Wed, Dec 09, 2009 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take



US envoy arrives

A US envoy arrived in yesterday to try to bring Pyongyang back to nuclear disarmament negotiations, in what will be the first high-level dialogue between the administration of US President Barack Obama and the communist state. Stephen Bosworth and his six-­member team flew from the US air force base at Osan in South Korea for their three-day mission. Their arrival was reported by the North’s official news agency in a one-sentence dispatch. After months of tensions marked by the North’s nuclear test and missile launches, Obama is using his trademark direct diplomacy to attempt to bring Pyongyang back to the six-nation negotiations it quit in April. A senior US official said in Washington that Bosworth would offer no new incentives.


UN urges restraint

The UN urged the government and opposition Maoists to exercise restraint after deadly clashes between police and landless settlers in the west of the country. The UN’s human rights agency said it was investigating allegations that security forces used excessive force when they evicted the squatters, mostly Maoist supporters, from government-owned land. One police officer and at least four of the settlers were killed and dozens more people were wounded during the eviction on Friday, prompting the Maoists to call a nationwide general strike.


Stomach drugs seized

Customs officials said yesterday they had arrested a Pakistani man at Bangkok’s international airport with 98 aluminum foil packages in his stomach containing more than 1kg of heroin. Chaudhry Ijaz Rasul, 34, was arrested as he attempted to clear customs at Suvarnabhumi Airport early on Monday morning on a Thai Airways flight from Lahore, Pakistan. The authorities forced Rasul to go to the toilet to expel the drugs, which weighed 1.3kg with a street value of approximately 3.9 million baht (US$117,750), an official said, adding the man had confessed. Rasul was charged with drug possession and trafficking, which carries a possible death sentence.


Gambler loses case

A compulsive gambler who wagered close to US$1.4 billion during a 16-month betting spree lost his lawsuit against the country’s largest casino yesterday when a judge ruled he was not exploited. High-flying property developer Harry Kakavas claimed Melbourne’s Crown Casino facilitated his pathological betting, despite knowing he had a problem that was so severe he had already been banned from one establishment.


Al-Qaeda claims kidnappings

A spokesman for al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed the kidnappings of one Frenchman and three Spaniards, seized late last month in Mali and Mauritania, in a sound tape released yesterday by al-Jazeera television. “Two units of the valiant mujahidin managed to kidnap four Europeans in two distinct operations: the first in Mali where Frenchman Pierre Camatte was seized on Nov. 25, and the second in Mauritania where three Spaniards were held on Nov. 29,” spokesman Saleh Abu Mohammad said. “France and Spain will be informed later of the legitimate demands of the mujahidin.” He did not go into detail about the demands.


Cop dies in fishing shootout

A police colonel was shot dead and another officer wounded in a shootout between security forces and fishermen in Cairo during a licensing crackdown, security sources said on Sunday. Security forces scoured Cairo’s riverside for 28 fishermen wanted for questioning after the shooting on Saturday, which broke out after police demanded to inspect fishing licences, the sources said.

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