Tue, Oct 10, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ United States

Quake hits Tonga

A strong 6.2 magnitude quake struck approximately 10km beneath the ocean south of Tonga, the US Geological Survey said on Sunday, but no threat of a tsunami was seen. The quake, which occurred at 1:50am, was approximately 270km south of Nuku'Alofa, the capital of the South Pacific island nation. The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a tsunami warning, saying the quake was "small and deep." A magnitude 6 quake is capable of causing severe damage.

■ New Zealand

Player saved by doctor mates

A cricket team comprised entirely of doctors dashed to the aid of a colleague when he collapsed after bowling an over in a social match in Christchurch. Mike Pearcy, president of the Sydenham Cricket Club, said the doctors "really got stuck in" resuscitating Richard Sainsbury, who had stopped breathing, and providing medical care until an ambulance arrived on Saturday."[They] were working on him and telling him to hang in there. I have never seen anything like it," Pearcy said yesterday. "It was a horrible thing ... but a tremendous outcome."

■ Bangladesh

Shooter in fracas

A Bangladeshi court has ordered a judicial inquiry into an alleged police assault on the country's champion shooter which ruled him out of December's Asian Games in Qatar, police said yesterday. Asif Hossain Khan, 22, was allegedly beaten up by police last week during a fracas about a car that had been parked illegally by a senior police officer's wife. Police said they acted in self defense after Asif and other shooters assaulted officers. Dhaka's chief metropolitan magistrate ordered a judicial inquiry on Sunday into the incident after the shooting federation filed a case accusing 40 police officers for allegedly taking part in the assault.

■ Australia

Firefighters asked to spy

As Australia braces for a scorching summer wildfire season, firefighters are being forced to spy on their own ranks amid suspicions one-in-five bushfires are lit by firefighters. Firebug suspects have been listed by police in New South Wales state, where wildfires have already destroyed homes during an unexpectedly hot early spring in which temperatures are already touching 30oC. The size of the state's 70,000-strong, mostly-volunteer, bushfire fighting service made checking the criminal records of all personnel almost impossible, police said. But state bushfire chief Phil Koperberg said commanders were watching up to 30 suspects for certain telltale signs.

■ Samoa

Karaoke sex-trafficking

Two Chinese have been indicted by a US federal court on sex-trafficking charges following allegations they had held two young compatriots as virtual sex slaves in their American Samoan karaoke bar. Wang Shengji, 35, and her business partner Kuo Fu Sheng, 39, appeared in the US Federal Court in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Friday after allegedly enticing two 24-year-old women from China in late March with the promise of shop work. The indictment against the Chinese pair said they threatened the young women with starvation during their five-month ordeal, with Wang telling them "No sex, no food." The victims were allegedly forced to have sex with customers at the Bai Lai Karaoke Bar in Pago Pago.

■ Saudi Arabia

Clerics slam horoscopes

Powerful clerics have warned media against publishing "forbidden" horoscopes, which are hugely popular despite a clerical ban. "This is astrology, which is forbidden and is considered as a form of magic," a committee of senior clerics said in a statement published on state news agency SPA on Saturday. "The committee reminds Muslims and journalists in particular that it is their obligation to take advice from God, His Prophet and the clergy," it said, adding that all schools of Islamic law forbid such practices. "Believing that a certain star can be the cause of happiness or misfortune is a superstition from the pre-Islamic age," the clerics said.

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