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Britain's most powerful police officer resigned Thursday, saying he had effectively been pushed out of the job by the mayor of London. "At a meeting yesterday, the new mayor made clear in a very pleasant and determined way that he wished there to be a change of leadership at the Met," Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said. Blair, 55, has had a rocky time and faced calls for his resignation almost since he took office in February 2005. After terrorists attacked London's transportation system that summer, a Brazilian man was fatally shot by police gunmen who, because of a series of missteps, mistook him for a terrorist. No police officers resigned after the shooting, although it was clear that the department had made major mistakes. More recently, Blair has been feuding with two Asian officers, who have accused him of presiding over a force rife with racial discrimination.


122 tons of milk powder rejected

A Thai dairy company said Thursday it will return 122 tons of milk powder imported from China over contamination fears, as some Asian countries tried to respond carefully to the widening scandal involving a major trading partner. Thailand's Dutch Mill Group made the announcement even though the country's food inspection authorities said they had not found dangerous amounts of the industrial chemical melamine in any foods tested. Taiwan and Laos, meanwhile, announced measures to stop the sale of some milk products after tests in the two countries found melamine in several brands of milk powder originating from China. Milk containing melamine has been blamed for killing four Chinese babies and sickening more than 54,000 others, sparking global concerns about food products made with Chinese milk or milk powder.

South Korea

Actor's death tied to Web rumors

One of South Korea's most famous actors was found dead in her home Thursday in what the police called a suicide. They linked her death to malicious online rumors, a growing social problem in South Korea, which has one of the world's most active online communities and one of its highest suicide rates. The body of the actor, Choi Jin Sil, 39, was found in the bathroom of her apartment with a rope made out of bandages around her neck, said Yang Jae Ho, a senior police investigator. Already struggling with a messy divorce, she had been deeply troubled by online accusations that she had driven another actor to gas himself in his car a month earlier, Yang said. The actor, Ahn Jae Hwan, was struggling with debt, and the rumors said she had pressed him relentlessly to repay money she had lent. She complained to the police about the rumors, which she called baseless, and they were investigating when she died.


Algeria: Torrential rains in the Algerian Sahara caused flash floods that killed 30 people and injured dozens in a historic oasis region, officials in the North African nation said Thursday.