Sun, Jul 22, 2007 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ PAKISTAN

Storms kill at least 70

Rescuers searched for survivors yesterday after rain-triggered landslides and lightning killed more than 70 people and destroyed homes in two remote villages in northwestern Pakistan, officials said. Dozens of people were still missing in the villages in Dirbala District, which was battered by heavy rains and storms on Friday, police official Khan Walizada said. Sultan Ghani, the region's deputy police chief, said officers and doctors were sent to the villages, which are located in the mountains near a fast-flowing stream. Some of the injured were taken to a hospital, he said, but rescuers faced difficulties transporting the dead and injured because the villages were so remote.

■ SOUTH KOREA

Pilots feared dead in crash

Both pilots aboard a South Korean jet fighter that crashed in the Yellow Sea off the nation's western coast on Friday were feared dead, air force authorities said yesterday. "Some wreckage was found and the two pilots are feared dead," the Air Force said in a statement. Helicopters, surveillance planes and patrol boats were combing the crash site, it said. The KF-16 jet crashed in the West Sea around 9pm on Friday after taking off from its base in Seosan, some 150km southwest of Seoul, it said.

■ SOUTH KOREA

Woman embezzles for shoes

Police are seeking a 26-year-old woman on suspicion of embezzling about US$1.4 million to fund a craving for designer shoes, bags and clothes, a spokesman said on Friday. "We have strong reason to believe she used this money to purchase about 1,000 designer goods," the police spokesman said. "Without doubt, you have to say she is a luxury addict," he said. The woman, identified only as "Miss A," worked for an agricultural cooperative. She is suspected of siphoning off utility and tax payments to fund purchases including, according to media reports, hundreds of pairs of shoes. Police are looking for accomplices, but would not release further details.

■ CHINA

Rains, flooding wreak havoc

The death toll from storms in Shandong Province has risen to 40, the official Xinhua news agency said yesterday, citing the provincial civil affairs bureau. China's flood season, which usually lasts from May to September, has already killed hundreds of people this year and caused a 2 billion-strong plague of rats fleeing rising waters in Hunan Province. Heavy rain is forecast to continue to hit large swathes of China over the weekend.

■ MALAYSIA

Bookstores shelve `Potter'

Major bookstores pulled the final volume of the Harry Potter series off their shelves yesterday, protesting a price war sparked by supermarket retailers that sold the book at a massive discount. Only customers who reserved copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in advance could collect the book, Malaysia's three leading book chains -- MPH Bookstores, Popular Book Co and Times The Bookshop -- said in a joint statement. The companies, which run a total of more than 100 branches nationwide, also scrapped promotional activities that were supposed to mark the book's launch. The move was in response to what the booksellers called an "indiscriminate price discount" by grocery giants, including local outlets of the UK's Tesco PLC and France's Carrefour SA, that offered the new book at a discount of 40 ringgit (US$11.40) off its recommended retail price of 109.90 ringgit.

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