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China appeals for US to stop the war on Iraq
       (AFP) - BEIJING - China on Tuesday reiterated its calls for the United States to stop the war on Iraq, saying it was ?seriously concerned? about the worsening humanitarian situation. "First of all, we strongly appeal to relevant Air Charter Services countries to put an end to war and come back to the track of peaceful solution," Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said at a regular briefing. "We are seriously concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation in Iraq," Kong added. He said China had agreed to provide humanitarian assistance to Jordan to help refugees from Iraq and indicated that China planned to provide additional assistance if necessary. "China will provide humanitarian assistance within its capacity to relocate the Iraqi refugees in the plague of war," he said. China, as one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, has repeatedly called for an immediate halt to the US-led assault against Iraq since war broke out Thursday, saying the actions violated the UN Charter and international norms.

Hong Kong gripped by fear of pneumonia
       (AFP) - HONG KONG - The killer respiratory illness gripping Hong Kong is sowing a climate of fear which is driving away tourists, emptying restaurants and prompting many people to wear protective masks. The morning commuter crowd on Tuesday was peppered with people sporting white surgical facemasks in an attempt to fend off the virus which has so far claimed 10 lives in the former British colony and infected 260 other people. The health authorities have been battling to contain the illness - being called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) - for nearly three weeks but the number of infections and deaths have been steadily rising. Fears were raised a notch after the territory?s health chief Yeoh Eng-kiong Monday urged anybody with flu-like symptoms to stay at home, and the government issued television warnings telling people to avoid public places. "It's getting more and more worrying," said businessman Eugene Cheng as he rode the tram to work, gesturing to the many passengers wearing masks or covering their mouths. "I feel uncomfortable, as if people are getting suspicious of each other," he said. "I'm very concerned," said officer worker Nila Yip through her mask as she bought a take-away lunch box so as to avoid eating in a restaurant. "It is better to take precautions to prevent having the disease," she said. Public concern over the illness, which often causes an atypical pneumonia, has not been helped by news Hospital Authority chief executive William Ho was stuck down after showing symptoms. Four schools were also closed for a week from Monday after five students, a teacher and a school bus driver were found to have SARS. And the popular Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament, due to be held March 28-30, has also suffered after Argentina joined France and Italy in saying they would not be taking part because of the health scare. William Mark, chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Restaurant Owners, said the outbreak had already caused business in the restaurant sector slump by 20 percent.

Malaysia supports efforts to stop war
       KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 (Xinhuanet) -- Malaysia will give its support to countries, particularly the permanent members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, to take actions to stop the war in Iraq immediately, Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said here Tuesday. Hamid Albar said Malaysia would continue to uphold all principles of justice and international Charter a jet law, stressing that the role of the UN Security Council is most important in the international system, the national news agency Bernama reported. Syed Hamid made the remarks when asked to comment on a news agency report in Moscow Monday, which quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov as saying that the Security Council and UN should provide a legal assessment pertaining to the war in Iraq to ensure that the United States and Britain are held responsible, including paying humanitarian compensation as a result of the attacks. Syed Hamid said that the world community must cooperate to criticize and stop the attacks by the United States and its alliesin Iraq because they represented an incursion and were made unilaterally without the blessing of international law nor the decision and mandate of the UN Security Council. "We are not anti-anybody but we want peace," he said. Syed Hamid also expressed regret that UN Secretary-General KofiAnnan had said that he was now making preparation to send humanitarian aid to the people of Iraq. "The question is as though the war could not be avoided, the UN Secretary-General must ask for a stop to the incursion immediately,and humanitarian aid can be sent later instead of stating that the attack had taken place, as such, we forget the incursion and take action to provide humanitarian aid.

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