Thu, Jul 14, 2011 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

AUSTRALIA

Officials face Hendra scare

Health officials urged tourists who visited a popular adventure ranch west of the Great Barrier Reef over the weekend to come forward after a horse died from from the killer Hendra virus. Passed from fruit bats (flying foxes) to horses and highly fatal to humans, Hendra claimed the life of a horse at the Blazing Saddles adventure farm on Monday, west of the Reef gateway city Cairns. At least six people were known to have had contact with the sick animal and Queensland health officials said they were working to determine how many others could have been exposed at the popular tourist site. “I would like to reassure any tourists or visitors to the property over the weekend that transmission of the virus requires close contact with body fluids of the sick horse,” Queensland health chief Jeannette Young said. At least 48 people have been exposed to Hendra in the past month in an outbreak that has spread from Cairns to within 500km of Sydney, worrying the city’s thoroughbred race trainers. No humans have yet been infected.

PHILIPPINES

Beijing refusal causes doubt

China’s refusal to allow a UN-backed tribunal to rule on a South China Sea territorial dispute indicates Beijing’s claim stands on shaky legal ground, Manila said yesterday. Beijing and Manila have overlapping claims to parts of the South China Sea, which is believed to hold vast gas and other natural resources, along with Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia. Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario called in his meetings with senior officials in Beijing last week for the dispute to go before a UN tribunal, but China on Tuesday rejected the proposal. “China’s hesitation to accept the Philippine suggestion ... could lead to the conclusion that China may not be able to validate their stated positions in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” del Rosario said in a short statement. Manila wants the dispute brought before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, an independent judicial body set up by the UN convention in 1982 to handle such matters.

INDIA

Church sets dress code

Goa’s most historic church is to follow the example of some local Hindu temples and enforce a dress code for tourists, following complaints over foreigners’ inappropriate clothing. The rector of the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Father Savio Barretto, said officials would screen pilgrims and visitors coming to the 16th century church starting in September. Anyone “improperly dressed” will be given shawls to cover up, he said. Photography would also be banned inside the church, he added. The move follows that of Goa’s Mahalasa Narayani temple, which last month banned foreign tourists entirely after complaints from worshipers about scantily clad women sightseers.

INDONESIA

Cement truck destroys house

A cement truck plowed into a house, killing 16 people, including a young child, who had gathered there for an art show, a hospital source said yesterday. The accident happened late Tuesday in Ngawi, a town in East Java Province, the doctor said. “The truck overturned and hit a gathering. The sacks of cement toppled on people, killing them,” Indah Pitarti said. She said one of the victims was a three-year-old girl and the others were men. Four people were injured. It was not clear how the driver lost control of the truck.

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