Thu, Jan 20, 2005 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take


■ India

Pakistan `violates' ceasefire

The Indian army said yesterday that Pakistan had violated a 14-month-old ceasefire between the nuclear-armed rivals after mortar bombs were fired across the military line dividing Kashmir, wounding

a girl. Pakistan denied the charge, which is nevertheless the latest in a string of setbacks to a slow-moving peace process between the rivals. The Indian army said the wounded girl had to be treated in hospital after 15 mortar bombs were fired late on Tuesday from Pakistani territory into Poonch district, 250km north of Jammu, the winter capital of India's Jammu and Kashmir state.

■ Thailand

Elephants get toilet-training

Having taught Thailand's elephants to paint, dance and play musical instruments, their Thai handlers are now toilet-training the beasts, media reported yesterday. Handlers -- known as mahouts -- have installed giant human-style toilets at a camp in the northern city of Chiang Mai to try to rid the tourist attraction of unsightly droppings, according to the Nation newspaper. Some seven elephants at the privately run camp beside Chiang Mai Zoo are being trained to sit like a human on the giant white toilets, which can be flushed by pulling on a rope with a gentle tug of the trunk, the daily said.

■ Australia

Kids spill beans on `reality'

Australia children filming what's claimed to be the world's first reality television show for their age group yesterday spilled the beans on their supposed fly-on-the-wall survivor series. It's all staged, one of eight Camp Orange contestants blurted out. Twelve-year-old "Andrew" told Australia's AAP news agency that the "worst thing has been doing takes over and over for the camera again."

So much for reality. Camp Orange is the work of Australian pay TV channel Nickelodeon and is being filmed on Milson Island in Sydney. The premise is that four teams of two compete while they tackle giant swings and spooky paths during a week away from home. The show airs next month.

■ Japan

Court compensates Koreans

Japan's government must pay damages to a group of ageing South Koreans who were forced to labor in Japan during World War II, a court ruled yesterday. In a rare ruling for forced wartime laborers from the Korean peninsula, the Hiroshima High Court in western Japan overturned a March 1999 lower court ruling and ordered the government to pay the 40 plaintiffs ?1.2 million (US$11,740) each in compensation. The South Koreans had demanded a total of ?440 million from the government and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd for being forced to work at a Mitsubishi plant in Hiroshima and for being exposed to radiation from the atomic bomb dropped on the city.

■ Military Affairs

Fallon to head US forces

Admiral William Fallon has been selected by US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to be the next head of the US Pacific Command, officials said on Tuesday. Fallon, a former vice chief of naval operations who now heads the US navy's Fleet Forces Command, would replace Admiral Thomas Fargo, who will retire at the end of next month. Rumsfeld's choice is subject to the approval of US President George W. Bush and the Senate, but both steps are considered formalities. Fallon would have responsibility for planning and operations in two of the world's most serious potential flashpoints: the Korean Peninsula and the Taiwan Strait.

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