Tue, Jun 29, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ China

Japanese activist sentenced

A Japanese man who was arrested while helping would-be North Korean refugees escape via China was sentenced yesterday to eight months in prison on migrant-smuggling charges, the Japanese Embassy said. Takayuki Noguchi, who was arrested Dec. 10 with two North Koreans near China's southern border with Vietnam, was one of several foreign activists who were detained by China while helping fleeing North Koreans. It wasn't clear whether the six months that he already has spent in detention would be counted toward his sentence. China has given no information about the fate of the North Koreans and of an interpreter detained with Noguchi. Japan has asked China to release Noguchi and not to send back the North Korean refugees.

■ China

Buddhist work reprinted

China has launched a five-year project to reprint a 266-year-old Buddhist encyclopaedia, state media said yesterday. Known as the Dazangjing in Chinese, the royal edition of the Buddhist canon was first compiled and printed on the orders of the first emperor of the Song dynasty (960-1279). The current edition was com-pleted in 1738, carved onto 130,000 wood plates and containing nearly 2,000 different books. The encyclopaedia includes discourses with the Buddha, regulations of monastic life and commentaries on the sutras by renowned Buddh-ist scholars.

■ Singapore

New SMS world record

A business student with nimble thumbs broke the Guinness Book of World Records time for the fastest SMS (short message service) typed on a mobile phone, news reports said yesterday. Kimberly Yeo, 23, clocked 43.24 seconds for typing 26 words on Sunday. The current record is 67 seconds for the same 26 words held since last September by James Trusler of Britain, The Straits Times said. More than 500 people gathered to take part in the "SMS Shootout."

■ New Zealand

Polynesians outdance all

Bollywood became Polywood in New Zealand over the weekend when an Indian dance competition was won by a team made up almost entirely of Polynesians. The Tangaroa College team of Maori, Samoan, Tongan and Nigerian students took the mainly Indian audience by surprise at the competition in Auckland on Saturday as they danced in classical Indian style to music from a Sharuk Khan movie. "None compared to these Poly-nesians. They outclassed everyone -- they were better than the Indian kids -- it was perfect," said Bob Kumar, one of about 3,000 people in the audience. The Tangaroa team coach, Famida Adam, said she picked the team from her tenth-grade English class.

■ Afghanistan

Five Taliban fighters killed

US forces captured two anti-coalition fighters in southern Afghanistan, a spokesman said yesterday, while an Afghan governor reported five Taliban killed in a fierce gunfight between insurgents and US forces at a mosque in his province. The governor of southern Zabul province, Khial Mohammed, said that US troops battled Taliban insurgents holed up in a mosque in the town of Poti on Sunday, killing five and capturing at least four of them. Mohammed said the insurgents opened fire from within the mosque, and no US soldiers were reported injured.

■ Italy

Setback for conservatives

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party lost control of its Milan power base in local elections on Sunday, in another setback for the conservatives following their defeat in European parliamentary polls. The left-wing challenger, Filippo Penati beat out Milan Governor Ombretta Colli, garnering 54.2 percent of the vote to her 45.8, RAI television reported. The projection was based on 80 percent of total votes cast. If the Milan results in the second round of local and provincial elections are confirmed, it would be a personal defeat for Berlu-sconi, who owns the foot-ball team AC Milan and whose company Fininvest is based in the city.

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