World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

Wed, Apr 01, 2009 - Page 5

■SOUTH KOREA

Fighter jet crashes

An F-16 fighter jet crashed in the Yellow Sea yesterday but its two pilots ejected safely, the Defense Ministry said. The two-seater aircraft was on a routine training mission from a base on the west coast when it crashed, the ministry said. “The two pilots ejected safely and were rescued by an air force helicopter and a boat in the West Sea [Yellow Sea],” a ministry spokesman said, adding the cause of the accident was not immediately known. He said investigators were trying to collect debris off Taean County, about 150km southwest of Seoul.

■INDIA

Pilgrims killed in crash

At least 24 pilgrims were killed and 75 injured when a truck carrying them from a Hindu shrine overturned on a road in Punjab yesterday, a news report said. The accident occurred near the town of Anandpur Sahib early yesterday when the truck was returning from the Hindu shrine of Naina Devi in Himachal Pradesh state, the IANS news agency reported. Twenty-one people were killed on the scene and three succumbed to injuries on way to the hospital, the PTI news agency said in its report. The injured were moved to a government hospital in Anandpur. Ravi Kumar, one of the wounded, told IANS “the driver was heavily drunk and he was driving the vehicle at a very high speed.”

■AUSTRALIA

Hungarian loses appeal

An 87-year-old alleged war criminal accused of murdering a young Jewish man in World War II yesterday failed in his latest bid to escape extradition from Australia to Hungary. Charles Zentai is accused of beating to death teenager Peter Balazs in 1944 in Budapest while serving as a soldier in the army of his native Hungary, then allied with Nazi Germany. Zentai was last August found eligible for extradition, but has mounted a series of challenges to the decision, including an appeal to the Federal Court on the grounds the case against him was legally unsound. But the Federal Court yesterday upheld his extradition.

■HONG KONG

British protester sentenced

A British man who unfurled banners denouncing China’s human rights record on a major Hong Kong bridge on the day of the Beijing Olympics’ opening ceremony has been sentenced to six months in jail. A court document said Matt Pearce, a 33-year-old teacher from Bristol, England, was convicted of creating a public nuisance and sentenced on Monday. On Aug. 8, Pearce hung two banners on road signs on Hong Kong’s Tsing Ma Bridge that said, “We want human rights and democracy” and “The people of China want freedom from oppression.”

■CHINA

Man falls from CCTV towers

A man fell to his death from the futuristic Beijing headquarters of the country’s state broadcaster, state media said yesterday. The 23-year-old cleaner fell 45 stories on Sunday from the still unfinished China Central Television tower, Xinhua news agency reported. The report said it was not known whether the death was an accident or a suicide, but police had ruled out foul play. The headquarters building — two massive leaning towers that are joined at the top — became a symbol of the country’s modernization during the Beijing Olympics and was slated to be occupied by the state broadcaster later this year.

■MALAYSIA

Group seeks more patrols

A maritime watchdog yesterday urged an international naval coalition patrolling the waters off northern Somalia to extend its watch to the country’s eastern and southern coasts. The warning came amid a spike in attacks in the area. The latest attack occurred late on Monday, when pirates fired rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns at a South Korean bulk carrier off eastern Somalia. The vessel managed to escape after carrying out evasive maneuvers, the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center said.

■FRANCE

Academics find mass graves

Archeologists have stumbled upon two mass graves dating back to the years of civil strife unleashed after the French Revolution of 1789, officials said on Monday. Located in a park in the city of Le Mans, the graves contain the bodies of some 30 people including several women, two male teenagers and a child, the INRA archeology institute said in a statement. All were identified as victims of a massacre that took place on Dec. 12 and Dec. 13, 1793, as republican forces repelled royalist Catholic rebels from Le Mans during the first War of the Vendee. The first grave contained nine or 10 bodies, some still wearing shirt buttons and boot buckles, or carrying knives, while the second, sealed shut with a thick layer of lime, contained some 20 bodies. Between 1793 and 1796, the fervently Catholic Vendee region was rocked by a drawn-out insurrection aimed at reversing the French Revolution.

■IRAN

Saberi’s parents depart

The father of imprisoned Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi said he and his wife were going to the Islamic Republic this week to see his daughter and speed up her release. Reza Saberi said he and his wife, Akiko, would leave their home in Fargo on Monday afternoon and hope to be in Tehran by today. Reza Saberi said he has been hearing word that officials were going to “speed up the process” of releasing his daughter, but he said “there’s still some work to do.” The government has said Roxana Saberi was arrested for doing reporting work in the country after her press credentials expired.

■QATAR

Arab summit backs Bashir

An Arab Summit voiced support for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Monday, rejecting an international arrest warrant issued against him for alleged war crimes in Darfur. “We reiterate our solidarity with Sudan and our rejection of the measure of the ... International Criminal Court against his Excellency [Bashir],” a final statement read at the summit in Doha said.

■GERMANY

Rightist youth group banned

The government banned an extremist right-wing youth group yesterday and conducted searches of property used by its leaders, the interior ministry said. A statement said the group, True Homeland German Youth, propagated racism and Nazi ideology. The ministry said the group organized holiday activities for children and young people where Nazi views were presented in the guise of non-political events.

The group schooled pre-teen children in “racial studies” and emphasized the need for “purity of blood” and the “procreation of the German race,” the ministry said. It also classed foreigners and Jews as a threat to the German race, the ministry statement said.

■UNITED STATES

Fifteen hospital workers fired

Fifteen hospital workers have been fired and another eight disciplined for looking at medical records of octuplet mother Nadya Suleman without permission, hospital officials said. Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center reported the violations of healthcare privacy laws to the state and has warned employees to keep away from Suleman’s records unless they have a medical purpose, hospital spokesman Jim Anderson said on Monday. “Despite the notoriety of this case, to us, this person is a patient who deserves the privacy that all our patients get,” Anderson said. He said Kaiser does not believe any of Suleman’s information was shared with the media, based on the results of their inquiry.

■UNITED STATES

Avoid pistachios, FDA says

Federal food safety officials warned on Monday that consumers should stop eating all foods containing pistachios while they figure out the source of a possible salmonella contamination. Still reeling from the national salmonella outbreak in peanuts, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said California-based Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc, the second-largest pistachio processor in the US, was voluntarily recalling a portion of the roasted nuts it has been shipping since last fall. A Setton spokeswoman said that amounts to more than 900,000kg of nuts. The FDA learned about the problem last Tuesday, when Kraft Foods Inc notified the agency that it had detected salmonella during product testing.

■MEXICO

Robbers get long stretch

A court has handed down prison sentences of almost 1,000 years each against five men convicted of robbing 18 customers at a Mexico City restaurant in October and holding them hostage. The sentences of 998-and-a-half years each are largely symbolic because the maximum prison terms in Mexico for such crimes are about 60 years and multiple sentences are served concurrently. The men robbed the customers, then took them hostage when police arrived. The customers were released a few hours later. The Mexico City prosecutors’ office said on Monday the men would also have to pay fines of more than 1.4 million pesos (US$98,000) apiece.

■UNITED STATES

Former adviser pans case

A former top government adviser who faces possible indictment in Spain for his role in establishing the Guantanamo Bay prison camp on Monday described the case against him as “outrageous.” Douglas Feith — a key adviser in former US president George W. Bush’s Pentagon — told Fox News that moves before a Spanish court to indict him for facilitating torture were an effort to “intimidate US government officials.” A Spanish non-governmental group has called for six Bush-era advisers to be prosecuted, including Justice Department lawyer John Yoo and a top aide to vice president Dick Cheney.

■CANADA

Galloway ruling to stand

A judge declined on Monday to overturn a government ruling that bans an outspoken anti-war British lawmaker from entering the country. George Galloway was banned on national security grounds early last month, saying he provided money to Hamas, a banned terrorist organization in Canada. Federal Court Justice Luc Martineau denied a request for an emergency injunction to allow Galloway in to begin a speaking tour in Canada. Galloway is well known in Britain for his ardent opposition to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.