Sat, Feb 04, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ China
Sewage polluting ocean

Eighty-four percent of the sewage discharged into the ocean exceeds national pollution standards, state media reported yesterday. Last year alone, the world's most populous nation poured 14.6 million tonnes of fecal bacteria and other pollutants into the sea, the Xinhua news agency said, citing the State Oceanic Administration. "The natural ecological conditions in estuaries, bays and coastal wetlands are negatively affected," an unnamed agency official said.

■ Singapore

Woman at fault in death

A woman pleaded guilty to negligence for ordering her Indonesian maid onto her condominium ledge from which she plunged to her death, a court official said yesterday. Ngu Mei Mei, 37, pleaded guilty to negligence and endangering the life of her maid, Yanti, 22, in December 2003, a court spokeswoman said. Yanti fell after Ngu ordered her onto the ledge of her eighth-floor condominium to dry laundry, the Straits Times reported. Ngu will be sentenced on Feb. 7, the official said. She can be jailed for three months and fined S$250 (US$153).

■ Hong Kong

Chickens still in demand

Residents were continuing to buy poultry from across the border in southern China despite a smuggled chicken testing positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, a news report said yesterday. One seller at a market close to the border said Hong Kong residents would ask vendors to kill and pluck the birds to make it easier to get them through customs, according to the South China Morning Post. Trade is good at this time of year, he said, because chicken is a traditional dish eaten over the Lunar New Year holiday.

■ New Zealand
Parrots face karate experts

Organizers of a vintage car rally have hired karate experts to protect vehicles from marauding native parrots, a media report said yesterday. Around 40 members of a Wellington karate club have been enlisted to protect around 140 classic cars due to visit an alpine village near Mount Cook on New Zealand's South Island tomorrow, the New Zealand Press Association reported. The karate experts will protect the cars from Keas, which have been known to damage vehicles in their search for shiny items. Denis Callesen, manager of the nearby Hermitage Hotel, said the karate experts would not use martial arts moves on the parrots, but merely scare them away.

■ Japan

Earthquake rocks northeast

A strong earthquake registering magnitude 5.9 shook northeastern Japan yesterday, but there was no danger of a tsunami, the Meteorological Agency said. The quake was centered about 30km below the seabed in the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of Ibaraki prefecture, the agency said. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage local police said. Ibaraki is about 130km northeast of Tokyo. The temblor was also felt in the northeastern prefectures of Fukushima and Miyagi but hardly felt in Tokyo.

■ Cambodia

Mine-sniffing dogs donated

Sweden has donated 10 mine-sniffing dogs to help rid Cambodia of its leftover wartime scourge, an official said yesterday. The dogs spent eight months training in Bosnia-Herzegovina, another of the world's most heavily mined countries, and were to train an additional four months in Cambodia before starting work, said Heng Ratana, deputy director-general of Cambodian Mine Action Center. Each dog is valued at about US$40,000, including the cost of training, he said. Cambodia currently has 56 mine-sniffing dogs, but six will be retired in March, he said. Mine-sniffing dogs generally have a working life of up to 12 years, but Cambodia's hot climate limits their working time to about six years, he said.

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