Sat, Dec 27, 2008 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ MALAYSIA

Shaman arrested for abuse

Police have detained a 50-year-old shaman and his 43-year-old wife accused of molesting a teenager during treatment, news reports said on Thursday. The 19-year-old girl was believed to have gone to the home of the medicine man in the southern Johor state to seek treatment for muscle aches on Tuesday night, the Star daily reported. The victim was allegedly held to the ground by the suspect’s wife during treatment and her clothes removed by the shaman who then allegedly molested the girl. Following a police report logged by the girl, police have detained the suspect and his wife, district police chief Osman Mohamed Sebot confirmed. “We believe there are more victims who did not lodge police reports,” Osman said, adding that the suspect had previously worked as a truck driver.

■MARSHALL ISLANDS

State of emergency declared

A state of emergency was declared after severe flooding forced more than 600 people out of their homes. The Marshall Islands Journal reports that a combination of 1.5m waves and heavy storms swamped the cities of Majuro and Ebeye, destroying plywood homes and forcing residents to move into churches, high schools and youth centers. About 460mm of water submerged parts the islands, and the streets are covered with rocks, coral and debris. The flooding occurred from Dec. 9 to Dec. 15, and the state of emergency was declared Christmas Eve. Flooding is a severe problem for the islands because they lie close to sea level.

■CHINA

Train smoker detained

A man was given three days in detention for breaking a no-smoking rule on a new high-speed rail line, Chinese state media said, an unusually severe punishment in a country where smoking bans are routinely ignored. He was caught smoking in the toilet just after the train had left Tianjin for Beijing, triggering an alarm and causing the train to stop, the official Xinhua news agency said on its Web site.

■CHINA

Wolf caught near Great Wall

A wolf has been captured by forestry workers near a part of the Great Wall close to Beijing that is popular with tourists, state media said on Thursday. The wolf is being kept at a nature park and will be released in uninhabited mountains far from the Wall, Xinhua news agency said.

■NEPAL

Tubby tigers go on a diet

Authorities said on Wednesday they had stopped feeding tigers in the country’s only zoo for one day a week to keep them from piling on the kilos. One of three fat cats at Jawalakhel zoo in the Nepali capital now weighs in at about 220kg, having gained 40kg on a diet of buffalo meat in just eight months.

■CHINA

Public heater breaks down

The collapse of a public heating system in one of the country’s coldest cities has left thousands of people without heat during a cold spell, state media reported on Thursday. At least 10,000 families in Qiqihar City in Heilongjiang Province, which borders Siberia, were affected by the breakdown and local authorities said it could take two days to fix, the Xinhua news agency said. The temperature dropped to minus 25ºC on Wednesday night, when the system feeding coal to the Qiqihar Thermal Power Co broke down. The high on Thursday was minus 13ºC. Households in northern Chinese cities rely on public systems for heating.

■SWEDEN

Donald Duck still a hit

Donald Duck may have struggled under Mickey Mouse’s shadow, but in Sweden millions of people have tuned in to watch the hot-headed Disney character’s Christmas special every year since 1959. Between 3.5 million and 3.8 million people were expected to watch the one-hour special Donald Duck and His Friends Wish You All a Merry Christmas this year, said spokeswoman Ulrika Lundgren Borg of SVT public television. “Swedish television started to show Donald Duck on the afternoon of Christmas Eve in 1959. It was very popular since it was one of the first animated shows on TV,” she said. But the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper reported that viewership for the irascible duck’s show has dropped by 1 million since 1997, the height of the Christmas special’s popularity. Still, SVT programming director Thomas Nilsson said the future of the sailor suit-wearing hero, known as Kalle Ankas in the Nordic country, was safe in Sweden. “Kalle has been the No. 1 or No. 2 [program] for years. We are very far from a critical point,” Nilsson was quoted as saying by Svenska Dagbladet.

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