World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

Mon, Nov 05, 2007 - Page 7

■ TRIBESMEN SEEK REVENGE

One person was killed in Papua Province in tribal fighting as villagers burned down at least 10 houses and attacked a police station, a police officer said yesterday. The violence was sparked when tribesman sought revenge after the death of an elder following a fight with police early Saturday, a Papua deputy police chief told el-Shinta radio station. He said relatives were demanding that a police officer be brought to a field and executed. On Saturday, an attack on a police station left one person dead, he said.

■ MALAYSIA

Ferris wheel traps 50

The launch of a giant ferris wheel in Malacca went sour when a power outage trapped around 50 people on the inaugural ride, reports said yesterday. Visitors were stuck 25m above the ground in the pitch dark Saturday until rescuers managed to bring the gondolas down manually half an hour later. The incident reportedly happened as Malacca's state governor and chief minister arrived to try the new tourist attraction.

■ FIJI

Assassination plot revealed

Police yesterday said several people had been arrested in relation to a plot to assassinate coup leader and interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. Of those arrested only millionaire information technology company executive Ballu Khan and high chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata have been identified. Takiveikata is patron of the party of the former prime minister Laisenia Qarase, who was ousted from office in a bloodless coup led by Bainimarama last December. Some reports said Khan was seriously injured during his arrest on Saturday and required hospital treatment.

■ TRANSLATION DRAWS ANGER

The parliament was in uproar on Saturday over a translation of the Koran by a government official they accused of trying to create division among Muslims. Parliamentarians accused the official of misinterpreting the Muslim holy book on many issues, including homosexuality and adultery, in his translation into Dari, the second most used language in the country. After an angry debate in both houses of parliament, lawmakers agreed Mohammad Ghaws Zalmai, spokesman to the attorney-general, should not be allowed to travel outside the country until the matter had been investigated.

■ CHINA

Olympics influences names

Next year's Beijing Olympics is more than just a point of national pride -- it's such an important part of the national consciousness that nearly 3,500 children have been named for the event, a newspaper reported yesterday. Most of the 3,491 people with the name "Aoyun" (奧運) meaning Olympics, were born around the year 2000, as Beijing was bidding to host the 2008 Summer Games, the Beijing Daily reported, citing information from the national identity card database.

■ JAPAN

Author found liable

A court on Friday ordered the author of a book on the military's atrocities in Nanjing to pay compensation to a woman for discrediting her as a witness, court officials said. In handing down the ruling to Asia University professor Shudo Higashinakano and publisher Tendensha, the Tokyo District Court ruled that the book's description left a strong impression that the plaintiff, Xia Shuqin (夏淑琴), only pretends to be a survivor of the Nanjing massacre. The court awarded Xia ¥ 4 million (US$34,900) in compensation.

■ MAN DIES AFTER PARKING SPAT

A 93-year-old man died in hospital on Saturday after being injured in a suspected argument over a parking space, police said. The man, from Devon, was seriously hurt during the row at a business park in Plympton, near Plymouth, on Friday afternoon. He was taken to the Devon city's Derriford Hospital where his condition quickly deteriorated. Medical staff called police. Devon and Cornwall Police said they have arrested a 50-year-old man from Plymouth in connection with the incident.

■ RUSSIA

NGOs face restrictions

Moscow is considering new restrictions on human rights and other non-governmental groups (NGOs) to limit their ability to participate in Western democracy organizations, an activist said on Saturday. The proposed restrictions appeared to be the latest Kremlin effort to hamper the work of NGOs. Lyudmila Alexeyeva, director of the Moscow Helsinki Group, said the proposals were also backed by several other ex-Soviet republics with authoritarian governments, including Uzbekistan and Belarus.

■ ETHIOPIA

Rebels claim killed troops

Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebels said yesterday they had killed another 270 government troops in heightened fighting in the remote eastern region of the Horn of Africa. Most were blown up in packed trucks, the rebels said. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government has regularly denied ONLF reports of mass casualties as propaganda from its foreign supporters. It has itself reported many deaths on the rebel side during its offensive against them this year.

■ ITALY

Gunman kills one

A gunman opened fire from his apartment balcony on Saturday evening, killing one person and injuring at least six others before surrendering to police, reports said. Two media reports described the man as a former army marshal, who was armed with both a rifle and a pistol. Police could not immediately confirm his identity. The man set fire to gasoline on his balcony then opened fire intermittently, hitting people below his apartment in the municipality of Guidonia, just outside Rome. Earlier reports said a doctor who was trying to rescue the injured was among the seriously wounded. Other reports said police were also injured, though final figures were unclear and reporters were kept away from the crime scene.

■ ISRAEL

Rabin remembered

More than 100,000 Israelis gathered in the square where prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated to remember him 12 years after his killing. They also protested a court decision that would allow the killer to attend his son's circumcision ceremony, scheduled for yesterday, the anniversary of Rabin's slaying. Participants filled Rabin Square and spilled over into the surrounding streets on Saturday night. Some carried signs and banners calling for peace and tolerance. Police would not give an exact number, but organizers said as many as 150,000 attended the gathering. The square in front of Tel Aviv city hall was the site of a peace rally on Nov. 4, 1995. After it ended, Rabin was gunned down by an ultra-nationalist Jewish opponent of his policy of trading land to the Palestinians for peace.

■ Obama appears on SNL

After spending most of the day criticizing Hillary and Bill Clinton, presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama took the stage with two impersonators -- Amy Poehler and Darrell Hammond -- on Saturday Night Live. The opening sketch of Saturday's broadcast featured Poehler and Hammond, as the Clintons, hosting a Halloween party. Toward the end of the sketch a man walked in wearing an Obama mask -- which he removed to reveal he was, indeed, Obama.

■ UNITED STATES

No flushing at ball game

Fans who had their fill of beer at the University of Georgia's homecoming football game on Saturday were warned -- no flushing allowed. Earlier in the week, crews put up signs in bathrooms asking people not to flush "if it's yellow" and to leave the handle-pulling to attendants, who were to do the job for the estimated 93,000 people at Saturday's game. It's part of the university's "Every Drop Counts" water conservation effort in the drought that has struck Georgia and much of the southeast.

■ UNITED STATES

Chain collision kills two

More than 100 cars and trucks crashed on a fog-shrouded freeway, killing at least two people and injuring dozens more, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) said. Eighteen big rigs were involved in the massive pileup on Saturday on Highway 99 just south of Fresno as patches of dense fog obscured visibility on the heavily traveled roadway, CHP officials said. A five-year-old boy and a 26-year-old man traveling in separate vehicles were killed in the chain-reaction collisions around 7:45am, CHP said.

■ UNITED STATES

Race held for robotic cars

Robotic cars competed on Saturday in a high-stakes race organized by the US military, which hopes to make driverless vehicles weapons on urban battlefields by 2015. The competition was staged 120km northeast of Los Angeles, and promised a first-place prize of US$2 million. Cars had to maneuver 100km along mock city streets in less than six hours. Stanford University's Volkswagen Passat, nicknamed "Junior," crossed the finish line first, though several criteria will be used to determine the champion. The winner was to be announced yesterday.