Mon, Jun 28, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Australia

Opposition denies divisions

The Australian opposition denied yesterday it was internally divided over a controversial pledge to withdraw troops from Iraq if it wins office in elections later this year. One of the Labor Party's most senior figures, New South Wales Premier Bob Carr, said the policy would present a major challenge to US ties in an interview aired on public radio yesterday. The conservative government said the comments showed deep misgivings within the Labor Party over the policy, which has been criticized by senior White House officials, including US President George W. Bush.

■ Myanmar

Another bomb in Yangon

A small bomb exploded near the central train station in the capital of Myanmar yesterday, a day after three went off in the same area, officials said. No injuries have been reported in any of the blasts, the first this year in the capital. "Another time bomb went off at about 5:30am. this morning near a small convenience store," an official from the Yangon Central Station said. A police officer at the scene said the crude device was smaller than the three that went off early on Saturday. Had the bomb been larger, it could have had very grave consequences because the convenience store was next to a petrol station, the officer said.

■ Vietnam

Bird flu still present

An avian flu virus that hit Asia a few months ago is still present in Vietnamese poultry and might be a potential danger, a veterinary official said. Nguyen Van Thong, a deputy director in the agriculture ministry, said that samples from 10,000 poultry throughout Vietnam had been tested recently and "lots of these samples were positive to H5 virus." Scientists could not identify the precise strain of the virus, he said. Vietnam, with 16 people killed, was the worst-hit in human terms of the eight Asian countries recently struck by the H5N1 strain of avian influenza.

■ South Korea

Probe into rescue attempt

South Korea's lawmakers agreed yesterday to launch a one-month parliamentary investigation into the government's failed attempt to rescue a Korean hostage in Iraq. The agreement between the ruling Uri Party and the main opposition Grand National Party came a day after the remains of Kim Sun-Il were taken to his hometown in the southern port of Busan. Uri's deputy parliamentary leader Lee Jong-Kul said the inquiry by 20 opposition and ruling party lawmakers would begin on Wednesday. The rival parties agreed to send a parliamentary team to Iraq to investigate South Korea's embassy in the war-torn country. Kim was beheaded by militants in Iraq last week after Seoul rejected a demand by his captors to scrap plans to send troops to Iraq.

■ Hong Kong

Outrage over animal cruelty

An article in a Chinese-language magazine in Hong Kong portraying youths butchering pets for fun has outraged animal lovers in the former British territory, provoking a street protest yesterday. Easy Finder magazine revealed in graphic detail how two boys aged 13 and 18 stoned and strangled dogs and then hacked them to death, sometimes beheading them. Although media reports suggested the story may be a hoax, the Society Against Animal Abuse and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) organized a protest rally, fearing the article would encourage attacks on pets, or worse.

■ Lithuania

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