Fri, Jul 30, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Philippines

Former hostage testifies

An American missionary kidnapped and held for more than a year by Muslim militants in the Philippines testified against her suspected former captors yesterday in an emotional return to the country. Gracia Burnham, whose husband Martin died in a rescue attempt by troops in June 2002, identified 6 out of 8 suspected members of Abu Sayyaf, which is linked to al-Qaeda, as having taken part in the kidnapping of 3 Americans and 17 Filipinos from a beach resort in 2001.

■ Japan

Fischer gets bigwig backer

An influential Japanese politician said yesterday he has volunteered to be Bobby Fischer's legal guarantor and urged immigration authorities to release the former world chess champion from an airport detention cell where he is being processed for deportation. Ichiji Ishii, a former deputy foreign minister and three-term member of Parliament, said he was volunteering to support Fischer "as a person who likes chess, and as a friend." Fischer was detained after trying to board a plane for the Philippines on July 13 with an invalid passport. "There is no danger of him hiding or disappearing," Ishii said.

■ Australia

Weeping statues are fakes

Two "bleeding and weeping" statues that drew thousands of the faithful to a Vietnamese church in this eastern Australian city are fakes, the Catholic Church said Thursday after investigating them. "The substance that seeped from the artifacts is very like one that is commercially available and it is possible that the substance was applied to them by human hands," Brisbane's Roman Catholic Archbishop John Bathersby said. The church investigation was ordered after thousands of people flocked to the Vietnamese Community Church in Brisbane, believing the statues were miracles.

■ Singapore

Regime shuns conformism

The Singapore government -- which has traditionally emphasized conformity -- is urging young people to rebel. Acting Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Thursday described conditions in the city-state as "over-protective" and said Singaporean youths should visit poorer neighboring states like Malaysia and Indonesia to broaden their horizons, the Straits Times reported. "I would prefer your generation to be rebellious," Khaw told a student group. "If you are just conforming to the social norms, then you are merely following our footpath, which may not be relevant to you." Few citizens speak openly about their views, as speaking up has sometimes met with stern official responses.

■ Germany

TV news quickly forgotten

The next time you watch the news on TV, just remember you are going to forget most of it. According to a study in Germany, most viewers completely forget what they see on the TV news the day before. Seven in 10 people in the survey had forgotten the most important political news item they had seen the previous evening. One top story on German TV news -- about a major company wanting to re-introduce the 40-hour week -- had been forgotten by 98 per cent of those surveyed. The news items people best remember are those with emotional content or which are accompanied by strong pictures, the TV program magazine TV Hoeren und Sehen reported.

■ United States

British MP snubbed

Organizers of the Republican National Convention in New York next month have banned a British Labour parliamentarian on the grounds that he is not conservative enough, British newspapers reported yesterday. "This is the first time this has happened and we are far from pleased," Member of Parliament Alan Williams, chairman of the British-American Parliamentary Group, said. "I find it singularly strange that Labour MPs can be welcomed on the floor of Congress but not at the Republican convention. They said they didn't want any politician who wasn't a conservative on the floor of the convention center," he added.

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