Mon, May 22, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ China

Mine disaster covered up

An underground flood trapped 44 miners in a coal mine and nine mine managers were detained after apparently trying to conceal the scale of the disaster, the government said yesterday. State television said the flood on Thursday in the Xinjing Coal Mine in Shanxi Province was the biggest accident so far this year in the disaster-plagued mining industry, which suffers thousands of deaths annually. Mine managers failed to report the true size of the disaster, saying only five miners were missing, Xinhua news agency said.

■ China

Fishermen rescued

Beijing has rescued more than 300 Vietnamese fishermen missing after a typhoon swept through the South China Sea but also recovered 21 bodies, state television said yesterday. Rescuers found the survivors on 22 Vietnamese ships near the Pratas islands, off the southern coast of Guangdong Province, the report said, adding it was the largest international marine rescue operation ever mounted by the country. It was unclear where the 21 bodies were found. Typhoon Chanchu, the strongest on record to enter the South China Sea in May, the start of the storm season, left a trail of destruction in China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

■ Japan

PM won't promise pullout

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi yesterday refused to say when the country's troops would leave Iraq, saying the government was still discussing whether and when to pull out, despite a media reports suggesting a July withdrawal. Media reports said yesterday Koizumi planned to discuss Japan's troop withdrawal at a summit with US President George W. Bush next month.

■ Hong Kong

Push for traditional script

Campaigners have launched an online petition to encourage the UN to publish official documents in the ancient Chinese script used in the city, a report said yesterday. More than 150,000 people have signed the petition calling for the return of traditional Chinese characters in UN documents, after the organization switched to so-called simplified Chinese in the 1970s, the Sunday Morning Post reported. China devised the simplified system in the 1950s to boost literacy, but the then foreign-controlled southern territories of Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Taiwan, retained the ancient traditional script. The UN began using the modernized Chinese after it switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. Hong Kong has three official languages -- English, Cantonese and Mandarin.

■ Thailand

Cup prostitutes warned

Thai sex workers, eager to cash in on World Cup fever in Germany next month, have been warned that they will face many risks in pursuit of their goals, media reports said yesterday. Empower Foundation, a Thai sex workers' rights advocacy group, issued the warning to its members after learning that several working women from Chiang Mai were planning to visit Germany next month under the impression it would be easier for them to get tourist visas during the World Cup match from June 9 to July 9. "Although prostitution is legal in Germany, only Germans are allowed to work in the industry," Portip Pakwai, an Empower spokeswoman, told the Nation newspaper. She also warned members that Thai women often fall victim to local mafias when pursuing their trade in Germany, and advised them to always keep with them the telephone number of the Thai embassy and photocopies of their passports.

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