Japanese woman dies after 150 giant hornet stings

The Asian Hornet. (AFP)
Updated 06 October 2017
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Japanese woman dies after 150 giant hornet stings

TOKYO: An 87-year-old Japanese woman in a wheelchair has died after being stung 150 times by hundreds of giant hornets, a firefighter said Friday, as the emergency services stood by helplessly.
A swarm of hornets swooped on Chieko Kikuchi as she was on her way back from her care center in western Japan, accompanied by a helper.
The helper called firefighters but they could not reach the woman immediately as the swarm around her was too thick and they had no protective equipment.
After the ordeal, which lasted around 50 minutes, the woman was rushed to hospital but died the following day, the firefighter said.
“It was an unusual operation for us,” he admitted.
The death occurred in mid-September but was only reported on Friday, making headline news on national bulletins.
A forestry agency official said hornets often attack people when their nests are affected.
“To avoid getting stung by hornets, you should keep away from their nests, wear protective jackets and use a wasp killer spray,” the agency official said.
Some 20 people die from hornets stings every year in Japan, according to public broadcaster NHK.


Baghdad gun shops thrive after Iraqi rethink on arms control

Updated 19 August 2018
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Baghdad gun shops thrive after Iraqi rethink on arms control

  • Shop owner sees increasing demand from women, says self-defence is main reason for buying
  • Customer says legalized gun sales will act as crime deterrent

BAGHDAD: In the middle of Baghdad’s busy commercial neighborhood of Karrada, where most retail outlets sell home appliances, shoppers can now also buy handguns and semi-automatic rifles legally for the first time in decades.
After the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, illegal weapons trade flourished across the country. Looted guns from ransacked police stations and military bases were sold in streets and public areas to residents seeking to protect themselves in a state that was largely lawless.
The authorities have since been battling to curb illegal weapon sales and the government has stepped up efforts to control gun ownership through regulation.
The latest initiative came into force this summer and allows citizens to own and carry handguns, semi-automatic rifles and other assault weapons after obtaining official authorization and an identity card that also details the individual’s weapons.
Previously, gun sales were restricted to firearms for hunting and sport.
Hamza Maher opened his new gun shop in Karrada after receiving official approval from the Interior Ministry and says there has been growing demand for his wares.
“Customers are mainly men, but the number of women buyers is growing,” said Maher inside his shop, where a variety of pistols and assault rifles are on display.
“The reason for buying is self-defense, and it’s safer for citizens to buy a weapon from an authorized store instead of from an unknown source.”
Pistol prices in Maher’s shop range from $1,000 to $4,000, while Kalashnikov assault rifles can be had from as little as $400 up to $2,000, depending on the brand and manufacturing origin, he said.
Haider Al-Suhail, a tribal sheikh from Baghdad, welcomed the legalization of gun stores.
“Yes, it will decrease crime,” he said on a visit to Maher’s shop to buy assault rifles for his ranch guards. “The criminal who plans to attack others will understand that he will pay heavy price.”