IN BRIEF

Marsupial milk
to fight superbugs

SYDNEY — Mother’s milk from the marsupials known as Tasmanian devils could help the global fight against increasingly deadly “superbugs” which resist antibiotics, Australian researchers said yesterday. Superbugs are bacteria which cannot be treated by current antibiotics and other drugs, with a recent British study saying they could kill up to 10 million people globally by 2050. Scientists at the University of Sydney found peptides in the marsupial’s milk killed resistant bacteria, including methicillin-resistant golden staph bacteria and enterococcus which is resistant to the powerful antibiotic vancomycin. “Marsupials have more peptides than other mammals. In the devil we found six, whereas humans have only one of this type of peptide,” said University of Sydney PhD candidate Emma Peel, who worked on the research. — AFP

S. Korea prosecutors to charge Lotte chairman

SEOUL — South Korean prosecutors plan to charge Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin, wire service Yonhap reported yesterday, in the latest twist to a wide-ranging corruption probe that has convulsed the country’s fifth-largest conglomerate. Prosecutors last month asked for an arrest warrant for Shin on charges of embezzlement and breach of trust, but a court rejected their request. Prosecutors will announce the results of their probe into Lotte Group on Oct 19, a prosecution source told Reuters. The source, who was not authorised to speak to the media, declined comment on what their decision would be regarding Shin. Representatives for Lotte Group and a spokesman for the prosecutors’ office could not be immediately reached.
— Reuters

Saudi police arrest ‘online cross-dresser’

RIYADH — Saudi police have arrested a man on public order charges after he was accused of cross-dressing online, a report in the conservative Islamic kingdom said late on Monday. Police in Qassim, northwest of the capital Riyadh, “arrested a famous Snapchat personality who appeared in video clips dressed like women,” the Sabq online newspaper reported. The publication quoted the Qassim police spokesman as saying the suspect, who they did not identify, was detained “for producing and distributing material insulting to public order.” Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most conservative countries. One of the kingdom’s most powerful figures, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Salman, 31, however, is leading a reform drive dubbed “Vision 2030” to diversify the economy and also bring social change, calling for more entertainment, cultural and sports opportunities. — AFP

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