Sat, Oct 25, 2003 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ China
Mother poisoned food

A mother pining for her son's attention was behind a mass food poisoning in central China that killed 10 and left 23 others seriously ill. The mother, Chen Xiaomei, poured rat poison into rice served at a lunch in Huaping village, Hubei province, which took place Tuesday after her own husband's funeral. The guests soon started vomiting and shivering violently, and could not be given immediate medical care because of the remote location of the village, with fatal consequences. Chen merely wanted her son and daughter-in-law to get sick enough to ask her for money for medical treatment, she said.

■ Cambodia

New Zealander charged

A provincial court has charged a 53-year-old New Zealander with raping over a half-dozen underage Cambodian girls in the northern town of Siem Reap. Robert Graham Cleghorn, 53, a resident of the town since the early 1990s and a private tourist guide, was arrested on Thursday after a nearly six-month investigation into his alleged rape of three girls, aged from 15 to 17. Authorities who arrested Cleghorn found five more underage girls at the home, and suspected that the girls were his latest victims.

■ Hong Kong

China hopes to get a lift

In an apparent bid to boost Hong Kong's tepid patriotism toward China, the country's first astronaut will visit the former British colony next week. Yang Liwei (楊利偉) has been hailed a hero in China after he orbited the Earth 14 times in China's first manned space flight. But reaction in Hong Kong has been more muted. A celebratory parade didn't attract much notice, and some here have said China's money would be better spent on reducing poverty.

■ Australia
Sharks getting smaller

The great white sharks of today aren't a patch on their ancestors, Australian and New Zealand scientists said yesterday. A massive tooth from a shark species that swam in the Tasman Sea between three and 25 million years ago is proof that the great whites of yesteryear were twice the size of those swimming there now. The tooth was found by marine research scientist Alan Williams, who headed a joint Australia-New Zealand expedition to the Tasman Sea earlier this year as part of the global marine life census. He said the tooth's owner would have been about 15m long.

■ Zimbabwe

Food shortages strike

Serious shortages of food in parts of Zimbabwe have forced some families to resort to prostitution and child labor, a UN report said on Thursday. The monthly humanitarian situation report said many households were relying on "negative coping mechanisms such as child labor and prostitution as food shortages worsen across the country." Others raised money to buy food through the sale of livestock, illegal gold panning or selling traditional beer brewed from wild fruit, it said. According to the UN food agency, the World Food Programme, an increasing number of children have been dropping out of school because of hunger.

■ Eritrea

Australian sheep reach land

After months at sea and unwanted by dozens of nations on health grounds, the African nation of Eritrea has agreed to take a shipment of 52,000 Australian sheep, the Australian government said yesterday. The sheep were being unloaded at the Eritrean port of Massawa yesterday after the Dutch-owned ship carrying the sheep, the Cormo Express, was secretly turned around in recent days during a trip back to Australia. "It's all signed, sealed and delivered," a spokesman for Australian Agriculture Minister Warren Truss said yesterday. "It's a huge relief." The unloading ends an 80-day sea voyage that began on Aug. 6 and has been a huge embarrassment for the Australian government.

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