Sat, Jul 03, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take


■ Philippines

Typhoon claims 23 lives

The death toll from the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year rose to 23 yesterday, as rescue workers rushed to clear landslides and send food and medicine to isolated areas, disaster officials said. Thousands of people were displaced by typhoon Mindulle, which packed winds of 190km per hour and gusts of up to 230km per hour as it swept past the northern region of the main Luzon island. Crop and infrastructure damage was estimated at US$9.8 million, mostly in rice- and corn-growing areas in Cagayan Valley region.

■ Indonesia

Officials want terror suspect

Indonesia wants to interrogate top regional terror suspect Hambali and told US Secretary of State Colin Powell yesterday that its appeal for access to the suspect -- who is in US custody -- is more urgent following the recent arrests of six militants here. Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda made the request at a meeting with Powell on the sidelines of a regional security meeting in Jakarta, Indonesian officials said. Powell said US authorities would consider the request, according to foreign ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa. Hambali allegedly was the operations chief of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, blamed for the 2002 nightclub bombings on Indonesia's Bali island.

■ Hong Kong

Man requests alien ears

A young man in eastern China is having plastic surgery to make his ears look like an alien's, a news report said yesterday. The man from Nanjing, Jiangsu province, went to doctors saying he was unhappy with the shape of his ears and wanted pointy ears like a creature from another planet. Doctors tried to talk him out of the idea but he insisted on going ahead with the plastic surgery, according to the Hong Kong edition of the China Daily newspaper. He told surgeons he plumped for the alien look because he wanted to have "a more interesting shape" to his ears, the newspaper said.

■ South Korea

Peddler flogs fake Viagra

Counterfeit Viagra made in North Korea has turned up on the streets of South Korea, where police detained a man for peddling a bogus version of the pill. Police officers in Seoul said yesterday they were holding Bu Hyun-shik, 52, after confiscating close to 3,000 pills that they said Bu claimed were made in North Korea. "The pills are white, round and wrapped in aluminum foil," as opposed to the blue oval shape of Pfizer's erectile dysfunction medication, police said. Viagra is sold in pharmacies in Seoul at about 15,000 won (US$13) a pill, triple Bu's price tag of 5,000 won.

■ Turkey

Bomb kills three

Three people were killed and 15 injured yesterday when a car bomb exploded in eastern Turkey as the provincial governor drove by, Anatolia news agency reported. Van governor Hikmet Tan, who escaped unhurt, told NTV television that a car bomb had exploded in the center of the town as his official convoy passed by. A second bomb was defused shortly afterwards, police spokesman Ramazan Er said in Ankara. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the region has long been a battleground between security forces and secessionist rebels.

■ United Nations

Money needed for HIV

The world will need between US$5.1 and US$5.9 billion to meet a UN target to ensure that 3 million poor people get access to anti-HIV drugs by the end of next year, experts say. The estimate comprises drugs, medical support and administrative and logistical costs, they say. The so-called Three by Five initiative was launched by the WHO and the specialist agency UNAIDS in September last year. Its focus is on low- and middle-income countries, particularly in Africa, which are bearing the brunt of the global AIDS pandemic but cannot afford antiretroviral drugs.

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