Sun, Dec 14, 2003 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Australia
Tourist dies in the desert

A British tourist has died after walking 40km in sweltering heat to find help when his car got stuck in the Australian desert, police said yesterday. Thomas Henry Sykes, 35, from London, died on Friday at the Punmu Aboriginal Community nursing post in remote Western Australia state. He had been found alive, slipping in and out of consciousness, about 20km away from the township. Sykes' car had been discovered by two motorists a day earlier where it became bogged, about 60km east of the Punmu settlement in the Pilbara region of northern Western Australia.

■ Japan

Fortune found in garbage

A garbage disposal plant in central Japan has hit the jackpot. Operations at the plant suddenly came to a halt on Friday morning when a machine used to crush refuse began spewing out 10,000 yen-bills (US$93) onto a conveyor belt. In total, some 31 million yen (US$287,000) had found its way into the garbage, Gyoda city police said yesterday.

Police sifted through the some 3,200 soiled bills strewn across the floor, patching together the torn pieces with tape. No one has come forward to claim the money, and police are trying to track down the owner. If the money is not claimed within six months, it will go to Gyoda city.

■ Hong Kong

Concert flops investigated

An investigation has been launched by the government into a troubled series of pop concerts that were meant to lure tourists to Hong Kong after the SARS epidemic, but ended up costing taxpayers US$12.9 million. The shows -- which included performances by the Rolling Stones, Santana and Prince -- were organized by the American Chamber of Commerce and the government's promotion arm, InvestHK, and took place between Oct. 17 and Nov. 9. But the program, dubbed HarbourFest, was plagued by problems, including disappointing ticket sales, the cancellation of several stars and a row over whether the government should be financially supporting a commercial operation.

■ India

Acid attacker blinded

A judge has ruled that a Pakistani man found guilty of attacking his 17-year-old fiancee with acid be blinded with acid himself as part of his punishment, police said on Friday. Mohammed Sajid, 19, poured acid on the face of his fiancee, Rabia Bibi, with the help of his two brothers and two friends. The woman lost both eyes and her face was burned in the attack that police said followed a minor dispute between the couple. Judge Afzal Sharif ruled on Thursday that Sajid and his brothers were guilty of the attack and be jailed for seven years, and that Sajid be blinded by putting acid in his eyes. The judge ordered that a doctor perform the punishment publicly at a local sports stadium.

■ Australia

Asylum seekers refuse food

Ten more asylum seekers detained by Australia on a remote Pacific island have joined a hunger strike, taking to 22 the number of detainees there and in Australia refusing food, a government spokesman said yesterday. Four of the Nauru hunger strikers have sewn their lips together to try to press Canberra to reverse a decision to reject their refugee applications. The hunger strike, which began on Wednesday, is the latest in a string of protests, riots, escapes and suicide bids by people held at Australian immigration detention centers.

■ United States
11-year old murderer

An 11-year-old boy who admitted luring a 3-year-old boy from a library and beating him to death with a baseball bat was sentenced in New Jersey on Friday to 18 years in the custody of New Jersey's juvenile-justice system. Under a plea bargain, the boy pleaded guilty on Thursday to kidnapping and murdering the child, Amir Beeks of Woodbridge, New Jersey, on March 26. On Friday, he was sentenced in a closed hearing after the slain child's adoptive mother read a letter that she said described the crime as a "senseless, horrible beating" of a normal, happy 3-year-old. Afterward, the mother, Rosalyn Singleton, 38, also denounced the 11-year-old and his father for what she said was their failure to show remorse during the sentencing hearing.

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