Thu, Mar 04, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ VietnamBird flu contained

Vietnam has contained its bird flu outbreak that killed 15 people in addition to tens of millions of chickens and hopes to declare an end to the crisis by the end of March, the government said yesterday. No new cases of the disease in poultry have been reported in the country since last Thursday, said Bui Quang Anh, director of the Veterinary Department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Fifty-three of the country's 57 bird flu-affected provinces have been free of new cases for more than a week, he added.

■ Nepal

Rebels kill 29 troops

Maoist rebels attacked a telecommunications tower in Nepal's mountainous east yesterday, killing at least 29 government troops, officials said. Ten soldiers were missing and at least 10 rebels were killed in hours of fighting, they said. The rebels knocked down the tower, cutting communications to the area, and set fire to a bank and a government office before fleeing in their biggest attack since walking out of peace talks last August, the officials said. Twelve other soldiers guarding the tower were injured and 10 were reported missing in the fighting.

■ China

Dissident shown mercy

A jailed Uighur dissident had her eight-year sentence for "supplying state secrets to foreigners" reduced by one year in a rare move by China's hardline government, a US-based rights group said yesterday. Rebiya Kadeer, 57, is now due to be released from the Women's Prison of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on August 12, 2006, John Kamm, director of the Dui Hua Foundation said in a statement. "According to sources in the Chinese government, if Rebiya Kadeer continues to demonstrate `genuine repentance and willingness to reform,' more sentence reductions or good behavior parole can be considered," he said.

■ India

`AIDS' man kills family

An Indian man said he killed his family and attempted suicide in despair after being wrongly told he had AIDS. "I found that my world had come crashing down" after receiving the faulty diagnosis by telephone, factory welder Madhava Rao, 35, told reporters on Monday in a hospital where he was recovering from swallowing poison. He wept over the killing of his wife, Shanta Kumari, 28, and sons, age 1 and 3. "I was worried that my family will have to suffer after my death and I did not want that to happen," Rao said, explaining why he killed them.

■ Australia

Wool worth more than gold

A flock of pampered Australian sheep have produced the world's finest bale of wool, expected to fetch more than a million Australian dollars (US$760,000) at auction. The Australian Wool Testing Authority last week certified it was the first ever measured at 11 microns thick. The bale's owner, pastoral company Elders, said it was too early to accurately gauge the value of the wool, which will most likely be used by a top fashion house for ultra-luxury garments. However, a bale of 13 micron wool was sold to a Japanese company for A$1.2 million dollars in 1997 and Elders' marketing manager Maurie McNeill said the latest bale could fetch even more. If so, it means the wool would be worth more than gold The Australian newspaper reported the owners called their flock's purpose-build shed the "Wooldorf Astoria" and said the animals enjoyed special food, a climate-controlled environment and listened to soothing piped music to reduce stress.

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