers who may be vulnerable to pressure.
However, the health ministry in Seoul insists that he is not guilty of any moral or legal wrongdoing, as the eggs were given voluntarily, without the professor's knowledge, and before South Korea introduced a bioethics law in January.
Dr Hwang, 52, gained worldwide fame after producing the world's first cloned human embryos and stem cells tailored to be used on individuals.
Human cloning science offers the possibility that stem cells harvested from cloned embryos could be used to treat diseases like Parkinson's, diabetes and heart disease.

Dr Hwang's breakthrough was seen as particularly important as the stem cells he created were a perfect match for the patient, which could mean treatments without the risk of the body rejecting them.
However, opponents argue that creating and experimenting with human embryos is unethical.
Paid for eggs
Earlier this month Gerald Schatten, a prominent American colleague of Dr Hwang, broke off their collaboration saying he was concerned by the way the group procured human eggs.
Being too focused on scientific development, I may not have seen all the ethical issues related to my research Professor Hwang Woo-suk
When the medical journal Nature pressed Dr Hwang in 2004 about the origin of the eggs, he denied they had been donated by his own researchers.
At a press conference on Thursday he admitted he had not told the truth.
Dr Hwang said when two women on his team offered their own eggs he turned them down.
Later, the women donated their eggs under false names, without his permission.
When asked about this he investigated, and was told about the provenance of the eggs, but lied to Nature because of a "strong request by the researchers to protect their privacy", he said.
South Korea's health ministry also admitted that other women were paid thousands of dollars for their eggs, though this took place without Dr Hwang's knowledge and before a new law outlawed trading in human eggs.
Egg shortage
The professor said he was resigning from all public posts, including his chairmanship of the World Stem Cell Hub, which is designed to produce stem cell lines for disease research worldwide.
"It is my way of seeking repentance," he said.
He added he would continue his research at Seoul National University.
"I again sincerely apologise for having stirred concern at home and abroad," he said.
"Being too focused on scientific development, I may not have seen all the ethical issues related to my research.
"We needed a lot of ova [eggs] for the research but there were not enough ova around," Dr Hwang said, explaining why standards may have slipped.
The research conducted by his team requires large numbers of human eggs, which are difficult to obtain.
'Stain'
The revelations have shaken fellow scientists.
"We are saddened by the confusion that has arisen in Korea and the distress that has been caused to those concerned," said British professors Ian Wilmut and Christopher Shaw.
There are no international laws governing the use of cells and embryos, but scientists said a tough regulatory climate - like that in force in the UK - could prevent such abuses or misunderstandings.
"The excellent research carried out by Hwang and his team must continue, but in a way that considers the ethics in an appropriate way," said Prof Robin Lovell-Badge of the UK's National Institute for Medical Research.

Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/4465552.stmPublished: 2005/11/24 12:38:41 GMT© BBC MMV
Indonesia's Aceh hit by bird flu Hundreds of chickens have died of bird flu in Aceh province, Indonesia says.
Bird flu has been found in more than 20 other provinces in the country, but its emergence in Aceh is especially worrying, analysts say.
This is because thousands of Acehnese still live in crowded refugee camps as a result of last year's tsunami.
The news follows China's confirmation on Wednesday of its second human death from bird flu - a 35-year-old woman from eastern Anhui province.
Indonesia's Agriculture Ministry said that chickens had been infected with the deadly H5N1 strain in at least three districts of Aceh.

Seven people have so far confirmed to have died from the disease in Indonesia.
In China, the latest human fatality from bird flu was a farmer, who died 11 days after she developed pneumonia-like symptoms following contact with sick and dead poultry, state news agency Xinhua reported.
Tests confirmed she had the deadly H5N1 form of the disease, China's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said.
China's first human fatality also came from Anhui. A boy in central China also caught the disease but recovered.
The H5N1 virus has killed more than 60 people in South East Asia since the latest outbreak began in 2003.
Outbreaks of the H5N1 strain among birds were first spotted in Vietnam and Thailand in 2003.
It spread to several other countries in the region and beyond, with reports of the disease among poultry in Russia and Kazakhstan in July - and outbreaks in Turkey and Romania.

The disease generally still does not transmit easily to humans, but fears of a pandemic have been reinforced by its spread.
Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/4467372.stmPublished: 2005/11/24 16:03:55 GMT© BBC MMV
Anger as Singapore hanging looms A former Australian prime minister has called Singapore a "rogue Chinese port" for ignoring appeals to save a drug smuggler from the death penalty.
Gough Whitlam, in office in the 1970s, made the remark in an interview about the case of an Australian national who is due to be hanged next week.
Australia has appealed for clemency to be granted to Nguyen Tuong Van.
Singapore insisted the law must take its course, saying that drugs ruined the lives of addicts.
Nguyen's lawyer welcomed Mr Whitlam's support but said his remarks about Singapore would not help.
Mr Whitlam said the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, should go further by raising the issue at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta on Friday.
"If [the meeting] is of any use then it should be raised there, because it concerns many other countries - some larger, some smaller than the rogue Chinese port city," he told The Age newspaper.
Nguyen is due to be executed on 2 December after being convicted of trafficking 400 grams (14.11 ounces) of heroin in 2002.
Mr Howard said he would not campaign for support in Malta for his clemency pleas, saying that would likely harden Singapore's determination.
Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/4468644.stmPublished: 2005/11/25 02:29:25 GMT© BBC MMV