Fri, Feb 24, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ China
Get carried away

Bids will start at 128 million yuan (US$15.9 million) to sail away on the Minsk, an ex-Soviet aircraft carrier based in China, the official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday. The carrier will be auctioned off next month after its owner turned it into a military-themed amusement park and went bankrupt, the agency said. Once the pride of the Soviet Union's Cold War-era Pacific Fleet, the carrier -- decks crammed with carnival attractions and souvenir booths -- now looms over fishing boats in Shenzhen.

■ Singapore

Ex-deputy PM dies

Former deputy prime minister S. Rajaratnam, a founder of the city-state's ruling People's Action Party, has died at the age of 90, a TV news station reported on Wednesday. The report by Channel NewsAsia did not say what the cause of death was. Rajaratnam started out as a journalist but quit in 1959 to run in legislative assembly elections. In 1965, he became Singapore's first foreign minister following its independence from Malaysia. He also served as culture minister, labor minister and later as second deputy prime minister, a post which he held until his retirement in 1988 at age 73.

■ South Korea

Ex-spy HQ reopens as hostel

The nation's former spy headquarters opened its doors again yesterday, but this time as a youth hostel. Perched on the picturesque foothills of Mount Namsan in the heart of Seoul, the six-story structure was for years a feared symbol of rulers' pursuit of perpetual power. First opened in 1972 as the headquarters of South Korea's Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA), it was the center of work directed as much at its own people as Communist North Korea.

■ Australia
Foul frogs repel mozzies

Scientists have discovered a natural mosquito repellent in the smelly secretions of green tree frogs. Researchers at James Cook University in northern Queensland and at the University of Adelaide found that chemicals released through the skin of the frogs produces a pungent smell that wards off mosquitoes. "The smell is just not very good. Some smell of rotting flesh, some of nuts, some of thyme leaves," researcher Craig Williams said yesterday. But he said he did not expect the findings would lead to a new frog-based mosquito repellent for humans. "In the concentrations you would need, it would not smell good enough," he said.

■ Japan

Burglar sniffed out victims

A man arrested for alleged burglary picked his victims by sniffing women's homes for expensive perfume, police said on Wednesday. Seiichi Shirota, 46, sniffed at the doors of potential targets for expensive women's perfume to determine if the occupant was a single woman likely to own a collection of expensive designer bags, watches and jewelry, according to Kanagawa prefectural police spokesman Tsuneo Kosuge. The suspect was arrested on Dec. 23 last year for allegedly stealing three rings worth about ¥300,000 (US$2,530) after breaking into a woman's apartment in Yokohama Kosuge said. Shirota told police he relied on his smelling abilities to target apartments of single women. The alleged thief also made sure laundry hanging from a clothesline at a balcony included no men's underwear.

■ Mexico

Seven executed in Veracruz

The bodies of seven people executed in what appeared to be a gruesome settling of accounts among drug gangs were found on Wednesday in Mexico's Veracruz state, the latest victims in a wave of drug-related violence. The unidentified victims, between 20 and 30 years old, had all been shot in the head, their eyes and mouths covered and hands and feet bound. Each was found with a small wooden crucifix, investigators said. They were found in the town of Amatlan de los Reyes in the Gulf Coast state.

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