Mon, Jul 26, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ China

Five to die for oil theft

A Chinese court has sentenced five farmers to death for stealing crude oil from a pipeline that ran through their county, the government said yesterday. They were convicted on charges of damaging a flammable and explosive substance. The official Xinhua News Agency said 12 other farmers who helped steal the oil were given sentences ranging from 3 years to life in prison. China enforces the death penalty for numerous crimes, including many that are economic and nonviolent. The farmers in Henan's Puyang County were caught drilling holes in the oil pipeline in late 2002 and early last year, and the court said they stole oil worth 977,000 yuan (US$118,000).

■ Sri Lanka

Rebels kill own rebels

Tamil Tiger rebels yesterday gunned down seven members of a breakaway group and a government soldier near Colombo, police said. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam killed the men at a "safe house" of the breakaway faction of renegade commander V. Muralitharan, they said. Police said a soldier believed to be a military intelligence officer was also killed in the attack. Karuna led a rebel split in March and went underground five weeks later after disbanding up to 6,000 combatants. Since then clashes between the two groups have undermined peace negotiations.

■ Hong Kong

Fraud probe targets media

Hong Kong anti-corruption officers said yesterday they have raided several newspapers and arrested six people including a journalist in connection with a fraud probe involving a listed company. The Independent Commission Against Corrup-tion searched at least six news-papers Saturday, including the South China Morning Post and Apple Daily. The operation was in response to the naming in the media of a woman who, in court proceedings, claimed she was being held by the commission against her will. She was among nine people arrested two weeks ago for inflating a company's share price.

■ Vietnam

UN `wrong' on asylum

Vietnam yesterday criticized the UN refugee agency, accusing it of luring ethnic minority people to Cambodia from Vietnam's troubled Central Highlands with offers of asylum. In an interview with the state-controlled Vietnam News Agency, foreign ministry spokesman Le Dung said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had ignored warnings against its "wrong activities." He also criticized the agency for continuing to aid the fleeing minority people, who are known as Montagnards, despite Vietnam's claim that they were illegal immigrants and not political refugees. The UNHCR could not be reached for comment. The Christian Montagnards fled after Vietnamese security forces put down protests against religious persecution and land confiscation.

■ Malaysia

Mediums seek crash site

Malaysian authorities have enlisted the help of witch doctors to search for seven people missing since their helicopter was feared to have crashed in Borneo jungle nearly two weeks ago, a report said yesterday. The Sunday Star said several mediums and local witch doctors have been granted access to the village of Bario to give "readings" to locate the helicopter that vanished July 12 with five officials and two others.

■ United Kingdom

Top spy sacked

A senior intelligence official has been dismissed after publicly accusing British Prime Minister Tony Blair

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