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In Brief

In Brief

Nepal executives urge nationwide strike
KATMANDU, Nepal
Business leaders called a general strike across Nepal yesterday, in defiance of a court order, to demand the government protect companies from interference and extortion by communist rebels.
The strike, called by the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries, closed markets and schools, and left highways deserted nationwide.
The federation has warned that several businesses face closure because of impossible demands placed on them by the rebels and affiliated trade unions.
Since the communists declared a cease-fire in April to end a 10-year insurgency, the rebels have been openly operating in Nepal's cities, in some cases seeking large amounts of money from businesses.
Greeting controversy
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia
A government-linked Islamic finance group in Malaysia has officially apologized after its religious chief advised Muslim employees not to send holiday greetings to Hindus for a celebration he described as blasphemous.
The apology was posted on publicly traded Takaful Malaysia's Web site yesterday.
The company, which is majority-owned by Malaysia's Bank Islam, has already distanced itself from an e-mail memo sent by its religious department chief, Mohamed Fauzi Mustaffa, that advised Muslim employees against wishing Hindus "Happy Diwali."
Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, will be held on October 21.
Racism board game
CANBERRA, Australia
A board game glorifying race riots that gripped Sydney's beaches nearly a year ago might be banned to prevent further violence, Australian authorities said yesterday.
The game called "Cronulla Monopoly" invites players to "Win back Australia" by buying and selling land in the southern beach suburbs hardest-hit by clashes last December between white Australian youths and ethnic-Lebanese Australians.
A Web site promoting the game said it was "dedicated to all those who stood up for the freedoms of all fair dinkum (real) Aussies."
The Australia First Party yesterday carried an internet link to the board game, but denied responsibility for designing it, warning the game could breach national anti-discrimination laws.
Antiques lost
KOLKATA, India
More than 3,600 Buddhist antiques have been smuggled out of the eastern Indian state of Bihar in the past one year, forcing police to set up a special force to tackle the menace, officials said yesterday.
"We are deeply concerned about the situation and stopping smugglers is a major challenge," Arun Chandra Verma, a top police official said.
Buddhist relics are in great demand in Japan, China and Thailand where Buddhism is deeply rooted, as well as in Europe where a single idol can easily fetch tens of thousands of dollars.
Bird flu victim
JAKARTA, Indonesia
Indonesia defended its efforts to fight bird flu yesterday as the number of people killed by the virus continued to climb: The death of a 27-year-old woman, brought the country's toll to 55.
The latest death, one day after the woman was hospitalized, was followed by that of an 11-year-old boy in the Jakarta on Saturday and a 67-year-old woman in West Java on Sunday, health officials said.


Updated : 2021-10-28 06:02 GMT+08:00