Sat, Dec 23, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Hong Kong

Journalists appeal to China

Journalists took to the streets yesterday to urge China to release their jailed colleague Ching Cheong (程翔), convicted of spying for Taiwan, on medical parole due to his health. Waving banners and shouting slogans, a small group of Hong Kong Journalists Association members marched to government headquarters to hand in a petition signed by 3,000 people during a two-week worldwide online campaign. The protest was timed to coincide with the 57th birthday of the chief China correspondent for Singapore's Straits Times. Ching was sentenced on Aug. 31 to five years in jail following a one-day trial.

■ Thailand

PM warns of holiday threat

Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont yesterday warned of large-scale attacks by Islamic militants in the Muslim-majority south during New Year holidays. "I have been informed by local security units that there may be large-scale attacks before or after the New Year," Surayud said, adding he had received reports that militants were "assembling their forces."

■ India

HIV tests planned

The southern state of Andhra Pradesh is planning to make HIV testing mandatory for couples planning to get married. It is the latest move by the state hit hardest by HIV and AIDS, with over a million of the country's 5.7 million cases. "This is an attempt to say that HIV is not a problem of truckers and the lower segment of society. Anybody can be affected and everybody should be tested," G. Ashok Kumar, director of the Andhra Pradesh Aids Control Society, said late on Thursday.

■ China

Airlines fight complaints

The food's bad, the airport coffee costs too much, the in-flight service is terrible, the flight's delayed and your suitcase got destroyed in transit -- well, it's your fault for having unrealistic expectations. The civil aviation authority, seeking to head off an upsurge in consumer complaints about domestic air travel, this week issued a plea to long-suffering travelers to stop complaining so much. "We hope to increase consumers' understanding about the special nature of the civil aviation industry," the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China said.

■ China

Police block nude run

Police in Henan Province have scotched a wine maker's plans for a mass Christmas Eve "nude run" that the company said was a public interest event to discourage the use of "excessive packaging" in the industry. Jixiang Ruyi Tobacco and Alcohol Co offered 284 people US$1,280 in cash and prizes to participate in a naked dash through Zhengzhou the People's Daily reported on its Web site yesterday. The company called for "auspicious" men and women under the age of 30 with "healthy bodies" to apply. "The goal of this streaking event is to raise consumer awareness and declare war on the excessive packaging of baijiu through the language of the body," a manager said.

■ Antarctica

Journey to pole continues

Two New Zealand men walking to the South Pole and back have only one wish for Christmas -- a smooth ice sheet. "The best Christmas present we could have would be a nice, flat surface," as it will involve "a lot of walking," adventurer Kevin Biggar said yesterday as they prepared to reach the pole by early next month. Biggar and Jamie Fitzgerald were on their 40th day of walking, dragging sleds behind them. After a short celebration, they plan to turn around and head back to the Antarctic coast, to complete their journey. The two men hope to become the first to walk to the Pole and back unaided.

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