Mon, Jun 07, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ China

Jail for insulting corpse

The manager of a hostel in southern China was sentenced to six months in jail on charges of insulting a corpse after he threw the body of a dead customer in a river to avoid bad publicity, the government said yesterday. The victim, an alleged drug addict surnamed Lin, was found dead in Deng Jincai's hostel in the southern city of Haikou by a woman who had spent the night injecting drugs with him, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Hoping to avoid "ominous implications from the death if made public," Deng wrapped the body in bedding, put it in a cardboard box, carried it on the back of a motorcycle and threw it in a river.

■ Hong Kong

Wily hostage fakes seizure

An Australian man scared off robbers demanding the security number for his ATM card by faking an epileptic seizure, the Sunday Morning Post reported yesterday. Tom Beckett was lured into a dead-end alley by two women who said they would take to him to a DVD shop in Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong. Five robbers showed up and took him hostage in a nearby building, but Beckett, with his mouth taped, feigned an epileptic seizure. The robbers tried to treat him by pouring water over him and massaging his chest -- but only after taking his watch and cash. They then escorted Beckett out of the building and set him free.

■ China

Houses buried

A massive wave of soil and coal mine waste collapsed on a village in western China, burying 24 people and killing at least three, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday. Rescuers pulled three people alive from the wreckage of Saturday afternoon's landslide on the outskirts of the town of Wandong in the Chongqing region, but don't expect to find any more survivors, Xinhua said. The bodies of three dead were also recovered, it said. The collapse sparked by heavy rain sent debris racing 500m and buried 14 homes, the report said.

■ Australia

US charges Australian

US officials have presented charges against an Australian detained at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, beginning the process for him to face a military commission, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Sunday. Authorities were to decide whether David Hicks would stand trial on the charges, details of which weren't available. "The latest information I have is that charges against Mr. Hicks by the prosecution have been presented to the appointed authority and that is the first step to the convening of a military commission," Howard said. Hicks' lawyers said the charges were presented months ago, but that Hicks has not yet been formally charged with anything.

■ China

Food hygiene lax

About half of China's food export companies failed to meet hygiene and quality standards, state media said in a report that highlights the country's widespread food safety problems.After an investigation into 11,000 food firms, China's certification administration had revoked export rights for nearly 2,600 of them and ordered changes at 3,000 others, China Central Television said on its Web site. The probe aimed to boost the competitiveness of China's food exporters, cctv.com quoted Liu Xiande, the administration's chief of registration, as saying.

■ Congo

Rebel factions fight

UN officials said on Saturday ex-rebel fighters now part of Congo's army had forced a rival faction out of the eastern town of Walikale, but it was not clear whether the fighters were allies of insurgents who seized another city this week. UN spokesman in Kinshasa Hamadoun Toure said a UN reconnaissance mission had found no sign of renegade troops movements from Bukavu -- which was overrun by dissident soldiers on Wednesday -- to Walikale, some 150km to the northwest. However, he said former rebel fighters in the town had told the UN team that they were in control of Walikale after clashing with traditional Mai Mai warriors on Friday.

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