Thu, Dec 31, 2009 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■PHILIPPINES

Volcano draws tourists

Thousands of tourists are flocking to restive Mayon volcano with many even risking their lives to get close to the spectacular flowing lava, authorities said yesterday. Albay provincial Governor Joey Salceda said 2,400 tourists a day had been pouring into the area since the volcano started oozing lava on Dec. 14, compared with about 200 a day before. “All the hotels are fully booked, even the cheapest ones,” Salceda said. He said that tourists typically only stayed overnight to view the lava oozing from the volcano’s crater in the dark. But many were also slipping by security patrols to enter the 8km danger zone around Mayon to get a close-up experience, he said. “It’s a big problem. I think the first violation of the zero casualty [record] will be a dead tourist,” Salceda said. “At the moment of the eruption, the local guides will have better chance of getting out. The hapless tourist will be left behind.”

■NEW ZEALAND

Jackson becomes a knight

The king of Middle Earth is being made a knight. Writer and director Peter Jackson, whose widely acclaimed Lord of the Rings trilogy scooped 17 Oscars, has been made a knight in the New Year Honors’ list. He becomes Sir Peter Jackson for his “services to film.” The Lord of the Rings trio showcased the country’s unique natural scenery as J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy land, filled with sword-swinging warriors, elves, wizards and hairy-footed hobbits. The project broke box office records around the world, won Jackson international accolades, and prompted a spike in tourism.

■THAILAND

Bomb kills two soldiers

A roadside bomb killed two soldiers in the south yesterday, as authorities boosted security ahead of the New Year and the sixth anniversary of an insurgency in the region, police said. The blast ripped through a truck carrying five members of the rangers force as they patrolled a route used by teachers in Pattani Province. Two soldiers died at the scene and three others were seriously wounded. Police said the bomb contained around 15kg of explosives and was detonated remotely by cellphone.

■HONG KONG

Feces leads to jail term

A court has jailed a caregiver who forced a 65-year-old dementia sufferer to eat her own feces. Chan Sau-kuen force-fed the woman her own excrement on at least two occasions as punishment for soiling herself. Jailing Chan for six months on Tuesday and fining her HK$3,000 (US$390), Magistrate Symon Wong warned her that she would “be punished by heaven” for her behavior.

■SERBIA

Official resigns over Mladic

The head of a Serbian unit hunting indicted war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic resigned on Tuesday over his team’s failure to arrest the Bosnian Serb former military chief by the end of the year. “This is to inform you that for reasons well known to everybody ... I resign from my post” as chief of the unit, Rasim Ljajic said in a letter submitted to Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic. The unit was formed in 2006 to track down and arrest suspected war criminals from the Balkans conflicts sought by The Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). But Ljajic’s unit has failed to catch Mladic.

■UNITED KINGDOM

Prisoner taunts police

An escaped prisoner is taunting police and attracting a growing fan base on his Facebook page, mocking authorities for failing to find him and openly musing about moving across the Atlantic. Police have appealed to his more than 3,800 Facebook friends to help track him down. Craig “Lazie” Lynch, 28, escaped from the minimum-security Hollesley Bay Prison in southern England three months ago. He regularly updates his Facebook page with ungrammatical digs at police. Police said Lynch had been serving a seven-year sentence for committing a burglary with a weapon, but did not go into detail. Lynch’s updates typically center on what he’s eating — pizza was recently on the menu. His profile pictures show him shirtless while holding a well-roasted turkey.

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