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International

Myanmar tops natural gas production in Asia

By Xinhua

Yangon : Myanmar is the biggest producer of natural gas in Asia and has the potential to ascend higher globally because many gas projects remain to be implemented, Yangon Times reported Wednesday.

Currently, the country ranks 10th at the world level with its gas sale, up from 11th previously, while it represents the first in Asia, Yangon Times quoted the World Energy magazine as saying.

Oil rises above $99 a barrel in Asian trading

By DPA

Singapore : The price of crude oil hit a record Wednesday in Asian trading, surpassing $99 per barrel.

The price of light US crude, which is seen as a reference point for worldwide oil prices, rose to $99.20 per barrel in Singapore.

The hike in Asia came after the price of light, sweet crude for January delivery also surpassed $99 for the first time in New York.

It rose as high as $99.29 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Thousands evacuated in Philippines as new storm approaches

By DPA

Manila : Thousands of people Wednesday began leaving their homes in the eastern Philippines, ahead of a new storm that is expected to hit the area later in the week, a senior official said.

Anthony Golez, spokesperson of the National Disaster Coordinating Council, said President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered the evacuation of residents in coastal areas and mountain slopes in the eastern region of Bicol.

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Chavez seeks apology from Spanish king

By IANS

Paris : Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said Spanish King Juan Carlos made "a mistake" when he told him to shut up during a recent summit in Chile, but added that the matter "would be settled" if the monarch apologised.

"What the king - who is a serious man - has to do now is apologise and admit that he blew his top," Chavez told mediapersons here Tuesday after talks in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Chavez added that the king had disrespected a head of state, reported Spanish news agency EFE.

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India deepens ties with East Asia while engaging China

By M.R. Narayan Swamy, IANS

Singapore : Even as it agreed to increase strategic cooperation with China, India Wednesday made clear its intention to deepen all-round ties with Asean countries as well as Japan as part of its successful "Look East" policy.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made his country's intentions known here at the sixth summit of India with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the East Asia Summit that also groups Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan and South Korea.

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South African wins case against racist landlord

By Fakir Hassen, IANS

Durban : A South African whose husband is of Indian origin Wednesday won a case at the Equality Court here against a landlord who reserved his block of apartments for use by members of the white community only.

The owner of the Dunmarsh Apartments in the seaside town of Amanzimtoti and lessee Bronwyn Ellen Gerber reached a settlement that was made an order of the court in terms of which the owner, S.T. Evenwel, will pay Gerber 10,000 rands (about $1,500).

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Over 150 killed in Papua New Guinea floods

By RIA Novosti

Jakarta : At least 153 people have been killed and dozens are missing in heavy floods in Papua New Guinea, regional media reported Wednesday.

The death toll in the South Pacific nation near Indonesia is expected to rise further as the county is currently suffering from acute shortage of food and drinking water after a week of heavy floods and torrential rains caused by a tropical cyclone.

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820 indigenous Brazilians freed from slavery

By IANS

Brasilia : A group of 820 indigenous Brazilians kept as slave labourers at a sugar firm in a town in the southern state of Mato Grosso do Sul have been freed by government officials, Spanish news agency EFE reported Wednesday.

In a statement Brazil's Labour Ministry Tuesday announced the rescue of the workers from a sugar refinery firm located on the outskirts of Brasilandia town in Mato Grosso do Sul, which is considered one of the country's new agricultural frontiers.

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Underground coal fire in China extinguished after 50 years

By Xinhua

Urumqi (China) : An underground fire that has consumed more than 12.43 million tonnes of coal in northwest China has been extinguished after more than 50 years.

The Coalfield Fire Fighting Project Office of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Tuesday announced the fire in the Terak field had been finally doused, saving an estimated 651 million tonnes of coal from burning.

Officials would closely monitor the coal seam and submit a report in 2009 to regional and national authorities, said Cai Zhongyong, deputy head of the office.

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Indian-origin furniture firm owner convicted

By IANS

Auckland : New Zealand's Commerce Commission Wednesday overturned the discharge without conviction of Naresh Shukla, director of 230 Marua Ltd., a leather furniture company in Auckland.

Earlier, the leather furniture company had been fined New Zealand $36,000 (about $27,000) plus costs over misleading claims about the sale price of furniture.

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