Mon, Jan 24, 2005 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Afghanistan

Land mine blast kills four

Taliban rebels claimed responsibility for Saturday's explosion that killed the security chief of Afghanistan's southwestern Uruzgan province and three others. Spokesman for the hard-line militia, Mufti Latifullah Hakimi, said that his fighters blew up Mohammed Wazira's vehicle by detonating a land mine by remote control in Charcheno district. Wazir's father, brother and bodyguard also lost their lives in the blast. "We did that [blast] and each government official will be our target," Hakimi threatened. The Taliban have made frequent violent attacks on government and US forces.

■ Hong Kong

March for democracy held

About 2,000 people marched in downtown Hong Kong yesterday to demand full democracy and social justice in the Chinese territory, police and organizers said. Opposition leaders led the protesters, who chanted: "Direct elections in 2007 and 2008" -- the years in which Hong Kong is due to get a new leader and legislature. Many residents who want full democracy say Beijing exerts too much control. Leader Tung Chee-hwa (董建華) was picked by an 800-member committee loyal to China. Beijing last year rejected quick democratic reform for Hong Kong. "Democracy and freedom are rights the whole world should have. You can't wait for them to be bestowed upon you. You need to fight for them yourself," said ambulance worker Tang Chiu-kim, 52.

■ Hong Kong

Pro-Beijing professor dies

Xiao Weiyun (蕭蔚雲), a Chinese law professor who helped draft Hong Kong's post-colonial mini-constitution and an outspoken critic of the city's struggle for democracy has died, Chinese state media reported. Pekjing University professor Xiao succumbed to a heart attack at the age of 81 while in the southern Chinese former Portuguese enclave Macau. He was one of four so-called guardians of the Basic Law, which proscribes Hong Kong and Macau's existence within China. The documents, which came into force at the end of the colonial period for Hong Kong in 1997 and Macau in 1999, put into practice former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping's (鄧小平) "one country, two systems" doctrine that allows the freewheeling capitalist cities to exist within authoritarian China's command economy.

■ India

Five passengers crushed

Five passengers including a woman were crushed under the wheels of another train when they were forced out of the train they were travelling on by military men in Shikohabad in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Reports said the five passengers were travelling in an unreserved, general compartment when four soldiers forced them out of the train and onto the railway line while the train was stationary in a station.

A train coming from the opposite direction and crushed the five passengers in the darkness. The four accused soldiers were detained by the local police.

■ Malaysia

Measles kills 14

Thirteen children and an adult from a remote tribe have died in a measles outbreak in a Malaysian state on Borneo island. The outbreak started about three weeks ago, with the last death recorded a few days ago. The Sarawak state Deputy Chief Minister George Chan said, "We are trying to find out whether this is a new strain of the virus and why the outbreak is so serious." The dead were from the Penan tribe in Belaga, who'd never been exposed to measles.

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