Mon, Feb 23, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ China

Bird-flu restrictions lifted

China lifted restrictions on the movement of people and poultry in a bird-flu-stricken town for the first time yesterday but said this did not mean the health scare was over. Officials on Friday confirmed two more suspected cases of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu that has killed 22 people and spread to eight countries in Asia. A magistrate in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region announced "the ending of isolation" imposed on the town of Dingdang, Xinhua news agency reported. Ducks on a farm in Dingdang were confirmed last month to have died from the H5N1 strain.

■ Indonesia

Dengue fever death toll rises

The death toll from an outbreak of dengue fever in Indonesia rose to 224 yesterday, with a total of more than 11,700 reported cases this year, a health official said. "As of Sunday, a total of 224 people have died from dengue fever disease," said Sumardi, spokesman of the Health Ministry. Sumardi said as many as 11,724 people have been infected by the mosquito-born disease in 19 of the country's 30 provinces. Jakarta, the Indonesian capital of about 12 million people, has been one of the worst-hit areas, where a total of 3,930 people have been hospitalized, with 47 of these cases fatal. Most of the other cases are on Java, the densely populated island home to more than 60 percent of Indonesia's 215 million inhabitants.

■ Philippines

Abu Sayyaf strikes

Abu Sayyaf Muslim guerrillas struck again in separate areas in the southern Philippines, leaving one Abu Sayyaf fighter dead and a girl wounded, the military said yesterday. An Abu Sayyaf member was gunned down Saturday after he sneaked into an army camp in the southern island of Jolo and attacked a soldier with a machete, a military report said. It was believed that the slain man was seeking to steal firearms when he was spotted by a sentry, prompting him to attack. Another group of Abu Sayyaf fighters opened fire on houses in Talipao town on Saturday, wounding a young girl, the military said. The motive for the attack remains unknown.

■ India

Curfew set in temple town

Authorities clamped an indefinite curfew on a temple town in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh after clashes between Hindus and Muslims, police said yesterday. Officials said two people received injuries in the clashes late on Saturday night. Witnesses put the number at more than 50. Saturday's clashes began after authorities demolished a row of shops near a mosque, angering Muslims, to widen a road ahead of a Hindu fair held every 12 years. Inspector General of Police Sarabjeet Singh told Reuters the curfew was imposed in Ujjain, 350km from state capital Bhopal, to prevent a major flare-up.

■ Japan

More troops reach Gulf

A second contingent of Japanese troops, a group of 140 soldiers, reached Kuwait yesterday on their way to a reconstruction mission in neighboring Iraq. The troops, who will beef up Japan's first military deployment since World War II in a country where fighting is under way, arrived at this military base 20km south of Kuwait City, aboard a Boeing 747 Japanese government plane. The soldiers were taken by bus to Camp Virginia, a US military outpost in the desert some 70 km southwest of Kuwait City.

■ Brazil

Bus crash kills at least 31

At least 31 people were killed Saturday when a bus heading to the northern Brazilian state of Bahia plunged into a ravine, transportation officials said. Officials from bus company Viacao Itapemirim said the accident occurred before dawn near the town of Barro. The driver was among the dead. Officials said the death toll could eventually exceed 40, but so far 31 bodies had been found and retrieved. Rescue teams worked to retrieve the bus and any possible survivors, according to the company.

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