Wed, Mar 16, 2005 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ China
Washing line saves child

A five-year-old boy in Jiangmen, Guangdong Province, survived a fall from a sixth-floor apartment when his trousers snagged on a washing line, a news report said yesterday. The boy, who fell after climbing to a window of the apartment, was snagged by the trousers and suspended upside down outside an apartment on the fifth floor. He hung precariously in the air outside the apartment block until firemen were able to reach him with ladders. Firemen also had to rescue the boy's father who had climbed onto a balcony on the fourth floor and grabbed hold of his son's arm to stop him from falling, the Hong Kong edition of the China Daily said.

■ Afghanistan

Baby born above war zone

An Afghan mother of 14 children added another to her large family, but this time in mid-air on a US military helicopter, the army said yesterday, hailing the onflight birth as a first. "Hey, we've got another passenger on board," the pilot radioed to escort aircraft on Saturday after US medics delivered 40-year-old Melawa's baby girl, the first onflight birth over a combat zone, according to the military. Melawa, the wife of a local village elder, was evacuated from Shkin, in southeast Afghanistan close to the Pakistani border, as she was struggling to give birth after 18 hours of labor. Her baby daughter, however, did not wait for the crew to land.

■ Australia

Tasmanian siege ends

A man and woman who held police at bay with gunfire and bomb threats for more than 60 hours finally surrendered yesterday before anyone was hurt. The pair and a second woman took refuge in an apartment near the Tasmanian state capital of Hobart on Saturday after allegedly stealing weapons and a car from a home in the area. One woman gave herself up to police on Sunday but the other two remained holed up, regularly firing shots from the flat and threatening to detonate a bomb if police tried to storm the apartment. The man and woman finally surrendered around midday yesterday and police said they later found an "explosive device" in the apartment.

■ Australia

PM defends deployment

Prime Minister John Howard yesterday defended a decision to break his campaign pledge and send more troops to Iraq, despite an opinion poll showing the move is unpopular among voters. Howard recently announced that Australia's 900 troops in the Middle East would be supplemented with an additional 450 soldiers bound for Iraq. Before last October's election, Howard pledged to make no substantial increase in Australia's troop commitment. A newspaper showed the opposition Labor Party has rebounded in popularity since its crushing election defeat on the back of bad economic news and more troop commitments to Iraq.

■ Japan

No favors for Fischer

Chess legend Bobby Fischer should not be exempted from Japan's rule that foreigners who are ordered to be deported must be sent to their homeland, Japan's top immigration official said yesterday. Fischer and his supporters are asking that he be allowed to go to Iceland, where he has been granted a special passport for foreigners. Japanese authorities have detained him since last July for allegedly trying to leave for the Philippines on a revoked US passport. Washington has sought Fischer on charges of violating international sanctions against the former Yugoslavia by playing chess there in 1992.

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