Mon, Dec 20, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Singapore

Nanny kills baby then self

An Indonesian maid jumped off a high-rise apartment after throwing a baby boy under her care down 23 stories. A spokesman for the police said yesterday they were investigating the deaths of the 21-year-old maid, identified in the report as Sulastri, and five-month-old Yap Soon Heng. Witnesses said they had seen the maid sitting on the window ledge with the crying toddler on her lap. "She was sitting there for about five minutes and kept turning her head back as if she was talking to someone inside the room," businessman John Chua said. "Suddenly, she just extended her arms out and let the baby slip from her hands."

■ New Zealand

Santas turn naughty

Police were called when 30 men and women wearing Santa Claus suits and beards began fighting in an Auckland car park, Radio New Zealand reported yesterday. Police said the group had been drinking when the brawl broke out on Saturday. A man was charged with disorderly behavior, threatening and resisting arrest while a woman faces a charge of disorderly behavior.

■ Australia

Tourist's prank causes alarm

An Italian tourist aboard a flight from Sydney to Vienna caused a security alert when he sent a prank text message to his wife claiming his plane had been hijacked by terrorists, the Australian government and a news report said yesterday. Antonio Casale, 35, sent the cell-phone message to his wife from Kuala Lumpur last Sunday during a refueling stop on the Lauda Austrian Airlines flight, Sydney's Sunday Telegraph reported. Casale claimed terrorists were in control of the plane and were taking the passengers to an unknown destination. His distressed wife contacted Italian police, who immediately alerted the Italian Embassy in Canberra, who relayed the message to Australian police.

■ Malaysia

PM's remarks draw ire

Malaysian leaders reacted angrily yesterday to Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's claim that Islamic separatists were using Malaysia as a training base to destabilize southern Thailand, expressing "shock" and calling the remarks "irresponsible." Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said "We question Thaksin's motive for making the statement. I am shocked at such a statement." Lim Kit Siang, Malaysia's opposition leader, said the comment was ``unbecoming of a Thai prime minister and most irresponsible.'' Thaksin's government has been criticized internationally and at home for using heavy-handed tactics in handling the smoldering insurgency, which has killed more than 550 people this year.

■ Australia

Agency fined for deception

A real estate agency who sold a luxury Sydney house to a Chinese couple without telling them it was the location of a grisly triple murder were given a stiff fine yesterday for deceptive conduct in a landmark ruling. The agency took a five-figure deposit on the mansion without telling the prospective buyers that 20-year-old Sef Gonzales had stabbed and strangled his mother, father and sister there in 2000. The agency initially refused to refund the deposit but did so after being roundly criticized by other property agents. The couple, devout Buddhists, said they would sooner lose the deposit than move into what they said was a haunted house. The Office of Fair Trading investigated and fined the agency A$20,900 (US$15,675) for deceptive conduct.

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