Sat, Jul 17, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take


■ Singapore
`Sex and the City' ban ends

Samantha, the provocative single who often puts the "sex" in the US sitcom Sex and the City, has been tamed by Singapore's strait-laced censors. Scenes of Samantha exposing her breasts or using sexually charged expletives to describe her cheating lover were among those deleted in the first legally screened episode to air in Singapore when a five-year ban on the award-winning series ended yesterday.

■ Japan

Subway station evacuated

Passengers were evacuated from a Tokyo subway station yesterday after a liquid-filled bottle was discovered on a platform, but it turned out to be a lighter. Magome Station was evacuated after a passenger found the bottle on a bench at 8:20am and reported it as a suspicious object, Kyodo news agency said. Service on the subway line was halted for around 25 minutes while the bottle was disposed of. Security on Tokyo's subway system was tightened in March after a letter purportedly from al-Qaeda mentioned Japan as a possible target and after bombs on trains in Madrid. In 1995, a sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway by the Aum Shinrikyo cult killed 12 people and made thousands ill.

■ New Zealand

Jewish cemetery desecrated

Swastikas and Nazi slogans were gouged around Jewish graves, a day after New Zealand imposed diplomatic sanctions on Israel over two suspected Israeli spies who tried to obtain a passport by fraud. Sixteen graves were attacked overnight in the Jewish part of a cemetery in Wellington, a city council spokesman said. "Someone's used some sort of stick or tool to gouge swastikas into the grass around the graves. Words like `Sieg Heil' have been scratched into the footpath," he said."I think there is a direct connection between the very strong expressions against Israel and people here feeling they can take it out on Jews," said David Zwartz, head of the New Zealand Jewish Council.

■ Japan

Test tube orphan gets father

Japan's Takamatsu High Court yesterday recognized a woman's demand that authorities acknowledge her dead husband as the father of her son, who was born via a test-tube fertilization using his frozen sperm after his death. Japan's Civil Code allows for legal recognition of children conceived through in vitro fertilization while the father is alive. But it has no laws or state guidelines addressing the handling of frozen sperm after the donor's death. Increasing debates on the subject are expected in Japan as medical treatment on reproduction aid improves, experts said.

■ Australia
Youths set girl on fire

Police on Friday hunted two youths who torched a 9-year-old girl in an unprovoked attack in a Sydney playground on Thursday afternoon. The girl was recovering in hospital with burns to 40 percent of her body. Sarah Allan was playing with her siblings, aged 7 and 5, in a park in Minto, southwestern Sydney, when the attack happened. Two youths wearing masks fled the area shortly after the attack. Detective Chief Inspector Matthew Appleton said police do not even know if the attackers were male or female.

■ Dr Congo

Farmers jeopardize gorillas

Farmers have overrun large areas of forest in Congo's oldest national park, the latest threat to more than half the world's 700 remaining mountain gorillas, conservationists and park workers say. Stacking lava rocks, 200 workers are building a wall at the Rwandan border of Virunga national park, a UN World Heritage Site, in a desperate effort to stop farmers, fighters and refugees from sweeping across the gorillas' volcano-peak refuges. The latest threat to Virunga's gorillas came in May and June, when between 5,000 to 6,000 Rwandan and Congolese farmers overran unarmed guards and leveled 15km2 of the 425km2 park for cattle ranching.

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