Fri, Mar 26, 2010 - Page 4 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■AUSTRALIA

‘Miracle’ elephant blessed

A baby elephant that experts thought had died during labor has been blessed by Thai monks and given the name Pathi Harn — which means “miracle” in Thai. The calf was hailed a miracle when he was born at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo on March 10, nine days into a difficult labor. He was nicknamed “Mr Shuffles” for his early walking attempts.

■THAILAND

PRC to provide Mekong info

China has agreed to provide information on Mekong water levels in a boost for efforts to respond to an alarming decline in the river’s flow, authorities said yesterday. Activists in Thailand have said that Chinese dams are responsible for record-low levels on the critical waterway, but poor rainfall in the region has also been identified as a factor. The Mekong River Commission (MRC) said that China would share data from its upstream monitoring stations on the Mekong — on which more than 60 million people depend for drinking water, transport, irrigation and fishing. “This is very positive news, as it shows that China is willing to engage with lower basin countries,” MRC secretariat chief Jeremy Bird said in a statement.

■CHINA

Diabetes epidemic looming

A report warned yesterday that the country is facing a diabetes epidemic, with rising obesity levels and an ageing population helping to trigger a major public health problem. The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that more than 92 million men and women are living with diabetes in China, or almost one in 10 adults. The report said most cases remained undiagnosed and that another 148.2 million were considered to be pre-diabetic, or showing early symptoms of developing diabetes.

■SOUTH KOREA

Leaders join campaign

Religious leaders have joined a campaign to reduce the suicide rate, officials said yesterday. The Korean Council of Religious Leaders said it would conduct public education programs to combat the leading cause of death among young people. The health ministry says 23.9 in every 100,000 South Koreans committed suicide in 2007, the highest rate among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. This compared with 21 in Hungary, 19.4 in Japan and 16.7 in Finland, the ministry said. “A highly competitive atmosphere in society, mounting uncertainties over the future and crumbling traditional social networks amid weak social safety nets are all to blame for the high suicide rate,” Ha Sang-hun, director of telephone counselling service Lifeline Korea said.

■PHILIPPINES

Police arrest candidate

Police yesterday said they had arrested a candidate running for governor on drugs charges. Independent Ruperto Eludo Deguino was arrested on Tuesday after allegedly selling drugs to undercover agents in Surigao city on Mindanao island, a police spokesman said. Deguino is running for governor of Surigao del Norte province in nationwide elections in May. The head of the country’s drug enforcement agency, Dionisio Santiago, said “narco-politics” had become a major problem in the Philippines, where some candidates use proceeds from illegal drugs to finance their campaigns.

■AUSTRALIA

Acclaimed author dies

Internationally acclaimed children’s author Patricia Wrightson died this week, an official said yesterday. She was 88. In 1986 Wrightson was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal — the highest accolade for a writer of children’s fiction.

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