Wed, Jul 14, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take


■ Thailand

Bird flu cases confirmed

Thailand confirmed more outbreaks of deadly bird flu among chickens and wild ducks in provinces near Bangkok yesterday. "The H5N1 bird flu virus was found in wild ducks that live near Bangkok in Phathum Thani province," Agriculture Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said. "We are worried because wild ducks move freely all over the place, hence the virus could easily spread to more areas." Early this year, the H5N1 virus killed 24 people

The government also said yesterday it would not cull wild storks, as it had said it would, even though officials believe they carry the virus.

■ China

Shanghai storm kills 7

A violent thunderstorm swept through Shanghai, killing at least seven people, damaging almost 200 homes and sinking a cargo ship, the government and state media reported yesterday. One worker suffocated and five others were injured when strong winds caused an exhibition platform they were working on to collapse. In a separate accident, a gantry crane was blown down, killing one person and damaging 50 homes, the state-run newspaper Shanghai Daily reported. Five other residents were killed in other storm-related accidents across the city, the report said. The tempest destroyed another 130 homes and sheds and triggered electricity outages, local media reported.

■ China

Beijing warns Dalai Lama

Beijing made clear to the Dalai Lama yesterday that there is no chance of negotiations for his return home until he publicly declares both Tibet and Taiwan are part of China and halts his "splittist" agenda. "Only when the Dalai Lama really gives up his pursuit for `Tibet independence,' stops separatist activities against China, declares in public that he recognizes Tibet is an inalienable part of China and so is Taiwan, will we contact him for negotiations," said foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue (章啟月).

■ New Zealand

Children in car theft ring

Children as young a ten were involved in a gang that stole more than 200 cars, the Dominion Post newspaper reported yesterday. The newspaper quoted police as saying they had arrested seven of the young thieves in dawn raids on their homes in the South Island city of Christchurch. One 14-year-year old was remanded in custody but was also charged with escaping after he got away. Senior Sergeant Neville Hyland said many of the cars had been stripped of parts, burnt out, used to commit burglaries and driven at high speeds.

■ Hong Kong

Girls jailed in torture case

Three Hong Kong school girls aged 12 to 16 face jail for torturing a teenager who had a burning cigarette held to her nipple, a news report said yesterday. The 16-year-old victim was photographed naked and had urine poured over her, according to the South China Morning Post. The 90-minute ordeal began when the three attackers grabbed the girl after accusing her of "badmouthing" them, Hong Kong's Eastern Court was told on Monday. The three attackers pleaded guilty to a variety of charges arising from the incident in February. Magistrate Bina Chainrai remanded them in custody for sentencing later this month.

■ Saudi Arabia

Saudis in sex scandal

Two young men from prominent Saudi families are under investigation on charges of orchestrating and filming a sexual assault on a 17-year-old Saudi girl by a Nigerian driver, a senior official said yesterday. The scandal broke out after the accused circulated footage of the assault through mobile phones equipped with cameras. The clip shows the secondary school girl pleading as she is assaulted by the driver, while one of the two young men, apparently her former boyfriend, hurls abuse at her. The 19-year-old Saudi, who had fallen out with the girl, was egged on to exact revenge by the second Saudi accused, aged 23, after she rebuffed the latter's advances.

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