Thu, Feb 16, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Indonesia

New hotline also flooded

An SMS hotline created by Indonesia's president to keep tabs on complaints about the government has been inundated with almost 2 million messages, a report said yesterday. As part of his corruption-busting campaign, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono created the hotline last year after a personal cellphone number he gave out to the public was overwhelmed with complaints. Sardan Marbun, a presidential assistant, said 1.92 million messages had been received since June, in addition to more than 15,500 letters, the Jakarta Post reported. Of those complaints, on everything from tardy law enforcement to illegal logging, only about 1,000 have actually been forwarded to concerned agencies as they had sufficient detail to follow up, Marbun said.

■ Australia

School of the Air upgraded

Schoolchildren in the outback saw the teachers that they listen to for the first time yesterday when the iconic School of the Air shut down its radio transmitters and switched to a satellite-based system that beams lessons in broadband to desktop computers in 300 remote sheep farms. The world-renowned School of the Air has been going for almost 50 years in the remote north of New South Wales. It caters to children aged five to 10 who are hundreds of kilometers from the nearest school and have to study at home. "This is all about breaking the tyranny of distance," New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma said when cranking up the new system.

■ Zimbabwe
Love marchers arrested

Police arrested at least 60 women who took part in a march on Tuesday with a Valentine's Day theme calling for love and harmony and protesting food shortages and alleged human-rights violations, their lawyers said. The demonstrators distributed red roses and Valentine's Day cards in downtown Harare, according to Lawyers for Human Rights. The women, belonging to a group known as Women of Zimbabwe Arise, were taken on trucks to the main Harare police station. In both protests the marchers demanded "bread and roses" to protest acute food shortages and alleged human-rights violations by authorities.

■ United Kingdom

Larger men still not happy

Researchers said on Tuesday that most men who have had penis enlargement surgery are not satisfied with the results. "For patients with psychological concern about the size of the penis -- particularly if it is normal size -- there is little point in offering them surgery because it makes no difference," said Nim Christopher, a urologist at St. Peter's Andrology Center in London. Christopher and his colleagues, who questioned 42 men who had the surgery, found the dissatisfaction rate was very high. Often the men requested another surgical procedure. "The average increase in length is 1.3cm, which isn't very much and the dissatisfaction rate was in excess of 70 percent," Christopher said.

■ Iraq

Booze bomber kills three

A homemade bomb exploded near a Baghdad liquor shop yesterday, killing three people and wounding two, while two policemen were killed in a drive-by shooting, police said. Lieutenant Ali Mittab said the blast completely destroyed the liquor shop situated in central Baghdad's bustling Fadel area and damaged several other shops. Mittab said the three people killed and two wounded were passers-by. The motive for the attack is unclear, but stores selling alcohol have been targeted before by religious extremists.

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