Briefs, December 16, 2012

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 December, 2012, 4:49am

Churches say bill a step towards legal abortions

MANILA - Church leaders in the Philippines said yesterday that an impending birth control law aimed at reducing poverty in the conservative nation was one step towards legalising abortion. In a letter penned by bishops to be read at Sunday mass in churches across the mainly Catholic country, they said the Reproductive Health Bill promoted pre-martial sex and threatened the "moral fibre" of the country. The bill paves the way for sex education in schools and the provision of free contraceptives in a country with one of Asia's fastest-growing populations. AFP


30 hurt as Thai office party turns violent

BANGKOK - A brawl broke out as prizes were being awarded at a Thai carmaker's office party, leaving more than 30 people injured in the melee in which glasses, bottles and even homemade grenades were thrown. AutoAlliance Thailand, a joint venture between Ford Motor Company and Japan's Mazda Motor Corporation, threw the party for its 4,000 staff on Friday at a restaurant in Chonburi, 100 kilometres southeast of Bangkok. The Bangkok Post newspaper said the brawl started in front of a stage as prizes were being handed out. Reuters


Weapons bought by India end up Mayanmr

NEW DELHI - India is investigating how Swedish-made weapons purchased by the Indian army turned up in Myanmar in violation of EU sanctions. Sweden asked India on Thursday to clarify how the weapons wound up in Myanmar after it was revealed the Indian army had bought the arms, Trade Minister Ewa Bjorling told the Swedish parliament. AFP


Six dead, six missing in S Korean barge sinking

SEOUL - Six six people died and six others were missing after their barge sank off the South Korea's southeastern coast. Coast guard officials in Ulsan said strong waves caused the barge to capsize on Friday night after it was separated from its tugboat just off the port city. Twelve other workers on the barge were rescued. AP


New primate species found in Borneo

WASHINGTON - Researchers have discovered a new slow loris species in the jungles of Borneo, according to findings published this week in the American Journal of Primatology. Known for its toxic bite, the slow loris - a nocturnal primate found across Southeast Asia - is closely related to a lemur and is characterised by unique fur colouration on its face and body. An international team pinpointed the new species, which was found in Borneo's central-east highland area, by studying the distinctive face colourings. AFP