Wed, Oct 07, 2009 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■FRANCE

Bronze offer brought threats

Yves Saint Laurent’s former partner, who infuriated China by auctioning two bronze sculptures claimed by the country, said he had received death threats over the historic statuettes. “I was the subject of many attacks, I was threatened — even with death,” Pierre Berge told RTL radio on Monday. “The police told me during the sale ... that I should have bodyguards follow me, which I did for a few days,” said Berge, also Saint Laurent’s former business partner. China says the two Qing Dynasty bronzes, of a rat and a rabbit head, were seized illegally in 1860 from Beijing’s Summer Palace when it was razed by invading French and British forces. Berge, who rejects China’s claim, had sold the pieces for 15 million euros (US$22 million) in February, but the Chinese bidders dropped out. They have since been sitting in a safe room in a Christie’s auction house, and Berge said he had considered donating them to a museum either in France or Taiwan.

■VIETNAM

Russians help preserve Ho

Hanoi officially thanked Russian medical experts and scientists for their help in preserving the body of founding Communist leader Ho Chi Minh, state media reported yesterday. Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh told a visiting delegation of Russian experts on Monday that Vietnamese “have always cherished” their support. The Vietnam News said that the delegation, led by Professor Vladimir Yagurin of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, was visiting to work on the body of the revered former leader. Ho Chi Minh’s body has been preserved for viewing in a mausoleum on Hanoi’s Ba Dinh Square since soon after his death in 1969.

■HONG KONG

Sufferers try ancient cures

One in 10 people in the territory suffering chronic pain have resorted to ancient painkilling cures such as drinking urine and eating insects, a survey published yesterday claims. Around 90 percent of the 227 rheumatoid arthritis sufferers questioned in the survey admitted using unconventional methods to ease their pain. One in five said they “used bees to sting their aching parts in order to cure the pain” while others said they had drank urine or eaten crushed ants. The survey was carried out by the Hong Kong Arthritis and Rheumatism Foundation to raise awareness of how chronic pain impacted on people’s lives ahead of World Arthritis Day on Monday. Foundation chairman David Yau Po-wing (游寶榮) said more than one-third of patients questioned said the pain had an intense effect on their social lives and daily activities, while 24 percent said it had led them to lose or change jobs.

■NEW ZEALAND

Ex-minister jailed for graft

A court sentenced a former Cabinet minister to six years in prison yesterday on bribery, corruption and other charges — the country’s first lawmaker locked up for serious breaches of the law. Taito Phillip Field, the first New Zealander of Pacific Islander descent elected to Parliament and appointed to the Cabinet, was found guilty on 11 counts of bribery and corruption and 15 of willfully attempting to obstruct or pervert the course of justice. The charges related to Field’s use of Thai nationals to carry out mainly unpaid work on seven of his properties in return for immigration assistance between November 2002 to October 2005. He was accused of perverting justice and making false statements about work done to his properties in New Zealand and Samoa, encouraging others to make false statements and creating false documents.

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