Thu, Jun 14, 2007 - Page 6 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ HONG KONG

Thaksin `buys' property

Ousted Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra has purchased a HK$210 million (US$27 million) townhouse on the Peak -- an exclusive Hong Kong neighborhood that's home to tycoons, celebrities and diplomats, the Standard newspaper reported yesterday. The buyer's name was not made public, but the newspaper quoted three unidentified sources close to the deal as saying Thaksin bought the 474m2 property, called "House 1 at Severn 8." Thaksin has visited Hong Kong a few times since being ousted in a bloodless coup last September. The Thai government has frozen more than 52 billion baht (US$1.6 billion) of his assets.

■ BANGLADESH

Storm death toll hits 125

Emergency workers continued their gruesome search for bodies in southeastern Chittagong yesterday as the death toll from landslides and storms rose to at least 125, officials said. The search was being concentrated on two sites in the seaport city where residents said shanty houses were completely engulfed in mud. Officials said 114 bodies had been recovered from under the mud, while 10 people also died in lightning strikes during severe storms in four districts across the country, and one more person was electrocuted in floodwaters. Rains which had hampered the search for victims has now stopped and floodwater has receded from most parts of the city.

■ CHINA

Thirteen jailed over Jilin fire

Thirteen people have been jailed for their part in a fire at a Jilin Province hospital that killed 37 patients and relatives, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday. Ninety-five people were also injured in the December 2005 blaze at the four-story City Central Hospital, which occurred after the building's electrical system caught fire. Among the convicted were five hospital officials, including the facility's president, who was sentenced to one year, as well as the workers who installed the substandard cables, one of whom was sentenced to seven years, Xinhua said. The offenders faced charges ranging from neglecting their duties to the production and sale of substandard products.

■ HONG KONG

Cockroaches can learn

Cockroaches have a memory and can be taught to salivate in response to neutral stimuli in the way that Pavlov's dogs would do when the famed Russian doctor rang his bell, Japanese researchers found. Such "conditioning" can only take place when there is memory and learning, and this salivating response had only previously been proven in humans and dogs. Writing in the latest edition of the online journal Public Library of Science, the researchers said they hoped to learn more about the human brain by exploring what goes on in the simpler brain of the cockroach.

■ AUSTRALIA

Man attacked with swordfish

Two assailants broke into a man's trailer and attacked him with a swordfish snout in the eastern city of Bundaberg yesterday, leaving the victim with cuts to his arms, back and hands, Queensland state police said. The victim, who was not identified, claimed the two suspects assaulted him with the serrated, sword-like bill during a home invasion, police said. Paramedics treated the man for his injuries. It was not clear where the alleged attackers found the swordfish snout, or how big it was. Police said they were not investigating the incident because the man had withdrawn his complaint.

■ FRANCE

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