Mon, Jul 04, 2011 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

FINLAND

Wife-carrying race held

A Finnish pair won the country’s annual wife-carrying competition for the third year in a row, organizers said on Saturday. Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen defended their title in front of 6,500 spectators who turned out to watch the celebrated event in Sonkajarvi. The 46-year-old lawyer, his partner’s legs wrapped around his head, sprinted 253m, leaping hurdles and negotiating a water pool along the way, all in a time of one minute. Less than a second behind them were Estonian rivals Alar Voogla and Kristi Viltrop, while a Lithuanian couple came third. The competition has its roots in the legend of local bandit Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen who lived in the forest at the end of the 19th century and stole food — and sometimes girls — from nearby villages.

UNITED KINGDOM

Mayor states rail conditions

London Mayor Boris Johnson will not support a high-speed rail link between the capital and other major British cities unless the entire London section is underground, a letter published yesterday showed. While other countries, such as Japan and France, have extensive high-speed rail networks, Britain has only the short Channel Tunnel link between London and the south coast for services to Paris and Brussels. Johnson said he “cannot support” the plans unless the London section is in tunnels — which would ramp up the construction costs in the indebted country. The Sunday Telegraph newspaper, which saw the letter, said Johnson’s opposition could cause long delays or even scupper plans for a high speed line up the spine of the country.

AFGHANISTAN

US looks to Central Asia

The US military is expanding its Central Asian supply routes to the war in Afghanistan, fearing that the routes going through Pakistan could be endangered by deteriorating US-Pakistani relations, the Washington Post reported late on Saturday. Citing unnamed Pentagon officials, the newspaper said that in 2009, the US moved 90 percent of its military surface cargo through the Pakistani port of Karachi and then through mountain passes into Afghanistan. Now almost 40 percent of surface cargo arrives in Afghanistan from the north, along a patchwork of Central Asian rail and road routes that the Pentagon calls the Northern Distribution Network, the report said. The military is pushing to raise the northern network’s share to as much as 75 percent by the end of this year, the paper said.

JAPAN

Murder trial to begin

The family of a British teacher killed in Japan in 2007 arrived in Tokyo yesterday to attend the first court hearing against the man charged with raping and murdering her. The trial is due to start today at the district court in Chiba, a city southeast of Tokyo, about 20 months after Tatsuya Ichihashi was arrested for the murder of Lindsay Ann Hawker. “I’m here to get justice for my daughter,” her father, William Hawker, told reporters at Narita Airport as he arrived with her mother and two sisters. Under the country’s legal system, the family will be able to question Ichihashi at the discretion of the court and give their opinion on sentencing. Hawker’s body was found in March 2007 in a sand-filled bathtub on the balcony of Ichihashi’s apartment just outside Tokyo. Ichihashi plans to donate royalties from a book, which he published in January about his fugitive days, to the Hawker family or for public good, according to media reports.

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