Sun, Mar 14, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ The Philippines
Vice president supports Poe

Philippine Vice President Teofisto Guingona, a former ally of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, expressed support yesterday for Arroyo's most serious contender in the May 10 elections. The second highest leader in the Philippines said he has "accepted" an offer from movie icon Fernando Poe, an opposition presidential candidate, to become one of his advisers. "Poe asserts that he is his own man. If so, coupled with the right political will -- he can chart a meaningful change to rebuild the nation under God," Guingona said in a statement. Guingona bolted from the administration party following differences with Arroyo over policies.

■ China

Textbooks to tell truth

For decades, the Chinese have clung to the myth that their most famous creation, the Great Wall, is visible from space. Even today, elementary school textbooks in the world's most populous nation proclaim that the structure can be seen by the naked eye of an orbiting cosmonaut. But those schoolbooks are being rewritten after China's first man in space, Yang Liwei (楊利偉), shattered the myth when he returned from orbiting the earth last year, saying he couldn't see the wall, the Beijing Times newspaper reported Friday. "Having this falsehood printed in our elementary school textbooks is probably the main cause of the misconception being so widely spread," the paper said.

■ Vietnam

Grenade kills two

A war-era grenade exploded in Vietnam as a man was sawing into it, killing two men and injuring four bystanders, a local police officer said yesterday. Dang Hai and Dang Dung found the grenade and took it to a waste metal trader in Binh Thuan province who agreed to buy the unexploded ordnance if the explosives were removed, said Nguyen Duc Chien, a police officer from the province. The grenade exploded as Hai was sawing into it, killing him and Nguyen Thu Hue, the metal trader, immediately, Chien said.

■ Australia

Superfine wool sold

It is described as the sheep-farming equivalent of breaking the four-minute mile: a US$495,000 bale of wool produced in a climate-controlled barn -- and so fine it has to be kept in a bank vault. The waist-high bale of the finest wool ever produced was auctioned in Australia on Friday to a Chinese company which hopes to turn it into suits worth US$73,000 apiece. At 11.9 microns in thickness, the wool is twice as fine as the finest human hair, with roughly the diameter of a grain of talcum powder. The Sydney auction saw the 90kg bale, produced by a sheep farm nicknamed the Wooldorf Astoria, sell for more than US$5,400 a kilo.

■ Indonesia

`Carcass flower' sets record

A rare flower that smells like rotting flesh and grows nearly 3m tall has bloomed in Indonesia, setting a new record for the species' height, officials said yesterday. The Amorphophallus titanum -- known locally as a "carcass flower" for the stench its bulbs emit upon opening -- blossomed Thursday at the Cibodas Botanical Garden in Bogor. The flower comes from the rain forests of Sumatra island, and typically grows to more than 2.7m tall. Officials at the garden on the southern outskirts of the capital Jakarta claimed this particular flower reached a height of 2.9m. "This is the biggest flower I've ever seen," said Asih Wulandari, a spokeswoman for the botanical garden. "It's a giant flower, but no one likes the smell. It reminds you of a dead animal."

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