Tue, Jul 19, 2011 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

MALAYSIA

Media raises ‘Jewish’ threat

Government-linked media has claimed that foreign Jewish groups might try to meddle in the country by supporting an opposition-backed push to reform electoral laws. Political activists who recently staged a huge demonstration say the accusation is an irresponsible attempt to discredit them through appeals to religious prejudice. The Malay-language Utusan Malaysia newspaper said in an editorial yesterday that Malaysians “cannot allow anyone, especially the Jews, to interfere secretly in this country’s business.” It offered no evidence and named no specific group. Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration cracked down on July 9 on at least 20,000 demonstrators who marched in Kuala Lumpur demanding more transparency in electoral laws.

AUSTRALIA

Hospital swaps newborns

Two mothers were mistakenly given the wrong newborns in a mix up which saw the infants breastfed and cared for by the wrong woman for about eight hours, the hospital said yesterday. The St John of God Hospital in Geelong blamed human error for the swap which was eventually detected by a family member. “Protocols are in place to ensure mothers are given their own baby, but it seems that in this instance human error was involved,” the hospital said in a statement. “Unfortunately, it seems the babies’ identification bracelets were not checked against the identification bracelets on their mothers.” The hospital is investigating the mistake and the women and babies were being tested for any infections they may have contracted as a result of the error on Friday.

CHINA

Iraqi prime minister visits

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was scheduled to meet Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) yesterday and President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) today. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei (洪磊) said the two nations have a traditional friendship, and that they aim to develop economic cooperation and cultural exchanges.

MARIANAS

Japanese musician dies

A Japanese rock musician who tried to hang himself after being arrested for unruly behavior on a flight to Saipan has died in hospital, reports said yesterday. Taiji Sawada, who was best known as the former bass player with heavy metal group “X,” died on Sunday when medics at Saipan’s Commonwealth Health Center turned off his life support, the Saipan Tribune reported. The Marianas Variety newspaper reported that Sawada, 45, had been in intensive care since July 14 after he tried to hang himself with a bedsheet in a jail. He had been arrested three days before for allegedly assaulting a female cabin crew attendant during a Delta Airlines flight from Tokyo to Saipan, court documents showed. The documents said the flight attendant went to the business class section after hearing banging and found Sawada struggling with a female passenger. She said a number of male passengers helped her subdue the musician and move him to another chair but he caused another commotion, punching windows and kicking seats, as the plane prepared to descend to Saipan. Eventually, the plane’s captain ordered Sawada to be placed in physical restraints and he was arrested after the flight landed, the court documents said. No reason was given for Sawada’s behavior.

ITALY

MP perks cause backlash

MPs are facing a backlash over multimillion-dollar perks, including trips to saunas and haircuts, while the rest of the nation faces charges designed to balance the national books. Two days after the parliament passed an austerity budget to keep the eurozone crisis at bay, hospitals were carrying out two of the budget’s key provisions — a new 10 euro (US$14) charge for specialist appointments and a 25 euro fee for emergency visits, part of a series of measures expected to cost families about 500 euros a year. However, critics said that as the budget was being debated last week, Freedom People party MPs quietly added amendments watering down proposed cuts to their own pay, currently 65,839 euros after taxes. A breakdown of the outlay on medical care published by newspaper La Repubblica on Sunday showed that Italy’s 630 MPs are racking up 3 million euros a year on dentistry, 257,000 euros on psychiatric bills and 204,000 euros on thermal baths.

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