Tue, Apr 03, 2007 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ CHINA
Tour guide goes on rampage

A knife-wielding Chinese tour guide wounded 20 people, including 15 tourists, in a rampage in the world-renowned scenic southern mountain town of Lijiang, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday. The multiple stabbings occurred on Sunday and left two of the victims in serious conditions, it said. Xu Minchao, a tour group operator from Jilin Province, was arrested at the scene and was being interrogated, Xinhua said. It said the tourists were all from China. Lijiang is a UN World Heritage site because of its historic cobblestoned "old town" district and dramatic mountain scenery.

■ AFGHANISTAN

Weather causes chaos

Flooding and an avalanche have killed at least 51 people and destroyed hundreds of homes over the last 11 days following warm weather and heavy spring rains across much of the country, officials said. Daykundi Province Governor Sultan Ali Uruzgani said all the province's districts are flooded after heavy hail and rain storms on Thursday and Friday, and that the region was struck by an avalanche on Saturday. In total, 31 people have died in the province from the avalanche and flooding over the last 10 days, Uruzgani said late on Sunday.

■ CHINA

No time for sex

Stress is taking a toll on city residents' sex lives, with 30 percent of middle-aged couples having no intimate relations, according to a survey published in the China Daily yesterday. The survey of nearly 33,000 people in 10 cities found that relentless pressure from families and jobs was having a major impact on the sex lives of both new and old couples. Thirty percent of middle-aged couples have given up on sex altogether as a result of physical or psychological problems related to stress, the report said. One quarter of couples aged under 30 reported similar problems. The survey, conducted by a US pharmaceutical firm and the Beijing-based China Population Communication Center, also found 45 percent of men in relationships suffered from erectile dysfunction.

■ MALAYSIA

Moonlighting on the rise

Hundreds of thousands of low-income civil servants are moonlighting in second jobs to make ends meet, including many who work as taxi drivers, the Star newspaper reported yesterday. The newspaper quoted Omar Osman, president of a government workers' union, as saying that about 800,000 of its 2.1 million members have taken up additional jobs. "The stumbling block is that workers are not paid accordingly," Omar, head of the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Service, or Cuepacs, was quoted as saying. Cuepacs is pressing the government for a 10 percent to 40 percent increase in salary scales and hopes that a favorable decision can be announced on Labor Day, the newspaper said. The last salary revision was 15 years ago, Omar said.

■ NEW ZEALAND

Group targets Easter bunny

Environment Canterbury is targeting the Easter bunny in a renewed war against one of the country's worst natural pests. The South Island group wants people to come up with an alternative Easter symbol as part of a campaign to highlight the damage caused by rabbits. "They're like an environmental curse," Mark Oldfield of Environment Canterbury said. "We did have a similar competition a number of years ago and we came up with the Easter Kiwi."

■ UNITED KINGDOM
Release Johnston: writers

Some 300 journalists yesterday called for the release of British Broadcasting Corp (BBC) correspondent Alan Johnston, abducted in the Gaza Strip three weeks ago. The appeal came in a full-page advertisement in the Guardian newspaper signed by many well-known journalists, including veteran interviewer David Frost, host David Dimbleby and BBC presenter Jeremy Paxman and by the editors of several national newspapers. Johnston, 44, was kidnapped from his car by masked gunmen on March 12.

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