Asia Briefs: Nailing the problem of tracking lost seniors

In Iruma, tiny nail stickers bearing unique ID numbers help track seniors who are prone to getting lost.
In Iruma, tiny nail stickers bearing unique ID numbers help track seniors who are prone to getting lost.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Nailing the problem of tracking lost seniors

TOKYO • A Japanese city has introduced a novel way to keep track of senior citizens with dementia who are prone to getting lost - tagging their fingers and toes with scan-able barcodes.

A company in Iruma, north of Tokyo, developed tiny nail stickers, each of which carries a unique identity number to help concerned families find missing loved ones, according to the city's social welfare office.

The adhesive QR-coded seals for nails - part of a free service launched this month and a first in Japan - measure just 1cm in size.

The chips remain attached for an average of two weeks - even if they get wet - the official said, citing recent trials.


Peace talks with Thai separatists to resume

BANGKOK • Thailand yesterday said peace talks with Muslim separatists would resume in Malaysia next week after a round in September ended without progress.

"Next week a small team will travel to Malaysia to talk to groups who have different opinions in order to discuss 'safety zones'," General Aksara Kerdpol, the Thai government's lead negotiator, told Reuters.

Separatists waging a decades-old insurgency in the Muslim-majority southern Thai provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat have stepped up attacks since 2004.

More than 6,500 people have been killed, according to an independent monitoring group. Mostly Muslim Malaysia has been trying to nudge the peace process forward.


Funeral brew kills 10, puts 50 in hospital

PHNOM PENH • Home-brewed toxic rice wine is believed to have killed 10 people and hospitalised 50 others from a Cambodian village in recent weeks, officials said yesterday.

Residents started falling ill after drinking the traditional spirit at a series of funerals in a village in central Kampong Chhnang province, according to the director of the local hospital.

The ceremonial drink is a staple at Cambodian festivals, funerals and weddings. But it can be deadly if brewed improperly with methanol.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2016, with the headline 'Asia Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe