Mon, Feb 19, 2007 - Page 4 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Afghanistan
Man mistakenly shot

NATO-led troops mistakenly shot and killed a man in the south of the country, believing he was a suicide bomber, the alliance said in a statement. The victim was shot as he ran between vehicles of a military convoy that had stopped near Kandahar's military airfield, the statement from NATO's International Security Assistance Force said on Saturday. "A gunner on one of the vehicles flashed a light at the individual after he kept moving toward the convoy, then fired warning shots," statement said. "When the individual failed to stop, ISAF forces fired upon him." The man was taken to a military hospital for treatment but died of his wounds, the statement said.

■ Australia

Drought threatens prices

The cost of wine is set to soar after droughts, frosts, bush fires and swarms of locusts have plagued vineyards and reduced production by up to 30 percent. "The drought has been the worst in living memory," said Bill Hardy of Hardy's, the country's bestselling wine brand. "We are seeing grape prices creep up, particularly on varieties such as pinot noir and sauvignon blanc, of which Australia only has a small amount, but which are growing in popularity." The news will hit the wine industry hard.

■ China

Yellow River to be restocked

Six million fish will be released each year into the Yellow River from next year to boost fish stocks seriously depleted by pollution and over-fishing, the state-owned Xinhua news agency said yesterday. The country has invested 3 million yuan (US$350,000) in a farm on the upper reaches of the river in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which will supply 5 million carp and 1 million catfish each year, the agency quoted local officials as saying. More than two decades of rapid industrialization have taken place at a high cost to the environment. Many cities are shrouded in smog and half of the country's rivers are severely polluted, according to the government.

■ China

Fireworks injure 100

At least 125 people were injured setting off Lunar New Year fireworks yesterday in Beijing, where the noisy tradition has made a comeback after a ban was lifted, state media said. The official Xinhua news agency cited police as blaming the injuries on shoddy firecrackers that had flooded into the capital city this year. The fireworks were part of celebrations marking the start of the Lunar New Year which began yesterday. Xinhua described three of the injuries as serious; one person's eyes had to be removed.

■ Pakistan

Ceremony to continue

Pakistani troops will continue an aggressive military ceremony at a border crossing with rival India because it is a tradition and attracts tourists, officials said on Saturday. Indian border guards announced in November they would tone down their ceremony performed every evening at the Wagah border post amid warming relations between the nuclear-armed South Asia rivals. But the chief of Pakistan's paramilitary frontier force said the furious goose step and slamming of gates by his soldiers when the border closed for the night was an important tradition. "It is not hostility but a tradition to pay utmost respect to the flag and it will continue," Major General Javid Zia said.

■ Mexico
Tonnes of tacos

A group of businessmen in the northern city of Chihuahua broke a tasty record, making a hunk of pork on a skewer big enough to serve 24,000 tacos. In the event on Friday dubbed "Tacoton," the pastor taco, a variety of the Mexican dish made with pork cooked on a rotisserie, weighed 3.5 tonnes and was 4m high, the Mexican state news agency Notimex reported. The Guinness Book of Records recognized the hunk of meat as the world's "largest skewer of kebab meat," Notimex reported. Portions were sold with a drink for US$1 a piece to hungry spectators, with proceeds going to a home for abandoned children, Notimex said.

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