Tue, Feb 01, 2005 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Australia

Election brawl erupts

Shotgun blasts wounded four people when tensions linked to the Iraq election boiled over into a brawl among about 100 Iraqi expatriates on the street, police said yesterday. Some Iraqis in Australia have questioned the legitimacy of the election, saying their homeland is under occupation and jeering at voters who cast absentee ballots. Fights broke out Saturday and Sunday among about 100 Iraqis and drew several shotgun blasts, damaging several cars and a shop and leaving four people with minor ricochet wounds. Voting hours were extended at Auburn after a brawl and a bomb scare halted voting for an hour. Despite the disruptions, officials said 94.6 percent of the 11,806 voters registered to vote in Australia.

■ Tajikistan

Car bomb at ministry

A car loaded with explosives blew up in the Tajik capital Dushanbe yesterday morning, killing the driver and wounding three people, the emergencies minister said. Three officers of the ministry were wounded and five cars in the area damaged in the blast in Dushanbe, Emergencies Minister Mirzo Ziyoyev said. Earlier, the deputy emergencies minister had said about a dozen people were wounded. Interior Minister Humdin Sharipov launched an investigation into whether the blast was a terrorist act.

■ China

Officials caught for graft

Chinese authorities have caught 44 officials in Gansu Province suspected of misusing US$930 million dollars as part of a widening crackdown on graft, state press reported. An official audit last year found that massive amounts of state allocated capital for public works in one of China's poorest provinces had been diverted or embezzled by provincial officials. Among the largest cases of corruption, nearly 970 million yuan (US$117 million dollars) meant for construction works had not been used, while another 425 million yuan has been embezzled by the Gansu Provincial Bureau of Transportation. Auditors discovered that 25.28 million yuan meant to compensate residents evicted from their land to make way for road construction had not been handed out. Another 7.83 million yuan in requests for funding were found to be fraudulent.

■ Australia

Aboriginal deaths high

The government must do more to combat infant mortality among Aborigines, whose babies die of unexplained causes at a rate six times higher than other Australian children, an expert on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) said. National SIDS Council of Australia chief executive Jan Carey said SIDS among Aborigines was six times higher than the national average. The SIDS rate for Aborigines is 4.49 deaths per 1,000 live birth compared with the national average of 0.73.

■ Cambodia

Dwarf buffalo on tour

A Cambodian farmer thinks he has found an act that will hit the big time -- a dwarf buffalo that impersonates a famous local comedian. Standing just 50cm high at the shoulder although he is already a year old, the baby buffalo is the bovine equivalent of one of Cambodia's pre-eminent comics, the diminutive Loto, with whom he shares a name, according to its owner, Son Yan. So convinced is the 37-year-old farmer of buffalo Loto's star qualities that he has sold his other four buffalo and put the young bull's story on the front page of a national newspaper, hoping agents will beat a path to his door.

■ Colombia

Militia surrender weapons

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