Sun, Apr 17, 2005 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Philippines

Clerk arrested for extortion

An appeals court clerk in the Philippines has been sacked after she attempted to extort money from a litigant in return for a favorable decision, it was revealed yesterday. Elvira Apao lost her job -- as well as her pension -- -- after Manila's Supreme Court found her guilty of "gross misconduct." She had demanded 1 million pesos (US$18,315) from defendant Zaldy Nuez in exchange for a favourable ruling on his case pending before the appellate court. The case was also the first in Philippines' legal history to admit mobile phone text messages -- or SMS -- as evidence.

■ Sri Lanka

Suspected rebels kill official

Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels shot dead a senior government official in eastern Sri Lanka Friday ahead of a visit to the region by a Norwegian peace envoy, the defense ministry said. T. Thavarajah, the main civil servant in the town of Tirrukkovil, was shot as he returned home, defense ministry spokesman Daya Ratnayake said, adding that he was believed to have been killed by Tiger rebels. The guerrillas gave no immediate reaction to the shooting, which came two days ahead of a visit to the eastern province by Norwegian envoy Erik Solheim.

■ New Zealand

`Breakfast bonks' increasing

There is more than coffee and toast on the breakfast menu in New Zealand's staid South Island city of Christchurch. Sex with a prostitute is an increasingly popular way to start the day, the local newspaper reported yesterday. "A lot of men these days like to stop for a quickie on the way to the office," a prostitute told The Press, reporting an increase in morning rush hour business after prostitution was legalised last year. "They wake up with a need and if it's not met they can now find someone to satisfy it before they start work for the day." The woman said there had always been prostitutes servicing the "breakfast bonk" market, but with the prostitution now legal they did not have to hide.

■ Australia

Tsunami drew pedophiles

About 20 convicted Australian pedophiles unsuccessfully tried to travel to Indonesia and Thailand immediately after the Dec. 26 tsunami to prey on vulnerable children, a newspaper reported yesterday. The pedophiles were recorded on a new Australian child sex offender register which requires them to tell police where and when they intend to relocate or travel, The Weekend Australian newspaper said. Police alerted Indonesian and Thai authorities that the men intended to visit early this year and those governments denied them visas, Western Australia state police Detective Sergeant Martin Voyez told the newspaper.

■ Vietnam

Leader admits war horrors

An influential former leader has, for the first time, acknowledged the pain caused to millions of people by the defeat of the South Vietnamese regime to communist forces from the North 30 years ago. The remarks of former prime minister Vo Van Kiet were reported in Tuoi Tre newspaper. "Our victory was great, but we had to pay for that victory with our pain and losses," said Kiet, who was among those in charge of taking over Saigon, after the communists overran the US-backed South Vietnamese forces in the city on April 30, 1975.

■ South Africa

Smoking chimp should quit

A zoo is trying to persuade its star chimpanzee to kick a bad smoking habit. Charlie, a grown male chimp and the Bloemfontein Zoo, has been picking up cigarettes thrown to him by visitors and smoking them -- a habit he probably picked up by observing humans, zoo officials told the SAPA news agency on Thursday. "Baby chimps pick up habits by mimicking adults and we think he started mimicking smokers at his enclosure which probably led to smokers throwing him cigarettes," spokesman Daryl Barnes told SAPA.

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