Mon, Apr 12, 2004 - Page 6 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Australia
Official makes Iraq claims

Australia rejected claims by a former defense adviser yesterday that she had been sacked for refusing to exaggerate evidence of Iraq's weapons programs, a key basis for Australia's joining the US war in Iraq. Jane Errey, a former analyst with Australia's Defense Science and Technology Organization, said she had been sacked because she had refused to write briefing papers supporting claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. "I felt like I was part of the propaganda machine," Errey told The Sunday Herald Sun. "Anything that I was doing with respect to the war was making me uncomfortable ... I wouldn't lie or mislead the public," said Errey, who worked as the chief adviser to Australia's former top defense scientist, Ian Chessell.

■ China

Smuggled silver nabbed

Chinese customs officials seized 360kg of smuggled silver from a Hong Kong truck crossing the border into Shenzhen, newspapers reported yesterday. Officers found 24 silver bars worth 864,000 Chinese yuan (US$104,400) in a hidden compartment in the truck earlier this week, the Oriental Daily News reported. The Wen Wei Po said it was the second attempt to smuggle silver blocked in less than a month, amid rising silver prices. It said Shenzhen's customs department found six silver bars weighing 90km in another Hong Kong vehicle on March 14. Oriental Daily News reported that batch was worth 216,000 yuan.

■ Australia

Heroin hidden in pastries

Customs officers arrested a man after discovering heroin stashed in pastries he allegedly tried to bring into Australia on a flight from Thailand, authorities said yesterday. The officials discovered the drug wrapped in pastry when they searched the bags of a passenger who arrived at Sydney Airport on a flight from Bangkok on Friday, federal police said in a statement. It was not immediately clear how much heroin was found. Police said they found two boxes of confections and inside each was "a quantity of white powder wrapped in plastic covered in a thin pastry." The 22-year-old Australian was charged with heroin smuggling and was due to appear in court tomorrow.

■ Hong Kong

Waste enters sanctuary

A truck fell on its side, spilling sodium hydroxide into a sewage system that discharges into waters near the territory's Mai Po bird sanctuary, the government said yesterday. The government said the truck lost 500 liters of the highly corrosive liquid, also known as caustic soda. It can cause severe eye and respiratory irritation. Ming Pao Daily News published a photo of firefighters hosing the spillage site to dilute the chemical. The newspaper quoted a Mai Po official as expressing fears that the chemical, while not immediately lethal, could accumulate in the birds over time and cause long-term effects.

■ Thailand

Former MP shot

A former MP and a village chief were gunned down in Thailand's Muslim-dominated south on the weekend, becoming the latest victims of a wave of violence that has left at least 60 people dead this year, police said yesterday. The shootings came while Thailand was on high terror alert over the traditional new year holiday Songkran, which began Saturday, amid concerns that militants from the south could mount a major attack.

■ Brazil
Deadly day for Rio slum

A day of drug gang-related violence in one of Rio de Janeiro's largest slums killed eight people, including police and bystanders, before hundreds of police officers restored calm on Saturday. Friday's killings started when several dozen heavily armed drug traffickers closed a road near the Rocinha shantytown and stole several cars, police said. One motorist was shot to death during the robbery. During the police pursuit, the alleged gang members shot at police, killing two bystanders with stray bullets. The traffickers then had a gunbattle with a rival drug gang over drug selling areas. Later Friday, a shootout between police and gang members killed two officers and two alleged drug traffickers.

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