- More foreign drug firms face scrutiny in China
- Philippines denies spying on Qatar after convictions
- Pakistan bus accident leaves 10 children, six adults dead
Posted: 26 May 2014 11:49 PM PDT
SHANGHAI, May 27, 2014 (AFP) - China is putting more foreign drug firms under scrutiny, state media said Tuesday, days after the conclusion of a police probe into alleged bribery by employees of Britain's GlaxoSmithKline(GSK).
Earlier this month, Chinese authorities ended a nearly one-year probe into GSK, accusing a top British executive of ordering employees to commit bribery and handing the case over to prosecutors.
Health authorities in the eastern city of Hangzhou were looking into the business practices of further drug companies, including US-based Eli Lilly, Britain's AstraZeneca and Novo Nordisk of Denmark, the 21st Century Business Herald newspaper reported, citing an internal document.
Another company, Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Roche, said last week that Chinese officials had paid a visit to its offices in Hangzhou.
The GSK case came to light in June last year through a local investigation, after police in the central Chinese city of Changsha announced they were examining the company's employees for "economic crimes".
The 21st Century Business Herald said Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca and Novo Nordisk were required to conduct self inspections for kickbacks and report to local authorities.
But Eli Lilly on Tuesday denied it had been approached by Hangzhou authorities.
"Lilly has not been contacted by (the) Hangzhou Health Bureau," the company said in a statement provided to AFP. "We fully cooperate with any inquiries we receive from (the) government and its agencies in China."
AstraZeneca and Novo Nordisk did not immediately respond to request for comment.
China's healthcare sector is widely considered to be riddled with graft, given the opaque tendering system for drugs and doctors' low salaries.
The government last year launched sweeping probes into alleged malpractice by foreign companies in several sectors, and against the backdrop of an anti-graft campaign backed by President Xi Jinping to root out official corruption.
Posted: 26 May 2014 11:43 PM PDT
MANILA, May 27, 2014 (AFP) - The Philippines denied Tuesday it was spying on Qatar, after three Filipinos were convicted of espionage in the Gulf state.
One man was sentenced to death and two to life in jail after a court found them guilty of leaking information that could threaten Qatar's national security, foreign department spokesman Charles Jose said.
"We are categorically denying that we are engaged in espionage," Jose said when asked about the case.
Jose declined to make public other details of the case, although he referred journalists to reports in the Doha media for further information.
According to Doha News, the Filipinos were charged with leaking information about weaponry, aircrafts, maintenance and servicing records between 2009 and 2010 to intelligence officials in the Philippines.
It said the man who received the death penalty worked at a major state-run Qatari company and spied for a "state security force" in the Philippines, while Qatar Air Force employed the other two as technicians.
The main defendant had reportedly given copies of projects tenders to companies, as well as classified information about Qatar Air Force base to Filipino officials, the Doha News said, citing a source close to the case.
The accounts could not be independently verified.
Posted: 26 May 2014 10:50 PM PDT
PESHAWAR, Pakistan, May 27, 2014 (AFP) - A bus accident on Tuesday in Pakistan's northwestern valley of Swat left 16 people dead, including 10 children, officials said.
The bus, carrying passengers home from the central Punjab province to the Kalam hill station in Swat district, crashed on the roadside close to a river in the early hours of Tuesday.
"Sixteen people have been killed in the accident including 10 children and five women. Seven other passengers have been injured," Mehmood Asalam, a senior administration official in Swat, told AFP.
"We don't know any reason for the accident at the moment. It may have been caused because driver slept while driving," said Aslam.
Local police official Shakeel Khan confirmed the death toll, and said that the injured had been taken to a local hospital.
"The injured included three men, as many women and a child," said Khan.
Pakistan has one of the world's worst records for fatal traffic accidents, blamed on poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.
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