Thu, Sep 13, 2007 - Page 5 News List

World News Quick Take

AHENCIES

■ AFGHANISTAN

Taliban fighters killed

Coalition airstrikes killed nearly a dozen Taliban fighters in the southern province of Zabul overnight, the US military said, as the bloodiest period since the militants' 2001 ouster grinds on. Local military and coalition troops called in air support after detecting a group of more than 20 Taliban preparing to ambush them near a village in the Arghandab district of the province on Tuesday, it said. "The Afghan National Army called in coalition close-air support to strike the insurgents before they could launch their attempted ambush," the US military said in a statement.

■ NEW ZEALAND

Melting ice problematic

Melting glaciers and low snowfalls on the country's highest mountain have forced a climbing guide company to cancel treks there because of dangers posed by thinning ice and snow, the company said yesterday. The Linda Glacier, a favorite route up 3,754m Mount Cook, has become heavily crevassed, forcing climbers to clamber under avalanche-prone ice cliffs, said Gottlieb Braun-Elwert, founder of the Alpine Recreation company. "Usually at this time of year we expect a much, much thicker snow pack, at least another 10m I would say," Braun-Elwert said on National Radio. He has been a guide on the mountain for 31 years.

■ MALAYSIA

Mahathir eats `healthier' food

Former leader Mahathir Mohamad is surprising people after a recent bypass surgery by eating local favorites -- including fried noodles and oily bread dishes -- that have an artery-clogging reputation. But his daughter, Marina Mahathir, assured the country yesterday that Mahathir's doctors knew what they were doing, stressing that the National Heart Institute was feeding the 82-year-old retired prime minister with "healthier version of these foods." Mahathir chose to have surgery on Sept. 4 -- his second since 1989 -- after he suffered heart attacks in November last year and May.

■ CHINA

New strategy on cigarettes

Cigarette packs will have skulls, blackened teeth or diseased lungs printed on them in the latest effort to tackle smoking, but one specialist said the images may actually attract younger people to take up the habit. The images would have to take up at least 30 percent of the pack's surface area under rules that would come into force from January 2009, the Beijing Morning Post said, citing an official at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Similar images are already printed on packs in countries including Singapore, Thailand and Canada. It was part of a plan that would also see tobacco advertising banned by 2011, the report said.

■ SOUTH KOREA

Massage parlor trip on TV

The education ministry launched an inquiry yesterday day after a TV program showed youths entering a hotel massage parlor for sex during a school trip to China. The ministry ordered school authorities nationwide to investigate all field trips to China. "The alleged incident should not have happened," said Ko Young-kyu, a senior ministry supervisor. "Local education offices have been asked to throughly investigate and report the results." He said some 30 schoolmates of his bought sex there, adding: "Those who have been there all had it because we went there for that."

■ PORTUGAL

Madeleine case considered

An investigating magistrate was considering yesterday what further lines of inquiry to pursue after receiving the file on missing British girl Madeleine McCann. After handing the file over to the magistrate, the country's chief prosecutor said on Tuesday that further investigation would continue into the May 3 disappearance of the three-year-old girl and that further action may be taken against her parents, who have been named as suspects. "The investigation is not finished and new steps are needed after which the possibility will be considered of placing restrictions" against Kate and Gerry McCann, Prosecutor General Fernando Jose Matos said.

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