Mon, Jan 17, 2011 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

CHINA

Fake monks jailed for attacks

A court has sentenced 21 fake monks to up to 11 years in jail for attacking police officers and toll booth operators in separate incidents last year, state media said yesterday. The men, who had been pretending to be monks in Inner Mongolia and earned money by selling beads and fake medicines, assaulted police after several so-called were detained last July, Xinhua news agency said. In another incident in August, a group of fake monks armed with steel pipes attacked toll booth operators in Baotou city after they demanded the men pay a road levy, the report said. The court in Baotou sentenced the men to between three and 11 years in jail, it said.

INDONESIA

Earthquake hits Sumatra

A moderate magnitude 5.5 undersea earthquake hit off Sumatra island on Saturday, geologists said, but there were no tsunami warnings. The quake struck at a relatively shallow depth of 24km around 285km west of Sibolga in Sumatra at 11:26pm, according to the US Geological Survey. The -Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there were no warnings or advisories following the quake.

JAPAN

Cabinet shuffle well-received

Prime Minister Naoto Kan enjoyed a boost in opinion polls published yesterday after reshuffling his Cabinet, but voters still did not expect him to be able to push through promised reforms. Kan added new faces to his Cabinet on Friday in a bid to appease opposition parties and help his bid to mend the country’s tattered finances and boost free trade to spur growth. The reshuffled Cabinet received a support rating of 34 percent, up from 25 percent last month, in an opinion poll for the Yomiuri Shimbun carried out on Friday and Saturday among 1,736 eligible voters. Seventy percent of respondents, however, said they doubted the new Cabinet would be able to fulfill its policy promises.

SOUTH KOREA

Ties with Japan anger North

North Korea yesterday expressed its anger over efforts by Seoul and Japan to seek closer military ties, repeating calls for Seoul to resume talks with Pyongyang first to defuse regional tensions. The fury came after Seoul expressed doubts about the sincerity of Pyongyang’s repeated peace overtures, and instead sought closer military ties with Japan and longtime ally the US against threats from the North. Regional tensions have also soared after the North in November shelled an island near its disputed maritime border with the South, killing four, including two civilians. On Sunday, Rodong Sinmun, mouthpiece of the North’s Communist Party, labeled talks held on Monday last week between Seoul and Tokyo’s defense chiefs a “new military conspiracy” that hampered regional security by damaging inter-Korea ties. “Japan has worked hard with bloodshot eyes to secure a legitimate pretext for its military overseas expansion,” the newspaper said in an editorial carried by state media.

SOUTH KOREA

Somali pirates seize cargo

Somali pirates have seized a South Korean chemical cargo in the Arabian Sea, two months after an oil supertanker belonging to the same firm was freed after seven months in captivity, the government and local media said. A Foreign Ministry statement issued late on Saturday said the Cabinet had met to discuss how to deal with the hijacking of the 11,500 tonne Samho Jewelry, seized while sailing to Sri Lanka from the United Arab Emirates.

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