Thu, May 11, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Hong Kong
Tonnes of tusks seized

Customs officials have seized 3.9 tonnes in elephant tusks smuggled in a shipping container from Cameroon, the government said yesterday. The tusks, worth about HK$8 million (US$1.03 million), were the largest such seizure "in recent years," Hong Kong Customs said in a statement. Officials couldn't say when the last big seizure was. Officers found the tusks in a concealed compartment in a shipping container that was declared to be carrying timber from the West African nation, the statement said.

■ Hong Kong

Gay helpline set up

A gay group has set up a phone helpline for the millions of homosexuals believed to be living secret lives in rural China, a news report said yesterday. The helpline is intended to reach people outside China's major cities who have little access to counselling and where homosexuality is heavily taboo, according to the South China Morning Post. The Chi Heng Foundation, a gay rights group, said the free service for rural areas had been launched after its existing urban hotlines in China had been overwhelmed by calls. Founder Chung To told the newspaper: "Being gay is still very hard [in China]. That's why people feel they need to talk to people for counselling."

■ Singapore

Bus driver drops dead

The driver of a bus with up to 30 passengers suddenly collapsed at the wheel, but a passenger who quickly pulled the emergency brake averted a collision, news reports said yesterday. Two firefighters from a nearby station rushed to help, but it was too late to save Lek Long Peng, 53. The driver was pronounced dead by a paramedic who arrived at the scene of Tuesday's incident with an ambulance crew, the Straits Times said. Lek, a driver for Yeo's Brother Transport Services, was ferrying employees of PH Hydraulics and Engineering to their company building after picking them up from train stations. He had been the regular driver for the past few months.

■ China

MiG buyer wants refund

A businessman who bought a Russian fighter jet online wants his money back after finding it could not be shipped to him, state media reported on Tuesday. Zhang Cheng, a businessman, bid US$24,730 and paid a US$2,000 deposit for the former Czech air force plane on eBay, the Xinhua news agency said. But legal experts informed Zhang that the MiG-21, located in the US state of Idaho, was "almost impossible to ship back," Xinhua said. Moreover, the seller had clearly confined the destination of the plane to the US and Canada, Xinhua said.

■ Philippines

Smelly drivers create stink

Bus drivers negotiating the sweltering streets of Manila have a new thing to stress about -- their armpits. Faced with complaints from commuters fed up with the stench at the front of the bus, taxi and train, Manila authorities have reminded drivers to wash and deodorize daily during the heat of the summer. "We understand that drivers must earn money to support themselves and their respective families," said Bayani Fernando, chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. "It is only right that in return, these drivers must observe proper hygiene. If they have body odor or armpit odor, ask the advice of doctors for treatment. But I think if they only take a bath every day, and maybe they can use tawas or deodorant, then there would be no problem."

■ Croatia
Champs to support suspects

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