Thu, Feb 24, 2011 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

SPORTS

Key wants rugby to go on

Prime Minister John Key said yesterday he wanted Rugby World Cup games to proceed in Christchurch this year, but local rugby officials had reservations following Tuesday’s devastating earthquake. Key said there had been no formal discussions on shifting games from Christchurch, but he believed holding them there would be a powerful symbol of the city’s resilience after two major earthquakes in the past six months. However, Canterbury Rugby Union chief executive Hamish Riach told Television New Zealand he had doubts about whether Christchurch would be able to host the matches during the September to October tournament. “Right now it doesn’t feel like we could host very much at all,” Riach said, but added that it was too early to make any decision.

INSURANCE

Quake to cost NZ$11.5bn

The devastating earthquake that hit Christchurch could cost the insurance industry up to NZ$11.5 billion (US$8.6 billion), disaster modeling firm AIR Worldwide said yesterday. The US-based firm, which specializes in forecasting the cost of natural disasters and terror attacks, said widespread quake damage had largely shut the city’s business center and infrastructure had also been hit hard. It said the structural integrity of surviving buildings in Christchurch’s central business district would need to be carefully assessed after the city’s second major earthquake in six months. Roads and bridges in Christchurch had been damaged by liquefaction, when seismic tremors turn earth fluid, AIR said, adding that suburbs and surrounding towns had also been affected.

RUSSIA

Posters cause red faces

Hundreds of posters decorating streets for a military holiday accidentally replaced Russian planes with Chinese fighter jets, an official admitted on Tuesday. Posters displayed in Saint Petersburg showed a plane against a national flag. However, instead of a Russian jet, it was in fact a Chinese Chengdu J-10. The slip, reproduced in around 250 posters, was an error by the designer, who was unfamiliar with military planes, said the head of the city’s media committee, Alexander Korennikov. “It was the designer’s fault. If you are not a specialist in military hardware, it is an easy thing to do,” he said. “The problem was that the images were printed and put up before being checked and agreed with the media committee.” The mistake was spotted at the end of last week and the posters were due to be removed by the end of Tuesday, on the eve of the holiday, Korennikov said.

SAUDI ARABIA

King boosts benefits

King Abdullah yesterday ordered billions poured into a development fund that helps Saudis buy homes, get married and start businesses, state TV reported. The measure was one of several announced by the monarch, who returned home yesterday after a three-month absence during which he underwent medical treatment in the US. Abdullah ordered that 40 billion riyals (US$10.7 billion) be injected into the country’s development fund, Saudi television said. That nearly doubles the original budget of 47 billion riyals. Other new measures include a 15 percent cost of living adjustment for government workers and a year of unemployment assistance for youth.

INDIA

Big fat weddings face axe

The government is considering proposals to limit the number of guests allowed at weddings to reduce food wastage, an official said on Tuesday. Indian weddings are famous for their extravagance and a wave of new money in the country has led to ever more lavish marriage celebrations, often involving multi-cuisine buffets and hundreds, or even thousands, of guests. “We are looking into the possibility of reintroducing the executive guest control order created in the early 1960s,” an official at the ministry of food and consumer affairs in New Delhi said. The rules limited the number of guests at weddings and other functions to deal with the scarcity of food, he said. “Today the issue is not scarcity, but food is still being wasted and maximum amount of food is wasted at weddings,” said the official, who declined to be named. Food minister K.V. Thomas calculated nearly 15 percent of all grain and vegetables in India was wasted through weddings and other social events, the Mail Today newspaper reported.

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