Thu, Jan 27, 2005 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Cambodia

Meteorite sparks fires

A 4.5kg meteorite which landed in a former Khmer Rouge zone of northwest Cambodia started fires across rice fields and prayers from villagers who saw it as a divine omen of peace. "Some farmers are angry with the rock because it caused fires and destroyed several hundred hectares of their paddy fields," said Sok Sareth, police chief of Banteay Meanchey province, around 320km northwest of the capital, Phnom Penh. "But others asked the police to leave it where it landed and put it on shrine to pray for peace," he told reporters. The black lump of celestial rock sent villagers scurrying for cover when it thumped into the ground in the war-scarred southeast Asian nation on Monday morning.

■ China

Beijing nixes pageants

China, host to the Miss World pageant for two years in a row, has called a halt to beauty contests in schools, Xinhua news agency said yesterday, suggesting more tasteful pastimes for children. Once considering make-up and beauty contests to be bourgeois, China has increasingly latched onto pageants, and last month staged its first Miss Artificial Beauty contest for women who have undergone plastic surgery. But the Ministry of Education "explicitly opposes holding beauty contests in primary and high schools," Xinhua quoted a ministry spokesman as saying. "Such contests were sometimes sponsored by a small number of students who had misunderstandings in aesthetic judgment," the spokesman said. "We should positively guide students to improve their taste."

■ China

Four missing at sea

Four people are missing after an oil tanker sank, spewing out its cargo, after hitting another ship in southern Chinese waters yesterday, maritime officials and state media said. The collision happened 20km to the east of Nan'ao Island near Shantou, a coastal city in China's Guangdong province, Xinhua reported. According to the Guangdong Maritime Affairs Bureau, the oil tanker was carrying 1,000 tonnes of light diesel oil when it hit the empty cargo vessel. The tanker sunk within 10 minutes, forcing all its crew to abandon ship. The 1,400-tonne cargo vessel was holed but is not in danger of sinking, the bureau said. Xinhua said nine of the crew members had been rescued and four were missing.

■ Singapore

Drugs found in bra

A woman hiding drugs in her bra was arrested when she tried to enter Singapore from Malaysia, narcotics officers said yesterday. Acting on a tip, the officers stopped the

31-year-old's car at the Woodlands Checkpoint. A body search turned up 1.7g of "ice" and 102.4g of ketamine in the jobless woman's bra padding, they said. The drugs were estimated to be worth about S$5,800 (US$3,515).

■ Indonesia

Diarrhea outbreak kills 15

A diarrhea outbreak in the eastern Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara has killed at least 15 people and affected more than 670 others. The illness has spread through villages at four different sub-districts of East Flores regency on the island of Flores, about 2,000km east of Jakarta, over the past week, the Media Indonesia daily reported. Most victims were children under five and the elderly, the report said, quoting local health official Eduard Kleruk. Kleruk said most of the fatalities occurred because the victims came to hospital after they were already in serious condition.

■ United States

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