Tue, Oct 14, 2008 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■PAKISTAN

Leader warns on water

President Asif Ali Zardari warned that any breach of a river water-sharing treaty by India would be detrimental to the peace process, media reports said on yesterday. The statement came two days after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the controversial 450-megawatt Baglihar hydroelectric project over the Chenab River that flows from Indian Kashmir into Pakistan. Zardari said Singh also assured him during their recent meeting in New York that India was “seriously committed” to the water-sharing treaty. He said Islamabad expected Singh to stand by his commitment. He warned that violation of the Indus Water Treaty, brokered by the World Bank in 1960, would strain bilateral ties the two countries had built over the years.

■CHINA

Experts map panda genome

Scientists have mapped the genome of the giant panda, which could yield a better understanding of why the endangered animals are so famously sex-shy, state media said on Monday. Experts say there are only about 1,600 wild pandas left, mainly in the southwest, with another 200 or so raised in captivity in breeding centers. The animals’ notoriously low libidos have frustrated efforts to boost their numbers. Breeders have resorted to tactics such as showing them “panda porn” videos of other pandas mating, and putting males through “sexercises” aimed at training up their pelvic and leg muscles for the rigors of copulation. The genome-mapping effort also involved scientists from Britain, the US, Denmark and Canada, the China Daily said.

■CHINA

Protesters rally in Shanghai

Protesters staged a rare demonstration outside a Shanghai court yesterday in support of a jobless man who is appealing against his conviction for murdering six policemen. Around a dozen people staged a brief protest at the beginning of the closed-door trial of Yang Jia, 28, who was sentenced to death last month for the murders. Yang stormed into a Shanghai police station on July 1 and went on a stabbing frenzy, reportedly in revenge for being wrongfully detained on suspicion of stealing a bicycle. Authorities yesterday gave out few details of the appeal and court officials refused to comment, continuing the secretive handling of a case that has generated controversy with Yang regarded by some as a victim. Yang had become an Internet cult hero because his case raised questions about police harassment.

■CHINA

Rust remover sickens 170

Some 170 wedding guests were taken to a hospital when powdered rust remover was added to a dish instead of salt after they all decided it needed spicing up a bit. The bride’s proud father invited friends and relatives to the banquet at a village in Hebei Province on Friday, the night before the wedding, the Beijing News said. “All food was stewed in a big pot but after dinner started, all of them felt the taste was too bland,” the newspaper said. Someone added what he or she thought was salt — several times. An hour later, the guests were being rushed to a hospital. “When I arrived at the hospital, the observation room was packed with people vomiting, with stomach pains and with diarrhea,” a doctor was quoted as saying. The symptoms were short-lived and all the victims were released by the next day.

■BRITAIN

Blair fought for tobacco

Former prime minister Tony Blair intervened as prime minister to get an exemption from a ban on tobacco advertising at sporting events for Formula One, the Sunday Telegraph reported on Sunday. Citing documents obtained through freedom of information requests, the paper reported that hours after meeting Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone, Blair sought the exemption. Blair, who served as prime minister for 10 years, has said the 1997 meeting with Ecclestone — a Labour Party donor — did not influence the government’s decision to seek the exemption.

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