Sun, Mar 13, 2005 - Page 6 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Thailand

King cobras go missing

Eighty-two deadly snakes have apparently been stolen from a Red Cross facility in Bangkok, and police fear they were destined for the stew pot. The 82 king cobras had been kept with other poisonous snakes at the Red Cross' compound in downtown Bangkok, where they are milked for their poison to be used as serum for snakebite medicine. On Jan. 13, workers discovered that 32 cobras were missing. A week later, 30 more were gone. After 20 more snakes went missing on Feb. 2, Red Cross veterinarian Montri Chiewbamrungkiet filed a complaint with the police.

■ North Korea

US tones down rhetoric

The US said that North Korea need not completely dismantle its nuclear weapons arsenal before receiving benefits under an aid-for-disarmament proposal offered to the Stalinist state. "I don't think anyone is asking DPRK to completely disarm ... and only then will the United States and other members of the six-party process give them benefits," senior State Department official Evens Revere said Friday. "That's not the explanation we provided to the DPRK," he said, referring to Pyongyang's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

■ Pakistan

Officer urges cooperation

Tribal elders in northern Pakistan must work with the army to evict foreign terrorists in the region near Afghanistan or else the military will do it by force, a top counterterrorism commander warned. Lieutenant General Safdar Hussain told tribal leaders in Pakistan's North Waziristan region late Friday that the presence of foreign fighters endangers peace and stability in the country. "Although all tribes have signed agreements not to provide safe havens to the terrorists, credible intelligence reports suggest that a number of terrorists are still present there," a military statement quoted Hussain as saying.

■ Australia

Storm threatens Darwin

Darwin battened down the hatches yesterday as its worst cyclone threat since Tracy devastated the city 30 years ago tore towards it along the country's northern coast. Cyclone Ingrid, which has been terrorizing northern Australian towns for a week, regained intensity yesterday as it headed for Darwin. Meteorologists upgraded it to a category five storm, the most dangerous. With Ingrid rated more dangerous than category four Tracy, generating winds of more than 290km an hour, Pope said a cyclone warning for Darwin was imminent. On Saturday afternoon, Ingrid was around 500km east of Darwin and heading west at 20km an hour.

■ Malaysia

Pirate-fighting plans made

Malaysia may adopt British maritime counterterrorism tactics to prevent attacks by pirates and terrorists in the Malacca Strait, one of the world's most important trade routes, news reports said yesterday. The tactics, which include the use of radar to boost nighttime surveillance, could be modified for use by a new maritime agency in Malaysia that is expected to be operational by the end of the year, the reports quoted Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak as saying. "The agency's primary role is to ensure the safety of the Straits of Malacca and to respond swiftly to any crisis arising from pirate attacks or other incidents," The Star newspaper quoted Najib as telling Malaysian journalists in London.

■ United Kingdom

Troop to receive top medal

A British soldier who braved gunfire to rescue dozens of comrades in southern Iraq is to receive the first Victoria Cross, the military's top award for bravery, issued in 23 years, a report said yesterday. Private Johnston Barry, an armored vehicle driver from the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, has been approved for the honor by the Ministry of Defense, the Daily Mail reported. The 24-year-old, who was born in Grenada in the West Indies, was part of a British convoy attacked in Al-Amarah, southern Iraq, in May last year, the paper said.

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