Thu, Mar 18, 2010 - Page 5 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■AUSTRALIA

Sabotage led to boat blast

Three Afghan asylum seekers set fire to their boat in a deliberate act of sabotage last year, causing an explosion that killed five people, a coroner ruled yesterday. Northern Territory Coroner Greg Cavanaugh said he would refer his findings to police and they would decide whether criminal charges should be brought against the three men. Cavanaugh found that Ghulam Mohammadi, Arman Ali Brahimi and Sabzali Salman were probably trying to cripple the boat to prevent it from possibly being returned to Indonesia.

■AUSTRALIA

Cyclone threatens resorts

Hundreds of people started evacuating resort islands off the east coast yesterday as officials braced for a powerful cyclone packing winds of up to 168kph. About 300 people were being ferried from the Great Barrier Reef islands of Heron and Lady Elliott, north of Brisbane, with Tropical Cyclone Ului about 1,200km offshore and likely to make landfall on Saturday or Sunday. Cyclone Ului, which has already brought strong winds and rough seas to the Queensland coast, was moving slowly but heading towards the mainland and was likely to hit between the towns of Bowen and Gladstone. Conditions would worsen as the cyclone, currently at the second highest level of Category Four, approaches.

■NEPAL

Tibetans go on hunger strike

Nearly two dozen Tibetan exiles jailed for protesting against Chinese rule in their homeland began a hunger strike yesterday demanding their immediate release. Police have been put on alert to rush the exiles to hospitals if their health deteriorates, Katmandu police Chief Ganesh Chettri said. The 23 Tibetans were arrested on March 10 and on Sunday for defying the government’s ban on anti-China protests by trying to storm the Chinese embassy’s visa office. They were ordered held for 90 days under the public security act, which allows authorities to take action against those determined to be a threat to the public.

■AFGHANISTAN

Suicide attackers shot dead

Two suicide attackers were shot dead yesterday as they attempted to enter the compound of a US-linked international aid organization, an official said. The bombers were wearing explosives-packed vests and were killed at the gates of International Relief and Development in Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand Province, provincial spokesman Daud Ahmadi said. Lashkar Gah is 20km away from a major US-led offensive in Helmand.

■CHINA

Ministry closes zoo

A zoo in the northeast has been shut after a spate of Siberian tiger deaths as reports yesterday said dozens of the dead animals may have been used to make a virility tonic. The forestry ministry has ordered the Shenyang Forest Wildlife Zoo in Liaoning Province to suspend operations and urged the local government to step up a probe into the deaths of 13 of the endangered tigers, the state-run Global Times reported. Authorities are investigating whether the Shenyang zoo was harvesting tiger parts to produce ingredients for the lucrative traditional Chinese medicine market, the Beijing News said. The newspaper quoted an unnamed zoo official saying between 40 and 50 tigers may have died at the privately operated zoo since 2000 and that it was an “open secret” that the zoo was producing tiger-bone liquor.

■EGYPT

Ancient statues unearthed

A team of archeologists unearthed two large red granite statues in the south at the mortuary temple of one of the most powerful pharaohs, who ruled nearly 3,400 years ago, the culture ministry said on Tuesday. A ministry statement said the team discovered a 4m statue of Thoth, the ancient god of wisdom and the top part of a statue of Pharaoh Amenhotep III standing next to another god. Both were found buried in the pharaoh’s mortuary temple on the west bank of the Nile in the southern temple city of Luxor.

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