Thu, Feb 26, 2009 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■NEW ZEALAND

Woman gets mermaid tail

Nadya Vessey, who lost her legs to a childhood illness, can swim like a mermaid thanks to special effects wizards Weta Workshop, news reports said yesterday. The workshop, which won Oscars for effects on The Lord of the Rings, made a mermaid wet suit for her with a fishtail, which she tested in a Wellington pool. Weta costume-maker Lee Williams said in an interview with Televison New Zealand that she wanted Vessey to be “beautiful and sexy” in the suit, which has hand-painted fish-like scales. A thrilled Vessey said the idea stuck with her after telling a little boy who asked what had happened to her legs that she was a mermaid. Weta agreed to Vessey’s request for a suit because it was a challenge.

■INDIA

Bus crash kills 39

At least 39 people were killed and 14 injured yesterday when a bus skidded off a mountain road and fell into a river, police said. The accident occurred when the driver of the bus lost control while taking a sharp turn on the road at Pul Doda in Doda District, about 180km northeast of Jammu. The bus fell 90m. Thirty-six bodies were recovered while three passengers died on the way to hospital. The victims consisted of 30 men, eight women and a child. At least five passengers were in critical condition, the police said.

■BRUNEI

Beer run leads to jail

It was a beer run on the high seas. Customs officers arrested two men who tried to smuggle 1,382 cans of contraband beer by boat into the country, a news report said yesterday. The men entered Brunei’s waters on Tuesday but tried to flee when they realized they had been spotted, the Borneo Bulletin newspaper said. Customs authorities foiled the escape after a high-speed chase, making their biggest seizure of alcohol this year, the report said. Sale and consumption of alcohol is banned although non-Muslim visitors are allowed to bring in limited amounts for private consumption.

■CHINA

Food safety agency planned

The government will set up a central food safety commission to help cut down on scandals involving dangerous food products, state media said yesterday. The commission will be under the auspices of the State Council and will be set out under a new food safety law, Xinhua news agency said. The commission’s task would be “to strengthen the country’s food monitoring system, whose low efficiency has long been blamed for repeated food scandals,” the report said. Experts have said a key reason for the country’s regulatory shortcomings is that too many different agencies have jurisdiction over the food industry.

■THAILAND

Militants kill two civilians

Suspected militants killed two civilians in the south, while more than a dozen people including soldiers were injured in an upsurge in separatist violence, police said yesterday. In troubled Yala Province on Tuesday, a group of militants stormed a food shop and killed the 24-year-old owner, while three of his relatives were wounded by gunfire, police said. Elsewhere in Yala, a 41-year-old woman who worked as a government informant was shot dead. In a spate of attacks on security forces the same day, two soldiers were injured by gunfire in an ambush by separatists in Yala, while in a nearby district a bomb and shooting attack wounded two army rangers.

■LIBYA

Qaddafi blames Israel

Lybian leader Muammar Qaddafi demanded on Tuesday that any international legal proceedings against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir be halted immediately, charging that it was Israel and not the Sudanese president who was to blame for the Darfur conflict. “It’ll be no surprise to anyone when we say that we have found unequivocal proof that the Darfur problem was fomented by foreign forces,” Qaddafi said in a speech carried by the independent Al-Libya TV channel. “Key rebel leaders have opened offices in Tel Aviv and meet frequently with the [Israeli] army,” he said. “If Tel Aviv, among others, is behind the events in Darfur, why then call Bashir or the Sudanese government to account?” he asked.

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