Sat, Jun 12, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Sri Lanka

Peace talks to continue

Peace talks between Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan government are likely to resume in August, after President Chandrika Kumaratunga agreed to discuss the guerrillas' proposal for self-rule, a major Tamil political alliance said yesterday. The rebel proposal has been a major stumbling block in restarting talks on ending Sri Lanka's 20-year civil war. Negotiations have been stalled since April last year. Kumaratunga met with members of the Tamil alliance on Thursday to discuss how to revive peace talks with the Tigers.

■ India

Thieves' school raided

Delhi police busted a gang of thieves last week and unwittingly unearthed a "school" which taught young boys the art of picking pockets and snatching mobile phones, a report said yesterday. Located in south Delhi, the school was run by two Sri Lankans who had arrived in the Indian capital 20 years ago, the Hindustan Times reported. The school for boys aged 11 to 15 had been operating for two years and was run like other educational institutions, complete with strict rules. A student would start by stealing vegetables from shops and graduate to bag lifting and mobile snatching.

■ Australia

Mouse-eating condemned

A competition at a pub where contestants chewed live mice in order to win a holiday was condemned as outrageous cruelty by an animal welfare group yesterday. The RSPCA said it would seek the maximum penalty against the two participants in the competition at the Brisbane pub where the incident occurred. RSPCA chief inspector Byron Hall said patrons were invited to put a mouse in their mouth and bite off its tail to win a US$500 holiday. Two men took up the dare and after they bit off the mice tails the compere egged them on by allegedly saying "the first one to eat it wins." Hall said one of the men then chewed up his mouse and spat it out onto the hotel floor.

■ China

Waiters bill for cellphones

A pair of Shanghai waiters were arrested after taking off with a customer's credit card and using it to buy cellphones while he sat in their restaurant, the Shanghai Daily reported yesterday. The diner, identified only by his surname, Zhu, had paid for lunch and was waiting for a receipt when the credit card company called. Had he just spent 25,000 yuan (US$3,000) on new cellphones? Waiters Ling Hong and Wang Luole were arrested soon afterward and charged with theft. They had told Zhu there was a problem with his invoice and asked him to wait for a few minutes, then took the card to a nearby electronics mart.

■ United States

Jackson: I was used

US singer Janet Jackson said the outrage she provoked by baring her breast on television was used politically to distract people from the occupation of Iraq. Jackson spoke to the press in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. Jackson made headlines in January after singer Justin Timberlake tore off part of her top on the Super Bowl show, exposing one of her breasts. Artists have always done provocative things, Jackson said, adding that she felt used and that she had been "the perfect vehicle" for averting public attention from political questions such as the war.

■ Russia

6 acquitted in murder

A military court Thursday acquitted six defendants in the 1994 killing of an investigative journalist who had uncovered graft in the Russian armed forces. The suspects, mostly former military officers, were already acquitted in the killing of Dmitri Kholodov by a court in 2002, but the case was retried on appeal from prosecutors and the victim's family. Kholodov, who was 27, died after opening a booby-trapped briefcase he had picked up on an anonymous tip.

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