Two US lottery winners pull

in a total exceeding $1b


WASHINGTON (AFP): Some lucky person in New Hampshire has won $560 million in a Powerball lottery, officials said Sunday, just two days after someone in Florida won a cool $450 million, helping push the weekend’s total past $1 billion, apparently for the first time in US history. The winning ticket in New Hampshire was sold at Reeds Ferry Market in Merrimack, a city of 25,000, state lottery officials said. The identity of the winner was not immediately revealed. The $560 million prize, the sixth-largest Powerball jackpot ever, came a year and a half after another New Hampshire player cashed in a $487 million Powerball ticket. The winning Mega Millions ticket in Florida was purchased at a 7-Eleven convenience store in the small central town of Port Richey. The $450 million payout was the fourth-largest jackpot ever in that lottery.

That winner was also not identified.

Lottery officials in both states congratulated the winners but urged them to take proper precautions.

“Before the winner begins making plans to buy an expensive yacht or a mansion, I would encourage him or her to take a moment to process what winning the prize means,” said Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery, in a statement Sunday.

The winner, he said, should sign the winning ticket; talk to a lawyer and meet with a financial professional; and “think about what you want to do with the money” before actually claiming the prize.

The New Hampshire winner has a full year to do so, and can choose between an instant cash payment of $358.5 million or yearly payments over 30 years for the full amount. The store that sold the winning ticket receives a $75,000 commission.

The winner in Florida has 180 days to claim the prize, either as a one-time payment of $281.2 million or in 30 annual payments. The 7-Eleven store that sold the ticket wins $100,000.




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Two jailed for insulting policeman who killed dog in China


BEIJING (AFP): Two men have been jailed in China for insulting a policeman and posting his personal information online after a video of the officer beating a dog to death stirred outrage. The two men were handed five-day sentences on Saturday, the Changsha police bureau in the central province of Hunan said on their official Weibo social media account.

One of the men published the address and photos of the policeman’s house online, while the other “openly insulted” him, the bureau said. The policeman, surnamed Chen, was seen killing a leashed golden retriever on a sidewalk in front of a dozen onlookers in a video posted online last month. Surveillance footage from police showed the dog had attacked at least four people. Lacking a dart gun and unable to trace its owner, Chen and another officer decided to bludgeon the dog to death “to prevent it from hurting more pedestrians”, the local Tianxin bureau of Changsha police said on Weibo.

Infuriated dog lovers also directed their anger at Chen’s mother, who was harassed at her convenience store, according to the local Xiaoxiang Morning newspaper.

The Tianxin police bureau also received numerous phone calls questioning the officer’s behaviour, it said.

“Killing a dog on the street, no matter a good dog or a mad dog, will cause trauma and pain to some Internet users,” wrote one concerned commentater on Weibo.

“I support the police in the crackdown of stray dogs, and hope that they devote greater effort in eliminating the mad dogs in public area,” wrote another.




Conjoined Gaza twins separated

in ‘successful’ Saudi operation


RIYADH (AFP): Conjoined twin girls born in the blockaded Palestinian enclave of the Gaza Strip were separated in “successful” surgery in Riyadh Monday, the state-run Saudi Press Agency said in a statement. Dr Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabiah, who headed the team that operated on Farah and Haneen at the King Abdullah Specialist Children’s Hospital, “affirmed the success of the separation surgery”, SPA said. The operation began on Monday morning, and involved nine stages of anaesthesia and the separation of multiple organs, including the liver, as well as restoring organs in Haneen.

The news comes months after a doctor and family member of the twins pleaded from Gaza that they be allowed to go abroad for the complex surgery. Allam Abu Hamda, head of the neonatal unit at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, told AFP in October the girls were born joined at the stomach and pelvis and that the complicated condition could not be dealt with in the enclave.

Israel has maintained a blockade of the enclave for a decade, citing security fears over Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas.

Conjoined twins who share key organs have a low chance of survival.

Farah and Haneen, whose condition Abu Hamda said was stable, have one shared leg but separate hearts and lungs.

Conjoined twins born in Gaza in November 2016 later died.

In 2010, conjoined twins from Gaza were transferred to Saudi Arabia for surgery to separate them, but doctors in Riyadh said their condition was too delicate to operate and they died.




Nose spray tested to kick

gambling habit


HELSINKI (AFP): Finnish researchers on Monday said they were to launch a study to see if gambling addiction can be treated with a fast-working nasal spray. The spray contains naloxone, an emergency treatment for opiate overdoses (heroin, opium, morphine) that blocks the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure with a central role in addictions. “The spray goes to the brain in a few minutes so it’s very useful for a gambler... if you crave gambling, just take the spray,” Hannu Alho, professor of addiction medicine at the Helsinki-based National Institute for Health and Welfare, told AFP. Up to 130 volunteers will take part in the experiment, which is “the first of its kind globally to use nasal spray,” Alho said. Half will use the treatment for three months, and the other half will get a placebo. Alho said a previous attempt to beat gambling addiction with a pill containing a substance similar to naloxone had benefits, but wasn’t efficient enough as the pill takes at least one hour before it is absorbed.

“Gambling is a very impulsive behaviour...the need to gamble starts right away,” Alho said.

“For this reason we are seeking a medication with a quick effect...the nasal spray acts in just a few minutes.”

The experiment is to be launched next week and is expected to last for a year.