Wed, Jun 23, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ China

Fire tackled after 30 years

A project has begun to extinguish a fire that has been burning in a Chinese coal mine for almost 30 years and spews out tonnes of poisonous gases, state media said yesterday. The blaze that started in the mine in Baicheng county in northwestern Xinjiang autonomous region in 1975 has consumed 20 million tonnes of coal, the Xinhua news agency cited an official as saying. It has also led to 70,000m3 of noxious gases being blown across the area annually, according to Qi Dexiang, deputy head of the Firefighting Team of Xinjiang Coalfield. A report last year said 35 fires were burning in Xinjiang. Regional authorities aim to extinguish them all by 2018.

■ Thailand

Teacher gunned down

An unidentified gunman yesterday shot to death an Islamic religious teacher who cared for hilltribe children at his house in southern Thailand, police said. Nuzee Yakoh, 39, was shot in the forehead from close range when he came out of his house in Narathiwat province to greet the gunman, police Major Metha Singhasena said. Police believe Nuzee was targeted because he was helping non-Muslim children. Nuzee had taken in 33 animist hilltribe children in his house to raise them and give them an education, Metha said. Nuzee's killing raised to 294 the number of people killed in violence linked to the separatist campaign since it gathered pace earlier this year.

■ Hong Kong

HK wants to swim

The Hong Kong government plans to spend US$2.5 billion to make the city's landmark Victoria Harbor clean enough to swim in again, a news report said Tuesday. A new sewage network would be constructed under the plan which would also allow for the reopening of beaches around the harbor shut down because of pollution, according to the South China Morning Post. The huge scheme would be funded by increases in sewage disposal fees in Hong Kong under a proposal that has been put out to a four-month public consultation, the newspaper said. The state of the water in Victoria Harbor has declined dramatically over the past century because of increasing levels of sewage being pumped out into it.

■ Australia

Flags required at schools

Australian schools will be required to have a flagpole and fly the national flag or risk losing federal government funding, Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday. Howard rejected the view that flying the Australian flag was old-fashioned or smacked of jingoism. "I don't think that kind of symbolism is old-fashioned at all," he said. "It's perfectly compatible with the attitude of Australians, the display of the national flag by Australians now is far more regular, far more visible, far more a part of life than what it was when I was 30 years younger."

■ Philippines

Candidate scatters spikes

A disqualified presidential candidate who scattered steel spikes on Manila's streets in a political protest said yesterday he went into hiding after police announced plans to charge him over the act, which punctured the tires of more than 100 cars. Elly Pamatong, head of the group Discovery Crusade of the Philippines Inc, said he was miffed at being deemed a "nuisance" candidate and disqualified from the May 10 election. He defended his action as part of "taxpayers' active defiance and insurrection against corruption."

■ Croatia

Taste a tree in Zagreb

A park set to open this summer as a new Zagreb attraction offers visitors

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