leopord attack

A leopard that mauled 11 people in a fierce fight Tuesday with Indian villagers has died of knife wounds after being captured.

The snarling adult male leopard leapt at locals and forest officials as they tried to drive it into a wildlife sanctuary in a village near Siliguri in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district.

Forest official Dharma Dev Rai says villagers used knives, stones and batons to beat back the cat. It injured six villagers, a policeman and four forest guards before being hit with a tranquilizer gun.

The people are recovering from their injuries, mostly swipes from the cat’s claws. Leopards are protected in India, though more are straying into villages for food.

leopord attack

Police were called to the village on the edge of a forest reserve after residents chased the animal into an abandoned house, where it pounced on the back of one officer as he tried to tranquillize it. The animal fled, but was found a few hours later in bushes at the edge of the village.
“The forest guards were able to locate it and as they were approaching the spot in an open-hood vehicle the leopard pounced on them,” said local forest ranger Kanchan Banerjee. “Three policemen were severely injured in the incident that led to a scuffle between the animal and the policemen.”

Mr. Banerjee said police had attacked the animal with knives and batons to free their colleague.
The leopard was eventually tranquillized, but it died later that day. Leopard attacks are increasingly frequent across India as human populations rise and the animal’s traditional wildlife habitat deteriorates.

Smallest pit viper
A new snake species -Protobothrops maolanensis found in China is one of the littlest pit vipers in the world.

During a recent survey of forests in Maolan National Nature Reserve in Guizhou - China, the species was found by Yang and colleagues. At a maximum length of about 2.6 feet (0.7 meter), the new pit viper is the smallest known so far in the country.

Though the grayish brown species easily blends into its habitat, the ground-dwelling species ended up being the most common snake found during the research, noted Yang, of Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou.

Scientists have found two other new pit vipers in China so far in 2011: Sinovipera sichuanensis and Protobothrops maolanensis, he added.

The group of snakes known as pit vipers includes well-known species such as the copperhead, the rattlesnake, and the water moccasin. All known pit vipers are venomous, although their potency varies across species.

The toxicity of the new pit viper species is not yet known, but "kindly local peoples warned me that this snake is very poisonous," Yang added. "They said that some local peoples had been bit by this snake and then got poisoning—one was dead who had not got treatment in time."

Yang's team also found dead snakes that had been killed by people—the Miao, a local minority, believe that a snake encountered in the wild will bring bad luck unless it's killed immediately, he said.

On Tuesday, a Japanese health official downplayed the dangers after cesium contaminated meat from six Fukushima cows was delivered to Japanese markets and probably ingested.

Goshi Hosono, state minister in charge of consumer affairs and food-safety, said he hoped to head off any overreactions.

"If we were to eat the meat every day, then it would probably be dangerous," Hosono said at a news conference Tuesday. "But if it is consumed only in small portions, I don't think it would have any long-lasting effects on the human body."

The meat, distributed late last month, has made its way to consumers and most likely has been ingested, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said Monday evening. This was preceded by another recent discovery of radiation in the meat of 11 cows delivered to Tokyo from the same farm.

The discovery was made when Tokyo's office of health and welfare investigated six deliveries made at the end of June from a Fukushima farm. So far, radiation has been confirmed from three out of the six cows. In one case, radiation reached 3400 Becquerels, which is about seven times the limit set by the government.

When the Fukushima Prefectural Government, on Monday, investigated the farm from which the meat was delivered, cesium was found in cattle feed such as hay, with radiation levels as much as 57 times higher than the ceiling set by the Japanese government.

Up until now, cattle in Fukushima were only subject to a screening test, to inspect for radioactive particles adhering to the skin, and farmers were ordered to self-report how it the cattle feed was being stocked.

Yutaka Kashimura, Fukushima Prefecture's officer in charge of the livestock division, told CNN that the farmer may have given the cows hay that had been exposed to soil containing high levels of radiation. The farm is situated at about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant.

The Fukushima Prefectural government announced that it will check on all the farms in the prefecture to determine if the stored cattle feed is being protected from radiation. More than 500 farms will be inspected before the end of the week and nearly 2,800 by the end of the month.

On Saturday, the health and welfare office at Tokyo Metropolitan government found that meat from 11 cows from a Fukushima farm, which was about to be delivered, contained high levels of radiation. As a precaution, the office was ordered to trace meat from six cows from the same farm and realized that the meat is now circulating not only in Tokyo, but all over Japan.

No health problems linked to the incident been reported, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government told CNN.

Microsoft Corp. has signed a deal with China’s leading Internet search engine - Baidu, to offer its English-language search functions to Chinese users.

The agreement, which was announced Monday, comes more than a year after Google Inc. pulled out of China largely over disagreements about censorship and ceded just under half its market share to Baidu. Microsoft expects that this partnership will result to technological advantages for both parties and jointly provide the best search experience for Chinese users who need to search in English.

The Chinese Internet giant has long struggled to match Google’s English search capabilities and is likely to introduce Microsoft Bing by the end of the year, albeit one that will have to stick on to the country’s ever-expanding censorship rules.

To be sure, the overwhelming majority of Baidu users access the search engine for Chinese results. The company commands 83% of the domestic search market in the world’s largest Internet community with over 470 million users.

“It’s a non-trivial matter to build your own index of English pages, so why not partner with someone who already does that well?” said Kaiser Kuo, a spokesman for Baidu. “It’s all about serving the needs of our users.” Kuo said the deal could also make Baidu more competitive in search markets outside of China. “We’ll learn quite a bit,” he said. “And that certainly will help us venture into other markets with our core search product.”

The deal gives Microsoft a huge foothold in China for Bing, whose presence is currently negligible.

Edward Yu, head of Analysys International, a consultancy specializing in the Chinese web industry, said Microsoft is more proficient at navigating Chinese politics than Google ever was.

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