Sun, Aug 20, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ India
Five crude bombs found

Five crude bombs were found at a busy railway station in Patna, Bihar State, yesterday, officials said. One of the bombs went off but caused no damage; the others were defused by the police's bomb disposal squad, officials said. They ruled out a larger terror threat and said the bombs may have been left behind by criminals. "Crude country-made bombs such as these are routinely used by dacoits during robbery attempts on trains and houses," a senior police official told NDTV.

■ India

Beach water turns sweet

Hundreds of people thronged to a midtown city beach in Mumbai yesterday after word spread that seawater there had turned sweet, with many seeing the development as a divine sign. People started gathering late on Friday to collect the water off Mahim beach on the shores of the Arabian Sea. "This water is definitely sweet. We see it as a blessing from Baba [Holy Saint]," said Rafique, who uses a single name. Many others were seen drinking the muddy water or collecting it in plastic bottles and jars. Some bathed in it. The city government warned against drinking the water over health fears.

■ India

Actress accused of abuse

An Air India employee has complained to police that Bollywood actress Amisha Patel abused and threatened her for refusing to upgrade a friend on a flight to the US, an airline spokesman and newspaper said yesterday. Patel allegedly used foul language and threatened to have the employee sacked, they said. Patel told the Times of India she was shocked to hear about the complaint and that it had been done by the airline staff to save themselves.

■ China
Saomai deaths reach 436

China's death toll in the wake of Typhoon Saomai reached 436 people, the official Xinhua news agency reported yesterday. The count rose with confirmation on Friday of an additional 106 deaths in eastern Zhejiang Province, where 11 people remained missing, according to provincial flood control officials. Of the 193 people who died in Zhejiang, 144 were killed when homes and other buildings collapsed because of heavy rain and severe wind as Saomai raged through the province. The property destruction was estimated at 12.7 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion) for damage to 39,000 houses. The worst-hit province, Fujian, had a death toll of 241 people.

■ Hong Kong

Predators on elderly busted

Three people were arrested after allegedly deceiving elderly people out of more than HK$1 million (US$129,000), police said yesterday. Police said one man, 49, was arrested yesterday after two other people -- a woman, 43, and a man, also 43 -- were detained on Friday and Thursday. Regional crime unit officers said several mobile phones, prepaid SIM cards and bank deposit slips were seized during the operation. It is believed the syndicate had been operating since May. Police said the group targeted elderly victims, telephoning them from untraceable mobile phone numbers to say their family members were in financial trouble. The victims were then persuaded to deposit large sums of money into bank accounts controlled by the syndicate.

■ China

AIDS vaccine `effective'

The government said yesterday that initial test results of its first AIDS vaccine showed it could protect people against the HIV virus. None of the participants in the first phase of the clinical trial showed any severe adverse reactions after 180 days and some showed they had developed immunity to the HIV-1 virus 15 days after receiving the vaccine, the State Food and Drug Administration said on its Web site. Researchers were still analyzing the outcome of the initial trial before deciding whether further tests would be carried out, it said.

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