Wed, Apr 07, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Japan
Tokyo gets tough on N Korea

Japan's ruling parties submitted a bill to parliament yesterday that would allow Tokyo to ban North Korean ships from Japanese ports, a move intended to put pressure on Pyongyang to resolve a feud over abducted Japanese. The bill's target is a controversial North Korean ferry, the only passenger link between the two countries and a vital source of hard currency for North Korea's impoverished economy, lawmakers who drafted the legislation have said. "The government's fundamental policy [towards North Korea] is dialogue and pressure," Foreign Ministry Yoriko Kawaguchi was quoted by Kyodo news agency as telling a news conference. "The bill is one tool to use."

■ Hong Kong

Boss tried to steal recipe

A chef in southern China is suing his boss for putting a spy camera in the kitchen to steal his secret recipes, a news report said yesterday. The chef, an expert in Sichuanese cuisine, found a hidden camera in his restaurant kitchen he claims was installed by his boss to try to discover his recipes. He is now suing the restaurant in Guangdong Province for 100,000 yuan (US$12,000) for psychological damage, the South China Morning Post reported. His boss responded that the camera was installed not to steal recipes but to keep an eye out for laziness among kitchen staff, the newspaper said.

■ Kazakhstan

Government critics harassed

An international rights group slammed Kazakhstan's government yesterday for allegedly harassing opposition figures ahead of parliamentary elections. "The government is attempting to keep its fiercest critics out of the media and out of politics," said Rachel Denber, acting executive director of Human Rights Watch's Europe and Central Asia Division. "This is going to undermine the integrity of the elections this fall." A report from the New York-based group detailed alleged government harassment of Kazakh opposition figures through "arbitrary criminal and misdemeanor charges and threats of job dismissal, in many cases aimed at preventing them from running for public office."

■ Afghanistan

Quake hits Hindu Kush area

A powerful earthquake jolted the remote Hindu Kush mountains along Afghanistan's northeast border with Pakistan early yesterday. Reports said at least one person was dead and probably more. "There are casualties, but we are still trying to sort out the details," said Qarabig Ezedyar, the head of the Afghan Red Crescent Society. The quake was centered in Badakhshan province and caused panic in the capital, Kabul, 275km to the southwest. The US Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 6.6 on the Richter scale, while Pakistan's Seismological Center put the magnitude

at 6.8.

■ Australia

Crime boss mourned

Hundreds of people crammed a church in Melbourne yesterday to mourn crime boss Lewis Moran, who last week became the 23rd victim of the country's worst gang war in decades. Moran, the 58-year-old patriarch of one of Melbourne's most notorious crime families, was gunned down by two masked men while drinking with a friend at an inner-city gaming club. Police fear what began as a battle for control of Melbourne's drug scene five years ago has become a tit-for-tat vendetta which may soon claim an innocent member of the public.

■ South Africa
Top musician killed

Leading South African jazz musician Gito Baloi was shot and killed in central Johannesburg, the latest prominent artist to fall victim to the country's high rates of violent crime, officials said on Monday. Police said Baloi, a Mozambican-born bass guitarist, was shot and killed early on Sunday by two assailants while driving home from a performance in Pretoria. Provincial officials called on the public to help track down his killers.

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