Tue, Nov 09, 2010 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

SOUTH KOREA

Death sparks succession talk

The death of a North Korean military official and the naming of leader-in-waiting Kim Jong-un to the funeral preparation committee was jumped on by South Korean media yesterday as showing he had risen to second-in-command. South Korean media concluded that by being named immediately after leader Kim Jong-il to the funeral committee by the North’s state-run news agency KCNA, the leader’s third son had been elevated to the second highest position in the secretive state. The latest sequence is the clearest signal yet that he is officially in line to take over from his ailing 68-year-old father, Yonhap news agency reported.

AFGHANISTAN

Poll workers investigated

Hundreds of part-time workers used by an election body in a disputed September parliamentary vote are being questioned by a UN-backed watchdog for possible involvement in fraud, officials said yesterday. The Independent Election Commission has already thrown out almost a quarter of the 5.6 million votes cast in the Sept. 18 ballot. Final results still have not been announced. The commission said the names of almost 1,100 of its part-time workers had been given to the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission for checks into their possible involvement in fraud.

NEW ZEALAND

Man lives with rotting corpse

A man murdered his Thai girlfriend then lived with her rotting corpse in the lounge for almost a month as he read jokes to cheer himself up, a court was told yesterday. Gordon Hieatt, 47, pleaded not guilty in Auckland High Court to strangling Nuttidar Vaikaew in April last year, news agency NZPA reported. Prosecutor Rachael Reed said Hieatt killed Vaikaew, a Thai sex worker, during an argument in her Auckland apartment, then left her body on a bed in a curtained-off corner of the lounge. She said Hieatt’s computer records showed he allegedly admitted the killing and said he read jokes all day to cheer himself up.

VIETNAM

Boy crushed by elephant

A 14-year-old boy was trampled to death by a wild elephant in southern Vietnam, a local official said yesterday. The boy was traveling to a jungle fishing area in Dong Nai Province with his stepfather and cousin on Sunday when the elephant attacked, official Ngo Van Son said. “The elephant got mad when hearing the noise of the motorcycles. The two adults ran away as the elephant approached, but the boy was stuck with the motorcycles,” he said. Son said the boy became trapped underneath the bikes and was crushed by the elephant.

SOUTH KOREA

MP3 jail sentence upheld

A court ruled yesterday that possession of instrumental music with titles praising North Korea violates a tough national security law. The supreme court upheld a two-year jail term, suspended for four years, given to a female activist identified only as Song. Song was charged in 2008 with storing 14 MP3 music files with titles praising North Korea on a USB storage device.

PHILIPPINES

Rebels angry over statement

Muslim separatist rebels urged the government yesterday to retract a statement blaming them for a deadly bus bombing. Moro Islamic Liberation Front spokesman Von al Haq said the comments by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin were meant to discredit the group ahead of the planned resumption of negotiations.

GEORGIA

Guilty plea in uranium case

Two Armenian men have pleaded guilty during a secret trial to smuggling highly-enriched uranium into Georgia and trying to sell it to an undercover agent, the Georgian interior ministry said yesterday. Sumbat Tonoian and Hrant Ohanian were arrested in a sting operation in March after they smuggled the 18g of uranium from Armenia into Georgia, Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said. He said they tried to sell it for US$1.5 million to an agent they believed represented Islamic radicals. Utiashvili called the operation “a big success for our nuclear smuggling unit,” after Georgia in recent years received nearly US$50 million in aid from Washington to help it combat trafficking in nuclear materials.

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