Representative resigns post
The embattled representative in Australia of the British Queen resigned yesterday after a sex scandal from his clergyman past stripped him of public and political support, Australian media reported. Governor-General Peter Hollingworth resigned because it was clear the controversy and allegations made against him had the potential to undermine the office of governor-general, media reports said, quoting Hollingworth. Hollingworth, a 68-year-old former archbishop, stepped aside earlier this month after news emerged that he had been accused of rape. But he refused to bow to calls for his resignation after an Anglican church inquiry found he had protected pedophile priests in the 1990s as archbishop of Brisbane. A court dismissed the untested rape claim on Friday but the child sex scandal continued to dog Hollingworth.
Airport siege ends
An Indian policeman, who authorities said shot dead his commanding officer and took six constables captive at Bombay airport, surrendered to police early yesterday, ending a nearly seven-hour hostage drama. The policeman, who apparently had a row with his superior over leave, was holed up along with the hostages in a guard room just inside the departure lounge of financial hub Bombay's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Police had held three rounds of talks and deployed about 20 heavily armed commandos in an effort to try to persuade the suspect, identified as 22-year-old R. Namdeo, to give up peacefully.
Pyongyang gives nod to talks
North Korea said yesterday it would agree to US demands to hold multilateral talks over its nuclear program that included South Korea and Japan but only if Pyongyang and Washington held bilateral talks first. Quoting a North Korean Foreign Ministry statement, Japan's Kyodo news agency said the North criticized the US for keeping silent about a "new and bold proposal" made by Pyongyang in three-way talks with China last month on the North Korean nuclear standoff. "The US has not yet said any word about the DPRK's proposal for the settlement of the nuclear issue but is talking about the format of talks, calling for the `five-party talks,'" said the statement issued by North Korea.
Team cleans Mount Everest
A Japanese-led climbing team has cleared 2.4 tonnes of rubbish from Mount Everest, removing most of the decades-old trash days before the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of the world's highest mountain. Japan's Ken Noguchi, who launched the clean-up drive this month, said his 30-member team of Japanese, Korean and Nepali climbers collected 51 oxygen cylinders, food cans, tents, gas tanks, plastic and ropes from various camps en route to the peak.
■ The Philippines
Arroyo returns from US
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo returned home yesterday from a high-profile US visit, highlighted by a state dinner at the White House for her strong support for the Iraq conflict and the global war on terror. Arroyo cut short her US visit to check on an ongoing military offensive she ordered just before leaving last week against "embedded terrorists" she blames for bombings and attacks that have killed 210 people in the Philippines' troubled south this year.
New president sworn in
Nestor Kirchner was set to be sworn in yesterday as Argentina's new president, inheriting challenges that include guiding the country out of an economic depression and overhauling the military. Thirteen regional leaders are expected to attend the inauguration including Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Cuba's Fidel Castro was among those who arrived here late Saturday. Kirchner, 53, will also have to try to ease Argentina back into the good graces of international financial institutions and the international community.