Mon, Nov 17, 2008 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ CHINA

Beijing jails scalpers

Beijing has sent an Olympic ticket tout to jail for two years, and fined him 450,000 yuan (US$65,950) for illegally selling more than 500 passes to the Summer Games, in the biggest such case to come to court. The 41-year-old had agreed to arrange tickets for two companies at prices 50 percent to 60 percent higher than their face value, Xinhua agency quoted a district court saying. He then used identities illegally obtained from a friend’s construction company and other sources to spend 230,000 yuan on the online ticketing system set up for the Games. The man was arrested in May, two months after Beijing warned that it was cracking down on scalping and would detain serious offenders for up to four years’ “re-education through labor.”

■ HONG KONG

Wine traders blow money

Wine lovers from across Asia showed their love for a fine vintage is recession-proof when they bid up to almost US$40,000 for each rare bottle, auctioneers said yesterday. One unnamed bidder bought three jeroboams —an oversize wine bottle holding about 3 liters — of La Tache Vintage 1990 red burgundy for a total of US$118,628 at the auction held on Saturday, organizers said. Another paid US$274,718 for a collection of 144 bottles from the same sought-after winemaker Domaine de la Roman-Conti, working out to about US$1,907 per bottle.

■ NEPAL

Climber touts mini-toilet

A young climber is seeking to popularize a toilet fashioned from a plastic bucket with a lid to promote eco-friendly climbing on Mount Everest. Hundreds of climbers flock to the world’s tallest peak at 8,850m every year, with many simply squatting in the open or hunching behind rocks as the Everest base camp has no proper toilet facilities. Dawa Steven Sherpa, who led an eco-Everest expedition in May to collect trash dumped by previous climbers, said his team used a plastic bucket as well as a gas-impervious bag designed to safely contain and neutralize human waste and keep in odor. Sherpa’s team brought down 65kg of human waste produced by its 18 members, which it handed over to a local environment group at the base camp for management. The US-designed bucket is 27cm tall, weighs 1kg and has an opening that is 20cm in diameter.

■ CHINA

Tunnel death toll rises

The death toll in the collapse of a subway tunnel under construction in eastern Zhejiang Province rose to three yesterday, with rescuers still searching for 17 others missing at the flooded site, the state news agency reported. A 75m-wide section of road over the construction site collapsed in the provincial capital city of Hangzhou on Saturday, trapping workers and creating a huge crater into which more than 11 vehicles plunged. Xinhua news agency said authorities were not ruling out the possibility of more collapses along the tunnel’s route.

■ CHINA

Aftershock shakes Sichuan

An earthquake of magnitude 4.8 shook Sichuan Province yesterday, the US Geological Survey said. No casualties were immediately reported after the quake rattled Pingwu County of the city of Mianyang, the state seismological bureau said. The bureau said the quake was an aftershock connected to the massive 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck Sichuan in May, killing more than 69,000 people and leaving 18,000 missing and presumed dead.


■ IRAN

Spies nabbed near border

Authorities detained 10 spies carrying US$500,000 in cash who had entered the country illegally from Pakistan, state television said on Saturday. Modern espionage cameras and maps of sensitive regions in Iran were found when the group was detained in southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province bordering Pakistan, the report said. Television did not give any details on their nationality or say when they were detained. Sistan-Baluchestan is a volatile province known for frequent clashes between security forces and well-armed drug smugglers. Tehran has in the past accused the US and Britain of trying to destabilize the country by supporting ethnic minority rebels operating in sensitive border areas.

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