Fri, May 07, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ United StatesWorker survives nail gun

A Los Angeles construction worker had six nails driven into his head in an accident with a high-powered nail gun, but doctors said on Wednesday they expect him to make a full recovery. Isidro Mejia made his first public appearance on Wednesday since the April 19 accident that left him with nails embedded in his face, neck and skull. He told reporters in Spanish from his wheelchair that he does not remember much about the accident, but is grateful to be alive. Mejia, 39, was building a home when he fell from the roof onto a co-worker who was using the nail gun on the second floor, Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Mark Newlands said. Three nails penetrated Mejia's brain, and one entered his spine below the base of his skull.

■ United States

Cool change aids firefight

Firefighters got help from cooler weather and diminishing winds as they tried to contain three wildfires in Southern California. The fire by Wednesday had burned more than 8,800 hectares and destroyed at least 14 homes. Thousands of people remained evacuated from their homes as the two largest fires burned grass and low-lying scrub in Riverside County, an inland region east of Los Angeles. But high temperatures over 38 degrees Celsius and strong wind gusts that fanned the flames early in the week had abated.

■ United States

Driver leaves slippery trail

Hundreds of liters of cooking oil collected spilled from a truck, causing vehicles to skid and slip across a Palm Beach County, Florida, roadway. Officials closed a half a kilometer of the road for nearly seven hours on Wednesday while they used cat litter, sand and cement to clean up the greasy surface. "It was like walking on ice," said one policeman, who added the area smelled like french fries. The spill occurred because the driver for a reprocessing company that collects used oil from restaurants failed to secure a valve -- and made several turns as he drove away from a restaurant, oblivious to the trail of oil he was leaving behind.

■ United Kingdom

Craving for chocolate

A woman with an apparently insatiable sweet tooth stunned staff at a British shop when she bought more than 10,000 chocolate bars and had them loaded into her chauffeur-driven limousine. The woman asked staff at a north London Woolworths branch for every single Mars bar in stock -- 10,656 of them packed in 220 boxes -- and paid for them in cash with £50 notes, a store spokesman said. The total bill was £2,131. "It was very, very strange but nobody thought to ask her why she wanted so many," the spokesman said.

■ United States

All for Smoochie

A 44-year-old woman who told police she robbed a string of banks to raise money to pay for surgery for her cat pleaded not guilty to larceny in Brooklyn Criminal Court on Monday. Catherine Kaczanowski, who was arrested last month, said she set off on her crime spree after learning her stray cat Smoochie had a cancerous tumor and needed surgery.

■ Hong KongOpposition slams Tung

Pro-democracy lawmakers yesterday accused Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa (董建華) of blocking democratic development by imposing guidelines on political reforms. ``All those guidelines are in fact obstacles to democracy,'' said opposition lawmaker Frederick Fung (馮檢基), referring to the nine reform guidelines Tung recommended in a report that Beijing recently endorsed. Fung introduced a motion in the Legislative Council on Wednesday to reject the guidelines but Pro-Beijing and big-business lawmakers voted down the nonbinding motion with a 33 to 22 vote. On Wednesday, opposition lawmakers also attacked Tung for failing to consult the public before submitting his report.

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