Fri, Feb 18, 2005 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Hong Kong

Collision with Chinese boat

A passenger ferry collided with a cargo boat amid heavy fog in Hong Kong yesterday, injuring more than 90 people. The catamaran ferry carrying more than 150 passengers collided with a Chinese cargo vessel off Tsing Yi Island, throwing passengers on to the deck and leaving four people seriously hurt, a government spokeswoman said. They were all taken to hospital for treatment. Marine police launches and fire service boats rushed to rescue passengers after the collision, which badly damaged the bow of the ferry.

■ Hong Kong

17 injured by drainage

Seventeen people including a three-year-old boy were injured when drain cleaner leaked from a high-rise flat onto the street below. Victims said they felt as if they were being splashed with boiling water as the liquid sprayed down on them from the third-floor apartment in the North Point district. The baby boy was treated in hospital for minor burns along with a 71-year-old woman and 15 other victims, some of whom had holes burnt through their clothes by the powerful corrosive liquid. A 29-year-old housewife who poured the drain cleaner down a faulty pipe was arrested after the incident. In Hong Kong, there are laws against dropping objects or harmful substances from heights.

■ China

Official to go to N Korea

China is sending a top communist party official to North Korea this week -- Wang Jiarui, head of the communist party's international department. Top negotiators from the US and South Korea were in Beijing seeking China's help on persuading the isolated North to return to multination nuclear talks that were suspended in June. South Korean officials said they believed China could do more to win over the North. North Korea has rejected calls to return to the talks, accusing Washington of hostility. Last week, it announced it has produced nuclear weapons.

■ New Zealand

Nude bike rider charged

An environmental protester facing indecent exposure charges arrived at Auckland's District Court naked -- but dressed before he entered the courtroom yesterday. Computer technician Simon Oosterman, 24, was charged during the Auckland Naked Bike Ride last Sunday, an event he organized to protest society's dependence on the car. Oosterman and three supporters -- two men and a woman -- stood outside the courthouse naked yesterday holding a banner reading: "Stop indecent exposure to vehicle emissions." He donned his clothes before entering because he didn't want to risk being charged with contempt of court. He pleaded not guilty and was released to reappear Mar. 21.

■ Australia

Progress on schizophrenia

Australian scientists using advanced computer technology to examine schizophrenics have linked impaired thought processes to changes in the brains of their patients. They said that they hoped the discovery would shed light on the genetic causes of the debilitating mental illness. Vaughan Carr, director of the Sydney-based Neuroscience Institute of Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders (NISAD), said "The importance of this research is that it links together for the first time abnormal brain structure and function in the one image, and ties that with abnormal thinking in schizophrenia." NISAD researchers hope to isolate genes that may be turned on or off in schizophrenia sufferers, leading to possible new treatments.

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