Tue, Feb 06, 2007 - Page 6 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ India
Factory fire kills seven

A fire gutted a garment factory in eastern India yesterday, killing seven workers, officials said. The fire hit a sari embroidery factory in Howrah, a suburb of Calcutta, when sparks from electrical wires ignited a can of diesel fuel lying in the factory, said Gopal Bhattacharjee, the director of the staste fire department. The fire, which broke out very early yesterday, has been brought under control, he said, adding that a detailed investigation is under way.

■ India

Bangalore police on alert

Thousands of riot police fanned out across India's technology hub of Bangalore yesterday ahead of a court ruling on a century-old water dispute which authorities fear could lead to a repeat of deadly 1991 riots. Bangalore is the capital of Karnataka, a southern state in dispute with neighboring Tamil Nadu over access to water from their shared Cauvery river. A 1991 interim court order telling Karnataka to release 205 billion cubic feet of water from Cauvery river to Tamil Nadu sparked riots against Tamils in Bangalore, a linguistic minority in the city, leaving more than 18 people dead.

■ India

Suspected rebels arrested

Police arrested four suspected Islamic rebels after a gunbattle on a busy street in the Indian capital, a news report said yesterday. The shootout took place on Sunday night in the center of New Delhi after the police, acting on a tip, intercepted the suspected militants, the Indian Express reported. Police also seized explosives and weapons, including 3km of the explosive RDX, used in past bombings in India, six hand grenades and four detonators, the report said. The police say the men are members of Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group, which has been blamed for several attacks in India, including numerous bombings and shootings in New Delhi's part of Kashmir.

■ Malaysia

Man wants to reject Islam

An ethnic Chinese man who was mistakenly handed to a Muslim couple at birth in a hospital mix-up found his biological parents 21 years later, but now faces a new battle -- to renounce Islam and acquire a Chinese name, the Star reported yesterday. The family went public with their story only now because Zulhaidi Omar, 29, wants to take up a Chinese name and change his religion to Buddhism. But the Constitution does not allow Muslims to renounce their religion. Doing so is considered apostasy and is punishable by jail. Michael Tay, a politician who is helping the family, said that if negotiations with state officials and the hospital where Zulhaidi was born failed, the family might have to seek legal recourse.

■ Australia

Fugitive to fly home

An Australian fugitive wanted on fraud charges in two South Pacific nations said he would fly home yesterday from Vanuatu where he was jailed for a visa offense. Peter Foster, 44, was sentenced in the Port Vila Magistrates Court last Friday to six weeks in prison and fined 120,000 Vanuatuan vatu (US$1,080) for arriving on Vanuatu without a visa last month. Foster, who gained international attention for dating former British topless model Samantha Fox and for advising Cherie Blair, wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair has served time for fraud-related offenses in Australia, the US and Britain.

■ Israel
President's lawyer quits

The main lawyer of Israeli President Moshe Katsav, faced with a looming indictment for rape and sexual harassment, announced on Sunday he would no longer represent the embattled head of state. David Libai, a former justice minister, said he had agreed to defend Katsav before the revelations of alleged sexual harassment, the media reported. His decision to resign was taken after the rape and harassment charges emerged. "Moshe Katsav and David Libai jointly decided a week ago that Katsav would no longer be represented by lawyer Libai," the president's office said.

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