Fri, Oct 24, 2008 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ CHINA

3,600 babies still in hospital

More than 3,600 babies remain in hospital after drinking tainted milk products that have sickened more than 53,000 children, the government said yesterday. Of the 3,654 infants still in hospital, three remain in serious condition, while over 46,700 children have recovered and been released from medical clinics as of October 22, the health ministry said in a short statement. On Tuesday, 105 young children were admitted to hospitals around China with kidney ailments stemming from drinking the tainted milk products, while 370 infants were released, it added.

■ CHINA

Mothers appeal for help

A group of 101 mothers has written to the Communist Party leadership for help after their toddlers were denied kindergarten places after testing positive for hepatitis B. The nation has passed laws in recent years reversing a ban on its 120 million to 130 million hepatitis B carriers from the civil service, and banning companies from using the virus as an excuse to fire or not hire. But activists and sufferers say discrimination and stigma fueled by ignorance remain widespread and a number of provincial governments still have laws banning carriers from kindergartens, despite minimal chances of infection from casual contact.

■ AUSTRALIA

‘Jihad Jack’ found not guilty

A Muslim convert was yesterday found not guilty of receiving money from the al-Qaeda terror network after traveling to Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Former taxi driver Jack Thomas was acquitted on the terror charge in a retrial in Melbourne more than two years after he became the first Australian to be convicted under anti-terrorism laws introduced after the attacks on New York and Washington. But the retrial jury did find Thomas — dubbed “Jihad Jack” by the media after his trial — guilty of altering his passport. Thomas, who trained in an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, was found guilty in February 2006 of accepting US$3,500 in cash and an air ticket home given to him in 2003 by a senior al-Qaeda operative in Pakistan.

■ INDIA

Factory explosion kills 23

An explosion at an illegal fireworks factory in northern India killed at least 23 people, 10 of them children, police said yesterday. “There was a house in which fireworks were being made illegally,” police official Rohit Mahajan said. “An explosion went off in one man’s house and it collapsed.” Five other houses also collapsed and 18 people were injured in the explosion late Wednesday, he said. Many families produce fireworks in their homes in hazardous conditions ahead of Diwali — the festival of lights that will be celebrated on Tuesday.

■ SOUTH KOREA

Border train running empty

A freight train service between South and North Korea that was hailed as a symbol of reconciliation is running almost empty 10 months after its launch, officials said yesterday. The unification ministry said in a report to parliament that in the period up to August, 150 of 163 trains carried no cargo. Only 340 tonnes of cargo were handled during this time. The five-day-a-week service links the country to North Korea’s Kaesong industrial estate, a Seoul-run operation just north of the heavily fortified border. Ministry officials said businesses at Kaesong prefer to use trucks for transporting materials.

■ FRANCE

‘Level 2’ radiation declared

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