Fri, Feb 29, 2008 - Page 5 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ AUSTRALIA

Missing tourist found

A 22-year-old French woman missing for almost five days in the outback was found yesterday after scrawling a message to rescuers in the sand, police said. Searchers in a helicopter found her yesterday afternoon shortly after spotting the word "help" written in the sand, Northern Territory police said. She was taken to a medical center for a check-up but appeared fit and well, although a bit dehydrated. She set out alone from Kings Canyon on Sunday morning, telling park rangers that she planned to complete a 22km bush walk and return the following day. A search was launched when she failed to check in.

■ INDIA

Tragedy on the tracks

Sixteen people, including two children, were crushed to death under a train on Wednesday night near the city of Surat in Gujarat state, a railway official said yesterday. The bodies of the victims, who had disembarked at Surat and were walking along the rail tracks, were spotted by the driver of another train, he said. Meanwhile, a baby girl born in a train toilet survived after falling down the metal tube onto the tracks, the Times of India reported yesterday. It said the mother, who was seven months pregnant, fainted in the toilet, resulting in the 1.4km baby slipping down the chute. When she came to, she alerted railway staff and the train was stopped. The baby was found on the stones between the steel tracks and sleepers; doctors said her condition was stable.

■ CHINA

Illegal tolls cost drivers

Illegal highway tolls have cost motorists at least US$3.1 billion, Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday. Thirty-four people received criminal or disciplinary punishment for operating illegal highway tolls, Xinhua said. The findings came from a survey in 2005 of 86,800km of toll roads in 18 provincial-level regions, including Beijing and Shanghai, it said. Some local governments have used toll roads illegally to raise funds, it said.

■ HONG KONG

Pilot sacked for fly-by

A Cathay Pacific Airways pilot was fired after he swooped down and buzzed a Seattle-area airfield without permission while taking delivery of a Boeing 777-300ER passenger jet, the airline said on Wednesday. The airline said it was still investigating the Jan. 30 fly-by incident at Paine Field, 50km north of Seattle and home to a Boeing plant.

■ AUSTRALIA

Bikers chase off thieves

A pair of masked bandits armed with machetes picked the wrong Sydney sports club to rob on Wednesday night. About 50 bikers were meeting in the Southern Cross Cruiser Club at the time. The bikers chased robbers outside and had one tied up for the police. The second man was caught by police a few blocks away. "If they'd only looked, right when they walked in the main door, they would have seen 40 or 50 of us sitting there," the club president, who gave his name only as "Jester," said. "Obviously they couldn't see out of the balaclavas, because they didn't even look."

■ AUSTRALIA

Python nabs pet dog

A 5m python stalked a dog for days before swallowing the pet whole in front of two horrified children at their home near Kuranda in Queensland on Monday. Stuart Douglas, owner of the Australian Venom Zoo, was called in, but by the time he arrived, all that could be seen of the dog was its hind legs and tail. The snake will soon be relocated to the bush, he said.

■ UNITED KINGDOM

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