Mon, Jul 05, 2004 - Page 6 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Thailand

Teacher and cop in shootout

A religious teacher who fired on a Thai policeman was shot and wounded in retaliation yesterday, marking the latest violence in the troubled Muslim south, police said. The 28-year-old teacher, riding pillion, shot and wounded the policeman as he rode home on his motorbike after completing a night shift in the southern province of Pattani. Thai police said the officer returned fire, toppling the gunman from the motorbike. The rider escaped. The police were hunting for the motorbike rider and were investigating a suspected student of the teacher's class.

■ Nepal

Nude farmers appease gods

Female rice farmers are plowing their fields at night in the nude to please the rain god during a dry spell in Baijapur, southwestern Nepal, a news report said yesterday. A farmer, Ambika Tharu, 35, said she and other women were daring to bare all for the rain god because of a delay in the annual monsoon season. "My mother-in-law said the god would be pleased and make rain fall if women till the land naked," Tharu told the Himalayan Times. The delay of the monsoon rains, which usually begin in early June in Nepal, have prevented farmers from planting rice. Forecasters in Katmandu said rain is expected to arrive in the next few days.

■ Australia

Pilot licenses upgraded

In a move to boost aviation security, authorities said yesterday they are upgrading Australian pilot licenses to make them more difficult to counterfeit. In a statement, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority said it would issue photographic licenses with passport-style security measures to more than 33,000 pilots licensed in the country. The cards will include "embedded images that cannot be tampered with," the authority said. "The identification card now gives CASA and people in the aviation industry greater certainty about the identity of pilots," said the authority's chief executive officer, Bruce Byron.

■ Thailand

Calf too much for python

A wild, 5m-long python swallowed a whole 30kg, two-month-old calf, but died because it could not breathe with such a big mouthful, news reports said yesterday. Somporn Pengsuksri, a cattle rancher in the southern province of Trang, said he left one of his cows with its calf in a jungle to graze on Saturday. When he returned he could not find the calf, which had wandered into the forest. When he found the giant snake with distended jaws and a huge bulge in its body he tried to pull the calf out, but after a long struggle the python and the calf were dead.

■ Philippines

Six communist rebels killed

An army officer and six communist rebels were killed in a clash on Saturday in the central Philippines, the military said. Soldiers from the army's 14th Infantry Battalion were patrolling a village outside the town of Oras, in Eastern Samar province, when they encountered about 50 New People's Army guerrillas. The patrol leader, Lieutenant Dixson Dacoro, was killed along with six rebels in a 45-minute firefight, said Major General Glen Rabonza, commander of the army's 8th Infantry Division. More troops were deployed to the area to pursue the fleeing rebels, who left behind their slain comrades and weapons, Rabonza said.

■ Iran

Iran filing Saddam brief

Tehran has prepared a complaint against Saddam Hussein for his 1980 use of chemical weapons in an attack on Iran, and will soon file it with the Iraqi tribunal putting the former president on trial, Iran's foreign ministry said yesterday. "One of the crimes of Saddam Hussein is the attack against Iran," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said. Urging the Iraqi court to "act with transparency and in a public manner," Asefi also com-plained that Saddam's 1980 land grab -- which sparked the catastrophic 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war -- was not on the original list of charges.

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