Sat, Dec 24, 2005 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Tibet

Major temple to be restored

A major temple on the verge of collapse in Tibet where the Panchen Lama, one of Tibetan Buddhism's most important leaders has traditionally resided, will be restored, state press reported yesterday. Sangtsu Tsezung Palace, a 600-year old building in the town of Xigaze some 250km from the capital, Lhasa, has long been recognized as a major pilgrimage destination, Xinhua said. The palace fell into disrepair and is now on the verge of collapse but its foundations are still solid, the report said. The city of Shanghai will sponsor the renovations, and has offered to pay 40 million yuan (US$5 million). Built in 1363, the main structure of the palace is more than 120m high and has a similar architectural style to the 7th century Potala Palace in Lhasa.

■ New Zealand

Glitch, strike spoil holidays

A strike by bank workers and a computer glitch that shut down electronic payment systems yesterday took the merry out of Christmas as 4 million New Zealanders prepared for the holidays. At least 25 branches of the Australian-owned Westpac bank were closed as up to 1,500 staff walked off the job on the last banking day before Christmas, traditionally one of the industry's busiest days. The workers, who picketed outside branches, are demanding a bigger pay rise and are seeking changes in the way they are forced to press loans and credit cards on customers. Meanwhile thousands of electronic payment terminals in shops and supermarkets throughout the country failed as consumers overloaded the system amid last-minute Christmas shopping.

■ Australia

Army to relax entry standards

The military may soon be commanded by fat, asthmatic and colourblind officers as entry standards are relaxed in a bid to beat a recruitment crisis, a report said yesterday. More than 10 percent of officer candidates fail entry on health grounds, prompting military chiefs to order a review of criteria as soldiers are deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Pacific, the Australian reported. Documents obtained under freedom of information legislation show that the military has missed its recruitment target by 20 percent for the past six years. Efforts to boost enlistment -- including advertising and free military computer games -- have failed to improve the situation.

■ Thailand

Wife killer arrested

An Australian man was arrested yesterday and charged with beating his Canadian wife to death with a hammer, Thai police said. The arrest took place shortly after the body of Barbara Lynn Mceod, 61, was found dumped in a residential area of Bangkok, said police Major General Kosin Hintow. Her husband, Stewart Keith Mceod, 44, went to police yesterday morning to report his wife missing. Detecting suspicious behavior, police interrogated Mceod for several hours before he confessed to beating his wife to death and dumping her body in the bushes, Kosin said. Mceod is in police custody pending trial.

■ Thailand

Flood death toll reaches 24

Widespread flooding in eight southern provinces has claimed 24 lives and disrupted the lives of 400,000 people, officials said yesterday. While visiting the region yesterday, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said the heavy rains had caused worse flooding than he had expected. Thaksin, who has been assailed by critics for his slow response to the flooding, changed his plans and visited the area yesterday instead of today, when he had originally planned to visit. Heavy rains have pounded the southern provinces for more than a week, said the government.

This story has been viewed 2362 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top