Mon, May 24, 2004 - Page 6 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ India
26 troops killed

Twenty-six Indian troops were killed and around 12 people were injured yesterday when a massive landmine planted by Islamic rebels exploded on a key Kashmir highway, police said, giving a new toll. A bus was carrying troops of the paramilitary Border Security Force from the summer capital Srinagar to the winter capital Jammu when it was torn apart by the landmine and then caught fire, a police official said. He said the impact of the blast hit a civilian bus that was following the troops. Twenty-six soldiers were killed and 12 people, including three civilians, were injured, the official said.

■ Pakistan

Commonwealth opens arms

The Commonwealth group of nations readmitted Pakistan on Saturday, citing the country's progress on democratic reforms since its suspension after a military coup five years ago. The decision ends the exclusion imposed after President Pervez Musharraf seized power in 1999 and seals Pakistan's reintegration into the international fold. "The [Commonwealth] welcomed the progress made in restoring democracy and rebuilding democratic institutions in Pakistan," Secretary-General Don McKinnon said. But the group of 53 mostly former British colonies said after a meeting of foreign ministers and diplomats it would monitor further reforms and expected Musharraf to meet a pledge to stand down as army chief by year's end.

■ China

SARS vaccine tested

Scientists have begun testing a SARS vaccine on four volunteers at a Beijing hospital, state media said yesterday, in what appears to be the first such experiment on humans. The volunteers, all in their 20s, were injected with the vaccine on Saturday at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital under tight security, reported the Beijing Youth Daily and the Guangzhou Daily, two of China's largest newspapers. A hospital official, contacted yesterday, said she could not confirm that the tests took place.

■ China

Officials threaten Liverpool

China has threatened to strip Liverpool of its twin city status with Shanghai if officials from the British city meet exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama next week, a report said yesterday. A diplomatic row has broken out between Beijing and London over the visit of the 68-year-old Buddhist leader, with China trying some distinctly strong-arm tactics, The Observer newspaper said. Among these is an ultimatum from the Chinese embassy in London to Liverpool City Council to cancel meetings with the Dalai Lama or lose its links with Shanghai, China's commercial capital and, like Liverpool, a major port city. However the Dalai Lama's program, which will see him head to London and Glasgow as well as Liverpool, is expected to go ahead as planned, The Observer said.

■ China

Net dissident's trial `unfair'

International press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Sunday condemned the trial of Chinese Internet dissident Du Daobin as "unfair" and "shocking." Du was tried on May 18 for "incitement to subvert state power" in Xiaogan, Hubei, even though his lawyer Mo Shaoping could not prepare reach the city in time. Du was appointed another lawyer who refused to enter a not guilty plea and only wanted to argue for a lighter sentence in the closed trial.

■ Colombia
Car bomb kills three

Three people were killed in a Colombian town on Saturday by a car bomb which the army blamed on Marxist rebels marking the 40th anniversary of their armed struggle. A car packed with 20kg of ANFO, an explosive used in the mining industry, blew up in the town of San Carlos, 320km northwest of the capital, Bogota, said the army, blaming the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The authorities have also blamed the rebel army, known by its Spanish initials FARC, for a bomb in the city of Medellin on Thursday, which killed four people, and for attempting to explode a tonne of ANFO in a truck near Bogota on Friday.

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