Mon, Oct 29, 2007 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

■ Homecoming marred

Celebrations marking the homecoming yesterday of the nation's first astronaut have been postponed because of the sudden death of his brother, officials and reports said. An official welcoming ceremony for Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, who has just completed an 11-day mission in space, will be postponed so he can attend his brother's funeral, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak was quoted by the Sunday Star as saying. Sheikh Mustapha, 32, died on Saturday without regaining consciousness from a coma six days after slipping and falling into a pillar in a restaurant, the newspaper said. Sheikh Muszaphar will be taken straight from the airport yesterday to southern Negeri Sembilan state for his brother's burial, Najib said in the report.

■ PHILIPPINES

Clan violence fuels conflict

Clan violence has aggravated the conflict between government forces and Islamic separatists in the south, making the decade-long search for peace there even harder, a new study says. The study by the Asia Foundation, released on Wednesday, said the peace process in Mindanao would have a better chance of succeeding if clan violence were addressed. The project's researchers, who included Islamic scholars and anthropologists, found that in Mindanao from the 1930s to 2005, there had been 1,266 cases of clan violence -- rido -- in which 5,500 people were killed and thousands were displaced. The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have been negotiating for peace since 1997. The study said half of the documented rido occurred between 2000 and 2004, when ceasefire between the government and the Islamic front was broken many times by rido.

■ SOUTH KOREA

Energy talks open today

The six nations involved in North Korean disarmament talks will this week resume negotiations on energy aid for Pyongyang in return for its promised nuclear shutdown, officials said yesterday. "We will discuss details to provide energy aid including heavy fuel oil and other materials and equipment to the North," a foreign ministry official said. The meeting is due to take place on today and tomorrow at Panmunjom.

■ AUSTRALIA

Military defends troops

An Australian Defense Force (ADF) spokesman said yesterday that its soldiers did not fight in a Dutch-led assault on Taliban fighters in Afghanistan in June because of concerns about rules of engagement. Some 52 civilians were reported to have died in the Chora Valley battle, prompting Afghan President Hamid Karzai to condemn the "indiscriminate and unprecise operations" of the foreign forces. "As the situation in the Chora Valley deteriorated ... ADF personnel ... became aware that Dutch procedures for this operation differed from Australian targeting procedures and expressed their concerns, including at senior levels," Brigadier Andrew Nikolic said.

■ CAMBODIA

Car with a history for sale

Car collectors with macabre tastes and at least US$71,800 have a chance to own a car reportedly used by Pol Pot, the late Khmer Rouge chief. "For sale -- one classic 1973 Mercedes Benz stretch limousine ... previously used by one infamous owner Pol Pot," reads a listing on the online auction site eBay. The car was reportedly bought by its current owner in 2001, who used it "for Sunday drives around Phnom Penh and the outskirts."

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