Tue, Jul 12, 2005 - Page 6 News List

World News Quick Take


■ Hong Kong

Oldest priest breaks record

The world's oldest priest is about to gain a second world record after undergoing an operation to regain his sight, a media report said yesterday. Father Nicolaus Kao Se Tseien, listed by Guinness World Records as the oldest Catholic priest, will be recognized shortly as the oldest man to have a cataract operation. Since regaining his sight after the operation in May, sprightly 108-year old Father Kao gleeful told the South China Morning Post: "My legs have not got enough strength to walk, but I can see clearly now. I can read the Bible and all the good books now. It is great." He told the female reporter interviewing him: "You are beautiful." Born in Fuzhou, on China's east coast on January 15, 1897, Father Kao said his tips for a long life were "don't smoke, eat less and exercise more."

■ New Zealand

`Deserters' honored at last

Five New Zealand soldiers who were pardoned five years ago after being executed for mutiny and desertion in the First World War are to get the posthumous medals due to them, the government announced yesterday. The five men of the First New Zealand Expeditionary Force were pardoned by an Act of Parliament in 2000 designed "to remove so far as practicable, the dishonor" that their execution brought to them and their families. Research had shown that they would have been eligible for the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the New Zealand Certificate of Honor, Prime Minister Helen Clark announced. Descendants of the soldiers -- four executed and buried in France and one in Belgium -- will be presented with their medals later in the year.

■ Iraq
Iranian-American released

An aspiring Iranian-American filmmaker who was detained by the US military for nearly two months without being charged has been released, but won't be able to leave Iraq immediately because US officials told him his passport was destroyed in the course of testing its authenticity. Cyrus Kar, 44, of Los Angeles, was detained May 17 near Balad when potential bomb parts were found in a taxi in which he was riding. His family had filed a lawsuit accusing the federal government of violating his civil rights. In Los Angeles, family members said Kar told them the government destroyed his laptop computer, film equipment along with 20 hours of footage and his passport.

■ Netherlands

Van Gogh trial opens

The trial of Mohammed Bouyeri, a Moroccan Dutch national accused of the murder of controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, opened yesterday before a high security court in Amsterdam. Bouyeri, whom prosecutors describe as a radical Islamist, is in court but his lawyer has said he does not want to be defended. The trial is expected to last two days.

■ France

Bus company sues carpool

A group of French cleaning ladies who organized a car-sharing scheme to get to work are being taken to court by a bus company which accuses them of "an act of unfair and parasitical competition." The women, who live in Moselle and work five days a week at EU offices in Luxembourg, are being taken to court by Transports Schiocchet Excursions (TSE), which wants the women to be fined and their cars confiscated. TSE is claiming their action has cost it 2 million euros (US$2.4 million). "Using our cars is quicker and at least twice as cheap. And on the bus we didn't have the right to eat or even to speak," said Martine Bourguignon. TSE is also suing the women's employer.

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