Tue, Mar 03, 2009 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■AUSTRALIA

Warnings sent on more fires

Australia braced yesterday for the worst conditions since firestorms killed 210 people last month, prompting authorities to send warning text messages to the mobile phones of 5 million people. The unprecedented move comes after criticism that warnings ahead of the devastating blazes that hit on Feb. 7 were insufficient. With firefighters facing a potentially lethal mix of flames, heat and winds approaching 150kph today, Victorian Premier John Brumby said he wanted to ensure warnings reached as wide an audience as possible. “It’s been apparent that some people don’t listen to the radio, don’t watch TV and don’t read newspapers either, so getting that message through the mobile phone will be another way to make sure that people are advised,” Brumby said.

■NEPAL

Five killed by wildfires

At least five people were killed by wildfires in western Nepal believed to have been deliberately started by poachers, police said yesterday. Five people, including four members of the same family, were burnt alive when they were trapped by raging forest fires on Saturday in Myagdi district, about 250km west of Kathmandu. The five had entered a forest near the village of Gaganpani to collect firewood when the fire engulfed them, police said. The wildfire started near the village on Friday and spread to a large area aided by high winds and dry weather, destroying hundreds of hectares of forest.

■AUSTRALIA

Bystanders awarded medals

Three bystanders — including a lawyer who was shot and killed and a Dutch backpacker who was wounded — were awarded the Australian Bravery Medal yesterday for trying to rescue a woman from a gunman on a busy Australian street two years ago. The three intervened when Christopher Wayne Hudson attempted to drag his girlfriend Kaera Douglas from a taxi on a busy street in Melbourne during morning rush hour on June 18, 2007. Douglas survived the incident. Lawyer Brendan Keilar, 43, was shot and killed in the confrontation and tourist Paul de Waard, from Middelburg, Netherlands, was shot twice. A third bystander, Edith Aquina, was unharmed despite pursuing the gunman as he fled the crime scene.

■BRUNEI

Official defends floggings

An official defended tough penalties against illegal immigrants after revealing that nearly 400 foreigners were whipped in the past five years for settling unlawfully in the nation, a news report said yesterday. Authorities have flogged 396 foreigners with rattan canes for entering Brunei without valid travel documents or overstaying after immigration laws were tightened in 2004, Immigration Department data reported by the Borneo Bulletin newspaper showed. The Bulletin quoted a senior official as saying that foreign workers must abide by the law.

■JAPAN

Worker compressed in block

A paper-recycling company found the body of one of its workers crushed in a block of compressed paper, police said yesterday. A fellow worker at the plant raised the alarm after noticing blood oozing out of the concentrated mass of old paper. “Police officers rushed to the site and saw a man’s head and arms showing on the side of the paper block,” a local police spokesman said. “We first feared that the body was dismembered, but actually the body was folded and crushed.” The man was named as a 69-year-old part-time worker at the recycling plant in Aichi Prefecture.

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