Mon, Dec 25, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ China

Shandong leader fired

The second most-powerful figure in Shandong Province has been fired for serious misconduct, state media announced yesterday, amid a crackdown on corruption. The deputy party secretary of Shandong was dismissed because he committed a "serious discipline violation," the Xinhua news agency and state television said. They didn't give any details, but such language usually is used to describe embezzlement, extortion or other graft.

■ Philippines

HK fishermen arrested

Thirty fishermen from Hong Kong have been arrested poaching off a protected marine reserve, the navy said yesterday. The men were aboard the vessel Hoi Wan, intercepted on Thursday by security forces off Palawan island. Officials will later determine whether the men will be fined, jailed or repatriated immediately. The ill-equipped coast guard and navy has struggled to protect the vast coast area. In October maritime forces arrested 24 Chinese illegally fishing and in March, 17 Chinese poachers were deported after spending one year in jail.

■ China

One-tier tax debated

Lawmakers yesterday considered a draft law that would impose a 25 percent income tax on both domestic and foreign firms to end the preferential rate for overseas firms, state media said. The tax bill was unveiled to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress -- the top legislature -- at the start of a week-long session due to end on Friday, Xinhua news agency said. Domestic companies are currently taxed at a rate of 24 percent on average. Foreign firms only pay about 14 percent, which local firms have complained about in the face of hard competition.

■ Spain

Police find weapons cache

Police in the north of the country found a weapons cache on Saturday that allegedly belonged to the Basque separatist group ETA, officials said. Police said they found 50kg of chemical substances to make explosives; detonators; clothes and a tent. The items were recovered from an underground cache in a wooded area near the Basque town of Amorebieta. Investigators said it had only been built two or three days ago. Another arms cache was found by police in Itxaso, but this one seemed to have been abandoned four years ago, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

■ Burkina Faso

Prisoners flee jail en masse

About 600 prisoners are on the run after escaping during fighting between soldiers and policemen earlier this week, officials said. The head of the main prison in the capital, Ouagadougou, said the prisoners escaped on Wednesday when soldiers battling with police attacked the gates of the prison. The Ouagadougou prison holds about 1,200 prisoners in all and a spokesman said none of those who escaped were dangerous criminals, who are kept in more secure cells. He said most of the escapees had been convicted of small-time thievery or forgery. The firefights between soldiers and police were sparked by a police killing of a soldier on Tuesday.

■ United Kingdom

Domestic flights resume

Tens of thousands of passengers headed home for their Christmas holidays on Saturday after three days of chaos at airports caused by fog. By mid-afternoon the fog had largely lifted. British Airways (BA), which has suffered the bulk of the cancellations, resumed all domestic flights from London's Heathrow airport at midday. BA said it hoped to run 95 percent of services on Saturday and a full service yesterday.

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