Deadly bird flu kills parrot in England

The British government said yesterday that a strain of bird flu that killed a parrot in quarantine is the deadly H5N1 strain that has plagued Asia and recently spread to Europe.

Scientists determined that the parrot, imported from South America, died of the strain of avian flu that has devastated poultry stocks and killed 61 people in Asia the past two years, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The virus is spread by migrating wild birds and has recently been found in birds in Russia, Turkey and Romania, spurring efforts around the globe to contain its spread.

While H5N1 is easily transmitted between birds, it is hard for humans to contract. But experts fear it could mutate into a form of flu that is easily transmitted between humans and cause a pandemic that could kill millions.

Debby Reynolds, DEFRA’s chief veterinarian, said the parrot was likely infected with the virus while it was housed in the country’s quarantine system with birds from Taiwan. Tests conducted on the Taiwanese birds that had died were inconclusive, according to the department.



Suicide bomber blast kills four people

An insurgent blew up his car in a Baghdad square yesterday, killing four people in the first significant suicide bombing in the capital in weeks. More than 20 Iraqis died in a swell of violence, including a bomb that killed a police colonel and four children.

Still, with the toll among American service members in the Iraq war approaching 2,000 dead, the U.S. military said it has hampered insurgents’ ability to unleash more devastating suicide bombings with a series of offensives in western towns that disrupted militant operations.

“We have interrupted the flow of the suicide missions into the large urban areas. Certainly, we have had success denying free movement of car bombs into Baghdad,” Brig. Gen. Donald Alston told reporters in the capital.

“It is also a function of Iraqi citizens who have come forward and with their support we have found car bomb factories. We have found a series of large weapon caches,” he said.


LAGOS, Nigeria

Nigerian plan crashes, killing 117 people

Twisted chunks of metal, ripped luggage and mangled bodies turned a swath of woods into a grisly scene after a Nigerian passenger plane carrying 117 people crashed shortly after takeoff and officials said yesterday that all aboard were feared dead.

Red Cross and government officials said search teams found no sign that anyone on the Boeing 737 survived when it plunged to earth Saturday night after leaving Lagos, the biggest city in Nigeria.

“It was a very pitiable sight. The aircraft was partly submerged (in the ground) and broken into several pieces,” said Fidelis Onyenyiri, chief of the National Civil Aviation Authority. “There were similarly no survivors from what we saw.”

The State Department said one American was on the flight.


WARSAW, Poland

Warsaw’s mayor claims presidential victory

Warsaw’s tough-talking mayor Mayor Lech Kaczynski claimed victory in Poland’s presidential runoff vote yesterday after exit polls showed he had the lead following a campaign in which he stressed traditional Catholic values and the need for welfare protection.

An exit poll for Polish public television showed Kaczynski leading with 52.8 percent to 47.2 percent over pro-market legislator Donald Tusk, who conceded defeat.

Kaczynski had an even wider margin, with 53.5 percent to Tusk’s 46.5 percent in an exit poll for TVN24 private television. Partial returns were expected later Sunday and full results sometime today.


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