Sun, Sep 04, 2005 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take


■ Malaysia
Tourists offered jail package

A Malaysian prison is offering adventurous travelers the chance to experience the joys of prison life -- right down to the food and lack of toilets. Johor Baru prison, Malaysia's oldest, has been turned into a visitor's center and is offering an overnight package for 50 ringgit (US$13). But so far there haven't been any takers. "Each visitor will be given a cell with a mattress and a blanket but no pillow, and they will eat prison food," Abdul Wahab Kassim, a senior prison department official, told the New Straits Times newspaper. He said the overnight stays would "give an insight into prison life." Asked why no one had yet tried the deal, he blamed a lack of publicity.

■ India

Gas leak kills 1, injures 200

One person died and 200 others were treated for breathing problems after chlorine gas leaked from a water treatment plant in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, local officials and doctors said yesterday. The leak was plugged after it was detected in the town of Sambalpur, a railway employee's colony, 300km west of Orissa's state capital Bhubaneswar, late on Friday, a city official said. "The situation is under control. The leak was detected and sealed by experts," said Raghunath Pradhan, a district magistrate in Sambalpur. Most of the 200 injured suffered from breathing problems, eye irritation and severe nausea, doctors said, adding that 56 of the injured were in serious condition.

■ Australia

Paul Hogan in tax probe

Millionaire actor-director Paul Hogan, the Australian behind the 1970s smash hit Crocodile Dundee feature films, has been caught up in an investigation into tax evasion using private trusts and offshore tax havens. The Sydney Morning Herald reported Saturday that tens of millions of dollars in royalty payments from the Crocodile Dundee films were routed through complex offshore tax structures in Chile and the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean. The paper reported that Australian Crime Commission officers intended to question Hogan about his knowledge of any tax avoidance schemes that might have been employed.

■ India

Dwarves fight for rights

Fed up with being put down, the Small Men Association in the southern Indian state of Kerala has formed to fight job discrimination. Balakrishnan Karassery, the newly-elected vice president of the group which was formed last month with 100 members, said they would ask the state government to list them as orthopaedically handicapped thereby entitling them to reservations in jobs, free bus rides and other facilities. "We are a neglected lot and [are] discriminated [against]," said Karassery, 30, who weighs 26kg and is 90cm tall.

■ Bangladesh

Nation No. 1 for acid attacks

Bangladesh has topped the list of countries in the world with the highest number of recorded cases of acid violence mostly directed against women, a report said yesterday. The Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) in a survey report made available to the media yesterday said 1,719 people came under acid attack in the last five years in Bangladesh, the victims of the violence being mostly female. This is the highest figure on acid violence in any country in the world. In a breakdown of the total figure, the number of acid victims in Bangladesh was 221 in 2000, 341 in 2001, 485 in 2002, 410 in 2003 and 262 last year.

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