World Briefs: 41 die after drinking bath oil in Siberian city

At least 40 residents of the Siberian city of Irkutsk have died after drinking bath oil, Russian investigators say.VIDEO: REUTERS

41 die after drinking bath oil in Siberian city

MOSCOW • At least 41 residents of the Siberian city of Irkutsk have died after drinking scented bath oil in a desperate search for an alcoholic high in one of the deadliest cases of its kind in years, Russian investigators said yesterday.

Use of counterfeit or surrogate alcohol is rife in Russia's regions, where two years of economic pain have pushed more people below the poverty line.

Russian media reported that the victims were poor residents of Irkutsk, a hardscrabble city around 4,000km east of Moscow.


New bills flown into Venezuela amid crisis

CARACAS • A jetload of new 500-bolivar (S$70) notes finally arrived in Venezuela on Sunday after its delayed arrival sparked protests and looting that jolted President Nicolas Maduro's unpopular government.

The government had briefly pulled from circulation the largest-denomination 100-bolivar bill without replacing it on Thursday; denominations of up to 20,000 bolivares are expected to follow.


Austrian far-right inks deal with Putin's party

VIENNA•  Austria's far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) said yesterday it has struck a "cooperation pact" with the party of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is courting populist movements across Europe in an anti-EU drive.

FPOe chief Heinz-Christian Strache signed the five-year agreement with senior United Russia officials during a trip to Russia, where he also renewed criticism of international sanctions against Moscow.


Six killed in Nigeria communal violence

KANO (Nigeria) • At least six people were killed in an eruption of communal violence at the weekend between herders and farmers in central Nigeria, police told Agence France-Presse yesterday.

The violence was sparked last Saturday after the body of a herder, who had been robbed of his motorcycle, was found in a village in eastern Taraba state, the region's police commissioner Yunana Yakubu Babas said.


Quake, aftershocks rattle Ecuador coast

QUITO • A 5.8-magnitude earthquake followed by more than 20 aftershocks rattled Ecuador's Pacific coast before dawn yesterday, causing one death and heavy damage to hotels and homes in resort towns, officials said.

The north-western province of Esmeraldas - hit hard by a devastating temblor in April - bore the brunt of the new quake. A 75-year-old woman died of a heart attack as a result of the quake, said provincial governor Gabriel Rivera.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2016, with the headline 'World Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe