Thu, Dec 07, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ China
Stomach cancer takes toll

About half the people who die every year from stomach cancer are Chinese and the main culprit is a fondness for pickled and smoked food and cigarettes, the Xinhua news agency said. The disease kills about 300,000 people across the country a year and there are 400,000 new cases reported annually, Xinhua said in a report late on Tuesday. Only lung and liver cancer kill more people the report said. Though men aged over 50 are most at risk, the number of women in rural areas who have contracted stomach cancer has risen 25 percent in the past five years, a doctor at Peking University said.

■ China

Bio-fuel boosts grain prices

Grain prices are soaring due to increasing amounts of corn and other crops being used for bio-fuel instead of food, the China Daily reported yesterday. Prices for corn, soy and wheat are nearing record highs as investors seek to cash in on the nation's demand for grain products, the paper said. "We predict that agricultural products will be as hot as petroleum in the future," the paper quoted a dealer from the Dalian Commodity Exchange as saying. In Shenyang the price of corn rose 3.7 percent over the past week to 1,400 yuan (US$178) a tonne, the paper said.

■ China

Yunnan eyes railways

Yunnan Province will invest more than 50 billion yuan (US$6.39 billion) in railways by 2010 as part of a scheme to link the country with Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar, Xinhua said yesterday. "The massive investment will power several railway construction projects both inside the province and linking Yunnan to neighboring regions," Xinhua quoted the minister of railways as saying.

■ Australia
Navy to shoot fishing boats

The Navy will be allowed to shoot at illegal fishing boats under tough new measures to deter poachers, Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said yesterday. Nelson said he approved the new rules of engagement because poachers were taking more risks to avoid arrest by the Navy, which has several patrol boats, a frigate and air force support hunting for illegal fishing boats. The vast majority of illegal vessels come from neighboring Indonesia. "Our patrol boats will be allowed to fire directly to disable a vessel which is ignoring orders and which is seeking escape apprehension, and which is indeed threatening our Navy and our people," Nelson told parliament.

■ Japan

Guardless prison planned

The country's first privately managed prison, due to open next year, will use wireless tags in place of guards and inmates will be put to work learning about computers instead of making furniture. The prison is part of efforts to cut costs as the number of inmates rises. The government will give the venture around US$448 million over 20 years to pay for facilities and services. To make it easier for inmates to find jobs after life behind bars, the prison will offer computer work instead of tasks such as making wooden tables and chairs.

■ Malaysia

Town fines sexy women

A town has threatened to fine non-Muslim women for wearing "sexy" clothes, infuriating some women's organizations. Authorities in northeast Kota Baru, which calls itself an Islamic city, will slap fines of up to 500 ringgit (US$140) on women who expose navels, wear body-hugging outfits, mini-skirts or see-through blouses, the Star newspaper said on Tuesday. "Such outfits are prohibited here as it smears the reputation of Kota Baru and affects its status as an Islamic city," the Star quoted municipal council spokesman Azman Daham as saying.

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