Tue, Sep 18, 2007 - Page 6 News List

World News Quick Take



Students burned by balloons

More than 60 students at a school in the northwest suffered burn injuries when hundreds of small hydrogen balloons exploded, state media reported yesterday. The students, from Lanzhou Electric Power School in Lanzhou City, Gansu Province, were taking part in a sports event when the accident happened on Sunday, the Xinhua news agency said. As more than 1,500 balloons meant to be used at the opening of the event caught fire, dozens of students suffered burns, some of them severe, to their faces, hands and backs, according to the agency.


Political crisis talks held

Political leaders held emergency talks yesterday with former rebel Maoists to try to persuade the ultra-leftists to remain in government and cancel protests planned for later this week. The Maoists have vowed to stage major demonstrations and quit the government if the country is not immediately declared a republic, a move that would deal a major blow to last year's landmark peace deal that ended a decade of civil war. Maoist leader Prachanda was "scheduled to meet the prime minister on Monday afternoon, and other leaders have been meeting leaders from the other parties," Maoist deputy commander Ananta said.


Church leader released

Beijing has released a leader of the nation's underground Protestant Church after being detained for three years for illegal possession of thousands of Bibles, a Christian activist group said yesterday. Cai Zhuohua (蔡卓華) from Beijing was freed on Sept, 10, according to a statement from the US-based China Aid Association, having lost more than 20kg but in otherwise good health. Cai, who was first taken into custody on Sept. 11, 2004, and formally sentenced to jail a year later, was forced to work 12 hours a day making soccer balls for the 2008 Beijing Olympics while in custody, the group said.


Navy pays for implants

The military on Sunday defended its decision to pay for some female sailors to have breast implants, saying the operations were not carried out for cosmetic reasons. Defense Force spokesman Brigadier Andrew Nikolic did not say how many women had had the taxpayer-funded operation. But he said the military would consider paying for plastic surgery for personnel where there were medical, dental or compelling psychological or psychiatric reasons. Any suggestion that breast operations were carried out to make the women "look sexy" were not only wrong, but insulting, Nikolic said. "Under defense policy we do consider the holistic needs of our people, both physical and psychological," he said.


Suspect thought to be in US

A man who abandoned a girl, thought to be his daughter, at a busy train station is believed to have fled to the US, police said yesterday. The well-dressed Asian child, who is aged about three, was found wandering the Melbourne city station on Saturday morning. Security footage showed her holding the hand of an Asian man wearing a suit and carrying a suitcase just 15 minutes before she was found at Southern Cross station. Police said they believed the man was the child's father and that the pair had come to Australia from Auckland days earlier.


Howard would lose seat: poll

Prime Minister John Howard would lose the election in his home district of Sydney if parliamentary polls were held now, a poll said yesterday. The results of the Morgan poll published in Melbourne's Age newspaper heighten the pressure on the country's second-longest serving prime minister to relinquish power before elections expected by early December. Howard reiterated on Sunday that he would lead his center-right coalition to the election despite opinion polls throughout the year showing his government trailing the center-left Labor Party, which has been in opposition since 1996.

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