Sat, Dec 30, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ China
Internet users up 30 percent

China's population of Internet users, already the world's second-largest after the US, has risen by 30 percent over the past year to 132 million, a state news agency said yesterday. The figure was up from 123 million at the end of June, the Xinhua News Agency said, citing the government's China Internet Network Information Center. It said the number of Chinese customers with broadband access has grown to 52 million.

■ China

Head-banging snakes

China has come up with an earthquake prediction system which relies on the behavior of snakes, state media said on Thursday. The earthquake bureau in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi autonomous region in southern China, monitors snakes at local snake farms via video cameras linked to a broadband Internet connection. "Of all the creatures on Earth, snakes are perhaps the most sensitive to earthquakes," bureau director Jiang Weisong (蔣維松) was quoted as saying. Jiang said the snakes could sense an earthquake from 120km away, three to five days before it happens. They respond by banging their heads and behaving strangely.

■ China

Gangsters get death penalty

A central Chinese court has sentenced 11 people to death for their involvement in a range of gangster activities involving homicide and drug trading, state media reported yesterday. Another seven people belonging to the 97-strong criminal gang were given life sentences. The gang was convicted for robbery, illegal possession of guns, drug trading, gambling, extortion and blackmailing activities.

■ Cambodia
Buffalo gatecrashes wedding

Six persons were injured when a rampaging bull buffalo gored guests at a wedding ceremony and passers-by, police said yesterday. The buffalo charged from a nearby field into some 100 guests who were attending a wedding on Thursday of the daughter of a Cambodian tycoon on the outskirts of the capital Phnom Penh, said Chey So Sila, a district police chief, declining to reveal the name of the tycoon. After goring four guests he ran off to attack two passers-by, the officer said. All were hospitalized, some with serious injuries. He said the buffalo's owner fled his home after learning about the incident for fear of being held responsible.

■ Malaysia

Police seek fraudster

Authorities are trying to trace an Indian citizen suspected of cheating 18 Nepalese workers who claimed they were promised flights from Malaysia and lucrative jobs in Australia, an official said yesterday. The suspect, identified as Bipin Arora, brought the Nepalese to Kuala Lumpur -- intended to be a transit point to Australia -- on Oct. 17, said Ishak Mohamed, the Immigration Department enforcement chief. The Nepalese claimed they each paid Arora between US$500 and US$3,000 because he promised to secure them jobs in Australia and fly them all to the eastern city of Brisbane, Ishak said.

■ Australia

Courageous cat

An Australian family of four owe their lives to their pet cat after the animal prevented a house fire from turning into a tragedy, an official said yesterday. After a mattress caught on fire in the night, the courageous moggie leapt to the aid of its sleeping owner by digging its claws into his face, waking him before the blaze engulfed the family home in north Queensland. "The occupant was woken by the household cat which was scratching his face, alerting [him] to the ensuing dangers," Cairns firefighter Robert White-MacFarlane said. The owner was then able to wake his family, who escaped the blaze and call the authorities.

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