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In Brief

In Brief

Ruling party wins Cook Islands' poll
RAROTONGA, Cook Islands
The Cook Islands' ruling Democratic Party has been confirmed the winner of last month's snap election in the tiny Pacific nation, final voting figures showed Thursday.
The party was returned to power with an increased majority following the September 26 poll that was tipped to be a tight race.
The Democrats led by Terepai Maoate won 14 seats and the opposition Cook Islands Party and an allied independent took 9 in the 24-seat parliament, according to the electoral office.
One other seat was tied with a recount set to be held next week following the election, called after the ruling coalition lost its parliamentary majority after a by-election in July.
A close vote had been expected but the Cook Islands Party gained less support than expected from around 10,000 registered voters, with both leader Henry Pune and deputy leader Tupou Faireka losing their seats.
Stubbing out breaks
SYDNEY, Australia
An Australian ministry is banning staff from taking smoking breaks at work, potentially setting a new trend for businesses across the increasingly anti-tobacco nation, officials said yesterday.
The ban, affecting nearly 2,000 staff at the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, marks the first such crackdown by a government department and is aimed at boosting the health and productivity of workers, an official told Agence France-Presse.
"We won't condone smoking during work hours," department head Mark Paterson told the Australian Financial Review of the crackdown, which will also outlaw smoking around the department's new offices in Canberra.
"Clearly there will be some productivity benefits. You don't have to do too many cigarettes in a day to seriously eat into business activity," he said. The rules that will take effect later this month.
Student's body found
WELLINGTON, New Zealand
The body of a missing South Korean student has been found in New Zealand near where he went missing nearly four months ago, police said yesterday.
The body of Young Wook Ma, 22, was found was in a forest near where he lived in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city.
Ma had been last seen at home on June 12. He left without money, credit cards or extra clothing.
Police said a post mortem examination had been done on the South Korean computing student and they were waiting for the results of tests which might explain his death. After his disappearance, police said there was no evidence of foul play.
Girls torture boy
BRISBANE, Australia
Australian authorities have charged two 12-year-old girls with torturing and mentally and physically handicapped teenage boy, police said yesterday.
The girls were arrested in the northeastern city of Brisbane on Thursday and held in custody pending a court appearance yesterday after allegedly physically tormenting the 15-year-old victim.
The boy was allegedly kicked, punched and struck with metal bars after being accosted by a group of other youngsters at an abandoned property.
The girls were charged with assault causing bodily harm, torture and deprivation of liberty. Two boys, aged 15 and 17, have already been charged over the incident, police said.


Updated : 2021-02-27 03:45 GMT+08:00