Wed, May 18, 2005 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Australia
Kylie has breast cancer

Pop diva Kylie Minogue, whose hit album Fever went platinum in the US, has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has postponed her Australian and Asian tour, her management said yesterday. Minogue, 36, is Australia's biggest music star, rising from humble beginnings as a child actress on the TV soap Neighbours to international stardom as one of the world's top pop singers. The Frontier Touring Co said Minogue was diagnosed with "early breast cancer" while visiting family in Melbourne this week.

■ Afghanistan

Italian aid worker seized

Authorities suspect criminals, not militants, kidnapped 32-year old Clementina Cantoni, who works for the CARE International aid agency, from her car on a street in the center of Kabul, a government official said yesterday. Cantoni was grabbed at about 8:30pm on Monday after the vehicle in which she was travelling in was intercepted and blocked by another car. No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. There's a suspicion that members of the same group that kidnapped three UN staffers last October are behind this, one official said.

■ Afghanistan

Cave raid nets 15 suspects

Afghan and US troops arrested at least 15 suspected Taliban after surrounding a group of caves in the mountains of Uruzgan Province, Afghan officials said yesterday. Defense Ministry spokesman General Mohammed Zaher Azimi said Afghan and US troops battled the rebels for an hour before they surrendered, though an Afghan general said there was no shooting. Azimi said 17 suspects were detained, but General Muslim Hamid said 15 were taken into custody along with a supply of rifles, grenades and rockets found in the caves.

■ Sri Lanka

Convicted monk kills self

A monk who drank poison minutes after becoming the nation's first Buddhist clergyman to be convicted of child abuse died at a hospital yesterday, officials at the facility said. A high court on Monday found Bellana Panniyaloka guilty of grave sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl in 2001, and gave him the maximum 20-year prison term. Moments later, the monk drank from a bottle he had concealed in his saffron robes. He then collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, where he died yesterday.

■ Macau

Underwater casino planned

The battle for casino supremacy has moved to a new frontier. An underwater casino with a capacity of 450 gaming tables and 3,000 slot machines will open in mid-2008, Melco International Development Ltd said in a statement on Monday. The HK$8 billion (US$1 billion) resort will also house deluxe apartment blocks, 2,000 hotel rooms, a mall and a 4,000-seat performance hall.

■ Australia

Pets on anti-depressants

An increasing number of dogs and cats are being fed anti-depressant drugs to counteract obsessive compulsive disorder, a report said yesterday. An estimated 3 to 6 percent of the country's dogs and cats are diagnosed with the problem as owners act on telltale signs such as tail-biting, circling, pacing, shadow-chasing and excessive grooming, the Daily Telegraph said. Vet Robert Stabler was quoted as saying a combination of genes and the environment were responsible.

■ Colombia
Town outlaws gossip

Malicious gossip often results in tears and anger, but in Colombia it had lead to murder -- and officials say they've heard enough. Fed up with people targeted by false rumors turning up dead or wrongfully arrested, the mayor of a small Colombian town has made gossip a crime punishable by up to four years in prison. "Human beings must be aware and recognize that having a tongue and using it to do bad is the same as having dynamite in their mouths," says an official municipal decree issued last year in Icononzo, 70km southwest of the capital, Bogota.

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