Thu, Jul 29, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Japan

Death sentences confirmed

A court yesterday upheld death sentences for two ex-cult members convicted in a 1995 nerve gas attack on Tokyo's subways that killed 12 people and injured thousands. The Tokyo High Court rejected the appeals of Toru Toyoda, 36, and Kenichi Hirose, 40, who were sentenced to death by hanging by a lower court in 2000, court spokesman Sadakazu Takagi said. The two were among five Aum Shinrikyo members who released sarin gas on subway trains on March 21, 1995. The high court also upheld a ruling of life imprisonment for Shigeo Sugimoto, 45, who drove the getaway car for a third attacker.

■ Japan

Fischer asks to be released

Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer has asked to be released from custody at a Tokyo detention center while he appeals against a move to deport him, a Canadian advising Fischer said yesterday. Fischer, 61, wanted by Washington for defying sanctions by playing a match in Yugoslavia in 1992, was detained at Tokyo's Narita airport on July 15 when he tried to leave for the Philippines on a passport US officials said was invalid. "He has asked for provisional release, which is discretionary, but which we would hope for immediately," said John Bosnitch, a Tokyo-based communications consultant and journalist.

■ Australia

Acid killers in court

Five men appeared briefly in court yesterday charged with murdering another man by forcing him at gunpoint to swallow hydrochloric acid. Accountant Dominic Li, 45, died on Jan. 2 last year after suffering almost three weeks of agony after he was forced to drink the acid in front of his wife and 14-year-old son at their home in the Sydney suburb of Concord. Police believe the killing was part of a "bungled contract assault-murder" over the proceeds of a drug deal, a statement of facts tendered to the Central Local Court said. The five accused, aged from 24 to 39, were charged with murder and conspiring to conflict grievous bodily harm.

■ Australia

Anglican bishop defrocked

A former Anglican bishop who seduced a schoolgirl 50 years ago is set to become the first clergyman in Australia to be defrocked, reports said yesterday. Donald Shearman, 77, had sex with the girl regularly when he was a boarding house master and she a boarder in his care between 1954 and 1956. Brisbane Archbishop Phillip Aspinall is expected to strip Shearman of his holy orders in a public ceremony in St. John's Cathedral next month, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Aspinall's predecessor, Peter Hollingworth, was forced to resign as governor-general last year after he said that the girl, then 14, had seduced the minister.

■ South Korea

More defectors arrive

The second wave in the biggest mass defection of North Koreans to South Korea arrived yesterday on a flight from an unidentified Southeast Asian country, bringing the total in the two-day airlift to nearly 460. The group of 227 North Koreans arrived at Incheon International Airport on a chartered Korean Air plane arranged by the South Korean government, a news agency said. South Korean government officials have been reluctant to confirm the arrival and have declined to reveal the country they came from, but news reports said that 230 arrived on Tuesday.

■ Israel

Wall to be rerouted

Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz on Tuesday agreed to a limited rerouting north of Jerusalem of the contro-versial security barrier being built in the West Bank in spite of international protests. Mofaz gave the green light to "a plan aimed at modifying the route of the barrier in line with principles laid down by [Israel's] supreme court," a statement issued by the defense ministry said. However, Mofaz made reservations on 10 points of the planned route, the ministry said, without giving details. The ministry at the same time ordered construction of the barrier south of Jerusalem to be sped up. The supreme court ruled on June 30 that the West Bank barrier's current path violates the rights of Palestinians living near Jerusalem and should be altered.

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