Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■TIBET

Pills used for ‘desert rats’

Authorities have scattered 200kg of contraceptive pellets across the Tibetan plateau to control what they describe as a “plague of desert rats” blamed for destroying fragile high-altitude grasslands and accelerating the spread of deserts. But biodiversity experts say the campaign could worsen soil degradation and that poisons used could damage other parts of the plateau’s ecosystem. The drugs were designed to induce abortions and prevent pregnancy in “gerbils,” Xinhua news agency reported. It is possible they were referring to the pika, a small animal related to the rabbit, which has long been the target of government eradication campaigns. Workers began spreading the contraceptive in the Gurbantunggut desert in Xinjiang last May.

■PHILIPPINES

Journalist gets protection

President Gloria Arroyo yesterday ordered police to protect a journalist who has received death threats for linking the military to the murder of a communist insurgent’s daughter. “We must bring political killings to zero, including assassinations of government officials and media personalities,” she said in an address at the national police academy. Her speech came just days after the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists placed the Philippines on a list of countries where media personnel are allegedly murdered with impunity. Elgine Damasco of Radio Mindanao Network in Davao and his colleagues have blamed intelligence operatives from the military for the death threats.

■NEW ZEALAND

Mom charged in plane birth

A 29-year-old Samoan woman who gave birth on a flight to New Zealand was charged on Wednesday with abandoning her baby girl in an aircraft toilet. She faces a maximum seven-year prison sentence for abandoning the baby, who is now in custody of the child welfare department. The woman underwent surgery at Middlemore Hospital after what police said was a complicated birth on board the plane as it arrived in Auckland from Apia, the capital of Samoa, last Thursday. The baby was reportedly found by cleaners in the plane’s toilet rubbish can. The woman was identified when immigration authorities noticed her bleeding.

■NEW ZEALAND

Teen jailed for murder

A 15-year-old teenager was jailed for life yesterday for beating a Scottish tourist to death with a baseball bat. Jahche Broughton was just 14 when he attacked Karen Aim in Taupo, North Island, on Jan. 17 last year. Broughton, who pleaded guilty to murder in a court in Rotorua, was sentenced to remain in jail for 12-and-a-half years before he will be eligible for parole for the killing of the 27-year-old backpacker. He was also sentenced to six years for injuring a 17-year-old woman with intent to cause grievous bodily harm — an attack that took place just two weeks before Aim’s murder.

■JAPAN

Poll is bad news for Ozawa

Two out of three voters want opposition Democratic Party chief Ichiro Ozawa to resign over a funding scandal that is clouding his party’s prospects in this year’s general election, a Kyodo news survey showed on Wednesday. Support for unpopular Prime Minister Taro Aso, however, rose almost eight points to 23.7 percent, but almost two-thirds of voters were still dissatisfied with him. Ozawa said on Tuesday, after a close aide was charged with accepting illegal corporate donations, that he would stay in his post.

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