Fri, Apr 20, 2007 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ CHINA

Four detained after accident

Four people were detained after a horrific accident in which more than 25 tonnes of molten steel engulfed a room where workers were changing shift, killing at least 32, state media said yesterday. An industrial ladle was moving into the pouring position at the plant in the northeastern province of Liaoning when it sheared off an iron rail, spewing out its 1,500oC contents. "The liquid metal engulfed the room, bursting through the door and windows and burying the workers," the China Daily said of Wednesday's tragedy at a plant belonging to the Qinghe Special Steel Co Ltd.

■ MALAYSIA

Riot police calm tensions

Riot police stepped in to calm political tensions yesterday after rival factions hurled bottles, stones and abuse at each other as the nation geared up for a possible early general election. In heavy rain, thousands of supporters of the ruling coalition and of opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim traded insults in the small town of Ijok outside the capital where a by-election will be held next week. Police moved in to keep the peace after about 2,000 Anwar supporters confronted a pro-government crowd of about 5,000, accusing the coalition of corruption and raising living costs.

■ BHUTAN

Mock elections to be staged

As the isolated Himalayan kingdom prepares for historic elections, many of the 100,000 refugees languishing outside the country are appealing for the chance to return and take part. On Saturday, the kingdom takes a big step towards ending a century of absolute royal rule by staging a mock election, a dress rehearsal with dummy parties, for the real thing in 2008. But this version of democracy will be a tightly controlled affair, critics say.

■ GERMANY

Celebrity cub gets guards

Polar bear cub Knut has received an anonymous death threat, causing alarm at Berlin Zoo yesterday and prompting heightened security. The police said they did not believe the threat was serious. The top-selling Bild newspaper said the zoo had received a hand-written fax from a suspected animal hater with the words: "Knut is dead! Thursday midday." It said the zoo had tripled the number of Knut's minders to 15. Bild published a picture of a security guard in civilian clothes guarding Knut from behind a rock.

■ EGYPT

Arab League picks duo

The Arab League chose Egypt and Jordan to take the lead in approaching Israel to promote the Saudi-drafted peace plan. Arab countries are hoping to pitch the plan as a basis for resuming peace negotiations with Israel. The initiative calls for Israel to withdraw from lands seized in 1967 and negotiate a fair solution to the refugee issue in return for full recognition of Israel by all Arab countries. Jordan and Egypt would try to "initiate direct talks" with Israel and "call on the Israeli government and all Israelis to accept the Arab peace initiative," the Saudi foreign minister said.

■ ISRAEL

Nazi-era heroine honored

An 86-year-old former teacher who risked her life to save more than 300 Jewish children from the Nazis in Belgium was granted honorary Israeli citizenship at an emotional ceremony where she was reunited with dozens of the people she rescued. "What I did was merely my duty. Disobeying the laws of the time was just the normal thing to do," Andree Geulen-Herscovici said softly in French on Wednesday in accepting the honor. Geulen-Herscovici was a teacher in Brussels in 1942 when she witnessed a Gestapo raid on a school, prompted her to join a rescue organization for children.

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