Sun, Feb 01, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ AfghanistanCivilians killed in airstrike

An American airstrike in an Afghan village earlier this month killed 10 civilians, President Hamid Karzai said yesterday. The US military had said it killed five militants during a Jan. 17 raid against suspected Taliban leaders in southern Uruzgan province and insisted it fired only on armed men. But Karzai said an Interior Ministry investigation into the attack, some 400km southwest of the capital, Kabul, established that 10 civilians had died. At the time of the raid, local officials had maintained that 11 civilians were killed: four men, four children and three women. "There are casualties unfortunately, according to the report that I have received, of civilians, of children and men and women," Karzai told reporters at his palace.

■ North Korea

Groups vow climactic fight

North Korea's youth and female groups vowed a "death-defying" fight against the US while stressing closer ties with South Korea amid a standoff over the communist country's nuclear weapons development. "The most correct option and only way to defend the dignity and sovereignty of the country and the nation is a death-defying fight against the US," the state-run Central Committee of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League and the Central Committee of the Korean Democratic Women's Union said.

■ Singapore

Wife arrested for false claim

A mother of four was charged in Singapore with conspiracy to cheat three insurance firms after the Sri Lankan husband she maintained was dead for 16 years was sighted twice in Colombo. Renuga Devi Sinnaduray, 47, who lives in Singapore, was accused of collecting a life insurance payout of 330,000 Singapore dollars (US$195,000) during her court appearance on Friday, The Straits Times reported yesterday. A former lawyer who helped prepare documents for the insurance claim tipped the authorities off in June that the "dead" man had been sighted at least twice in Colombo.

■ Hong Kong

Man held over glass charge

A German tourist has been arrested in Hong Kong for allegedly blackmailing several upscale hotels by claiming he was served food mixed with shattered glass, a police spokeswoman said yesterday. Officers arrested the man, who was not identified, on Friday as he picked up a HK$30,750 (US$3,942) check from a five-star hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui tourist district, police spokeswoman Margaret Ho said. Lamey Chang, a spokeswoman for The Peninsula, confirmed the arrest and the alleged blackmailing but refused to comment further. The man remains in custody and hasn't been charged, Ho said.

■ Australia

China had `secret key' plan

China's first space traveller had permission to crash-land in the Australian outback, news reports said yesterday. An Australian newspaper said Canberra had a secret agreement with Beijing that provided for China's first astronaut to ditch his craft in the outback in an emergency. The paper said the government didn't tell the public of the disaster plan -- although it alerted emergency services to the possibility of a crash landing. In the event of a crash, a Chinese official from Canberra would have opened the capsule with a secret key. China insisted on having the official present to make sure Australian scientists could not steal any rocket technology secrets, the paper said.

■ South AfricaSnakes let loose in bank

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