Wed, Dec 15, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ India

At least 50 die in train crash

Two passenger trains collided head-on in the northern Indian state of Punjab yesterday, killing at least 50 people and injuring around 150, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said. At least four carriages were badly damaged, he told the state assembly. At the scene 21 bodies were lined up on the ground, witnesses said. Railway officials said other bodies had been sent to hospital morgues. More passengers were reportedly trapped inside in the trains. An express train and a local train collided in the heart of rural India 150km east of Amritsar. Railway officials said there appeared to have been a mixup that allowed the local train onto the single-track main line.

■ Vietnam

Mob demands compensation

More than 30 police and security guards were injured by a mob of villagers demanding compensation for their land during a golf course ground-breaking ceremony, officials said yesterday. More than 400 villagers surrounded about 300 officials, police and security guards attending the ceremony Monday morning in Kim No village, just outside Hanoi, a village police officer said on condition of anonymity. Villagers threw rocks, bricks and gasoline-filled bottles and attacked police and security guards with sticks for about three hours, he said. Police and officials were finally forced to leave. It was unclear whether any villagers were injured, and police were still investigating, he said. No arrests have been made.

■ Australia

Backpackers have lots of sex

Sept. 11, the SARS outbreak, the Bali bombings: none of these proved an impediment to the estimated half-million foreigners arriving in Australia this year for a backpacking holiday. Just how they adventurous is documented in a survey of the sexual habits of the backpack brigade. More than half a sample of 559 interviewed in Sydney and the Queensland city of Cairns revealed they had had sex with a new partner in the past three days. Close to four out of 10 said they had had sex with someone they had met that day or that night. A quarter of the sample said they didn't bother with condoms and half said they used condoms sometimes.

■ Thailand

Elephants raid tapioca truck

Wild elephants stumbled upon a feast when they found a tapioca delivery truck with a flat tire, officials said Monday. The driver, Somkuan Sirisat, said he had gone for help to repair the tire Sunday night -- and when he returned, he found five or six elephants surrounding his truck and devouring its contents. Army rangers were sent to the scene, said one of their officers. ITV showed the elephants milling around the truck, one of them holding in its trunk a tarp it had apparently removed from the truck. The elephants left the scene after eating their fill.

■ Singapore

Sexy scents go abroad

Fragrances aimed at getting Singaporeans in the mood for love will soon be sold abroad, after being used by the government in a campaign aimed at boosting the city-state's declining birth rate. His and hers "Romancing Singapore Eau de Parfum" will soon be exported to Asia, North America and Europe, said Jan Chan, marketing manager for the company that handles the scents, Cosmetical Asia Pte Ltd. The perfumes, a floral essence for her and a musky scent for him, were created by chemistry students from Singapore Polytechnic prep school to coincide with the country's "Romancing Singapore" campaign.

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