Mon, Jun 15, 2009 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■CHINA

Taxi drivers go on strike

Thousands of taxi drivers were on strike yesterday in a large northwestern city over fears that new rules would hit earnings, state media said. More than 5,500 cab drivers refused to work in Xining, forcing people to walk or use public transport, Xinhua news agency reported. The strike was triggered on Saturday by a report in a newspaper saying taxi drivers’ licenses would be valid for only eight years, down from 12. This led some drivers to fear they would have to pay large amounts of money to their companies to get their licences back, Xinhua said. The agency cited local officials as saying the drivers had misunderstood the new regulations, although the nature of the confusion was not made clear.

■AUSTRALIA

UK media target job winner

Tourism officials yesterday defended the winner of a “Best Job in the World” competition after he was branded a “whingeing Pom” by British media. Tourism Queensland said it had every confidence in Ben Southall after he said he would miss England’s long summer days and traditional roast dinners during his caretaker stint on idyllic Hamilton Island. “Ben was asked by a British journalist what he would miss ... only to find himself tagged by the British tabloid media as a ‘whinger,’” ABC news quoted a spokeswoman as saying. “Tourism Queensland has every confidence that Ben is the best person for the best job — he’s adventurous, outgoing and a genuine person who is able to communicate well.” Southall beat thousands of applicants to the six-month post, which will earn him US$105,000 for swimming, snorkeling and sailing around the northeastern tourist paradise and blogging about his experiences.

■HONG KONG

Official blames maids for flu

Filipino maids may be spreading the swine flu virus by gathering together in large numbers on their day off, a senior official warned yesterday. Under-Secretary for Health Gabriel Leung (梁卓偉) said employers should consider switching their maids’ days off to reduce the risk of the (A)H1N1 virus spreading. Leung’s remarks, carried in newspapers yesterday, came after a 28-year-old Filipino maid was admitted to hospital with swine flu and three other cases were detected in people visiting from the Philippines. Filipino maids traditionally gather by the thousands in public spaces in Central district on Sundays, their usual day off.

■THAILAND

Man arrested over wife

Police arrested a construction worker on charges of kidnapping his wife, now the mother of his two children, when she was still a minor 14 years ago, media reports said yesterday. Police, acting on an arrest warrant issued in 1995 based on kidnapping charges by the girl’s parents, arrested Noppadon Nontanok, 32, on Thursday. “I was shocked when police arrested me,” Noppadon told the Bangkok Post newspaper. “Those events took place a long time ago. If I am sent to jail, who will earn money to support the family?” Noppadon said he helped his wife, Rosukhon, who was 14 at the time, move to Bangkok in 1995 from her native Phayao Province, 450km north of the Thai capital. Rosukhon’s parents at the time lodged a complaint against Noppadon for kidnapping their daughter, but later dropped the matter when the couple got married and had two children together. The case was revived when police started clearing a backlog of old files, the Bangkok Post reported.

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